Strong Medications Cause Serious Problems for Septic Systems


When you are sick the last thing you are going to think about is your septic system. But, the medications you either take or dispose of will ultimately impact the way your aerobic treatment system works. Residential aerobic treatment systems are a small-scale sewage treatment system that uses air infiltration and natural bacteria to turn household sewage into groundwater that can be disposed of openly in the environment.

Over-the-counter drugs will not harm your system. But, when homeowners take strong medications, like chemotherapy drugs, high concentrations of antibiotics are still present in their waste. When this waste is flushed down the toilet, the strong chemical composition can kill bacteria that are breaking down the household sewage. Bacteria are necessary for proper operation of your system because they digest some of the organic matter entering the tank. Without bacteria, excessive solid waste will accumulate.

Generally, if you are on medication for less than ten days, you do not need to worry about your septic system. But, if someone in your household is on strong medication for several weeks or months, you will need to start thinking about an alternative method of care for your aerobic treatment unit. Start by calling your septic service provider and notifying them of the situation. Often, they will be able to infuse extra bacteria into your system to keep it working properly. You may also need to change the amount of time that passes before your system is pumped. Traditionally, septic systems should be pumped once every three years. In cases where the bacteria are not able to quickly break-down the solid waste, the system will have to be pumped more frequently. In these special cases, consider pumping the septic system once every two years.

Never dispose of leftover medications by flushing them down the toilet or sink. Contact your local pharmacy to see if they will dispose of extra medications for you. Also, limit the amount of bleach or disinfecting cleaners being used in your household. If you are already dealing with limited bacteria, you do not want to kill more.

For more information about how medications can impact your aerobic treatment unit, call Aeration Septic at (330)854-4405