Top Five Items to Keep Out of Your Septic System

Toilet paper on the white wall

Most of the time, homeowners throw trash in the garbage can, but on occasion it is easy to consider flushing garbage down the toilet or garbage disposal. Even though this waste is out of sight, it could cause serious problems to your aerobic treatment unit. 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.

Like every other appliance in your household, your aerobic system needs to be maintained. If the system is not properly cared for, it could result in costly repairs, or even worse, sewage could backup into your home.

Here are the top five things you should avoid putting into your aerobic treatment system:

1. Bleach and Strong Disinfectants: An aerobic treatment system is a living ecosystem of microbes that digest waste. Strong bleaches or disinfectants will kill these microbes and off-set your system. Since microbes will not be able to break-down the waste, excessive sludge will accumulate in the system.

2. Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds have a hard texture that does not break down easily. Each time you flush those coffee grounds down the garbage disposal, just imagine them sitting in your septic system like gravel. Eventually, they will have to be pumped out of the system because they will not easily decompose.

3. Condoms, Disposable Diapers and Tampons: It is easy for these items to clog pipes and get stuck around the motor of a system causing it to break. A septic motor is a high ticket price item and can cost between $600 and $1,000 to repair.

4. Strong Medicines: Never dispose of leftover medications by flushing them down the toilet or sink. Pharmaceuticals have high concentrations of antibiotics. When they are flushed down the toilet, the strong chemical composition will kill bacteria that are breaking down the sewage.

5. Cooking Grease: Avoid putting any cooking oil or grease down your garbage disposal or sink. These materials have a tendency to congeal and might clog the drains and lines associated with the system. If the drains are clogged, sewage could back up into your home.
For more information about caring for your aerobic treatment unit, call Aeration Septic at (330)854-4405.


  1. AvatarJim Bassett says

    Is the coffee liquid, that does not have coffee grounds in the liquid, ok to send to the septic tank?
    Any problem sending tea grounds and/or tea liquid into the septic tank?

  2. AvatarMindy Jollie says

    It’s a good point that coffee grounds act like gravel in your septic system. Most people probably assume that they’re okay because they’re an organic material, but the grounds are the toughest parts of coffee. My sister has a septic tank on her property that needs a repair, and now I’m wondering if it has something to do with that! She’ll have to get a professional to check it out for her.

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