COVID-19 Crisis and Septic System Impacts


Septic systems are like municipal sewer systems, but toilet paper designed for these systems deteriorates slower to protect the distribution field. Anything else that you put down your drains leads to clogs, blockages and sewer pump damage. Any of these situations can shut down your septic system. We want to remind septic owners that every septic system has a finite capacity.


Self-isolation and shelter-in-place policies can stress septic systems:

With everyone spending more time at home and self-isolating, we wanted to share with you some tips that will help you better care for your septic system. While everyone is at home for this extended period, there will certainly be an increase in usage of your septic system. More food is being prepared, more dishes are being washed, laundry machines are running and garbage disposals may be in use. All of this activity will increase the load on your septic system.


Disinfecting Wipes and other toxins

In an effort to prevent the virus from spreading, many families are using higher than normal amounts of disinfectants like bleach in the laundry and flushing disinfecting wipes down the toilet. These chemicals are toxic to the treatment in the septic tank. In high enough concentrations, this will result in poor quality effluent leaving the septic tank, which will accelerate clogging of the leach field.


Septic care checklist:

Below are some recommended strategies that can help reduce the risk of overloading your septic system.

  • NEVER flush personal wipes or disinfecting wipes down the toilet. Dispose of wipes in the solid waste instead.
  • Minimize the amount of bleach used in the laundry.
  • Use LIQUID LAUNDRY DETERGENT instead of powder. Powder detergents often don’t dissolve very well and can travel through the septic tank and clog up the leach field lines
  • Use regular, good old-fashioned soap for hand washing. There is no need to use soap containing harsh anti-bacterial agents, they are toxic to your septic system.
  • Reconsider if you need to wash your clothes after every outing. When you do need to wash your clothes, try to save them up until you have a larger load rather than doing multiple smaller washes.
  • Take showers instead of having a bath, which uses more water.
  • If you have chemical products in your toilet tank – stop using them.
  • If your kitchen has a garbage disposal try not to use it, as this can increase the loading of organic waste to your septic system considerably.
  • FIX leaky plumbing fixtures immediately, especially toilet flappers that can allow hundreds of gallons of extra water to leak into your septic system.

There is no guarantee that following the above practices will prevent you from having a septic issue during this time, but it may at least help to reduce the risk.


Please stay safe.                     

Gerry Knoop and family