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Serving Northern Virgina / Washington DC Metro Area Customers Since 1987

What NOT to Flush If You Have a Septic Tank

You can extend the life of the septic system in your Northern Virginia home by being ultra-careful about what goes into it. Following is a list of items that should not be flushed down a toilet and thus into your septic tank:

  • Cat litter, including "clumping" cat litter, which consists mostly of clay particles. It will add solid waste volume to your septic tank and will not break down.
  • Chemicals, including solvents, paints, thinners, oils, varnishes, pesticides, used motor oil, and unwanted cooking oil. These items should never be flushed down a toilet nor put into any other building drains.
  • Cigarette butts
  • Clothes dryer "fabric softener" sheets -- The synthetic fabric from which dryer sheets are made will not break down in the septic tank. In addition, a dryer sheet could clog the septic tank inlet at the baffle.
  • Coffee grounds should not be flushed into the septic system.
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers of any kind whatsoever, including cloth and disposable diapers as well as swim diapers/pants.
  • Dirt
  • Latex protects
  • Paper towels and facial tissues, however toilet paper breaks down quickly and should not be a problem in an ordinary septic tank system.
  • Plastic bags or other plastic trash should never be flushed down a building drain.
  • Prescription medicines, should never be flushed down a toilet unless your pharmacist or the drug manufacturer tells you specifically that the particular drug is absolutely harmless to the environment.
  • Sanitary napkins and related products
  • Swimming pool chemicals and swimming pool back-wash water should never be flushed into a septic tank.
  • Toys — You should instruct your children to never flush toys, no matter how small, down the toilet.

If you find your septic system isn't doing its job, call SES. Based in Warrenton, Virginia, SES offers 24-hour emergency response for septic system malfunctions. We've been inspecting, servicing, maintaining and repairing septic systems for residential and commercial customers in Northern Virginia since 1987.

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SES is one of only three businesses to be licensed as a Responsible Management Entity. Loudoun County Virginia was the first in the Nation to establish requirements for an RME based on EPA recommendations. SES manages several communities required to have an RME.

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