How Much Bleach Is Too Much For A Clifton VA Septic System?

How long has it been since you had your septic tank pumped out and your system inspected?  If you can’t recall the date, it’s probably time.  Your home’s septic system is remarkably robust, but like everything else, if it doesn’t get proper maintenance, it’s going to give you trouble.

We recommend having the tank pumped out and having your system inspected every three to five years.  As the region’s #1 septic service company, we provide both of those services.

Often, while we’re doing our work, we get questions from the customers we’re serving.  One of the more common ones we get is ‘how much bleach is too much for a Clifton VA septic system?’  It’s easy to see where the question comes from.  After all, most household cleaning products are bleach-based, and some of that bleach winds up going down the drain and making its way into your septic tank.

Bleach is lethal to bacteria, and your tank relies on bacteria to do its work, so at first glance, it seems like it would be a disaster waiting to happen.

The good news though, is that the answer to the question ‘how much bleach is too much for a Clifton VA septic system?’ is a lot more than you might think.  You’d have to pour a couple of gallons of bleach down the drain in order to do significant damage to the tank’s bacteria.  As long as you avoid doing that, you’ll be just fine, which means that you can keep right on using those bleach-based cleaners.

One thing to be mindful of is this:  While there’s certainly nothing wrong with asking the question ‘how much bleach is too much for a Clifton VA septic system?,’ there is a potential danger that by focusing on it too much, it will divert attention away from other potential hazards that could do a lot more harm to your tank than nominal amounts of bleach.  Here are a few examples of other potential issues that could be even more problematic:

Excess Water

Since your septic tank is connected to your home’s plumbing system, you may be wondering how and why too much water could be a bad thing.  After all, there’s water flowing into the tank all the time, right?

Yes, but too much water can still be a bad thing.  Here’s why:  Excess water winds up in your drain field.  Soil can only absorb so much water, so quickly.  When it reaches the point of supersaturation, your drain field can’t process waste.

Excess water can enter the drain field by two main roads.  The first are the downspouts connected to your home’s rain gutters.  Do a quick check of these and make sure they’re pointed well away from the drain field and they won’t contribute to the problem.

The second major culprit are dripping faucets and constantly running toilets.  Even a slow drip can add a shocking amount of water to the system over a twenty-four hour period.  As soon as you notice things like this, it’s time to break out your tools or contact a local plumber to nip it in the bud.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

While the answer to the question ‘how much bleach is too much for a Clifton VA septic system?’ is measured in gallons, tiny amounts of chemical drain cleaners, sometimes as little as a single teaspoon, can devastate the bacteria living in your tank.  No bacteria, no waste processing.  Avoid chemical drain cleaners at all costs.


Grease is problematic for two reasons.  One, when you pour it down the drain, some of it is going to remain in the tank, interfering with its normal function until you pump it out.  Second, some of it is going to leech out into your drain field.

Once there, it will float to the surface and harden, creating a problem known as grease capping and preventing your drain field from processing wastes effectively.

You may have seen or heard about products that promise they can dissolve the grease in your tank, allowing it to pass harmlessly into the drain field.  Don’t believe it – it’s marketing hype.  Not only do these products not work as advertised, some of them can seriously damage the bacteria your tank needs to do its job well, which makes an already bad problem even worse.

Other Solids

If you have small children, all sorts of things can wind up in your septic tank, because kids have a fascination with flushing stuff to watch it disappear down the drain.  Even if you don’t, over time, a variety of objects can wind up in your septic tank and unless they’re biodegradable, and many aren’t, they’ll remain there until you have it pumped out.

Again, it’s not that the question ‘how much bleach is too much for a Clifton VA septic system?’ is problematic – just that you don’t want to let it consume you to the point that you don’t pay a sufficient amount of attention to the issues we outlined above.

All of that brings us back around to the topic of maintenance.  If it’s been a while since your home septic system has had any, give us a call and schedule your appointment today.  We’ve been proudly serving the region for more than thirty years, and we’d love to add you to our growing family of satisfied customers!

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