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

When was the last time you had your septic tank pumped out and your system inspected?  If you can’t remember the date, it’s probably been too long.  Our recommendation is to have both done every three to five years.  Doing so gives us the opportunity to put expert eyes on your system at regular intervals, which will allow us to catch problems while they’re still small.

All else being equal, small problems are less expensive to repair than big ones, which saves you money and gives you tremendous peace of mind.  If you’ve never had to deal with the horror of raw sewage backing up into your home, count yourself lucky.  If you have, then you know what a nightmare it can be.  Regular maintenance can help you avoid all that.

As the #1 septic service company in the area, we offer both of those services, and while we’re doing our work, we talk with our customers and get a lot of questions.  One of the most common ones we get is some variation of: ‘How much bleach is too much for a Fairfax VA septic system?’

It’s easy to see where this question comes from.  After all, most household cleaners have bleach in them, and invariably, some of that bleach winds up going down the drain or being flushed down the toilet, where it winds up in your septic tank.

That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.  After all, bleach is lethal to bacteria, and your tank needs a healthy colony of bacteria to do its work.

The good news is, the answer to the question ‘how much bleach is too much for a Fairfax VA septic system?’ is a lot more than you might think.  You would literally have to go out and buy a couple of gallons of bleach and pour it down the drain before it did serious harm to your septic system, so those cleaning products you use aren’t going to cause any trouble.  Just avoid pouring it in bulk down the drain and you’ll be fine.

Unfortunately, the question ‘how much bleach is too much for a Fairfax VA septic system?,’ tends to draw your attention away from other potential hazards and as durable as your septic system is, it’s not immune to harm.  Here are a few of the dangers you may not have considered:


Most people know it’s not a good idea to pour grease down the drain, but few understand precisely why it’s bad.  There are two reasons:

First, some of that grease will stay in your tank, building up over time.  Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of it is to have the tank pumped out.  Second, some of it will escape, leeching into your drain field where it will float to the surface and harden, creating a problem called grease capping, which prevents your drain field from processing waste effectively.  Both are potentially major problems.

You’ve probably seen products advertised on TV that promise to dissolve the grease so you can avoid having the tank pumped out.  Don’t believe it.  Not only do these products not work as the advertising promises, but many of them will damage the colonies of bacteria living inside your tank, making a bad problem even worse.

Miscellaneous Solids

This is a broad, catch-all category.  You’d be amazed at how much random stuff winds up in your septic tank, especially if you have small children, who seem to delight in flushing small objects down the toilet to watch them disappear like magic.

Many of these objects aren’t biodegradable, and will get hung up in your tank where they’ll build up over time.  As before, the only way to get them out is to have your tank pumped at regular intervals.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

While the answer to the question ‘how much bleach is too much for a Fairfax VA septic system?’ is measured in gallons, it only takes a tiny amount of chemical drain cleaner to cause significant harm.  Depending on the chemical drain cleaner in question, as little as a teaspoon will devastate the bacteria living in your tank.  No matter how tempting it might seem, avoid these like the plague.

An Excess of Water

This one might cause you to scratch your head.  After all, every time you flush a toilet or turn on a faucet you’ve got water flowing into your septic system, so how can that be a bad thing?

The problem here is that too much water will cause your drain field to become supersaturated.  In that state, it’s unable to process wastes effectively because they can’t percolate into the already water-laden ground.

There are two primary sources of excess water.  One is from the downspouts connected to the gutters on the outside of your house.  Check them to make sure they’re angled well away from your drain field and you won’t have a problem on that front.

The second potential problem areas are your faucets and toilets.  You’d be amazed at how much water a slow drip or a constantly running toilet can introduce to the drain field.  Fix these the moment you spot them to minimize their impact.

Again, it’s not that the question ‘how much bleach is too much for a Fairfax VA septic system?’ is a bad one, it’s simply that asking it may divert your attention away from other potential hazards.

In any event, if you’re having problems with your system, or if you’re not sure how long it’s been since you last had your tank pumped out and inspected, give us a call today.  We’ll be there when you need us.

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