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DON’T use your garbage disposer. Organic solids, i.e. food waste, stop the enzyme action in the tank and are very bad for the long term functioning of the system. Just pretend you don’t have one.

DO as our mothers and grandmothers did- drain off liquid waste and bag the rest for garbage pickup.

DON’T pour melted fats such as butter, shortening, and meat fats such as bacon grease or broiler drippings down the drain. Any fat that is solid when cold and liquid when warm is a no-no.

DO wipe grease off pans with a paper towel, or pour grease into a paper cup. Refrigerate until solid and then dispose of it in the trash.

DON’T dump buckets of antibacterial or clorox cleaning solutions down the house drain. It kills the bacterial action in the septic system that dissolves and neutralizes solids.

DO dump the bucketful onto the driveway or on top of a brick walkway or stone path and let it evaporate. The bonus is no weeds and cleaner concrete, not likely to grow algae.

DO limit the Clorox on laundry day and spread out laundry loads over the week as much as possible. This avoids massive amounts of water going into the tank and drainfield. Drip systems need time to work properly.

DON’T direct downspouts toward your drainfield. Excessive water sinking from the surface into the drainfield will interfere with its natural bacterial and nutrient cleansing function.

DO use Dawn Dishwashing Liquid for hand-washing pots and pans. It’s what rescue teams use to remove oil sludge from the birds and turtles. It will help dissolve and break up fats and help prolong drainfield life. Fats and oil deposits are the main reason a drainfield becomes clogged and fails.

DO use “Septic Safe” toilet paper. It dissolves quickly and thoroughly.

DO have your tank pumped periodically. Frequency depends on the size of the tank and the number of people in the household.