3 Things Your Septic System Needs To Work Safely And Correctly

The septic system buried in your home's yard is your own small-scale sewage treatment system. Just as a regular sewage treatment plant needs the right maintenance and proper balance, your home septic system also needs the right care for it to be a well-working system. Here are three things your septic system needs to work properly and safely.

Appropriate Placement in Your Yard

Your septic tank and drain field cannot be installed in any location in your yard, but they need to be placed far enough away from structures and ground water. Your septic system may leak, so you want to make sure you have plenty of space around your septic system in case this happens. A septic systems contains both good and bad bacteria. If the bad bacteria from septic waste gets into drinking water or contaminates inside your home, it is a dangerous situation that will need to be cleaned up as soon as possible.

To prevent any possible contamination from your septic tank, regulations have been put in place to make sure your septic tank is not buried too close to your home, your neighbor's property, a water well, creek, or lake. Depending on the area and state you live in, there are different regulations for septic system placement. You or your septic tank installation company can check with the local city offices to find out any specific regulations. 

In Colorado, for example, a septic tank can be buried as close to your home as five feet, but needs to be at least ten feet from your neighbor's property line. And, your leach field needs to be at least 20 feet away from your home and your neighbor's home.

Septic Friendly Toilet Paper

If your home is connected to a septic system, you need to make sure you are using the right type of toilet paper. A septic system works well when bacteria can break down much of the solid waste floating on top and the sludge sinking to the bottom of the septic tank. This prevents the solid waste from spilling out into the leach field. If you dump items into your home's sewer that are not going to break down easily, such as tampon wrappers, cigarette butts, kitchen grease, and heavy-ply toilet paper, septic waste can end up going into the leach field and contaminating your soil and the environment. If you suspect that your tank needs care, call a septic tank pumping company.

Single-ply toilet paper and toilet paper marked safe for septic tanks are best to use in your septic system. Most septic tank users in Mexico have found that it is best to not put any toilet paper into their septic system at all, but discard it in the trash. Then, it doesn't matter what type of toilet paper they use to do their business.


The bacteria naturally present in your home's waste helps break it down once it reaches the septic tank. This bacteria helps control the amount of floating scum inside your septic tank and the amount of sludge that settles to the bottom of the septic tank. If either of these levels becomes too thick, it can be the cause of not enough good bacteria. For this reason, it is important to have your septic tank maintained and have bacteria added routinely. 

Many types of home waste can kill off this helpful bacteria. Some bacteria killers are bleach, laundry detergents, drain clog cleaners, and other cleaning chemicals. When you use too much of these in your home, they will get into your septic system and kill too much bacteria, disrupting the balance. It is best to use septic-safe detergents and cleaners so you don't cause this problem.

Make sure your home's septic system has these three things to work efficiently and safely.