I know I have written much over the years about toilet paper and the problems it causes people with their septic system. Today, I’d like to elaborate a bit on that — it’s kind of amazing what can get flushed down a toilet! When I was teaching middle school science, I used to post “funny facts” on my board every day. I remember one fact that would always be on those “Fact lists” (or in “freaky fact” books kids would give me…) and it was this: The US estimates 40,000 injuries a year associated with toilets! Of course teenagers always found this funny, — what’s so dangerous about a toilet that people are being injured by them?? But even now that I have left middle-school-dom, I’m seeing more why this is an issue….and it’s really not people being dumb, it’s just freaky or unfortunate events!
So, the basic rule of thumb is only use toilet paper that is cheap and lesser ply. All toilet paper brands are going to claim to be septic safe and they just aren’t. If the toilet paper is thick and cushy, the likelihood of it causing problems in your sewer line or baffle area are high. Cheap, lesser ply toilet paper breaks down fast so this isn’t a problem. End of story. If you don’t want septic problems, ONLY use cheap toilet paper.
What about other stuff?
Anything that is not toilet paper should NOT be flushed down the line — which 99% of all people know this. However, there are cases like bad habits or small children that can cause you grief when living on septic. Feminine products, small toys, paper towels, teeth (yes, teeth), and worst of all adult wet wipes need to stay away from the toilet. All these items can cause clogs…which then cause back ups….when then cause ickiness and stress you will likely want to avoid.
Now, I realized that if you have small children, they might be curious about the toilet. (I myself am raising a child who once found himself inside a claw machine…so believe me when I say, my heart goes out to you, truly it does…) We have seen Beanie Babies get caught in the line because someone under the age of 5 was curious about their toilet. And I personally can’t blame the kid. The toilet is truly fascinating! Nasty stuff disappears and VOILA clean water appears in it’s place. Why wouldn’t a kid be curious? However, it was stressful to the parents until it was resolved.
Probably the biggest problem we see — and again, it isn’t really the customers fault — is the use of the adult wet wipes. I have seen the packaging — it says septic safe, but it really does cause our customers grief. It doesn’t dissolve in water and it doesn’t break down in the tank. Both of these can cause back ups and problems if used when living on septic.
I only bring these instances up to help future-septic-system-homeowners avoid some of these mistakes or pitfalls. No one wants a backed up septic system. Not even the septic guy who comes to pump you out….honestly we don’t. We much prefer regular preventative maintenance pumping. The kind of pumping where both customer and pumper are happy and stress free!