Septic System Additives, are they good or a hoax?
Septic System Additives, are they good or a hoax? Wenatchee Home Inspection
Ah, another great debate on what to do if you are on a septic system. The question- Should you be adding additives?
Well I thought I would take a little journey into this and see what I can find out.
What I know for sure is that no additive will compensate for poor design, abuse of the system and proper maintenance. Even well-designed septic systems can have a finite life.
Tom Scherer, an NDSU Extension Service agricultural engineer states “In general, most professionals working with septic systems do not recommend using any additives”
This seems to be the sentiment of many in the field.
The best advice is to use the septic system normally, spreading clothes washing throughout the week and be easy on using too many chemicals that can end up in the system.
Sanford Mersky a septic system engineer says “Biological additives are mostly benign, but unnecessary”.
Something I found during my research is that Washington State law allows the use of certain additives. These additives contain ingredients that are unlikely to harm septic systems, groundwater, and human health. The Washington State Department of Health regularly updates a list of approved additives.
In 1993, the Washington State Legislature found that most additives do not have a positive effect on the operation of on-site systems, and can contaminate groundwater aquifers, render septic drainfields dysfunctional, and result in costly repairs to homeowners.
Here is the kicker… It is against the law in Washington to use, sell, or distribute additives that have not been reviewed and are not specifically on the list!
Here is the current list- http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/337-025.pdf
Turns out Massachusetts also has a list too-MassDEP
Here is another good link-
So in conclusion what I have found is this- the additives have little benefit to the system. That you should use and maintain the system as designed. In some areas due to local environmental conditions your system may only last 20 years no matter how well you maintain the system. Check with your local health department for the best places to start looking for resources and information.
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