How To Break Down Solids In A Septic Tank

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Over 21 million houses in the USA use septic tanks! If you own one of them, you might need this article. You certainly don’t want to spend any more time thinking about your septic tank.

You may feel inundated and perplexed when it comes to learning how to break down solids in a septic tank. Luckily, just a few tips will help you minimize or eliminate the build up of solids in your septic system.

How Do I Know If I Have A Septic System?

This information should have been part of the inspection process if you purchased your property in the last few years.

If you don’t have the inspection info handy, the area where you live may tip you off. If you live in a city, you almost certainly do not have a septic system. Some suburban homes do, and many rural homeowners have a septic system and septic tank.

Some Tips

  • Examine your property for any strange bumps that may indicate that a septic tank is buried underneath.
  • Examine your property looking for a ventilation pipe or screen.
  • If a patch of grass or vegetation in your yard is especially green or healthy, it may located near or over a septic system drain field.
  • Check with your neighbors to see if they have one and where it’s positioned in their yard.
  • Take a look at your water bill; if you don’t have one from the county, you’re probably on a septic system.
  • To obtain a copy of your property records, contact your local government.

What Is The Best Way To Take Care Of My Septic System?

Inside your septic tank, naturally occurring, beneficial bacteria dissolve and consume the solid waste. These are the beneficial bacteria you need to keep your septic system functioning smoothly and you don’t want to accidentally kill them. The liquid in your tank flows into your drain field via tiny openings in the pipes.

How To Break Down Solids In A Septic Tank 

The first thing you should do is schedule an inspection of your septic system. Hiring a professional to come out and examine your septic system will allow you to assess the current status of your septic tank and get it cleaned out.

During the inspection, you will also learn the size of your septic tank (which you will need to know for the next section).

Ensure that you only flush human waste and septic safe toilet paper down your toilets! Never flush diapers, feminine hygiene products, wipes, or paper towels.

Be careful with chemicals that kill bacteria too. Antibacterial soap may be good for your hands, but in high volumes it can kill the good bacteria in your septic tank. These bacteria are essential for the functioning of your septic system.

Avoid or minimize bleach, oven cleaners, and drain cleaners if you have a septic system. Also, any oil or oil based product (like furniture polish) should never go into your septic system.

How To Break Down Solids In A Septic Tank?

Now that you know the size of your septic tank (thanks to the inspection), you can choose a septic tank treatment.

You can select a septic tank treatment appropriate for your septic tank size as well as your preference for how often you need to use it. Most are monthly, but some have longer intervals between use.

The septic system treatments are critical because the bacteria that live in your septic tank are the key to keeping the number of solids in your tank at a consistent level. Your tank may fill up more quickly, and potentially overflow or clog, if there is an insufficient quantity of this essential bacteria. Failing to keep up with treatments can also cause problems with your pipes, drain field, scum layer, and overall sewage system performance.

How To Break Down Solids In A Septic Tank
Minimize your interaction with your septic tank by controlling solids

Go Beyond Tank Treatments To Break Down Solids In A Septic Tank

Once you have chosen the best septic system treatment for your septic tank and your schedule, you can do even more to keep your septic tank healthy. Remember, the best amount of actual interaction for you to have with your septic system is zero! Help to keep it that way in a few easy ways.

Use Active Yeast To Break Down Solids In A Septic Tank

Add a quarter to a half cup of active dry yeast to your toilet bowl and flush it down the drain. The yeast will need to rest in your pipes before working efficiently, so avoid running your dishwasher or taking a shower to wash away the yeast too quickly. In septic systems, yeast keeps bacteria and enzymes satisfied.

Rotten Tomatoes

They contain enzymes called pectinase, which break down pectin and plant cell walls. These proteins degrade pectin and plant cell walls. All of this aids in the breakdown of solid waste and recycling plant matter, which is all good for your septic system.

Cut your rotten tomatoes into tiny pieces and run them down the garbage disposal. To avoid clogging your pipes, be sure to run some water down the drain as well. You’ll only need three to four rotten tomatoes every few months or so to keep your bacteria active.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide For Controlling Odors

Hydrogen Peroxide is generally safe for the bacteria in septic tanks, and it does a great job controlling odors. However, it may not be good for the plants in and around the drain field, so its use has gone down in recent years.

Do Not Use Inorganic Acids

While these are useful in the removal of clogs, they can be harmful to your septic tank. They may destroy the bacteria in your system, resulting in raw sewage overflows and a much more serious situation. These strong chemicals might also cause harm to your septic system’s pipes and walls.

Inorganic Acids include Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acid, and Nitric Acid.

What To Do When Things Go Wrong

Chemical Solutions

To help break down the solids in your tank, you can buy chemicals to add to it. Make sure you follow the instructions on the package and don’t do any harm to your septic system. You can also make a DIY solution here. Check it here.

Use A Pump

When it comes down to it, the only way to be sure you’re emptying your septic tank of solids is to hire a professional. Pumping your tank may be a time-consuming process, so use it as part of your septic tank maintenance strategy.

Prepare to have your septic tank pumped. When they’re emptying the waste and sludge, there’s a foul smell. Pumping your septic tank on a regular basis might be an important component of your septic tank treatment strategy.


  • Know for sure if you have a septic system
  • If you do, get an inspection immediately, learn the size, and get it pumped out
  • Be careful with what you flush!
  • Use Septic System Treatment regularly
  • Supplement with occasionally flushing yeast and/or rotten tomatoes
  • Use chemical treatments or call a service to have the septic system pumped when there is an issue