Homeowners with septic systems know that there are certain guidelines that must be followed in order to keep everything functioning properly. While these guidelines are generally clear and easily understood by adults, families with young children sometimes are challenged to ensure that everyone in the home follows the rules.
Kids are naturally inquisitive and like to explore and experiment, so it can be hard to predict in advance what they might do. It might seem unlikely that your child would flush something inappropriate down the toilet, for instance, but any septic professional will tell you that it happens with surprising frequency.
To avoid having problems, parents should be proactive in working with children to help them understand the guidelines and, where appropriate, why the rules are in place.
General Rules for Homes With Septic Systems
It is important that everyone in the house understands and follows some basic rules:
- No flushing non-biodegradable items down the toilet. This includes household cleaners, cotton balls, facial tissues, dental floss, feminine hygiene products, and cigarettes. These items can clog the system and cause costly damage.
- Baby wipes are another item that should not be flushed. Even wipes that claim to be septic-safe can fail to degrade as quickly as advertised, leading to problems in the septic pipes or septic tank.
- Do not flush any kind of medication down the toilet or sink, whether they are prescription or over the counter, since this can cause problems with the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank.
- No dumping grease, coffee grounds, or cooking oil down the sink. These items can also clog and damage the system.
- Avoid using too much water at one time. Multiple showers, doing laundry, or running the dishwasher too often can overload the septic tank and cause it to back up.
- Have your septic system inspected and pumped on a regular basis. This will keep the system running smoothly and help prevent any problems from occurring in the future.
- Ensure that there are no trees or shrubs that are growing too close to the septic tank or drain field as these can cause major damage to the system.
Families should have a discussion with their children about the importance of following these rules. In addition, there are some rules that primarily apply to families with young children:
- Do not dig or play in the dirt near the septic drain field. The role of the drain field is to act as the final filtration of the wastewater from your home. The soil near the drainfield will be absorbing and releasing liquid that may still contain some contaminants, so children should not be permitted to play on or near it.
- Stay away from septic tank lids and risers. While lids and covers should always be secure, it is best to discourage children from playing with them. There have been numerous instances of young children suffering serious injuries or even death from falling into an uncovered septic tank.
- Do not waste water. Many youngsters enjoy playing in water, but remember that too much water being processed through the septic system can cause the septic tank to become overfull. That can lead to needing frequent septic tank pumping or to problems like backups. Teach your children to turn off the water while they are bruising their teeth or any other time it is not needed.
It is a good idea to remind children of the rules regularly and be sure they understand why it is important to follow them. Doing so will ensure that the system runs smoothly, saving the need for septic tank services in the long run.
Helping Children Understand the Rules
Here are a few ideas to help your kids understand septic systems.
- Be a good example. Kids often mimic their parents’ behavior, so it is important to make sure that you are following the septic system rules yourself before asking them to do the same.
- Explain why you need to follow certain guidelines when using the septic system. Showing your kids why it is important to be mindful of what is flushed down the toilet and how often it needs to be pumped can make a huge difference in their understanding.
- Talk about septic systems in an age-appropriate way. For younger kids, basic tips like “only flush toilet paper down the toilet” can be enough to reinforce the message that certain things should never go into a home’s septic system. Older kids or teens may benefit from a more in-depth explanation of how septic systems work and what items can damage them.
- Post the rules so children who can read will see them. There are several places online that sell small signs that spell out the basic rules for septic systems. While these signs are often intended for guests, children can benefit from seeing them in writing as well.
It may take some extra effort to teach kids about septic systems, but with patience and understanding, it is possible to get your whole family on board with doing their part to ensure that your home’s system works properly. By taking the time to explain and involve your kids in the process, you can help them understand septic systems and make it easier for everyone to follow the rules.
The Best Septic Company In and Near Lakeland
Septic and Drainfield Depot is your source for septic services in and near Lakeland.
As a licensed septic contractor in the state of Florida, we are fully insured and ready to help with all your residential and commercial septic needs:
- Septic tank pumping and cleaning
- Septic inspections
- Septic system installation and repair
- Lift stations
Our experienced septic technicians have received hundreds of hours of hands-on training and are standing by 24/7 to assist with your septic needs.
Contact us today for a free estimate.