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Looking After Your Septic Tank

Nature makes a septic tank work thanks to naturally occurring bacteria which thrive on the impurities in waste water and looking after your septic tank can help prevent pollution.

If you dispose of certain substances and materials down the toilet, or down sinks, you risk either blocking a drain or upsetting the natural balance within the septic tank. This will stop it working properly and could lead to serious problems of pollution or choking of the soakaway disposal system.


The most common problem usually encountered by a septic tank owner/user is the result of a blockage. Try to find out where the problem is and check for blockages:

  • At the house - are sinks draining properly?
  • At the drain trap - are there foul odours?
  • At the manhole - is sewage backing up?
  • At the septic tank inlet or outlet?
  • At the soakaway or outlet - is effluent causing pollution?
You may be able to clear a blockage using drain rods fitted with a plunger, or you may need to call a qualified plumber or drain clearing specialist. Your tank may also require de-sludging.

Follow our recommended do's and don'ts to help prevent problems with your septic tank


  • Use toilet fresheners, mild detergents, fabric conditioners and washing powders and liquids in moderation without upsetting the natural balance of the septic tank.
  • Use bleach and disinfectants but please use them sparingly as they can kill friendly bacteria which make the septic tank work.


  • Flush rags, disposable nappies,kitchen towels, sanitary items, cotton buds or condoms down the toilet. Please remember to bag it and bin it - don't flush it.
  • Dispose of grease, oil, fat or chemical toilet liquid into drains leading to the septic tank. Please dispose of these in an environmentally-friendly way.
  • Wash paint brushes in the sink or put brush cleaning liquids into the drains leading to the septic tank. Please dispose of these in an environmentally- friendly way.
  • Connect rainwater drainage pipes, for example, from roofs or drains leading to the septic tank.
  • Dispose of waste liquids that are harmful to septic tanks into rainwater drains.
  • Enter a septic tank, dangerous gases are produced by the natural treatment process.