Why Paint Is Your Septic Tank’s Worst Enemy

May 10, 2021 9:46 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Part of caring for your septic system is knowing what not to put down the toilet or the drains. For example, you probably know that grease shouldn’t go down the drains, and “flushable” wipes shouldn’t get flushed down the toilet. But have you ever wondered whether paint is bad for septic tanks?

Your septic tank in Strafford County, NH would fare much better if you didn’t dump paint down the drains. Although this may complicate cleanup after painting projects, taking any excess paint you have to a hazardous waste disposal site is far preferable to potentially compromising your septic tank. Here’s why you shouldn’t put paint down the drain.

What’s in the paint

The reason you want to avoid paint getting into your septic tank is because of what it contains. Most paints are comprised of additives, fillers, binders and solvents. These are inorganic materials, which your septic tank is not equipped to handle. Also, most paint is designed to dry, harden and stand up to the elements, including water. A substance like that is not conducive to a healthy septic tank. On top of this, there are some other reasons you should avoid putting paint down the drain.

Sludge and blockages

The resins and polymers in paint prevent it from breaking down, which is what your septic tank is trying to do with the material it contains. So, because the paint can’t be broken down, it can form a solid layer of sludge at or near the bottom of the tank. Depending on the amount of paint and the condition of your septic tank, this gooey layer could eventually cause blockages.

Altering bacterial composition

Your septic tank is filled with good, helpful bacteria that work by breaking down the organic material inside it over time. These bacteria are so essential to the function of your septic tank that many people will use solutions in their toilets that encourage their growth. Paint has chemicals in it that are meant to make it last, and that are meant to stave off the formation of bacteria and fungi. These chemicals, such as the ethylene glycol in latex paint, can kill the beneficial bacteria that are ably doing their job in your septic tank.

Water contamination

The good bacteria in your septic tank treat the wastewater before it enters the drain field, where it is cleaned further by soil and rocks. Because paint can’t be broken down adequately, if it ends up in the drain field, that’s bad news. If paint gets into the drain field, then it can get to the water table as well, with the potential to pollute not just your own well water, but the groundwater and surrounding rivers, lakes and streams, too. This is not only bad for the environment, but likely illegal as well. Don’t let this scenario happen to you!

Call for an inspection today

Now that you know how bad paint is for septic tanks, hopefully you can avoid any of the future problems above. Remember that paint and your septic tank in Strafford County, NH do not mix. But paint isn’t the only thing that can give you septic tank troubles—even if you do everything correctly, you’ll still need to have your tank pumped at least once every two years. That’s where we come in. At B.H. Cameron Septic Services LLC, we can do everything from residential septic tank pumping to putting in septic risers to make your tank compliant with the law and easier to access. Call today to schedule an appointment!

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