How to choose the right septic tank additives for your system

How to choose the right septic tank additives for your system

How to choose the right septic tank additives for your system

Choosing the Right Septic Tank Additives for Your System

Septic tank additives have been a topic of debate among homeowners and professionals alike. While some swear by their effectiveness in maintaining a healthy septic system, others argue that they are unnecessary and could potentially cause harm. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to choose the right septic tank additives for your system, backed by research and expert opinions.

Understanding Septic Tank Additives

Septic tank additives are products that are added to a septic system with the intention of improving its performance. They are typically divided into two categories: chemical and biological. Chemical additives include acids and alkalis used to control pH levels, while biological additives contain bacteria or enzymes intended to break down waste.

The Debate on Septic Tank Additives

There is a wide range of opinions on the use of septic tank additives. Some experts argue that a well-maintained septic system does not require additives, as the natural bacteria in the tank are sufficient for breaking down waste. On the other hand, proponents of additives claim that they can enhance the system’s performance, especially in situations where the natural bacteria population is compromised.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Septic Tank Additives

When deciding whether to use septic tank additives and which ones to choose, consider the following factors:

  • System Age: Older septic systems may benefit from additives that help break down waste, as their efficiency may decrease over time.
  • Usage: If your septic system is heavily used, additives may help manage the increased load.
  • Local Regulations: Some areas have regulations against certain types of additives, so it’s important to check local laws.
  • Environmental Impact: Some additives can harm the environment, so consider choosing eco-friendly options.

Research on Septic Tank Additives

Several studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of septic tank additives. A study by the University of Minnesota found that some additives can cause solids to become suspended in the liquids, which can then flow into the drain field and cause clogging. On the other hand, a study by the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) found that certain additives can be beneficial in specific situations, such as when the system is overloaded.

Expert Opinions on Septic Tank Additives

Many professionals in the septic system industry recommend a cautious approach to using additives. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that while some additives can be beneficial, others can cause damage to your septic system or the environment. The National Small Flows Clearinghouse advises against the routine use of additives, suggesting that regular pumping and maintenance are more effective.

Choosing the Right Septic Tank Additives

If you decide to use septic tank additives, it’s crucial to choose the right ones for your system. Here are some tips:

  • Choose Biological Over Chemical: Biological additives are generally considered safer for your system and the environment.
  • Check for Certification: Look for products that have been certified by independent testing organizations.
  • Consult a Professional: A septic system professional can provide advice based on your specific situation.


Choosing the right septic tank additives for your system can be a complex decision, influenced by factors such as your system’s age, usage, local regulations, and potential environmental impact. While research and expert opinions vary, a cautious approach is generally recommended. If you decide to use additives, opt for biological over chemical products, look for certified options, and consult a professional for personalized advice. Ultimately, regular maintenance and pumping are the most effective ways to keep your septic system running smoothly.


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