Are Septic Tanks Bad For the Environment?

Septic tanks are underground wastewater treatment systems incorporated in areas that lack centralized sewage systems. Septic tanks recycle water, reduce water pollution and regulate water tables.

Septic tanks are cost-efficient and budget friendly when it comes to the overall cost of public sewage systems. The design and installation of septic tanks are pretty user-friendly.

In terms of environmental impacts, septic tanks are in the safe zone. Septic tanks are not bad for the environment as they pose no threat to nearby vegetation and wildlife. Septic tanks are highly eco-friendly because they use bacteria and soil filtration for wastewater treatment.

How Do Septic Tanks Work?

Septic Tanks use natural components like hydro bacteria and soil bacteria for filtering wastewater.

Septic tanks constitute of two parts; the receiving tank and the leaching system.

Receiving Tank-Receiving tanks are lined up by fiber, polyethylene, or glass.

A sewage pipe collects wastewater from the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room, this wastewater stream is received by a receiving tank.

  • Heavy particles in the wastewater sink to the bottom of the tank, forming a sludge.
  • Light particles like grease, oil, and fats in the wastewater float on top of the water and form a layer of scum.
  • Bacteria that live in the septic tank continuously break down sludge.
  • The liquid wastewater known as Effluent is partially treated by septic tank bacteria.
  • As more wastewater enters the tank, effluent is drained into the leaching tank.
  • The Leaching tank has various soil layers, the bacteria in the leaching tank then digest the contaminants in the effluent and treat it fully.
  • Fully treated and filtered water then reaches the groundwater and in this way, water is replenished.
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A manual or mechanical pump is also fixated near the septic facility to pump out the filtered wastewater for reuse.

Pros And Cons Of Septic Tanks

Environmentally Friendly

Septic Tanks are environmentally friendly because they require natural components like bacteria.

Clogged Pipes

Mindless flushing can lead to clogged pipes as bacteria is unable to decompose tissue paper, cigarettes, and grease.


Septic tanks are durable as compared to public sewage systems.


Septic tanks demand maintenance and the tank needs to be pumped frequently depending on water usage and the size of the tank.


Septic tanks are budget friendly and have easy installation.

Bad Odour

In case of a pipeline rupture, due to an earthquake or extreme external pressure, a pipeline may cause leakage, leading to a bad odor.


Septic tanks do not require any significant amount of electricity or a power system.


Septic tanks do not require heavy power outputs and cause a significant decrease in water and sewer bills. Therefore, they are considered to be a sustainable option among other wastewater treatment systems.

With proper maintenance and care, a septic tank can serve you for around 40 years.

How Are Septic Tanks Good For The Environment

The Environment constitutes everything around us.

For public health and safety, it is crucial to undergo an impact analysis while shifting to a new system. Septic tanks are green technologies and pose no threat to the environment.

  • Septic Tanks enable the wastewater for reuse applications by treating it naturally via microorganisms.
  • A significant power supply or heavy power output is not required for its operation, which lists it as an energy-conserving option.
  • Septic tanks remove toxins, diseases causing viruses, and other contaminating components from the wastewater and treat it efficiently.
  • When wastewater reaches the groundwater, it is fully treated with the help of soil microorganisms or good soil bacteria.
  • There is no contamination of groundwater and vegetation in the surrounding area.
  • Apart from vegetation and public health, septic tanks pose no risk to the nearby wildlife as well.
  • Furthermore, the treated water can be reused in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry rooms again.

How To Properly Maintain A Septic Tank System

Although septic tank systems have negligible impact on the environment and there are no notable cons of the septic tanks. But still, there is a need for brief guidelines to maintain a septic tank.

Natural wastewater treatment systems call for these simple maintenance steps;

Choosing A Septic Tank – while choosing a septic tank, make sure to consider your family size, and the amount of water usage and keep a record of the installation system.

It guides in maintaining and seeking professional help.

Pumping Of Septic Tanks – Septic tanks must undergo regular pumping. The need for pumping depends greatly on the size of the tank and the amount of water used.

Routine Maintenance – A professional cleaning company must be hired to maximize efficiency and unclog pipes caused by unrecyclable solid waste.

Do’s And Don’ts While Keeping A Septic Tank System

To ease out the process and ensure great efficiency, it is important to perform various little steps and avoid minor actions that can cause damage.

Do’s Don’ts
Use detergents that are eco-friendly and easily bio-degradable. Don’t flush everything, avoid flushing tissue paper, sanitary pads, diapers, and cigarettes as they do not bio-degrade.
Take out food leftovers from the sink. Make sure not to pour down grease and oil through sinkholes as it will cause difficulty in the bacterial breakdown.
Use water consciously, even though you have a septic tank facility. Avoid anti-bacterial chemicals and washing liquids as they affect the bacterial process.
Keep a regular check to make sure there is no pipeline leakage or other failing system because it can lead to bad odor and untreated wastewater. Do not use water softener because it produces a salty solution and hinders bacterial action for treatment.


Septic tanks are listed as a green technology as they function entirely on naturally occurring bacteria and soil microorganisms.

Bacteria are produced in abundance and help in treating solid sludge efficiently. The mixing of treated and soil-filtered water with groundwater causes no environmental damage to the nearby vegetation and water bodies.

Septic tanks are highly eco-friendly and demand no significant power supply. The inner lining of the septic tank is also made of recyclable material which makes septic tank systems sustainable and good for the environment.

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