How to Keep a Septic Line Free of Grease

Septic tanks contain wastewater solids ingested by bacteria.
Septic tanks contain wastewater solids ingested by bacteria. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

A home in a rural setting away from public utilities such as water and sewer requires a septic system to dispose of the home's wastewater. Septic systems need special care. When you put grease down the pipes -- even in homes equipped with sewer lines -- you stand a good chance of creating a clog in your septic or waste lines. You need to come up with a different way to handle your grease. One good option is to put you and your septic system on a fat-free diet.

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Low-Tech Solution

Don't put grease into the garbage disposal or down the sink. That's the safest way to keep your septic system free from grease. Even if you run hot water down the drain after pouring grease into your sink, the water cools before it gets to the septic system, and the grease congeals into a gooey mass where it clings to plumbing lines. When food debris runs up against the grease, a clog soon forms, which typically requires you to shell out a large chunk of change for plumbing repairs. Keep a can near your cooking area and pour excess grease into it, not the sink.

Grease Trap and Filter

If you cook with a lot of grease, you might want to consider adding a grease trap with a filter to the kitchen plumbing system. A grease trap can remove from 25 to 85 percent --but on average, 55 percent -- of the grease from your plumbing system. Ensure that you've installed a grease trap and filter system that matches your cooking needs. Clean your grease trap regularly to ensure it works correctly. Don't pour hot or boiling water into it.The trap can be placed in any strategic location between the kitchen plumbing and the waste line, typically near or under the sink in a home, after the S- or P-trap.

Enzyme Treatment

When the bacteria in the septic system are overworked or killed because of grease, chlorine or other chemicals, the septic fails to operate properly, which can cause wastewater backups into showers, tubs and sinks. By adding a powdered enzyme treatment to your septic system via your toilets or sinks annually or semiannually, you can keep these little creatures alive so that your septic functions efficiently. You can obtain these treatments at most stores that sell household chemicals and cleaning supplies.

Septic Pump-Out

Besides being bad for your health, grease poses severe risks to your septic system. A working septic system contains bacteria that digest the solids in septic systems to allow the fluid left over to work its way through the leach field and into the ground. The microscopic-sized critters in your septic tank don't eat grease. When grease gets into the septic lines and tank, count on having your septic system pumped out regularly, as it won't work correctly. Grease that makes its way into the leach lines isn't good for the environment or the leach lines either. When a septic system undergoes years of grease attacks, you might end up having to replace your entire system for a tidy sum.


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