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How Clean is Too Clean?

Published Friday Jun 19, 2020

How Clean is Too Clean?

The NH Department of Environmental Services (NH DES) is asking residents to be cautious with the use of antibacterial cleaning materials and disposing of those materials in septic systems. Introducing large volumes of cleaning agents to a septic system can have a detrimental effect on the bacteria that are vital to the function of a healthy system.

Without the essential bacteria in a septic tank and/or in the effluent disposal area (leach field), the system will prematurely fail, resulting in the system needing to be replaced. Replacing a system in failure can be expensive and can be avoided with careful and proper use.

NH DES reported an increase in applications to replace failed individual sewage disposal systems (septic systems) over that last few months as compared to 2019 even though applications are typically up in the spring due to the amount of rain and snowmelt.

However, this year due to the coronavirus and so many working from home, a hydraulic overload on systems (too much water) may be the cause of an increased number of failures.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NH State Government encourage regular personal hygiene and extensive cleaning of homes and businesses to deter the spread of the virus, they also encourage caution about disposing of cleaning solutions.

To see what else shouldn't go down the toilet, visit Septic tanks should be pumped every three to five years. More information about proper septic system maintenance can be found at

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