Water Conservation

The most common cause of septic system failure is excessive water entering the system. Conserving water will help maintain good performance.

Consider your water use patterns. To achieve complete and uniform waste treatment, the system needs adequate time to work. Ideally, daily and weekly wastewater should enter the system as evenly as possible. Every time water is used, it enters the septic tank. An equal amount of water leaves the tank headed for the drainfield. Large amounts of water entering the system in short periods of time cause problems.

The average Minnesotan uses from 50 to over 100 gallons of water each day. Most of this water goes down the drain after bathing, washing clothes and dishes, and flushing the toilet. Here are some good water-saving ideas:

Conserve water in the bathroom (60% of water use)

  • Install low-flow toilets and showerheads to cut water use by one-half to two-thirds.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Shutting off the water while brushing teeth and shaving.
  • Be sure leaks are repaired quickly.

 Conserve water in the kitchen

  • Always wash full loads in the dishwasher.
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator.
  • Do not allow water to run while washing and rinsing dishes and preparing vegetables.
  • Shut off water to water treatment devices when the reservoir is full.
  • Repair leaky faucets promptly.

Conserve water in the laundry room (20% of home water use)

  • Wash full loads of clothes.
  • If you wash a small load, use a partial-load water-level setting.
  • Distribute wash loads throughout the week to reduce impact on your septic system.
  • Use front-loading washers or water-saver features on top-loading washers.

Conserve water around the home

  • Route water from swimming pools, hot tubs, and tile drains outside of your septic system.
  • Water softener recharge water does not need to go in the septic system.

Septic System Maintenance and Management