A portion of the DEC Myth Buster website.
Do septic system additives work? (Spring 2008)
Q: Do septic system additives advertised as cleaners, activators, uncloggers, or restorers really work?
A: The short answer is NO.
At least 1.3 million households in New York State have septic systems. When they are working properly, septic systems keep harmful organisms out of our waters and protect our health.
We've all seen ads that claim adding commercial powders, liquids or granules to septic systems will increase their efficiency, extend their lives, eliminate the need for pumping, or restore failing systems. According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these types of products have not been proven effective. Some can actually interfere with the treatment process and contribute to septic system failure.
The life of a properly installed and maintained septic system and drainage field is about 20-30 years. A home septic system is a significant investment, and a failed one is expensive to replace. To get the most out of your investment and extend its life:
• Have the tank pumped and inspected regularly (every five years is recommended)
• Put only biodegradable wastes into the system
• Restrict garbage disposal use
• Conserve water in the home and repair any leaking faucets and toilets
• Don't plan trees or build over the drainage field