Water Conservation Is Good For Septic Systems

Water Conservation

Water conservation is not just a buzzing topic when it comes to septic systems. By not only watching how much water you use as a household, but also when you use it, you can greatly increase the functionality of your septic system – and its longevity. Therefore, the savings from conserving water do not only occur by a reduced water bill, or reduced cost to treat your well water, but could potentially save you lots of money and headaches on obtaining a new septic system.

Septic tanks work by separating the incoming waste into three distinct layers. The heavy solids sink to the bottom to form a sludge layer. The lighter solids, such as fats, oils, greases, and toilet paper float to the top and are trapped in the tank by an outlet tee or baffle to form a scum layer. The third layer, which is in the center, is a clearer liquid which then goes on to a second tank, or your secondary treatment. This can consist of leach trenches, mounds, etc.

The goal of the tank is to trap as many solids as possible to prevent them from damaging your secondary treatment. In order for the tank to reach this goal, it needs retention time. Retention time is how long the liquid is in the tank, and is figured out by taking the volume of the tank and dividing it by the flow of water. The longer the retention time, the more time the incoming solids have to separate.


This is where water conservation enters the conversation. By reducing the amount of water used, or spacing out the use of water, you can greatly increase the retention time of your septic tank and allow it to perform better. Here are some quick tips that will help you and do not require you to spend any extra money:

  • Don’t make Saturday the laundry day, rather space out out doing laundry throughout the week.
  • Ensure that dish washers and washing machines are full before running them.
  • Don’t run multiple water-using appliances at once.
  • Take shorter showers and baths.

Lastly, if you do have a desire to purchase some new appliances, look into purchasing water-efficient appliances. These devices range from washing machines to faucets and shower heads. They can decrease your water consumption by up to half.

All of these tips will help you not only conserve water, but also to protect your septic system. Combined, both of these items add up to saving you money.


  • Interesting info, I was wondering if the water conservation you mentioned includes outside water like usage of hoses for watering lawns and plants. I HAVE A WELL ALSO. I just moved into this house and how can you tell when septic needs to be serviced??
    - Cynthia
  • I never knew that spacing out the days that you wash clothes can actually conserve water. My wife and I love the idea of saving as much water as possible so that we can save energy bills and lessen our carbon footprint. I’ll be sure to talk to my wife about this so we can make a plan to keep our tank in good condition.
    - Trevor Hall
  • I liked that you pointed out that you should think about your septic tank and how much water it can hold. It seems like a good thing to get an expert to help with that. Also, it might be smart to get someone to pump the tank so it won’t be super full.
    - Ivy Baker
  • I like how you mentioned that you shouldn’t run multiple water appliances at once to help your septic tank run longer. My wife and I are getting a new septic tank and we want to know how we can make it last as long as possible. I’ll be sure to let her know that we should only run water appliances one at a time.
    - Jackson Bush
  • That’s good to know that if you conserve your water that it would be lees often that you would have to treat your well water. I would think that would save you some money and time. I’ll have to consider trying to use less water so that I could use less of the water in the well if I decide to get a place that uses one.
    - Tyler Johnson
  • I want to make sure that I take good care of my septic system. I didn’t know that trying to conserve water could be beneficial for a septic system! Maybe I should start trying to save water.
    - Braden Bills
  • This is some really good information about how to care for your septic system. It is good to know that you should try to space out water use will help out tank. It also seems like it would help lower your water bill as well.
    - Penelope Smith
  • I was surprised to read about retention time. It makes sense that a system would be completely reliable on this! I wonder if this is what is wrong with my system. It has been smelling a lot lately. Maybe I need to get it cleaned!
    - Kate Welling
  • Thank you for pointing out that you should try and not run more than one water-using appliance at once. My husband and I are wanting to get a new septic system installed. I’ll have to look into finding the best company to come and install one for us.
    - Ellie Davis
  • This is some really good information about the septic tank. It is good to know that there are three layers of stuff in your septic tank. It seems like you need to get it cleaned out. Especially the sludge lawyer.
    - Penelope Smith
  • I didn’t really understand how septic tanks worked and how the water flow could impact their efficiency. This is a great explanation and now I feel like I have a better handle on things. I really like your tip to space out your laundry and will start doing that. Is it better to do full loads like the dishwasher, or would it work to do smaller loads throughout the week?
    - April Cook

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