Another mistake that many septic system owners make is to put too much water into the system. The decomposition process can become strained if there is too much excess water in the system, resulting in a variety of problems. Ideally, septic owners should only be using a maximum of 50 gallons of water per day, per person. The following averages for common household activities can help you keep track:
- Dishwasher Cycle – 7 gallons
- Washing Machine – 40 gallons per load (less with front-loader machines)
- Toilet – 2 gallons per flush, 1.6 gallons for newer standard toilets
- Shower – 2.5 gallons per minute (a 10 minute shower = 25 gallons)
It can be difficult to stay on top of usage, particularly for large families, but laying down some basic guidelines can help everyone to work together. New environmentally-friendly appliances, toilets and shower heads can help reduce usage without a lot of extra effort. A water meter can be helpful for households that feed off of a well. The government website energystar.gov also has a lot of helpful ideas and tips for reducing water usage.
Remember: a septic system is installed based upon the number of people that are anticipated to be using it. If your base number increases, you might need to upgrade to a larger system.