Purpose of Lime for Septic Tanks

Updated February 21, 2017

Septic tanks are often installed in areas without access to local government or private sewage systems. They are essentially used for sewage treatment for an individual home. Proper maintenance is essential for continued effective use. Using lime can help with the maintenance of your septic tank.

How Septic Tanks Work

Septic systems operate by anaerobic digestion. As the solids are decomposed, sludge settles to the bottom of the tank and scum comes to the surface as a liquid. To ensure the proper operation of a septic tank, check sludge depth annually, at a minimum. You can do this yourself or have a professional check it.

Purpose of Using Lime

Use lime in a septic tank for odour removal. Odours can be a problem when the septic tank is initially installed and throughout the lifetime of the system. Flushing lime into the system can help in odour removal. Flush one cup down a toilet. You may need to repeat this over a few days until the odour is eliminated.

If Lime Does Not Work

If you have tried flushing lime down the toilet for many days and the odour still persists, you may have a larger problem with your septic tank. If you have not been checking the sludge depth on your system annually, the problem could be serious clogs of your system. Call a professional to come check your system to ensure it is working properly.

Proper Septic System Use

There are many reasons for possible odours and issues with your septic tank. Avoid these issues by ensuring proper use of your septic system. Avoid washing down large amounts of oil and fat. These can cause blockages in the system and create odour issues that lime cannot take care of. Avoid washing down large solids like sanitary towels or large amounts of food. These can cause blockages in the system. If you have a septic tank, experts recommend not using garbage disposals or dishwashers.

Avoid Harsh Cleaning Chemicals

Using harsh cleaning chemicals can also interfere with the proper functioning of your septic tank. These types of chemicals can kill the bacteria that are vital for the appropriate functioning of the septic system. Using large amounts of these types of chemicals can create odour problems. If this occurs, flushing a cup of lime down may help with the odours.

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About the Author

Juliana Montgomery has over 15 years of experience as an administrative professional. During that time, she wrote operating procedures for several companies. She specializes in organization and the Microsoft Office suite of programs. She also worked as a professional organizer, including writing a book on the subject. She has a bachelor's degree in English and psychology.