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Impact of Medicine, Antibiotics and Chemotherapy on Septic Systems

Medications are an unavoidable and important part of modern life and an everyday reality for many of us. Although medications, especially antibiotics, cause damage to wastewater systems, we now have easy and reliable ways to counter their effects.

How medications impact septic systems

Our bodies aren’t able to completely metabolise medications which means that they are transferred through our bodily waste and end up in wastewater systems. In an urban environment with a large wastewater treatment plant these aren’t as harmful, but in your home’s onsite wastewater treatment system ongoing medication usage can cause issues.

Certain strong medications, antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs are either specifically designed to kill bacteria or contain cytotoxic agents which kill cells or prevent them from growing. While the antibacterial or cytotoxic properties of medication are important and life-giving to us, these medications are unable to distinguish between the patient and the beneficial bacteria within our systems.

High concentrations of antibiotic pharmaceuticals and chemicals can kill and inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria within your system that are critical to its proper function.

Medications that impact septic systems

Most over the counter medications for colds, flus or coughs won’t have a significant impact on your wastewater system.

Medications and treatment that will have an impact on your system are: 

  • Antibiotics
  • Antibacterials
  • Chemotherapy medication
  • Dialysis effluent

How to safeguard your system when using medication

If you’re unwell and undergoing medical treatment, the last thing you want is to be worrying about your septic system. Here are a couple of easy steps you can take to minimise the impact your medical treatment has.

  • Don’t flush your unused medication down the toilet
    Dispose of any unused medication in a bin and make sure it doesn’t go down into your wastewater system.
  • Eliminate the use of other antibacterial products
    You can’t avoid your medical treatment but you can avoid using products that place unnecessary strain on your system’s beneficial bacteria. Replacing any conventional chemical-based cleaning products with those that are septic smart and eliminating the use of chemical drain cleaners or bleach will reduce the damage done to your system.
  • Increase maintenance
    You may want to pump out your tank more frequently or bring a pump out forward after your medical treatment is finished. If you are using EcoCare Activator you can double your regular dosage to counteract the effects of medication.

To find out more about how we can help, please get in touch with us. Here are what some of our happy, long-term customers are saying.

We have been using the product for over 15 years in our septic system and have had our system pumped out once in all that time and were told our system was the cleanest they had ever had to service.

Gerry Kelly

I love it, I clean everything with it. We have been using it for 11 years and only pumped out once, we where told it was so healthy.

Michelle Wright

We have two septic systems, both treated with EcoCare. Systems have remained trouble free and have not required to be pumped out since we started using the product 12 years ago.. An excellent product.

Bryant Ham

Provides the result that we hope for quickly and easily. No mess, no fuss, no smell, in fact the smell from our grease trap disappears. Our system has not been pumped out a decade or more.

Larry Greetham