Septic tanks are designed to break down solid wastes through the process of anaerobic digestion. This is a bacterial reaction that occurs in the absence of oxygen and results in the production of methane gas and carbon dioxide. It is unlikely that hair will decompose in a septic tank since it is a relatively robust material.
In general, however, hair is not likely to dissolve in a septic tank.
If you’ve ever had to empty a septic tank, you know it’s not a pleasant job. The process leaves your hands stinky for days. Many people believe that hair dissolves in septic tanks and must be hand-scraped out of them with a bucket and hoe. We found that this isn’t true, but it is also not completely false. Read on to find out the truth about hair in your septic tank.
Hair Won’t Dissolve in Septic Tanks
Hair is made of keratin, a protein that is found in animals. Septic systems are designed to break down organic matter to create a clean water byproduct. Therefore, hair is not broken down by the septic tank, but rather it floats to the top of the tank where it can be skimmed out of the water during routine septic tank maintenance.
Why Does Hair Dissolve in a Septic Tank?
The reason that hair dissolves in a septic tank is because it’s being broken down by biological activity at the bottom of the tank. E. coli, algae, and other organisms feed on hair and break it down over time. As they break down the hair, they also produce gases that create an excess amount of pressure in the tank. This pressure can cause septic tank rupture, which is why homeowners should avoid putting hair, rags, and other items that don’t break down in a septic tank.
Is there an alternative to scraping hair out of a septic tank?
There are septic tank additives that homeowners can use to mitigate the amount of hair in their system. These additives will allow the hair to move to the surface of the tank, making it much easier to remove. There are also septic tank covers that act as a barrier between the surface of the ground and the opening of the tank. These covers can prevent pets from entering the septic tank and depositing hair. They can also prevent tree branches and leaves from entering the septic system and causing clogs and blockages.
The Bottom Line
When hair is put into a septic tank, it will float to the top of the tank and will eventually be removed during tank maintenance. Hair does not break down in a septic system and will need to be removed by hand or with a vacuum. While this may be a messy job, it is necessary to keep your septic system running smoothly.
What Happens To Hair Down The Drain?
Most of the time, hair down the drain goes into the sewer system and is treated at a wastewater plant before it’s released back into the environment. However, if you have long hair, it can get tangled around things like tree roots or caught in a pipe, which can lead to a clog.
What Happens To Hair In Sewage?
The vast majority of hair is removed during the wastewater treatment process, but a very small amount will escape and end up in the environment. Studies have shown that hair does not seem to cause any harm to aquatic organisms and it eventually biodegrades.