Homeowners with septic systems boast much more autonomy than homeowners connected to centralized water and sewer. Septic systems are more efficient than municipal wastewater facilities, keep your water localized and recharge the underground aquifers. Septic tank ecosystems naturally break down microbes and bacteria in your waste, separating solid waste, and sending the partially treated effluent through the soil to be further processed before the water lands in underground aquifers.
For homeowners connected to centralized sewer, their wastewater is shipped off to a treatment plant where it is treated with chemical processes before being re-distributed. In addition to paying taxes to maintain these facilities, you must pay for your water use and wastewater processing every month. Not only are homeowners with septic systems saving money, but they’re helping the environment by using best septic system maintenance practices and avoiding the use of harsh chemicals that could potentially disrupt the ecosystem of bacteria inside their septic tank – this also keeps these chemicals out of the earth.
Homeowners that have septic systems cannot use garbage disposals or put solid food waste down their drains (and some liquid waste) like homeowners on centralized sewer. Most of this waste lands in landfills, and while it naturally decomposes, it’s not necessarily the best way to dispose of your solid food waste. Enter – composting.
Composting is one of the best solutions for handling the solid food waste that homeowners with septic systems in Southwest Florida cannot put down their drain. Saving food scraps when cutting up vegetables and leftover food at mealtime as well as spoiled food from your fridge and compostable papers and sending them into a worm-loaded compost pile creates nutrient rich soil that can be spread in your garden to “feed” your trees, fruits, vegetables and herbs. Using compost soil encourages the production of beneficial bacteria that is often lost in conventional farming. If you’re a homeowner growing your own food, it will be much more nutrient-dense than the food that you purchase at the store if you use compost in your topsoil.
Topsoil and Nutrient Degradation
Why does contributing to nutrient-dense topsoil matter? Soil degradation due to the poor practices of conventional farming has reduced the benefits and microbiology of farmed topsoil so much that “if the current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s topsoil could be gone in the next 60 years,” according to a senior UN official cited in Society of Environmental Journalists.
According to The Guardian, modern farming practices that leverage intensive tilling, lack of cover crops, and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides has left farmland stripped of minerals that support healthy plant life – also depleting the nutritional content of those crops in the process.
By producing nutrient dense topsoil via composting at home, you not only promote health in your family by feeding them more nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, but you reduce your reliance on chemical fertilizers – which are a huge contributor to toxic algae overgrowths in our waterways. Being that owners of septic systems are so often scapegoated for these algae blooms, it’s doubly important that we become part of the solution.
Composting Benefits include:
- Prevents topsoil erosion
- Assists in stormwater management
- Promotes healthier plant growth
- Conserves water
- Reduces landfill waste
- Combats climate change
- Reduces project maintenance costs
- Improves soil health
If you want to get started composting, here’s a great article from NPR with 5 easy steps to help you get started.
At Crews Environmental, our passion for water quality, the environment, and responsible waste management are our top priorities. So often homeowners think that they cannot be part of change or that they can’t do anything to help Florida’s water quality issues, combat climate change and do good for our environment, but that’s just not true. Responsible septic maintenance, reducing household chemicals, smart water conservation, and composting are just some of the things that you can do to ensure that you have a minimum impact on the planet.
Just by owning a home with a septic system, you’re already doing your part.
Look at you, world changer.
Don’t forget to schedule your next septic pumpout to keep saving the world one small action at a time.
Only 60 years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues Chris Arsenault. Thompson Reuters Foundation. SEJ.org. 12/5/2017. 22 September 2022.
The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but it’s rapidly disappearing. Susan Cosier. Toxic America Farming. The Guardian. 30 May 2019. 22 September 2022.
Composting can help fight climate change. Get started in 5 easy steps. Julia Simon. NPR.org. 21 April 2022. 22 September 2022. <<https://www.npr.org/2020/04/07/828918397/how-to-compost-at-home>>