The Critical Role of a Household Sanitation System for Health and Well-Being


Have you ever imagined waking up daily to clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing, knowing your waste is properly managed? Doesn’t it sound pleasing to have easy access to a clean household environment to support your daily life?

On the other hand, imagine waking up every day only to find rubbish strewn about your house and contaminating your sanitation system. Forget about cooking and bathing; you might even be irritated by washing your hands with polluted water.

Think about it! A household sanitation system is not just a gimmick to scare you into keeping your home clean; it plays a significant role in maintaining your health. By reading this, you’re already showing your concern for a healthier you, a cleaner home, and a greener planet.

Start your journey by taking conscious steps to implement and maintain effective sanitation systems because your health and well-being depend on them.

Understanding household sanitation systems

An effective sanitation system encompasses several key elements that you should pay attention to, such as fundamental household sanitation practices, a house septic system that includes a residential wastewater treatment system, and either the disposal or recycling of waste and wastewater. This system also requires diverse technologies tailored to specific circumstances and requirements. To understand it further, you need to comprehend each element.

Fundamental household sanitation practices

These refer to routines for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene within your household.

These practices include proper waste disposal (i.e., separating each type of waste by using different trash bins), regular personal hygiene (i.e., washing your hands properly), maintaining clean water sources, and ensuring your sanitary facilities (bathroom, toilet, sink, etc.) are functioning properly.

House septic system

A septic system is typically installed underground in a household. It serves as a wastewater treatment structure to process the water produced by bathrooms, showers, kitchens, and laundry areas.

This system usually consists of a septic tank as the primary component where the wastewater is collected and processed. This process encompasses the separation of organic matter and floatable materials (e.g., oils, grease, solids, etc.), minimizing the risk of contaminating the soil.

After that, the liquid effluent is discharged from the septic tank through the drain field. In your septic system, a drain field allows the processed wastewater from the septic tank to seep slowly into the surrounding soil. The processed wastewater can be used as plant manure to flourish the soil.

Disposal of waste materials

Waste refers to anything you no longer use and is ready to be thrown. This includes things like old newspapers, empty cans, or leftover food that you no longer have any use for, so you toss them out. Waste management can be divided into three methods as follows:

  • Recycling. Converting your waste into new types of usable items. Usually made from plastic waste.
  • Incineration. This involves burning waste and turning it into base components, such as gasses and ash. However, this method might increase the air pollution around your household environment.
  • Composting. This is the process of turning waste into a decomposition product that can be used as plant manure by letting it stay in a pit for an extended period.

Why implement effective household sanitation systems?

Implementing effective household sanitation practices is critical in safeguarding your health and well-being.

One of the primary benefits of a proper sanitation system is that it eliminates potential breeding grounds for pests such as rodents, mosquitoes, and flies. These pests are carriers of harmful pathogens and significantly increase the risk of disease transmission within your household and community.

Also, by creating well-designed and constructed on-site sanitation systems, you can contribute significantly to environmental sustainability. You can achieve this by implementing measures that prevent groundwater pollution and effectively manage issues like odor and fly problems.

By ensuring your sanitation systems can operate more sustainably, reducing the negative impact on the environment. Of course, you don’t want to live in a home that smells like a septic tank.

The health impacts of inadequate sanitation

Maintaining an adequate sanitation system at home might seem trivial. However, if you start considering its importance, your body or even your family will thank you in the future.

When you overlook the importance of proper sanitation facilities, you are already contributing to the spread of diarrheal and cholera diseases. Without safe sanitation practices, fecal matter-containing pathogens can contaminate water sources or come into direct contact with human hands — yours or your loved ones. 

A proper home wastewater treatment plant is known to significantly decrease the occurrence of diarrhea, with estimates suggesting a reduction of around 30%. Moreover, advanced wastewater treatment plants can contribute to a 60% reduction in diarrhea cases in your community.

Other health consequences could arise if you neglect to maintain your home sewage treatment plant.

Overflowing sewers can have detrimental effects on your household. These effects include contaminating drinking water sources in your home, dispersing pathogens into the air through aerosolization (leading to breathing problems), and transmitting diseases through the food chain when you wash your food material with contaminated water.

An inadequate sanitation system brings negative effects to your private property and your community.

Insufficient residential sewer systems can result in misconnections. This problem occurs when wastewater is wrongly linked to storm drains or other outlets instead of the sewage treatment system. Sewage can pollute natural water sources with harmful substances, impacting public health and the environment beyond just your property.

Imagine not being able to get fresh, clean water from its natural source — that would be the greatest nightmare of your life.

Implementing effective sanitation practices

Maintaining your household sanitation systems is important because it greatly affects how often you and your loved one get sick. Studies have found that homes with bad hygiene habits tend to have more occupants getting sick in the short term compared to homes with good hygiene habits.

By regularly maintaining your sanitation systems at home, you can prevent diseases from spreading easily, which means everyone in your home stays healthier and happier. Implement these key activities to start maintaining your sanitation system:

DIY maintenance tips

Maintaining a sanitation system at home can start with you taking simple, baby steps:

  • Establish a regular cleaning schedule at home. Clean high-touch surfaces, drains, and garbage disposal areas to prevent the spread of germs and maintain cleanliness.
  • Develop a septic system maintenance schedule. Create a plan to regularly maintain your home’s septic system, ensuring it functions properly and addressing any issues promptly to prevent leaks or other problems.
  • Use an all-purpose cleaner for fundamental sanitary practices. A homemade cleaner comprising equal parts water, white vinegar, and essential oils can sanitize areas prone to bacterial growth, such as toilets and sinks, promoting a hygienic environment.
  • Dispose of waste materials responsibly. Dispose of your waste in designated bins with secure lids to prevent cross-contamination, and consider separating different types of waste for proper disposal or recycling.

Read more: Making a Difference with Green Cleaning Practices 

Professional services

Sometimes, you can’t solely rely on your DIY skill to implement maintenance for your sanitation facilities. Relying solely on DIY skills to repair damage can cause worse results to your sanitation system. DIY isn’t just something done casually; you need planned and structured knowledge to handle maintenance tasks well.

This is especially true when you are planning to maintain your septic system, which is crucial to ensure your septic area is functioning properly. Handling this area without proper knowledge could lead to disaster (e.g., you will get poisoned by the septic gasses or fall into the tank).

Therefore, you need to schedule regular inspections by a professional service provider every 1-3 years, depending on usage and local regulations. During inspections, professionals will check for leaks, examine scum and sludge layers in the septic tank, and assess overall system functionality. If any leaks are detected or if scum and sludge levels indicate potential issues (as per manufacturer guidelines or industry standards), you need to consider taking further action.

You can also request service for pumping out if your septic tank shows these issues:

  • The bottom of the scum layer is just six inches above the bottom of the outlet.
  • The upper edge of the sludge layer is 12 inches away from the outlet.
  • More than 25% of the liquid depth is composed of sludge and scum.

Eco-friendly practices

Taking care of your sanitation system means taking care of the surrounding environment, too. Therefore, your practical steps need to be aligned with the principles of eco-friendly living to support the sustainability of the natural materials around your home. You can start it by doing the following tips:

  • Use biodegradable materials. Choose eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning products, like essential oils (e.g., lemon, orange, or bergamot), for their antibacterial properties. These products can be used on surface areas throughout your home that are prone to bacterial contamination.
  • Use a bleach solution mindfully. For deeper sanitation practices, disinfect sanitary areas (e.g., toilet, sink, basin, kitchen disposal pipe, drainage system, etc.) with bleach. Look for bleach products labeled as environmentally friendly.

Read more: Green Home: DIY Cleaners for a Fresh and Healthy Space 

In conclusion

An effective household sanitation system ensures access to clean water, reduces the risk of waterborne diseases, protects the environment, and promotes overall well-being. By adopting conscious practices, you contribute to a healthier environment that safeguards you, your family, and the community.

Start by implementing DIY maintenance tips, scheduling regular professional inspections, and adopting eco-friendly practices for your household sanitation system.

Your efforts will protect your health and well-being and contribute to a cleaner and safer environment for everyone. Take action now to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for yourself and the planet.

If you would like to see more resources on sanitation, check out the Home Organization Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Home Organization Science Labs today.

home organization science labs

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