Hints for Painting Clean Up With a Septic System

It’s a joy to live in the country, isn’t it? Um, except when you’ve just completed a painting project and it’s time for clean up.
Because the delicate balance of biological elements in your septic tank can be severely upset by paint, cleaning your brushes, rollers and even your hands in the sink is a no-no.

Why Can’t I Do This?
Both latex- and oil-based paints have chemicals in them that won’t break down in your septic tank. Those chemicals will also “stress or destroy the biological treatment taking place” in your tank, according to the EPA.
What Could Happen?
Surface and ground water could become contaminated. Not good. Your septic tank could get seriously damaged and need replacement. Also not good.
What Should I Do Instead?
Sometimes it’s a toss up. If you use disposable paintbrushes and rollers, you’re adding to the landfill. But reusable eco-friendly painting supplies need to be cleaned before being used again.
Maybe you could take that stuff to your mom (who lives in the city, of course) and have her give it a good cleaning.
Or not.
Probably the best, and greenest, method is to cut back on the amount of clean up required. Squeeze every last drop from your paintbrush and roller tray. Use disposable liners for that tray. Try to get paint on the walls, instead of all over yourself.
The less clean up you need to do, the less hassle it is.
You may even need to think twice before repainting. Does it truly need to be done? Make a decision that’s environmentally responsible and still satisfies your redecorating tastes.
And don’t forget to ask mom if she’s game to handle clean-up.
Photo courtesy of Photocapy

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  • Reply
    Katherine aka. Urban Flea
    May 5, 2009 at 3:07 am

    Wow wow wow! You definitely have to live in a warm climate for this, why did I move to Chicago? Arg.
    xo Katherine aka. Urban Flea 🙂
    check out http://www.urbanfleadesign.com

  • Reply
    April 16, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    We have a conventional septic system and my husband insists on cleaning paint brushes in our kitchen sink. How do I convince him this is not advisable?

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