Epsom Salts and the Septic Field

By Chris Deziel
Bowl of Epsom salts and pink flowers.
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A septic system consists of a holding tank and a drainage field. Most biological decomposition occurs in the tank, and solids remain there. Water that empties into the drain field percolates into the soil along with any chemicals dissolved in the water. Epsom salts can have beneficial effects on the soil.

Epsom Salts: A Natural Tonic

Epsom salts are named for the region in England where they occur naturally in the well water. Chemically, they are known as hydrated magnesium sulfate, containing about 10% magnesium and 13% sulfur. They are known for their soothing effects on the skin, and research has shown them to have beneficial effects on plants as well.

Good for the Drain Field

Pouring epsom salts into a septic system via a toilet or sink drain isn't likely to have any effect on biodegradation in the tank. When they reach the drain field, however, the salts raise the concentration of magnesium in the soil more efficiently than commercial soil amendments, and this can have a beneficial effect on the plants and grasses that are growing there. Plants that are especially likely to benefit include tomatoes, peppers and roses.