An interesting time with the septic guys ..........

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I just had to have the septic guys out because water was backing up. Not good. Caught it in time, though, and popped the cap, and let about ten gallons run into the pasture and lower the water level.
Solids were about four inches thick. Good. But tank was flooded, so there's something going on with the field. I think it has to do with overwatering the grass, something SWMBO wants done JUST THIS WAY, GODDAMMIT!
This company is known as the best in the region, and if they say it, that's pretty much what it is. I shall share some things:
Never use a garbage disposal on a septic system. The foods decompose differently than sewage and give off H2S gas which eats concrete.
Never use any additive. If the system is working right, it is a waste of money.
Use phosphate free detergents, and don't do several big loads in a row, but space them out.
I'll watch the tank now to see what it does once it is full, and give the leach field a chance to dry out and catch up. If it still floods, then it is time for a new leach field. Oh, gee, I can't wait! The smell usually only lasts a year.
Steve
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The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of
patriots and tyrants. - Thomas Jefferson -
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on 9/29/2009 1:46 PM (ET) SteveB wrote the following:

Garbage disposal in a septic system or a grey water disposal system is a no-no. Scrape all leftover food into the garbage pail, or compost heap. Garbage disposals systems should be illegal, even for municipal sewage systems.

True.
Detergents containing phosphates have been illegal for decades. Clothes washers, and sinks, and dishwashers, should have a grey water system.

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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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That sounds like a good idea, but what does a gray water system look like? Is it completely separate from the septic system? Does it also involve a tank and leach field? And what about tubs/showers? --H
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on 9/29/2009 3:09 PM (ET) Heathcliff wrote the following:

It is underground.

Yes.
Just a tank that is perforated set in a hole with gravel all around it. All my grey water, which includes all sinks, showers, and baths empty into it.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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I saw a gray water system attached to a septic tank acting as the leech field. Is this OK? These were being set up on a mobile home on a sand ridge. Septic tank in the back yard and another tank used for gray water in the front.
Jimmie
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on 9/29/2009 3:28 PM (ET) JIMMIE wrote the following:

I don't know about it being attached to a brown water system (septic tank). The only thing that goes into my septic tank is just toilets (#1 and #2).. I suppose #1 going into a grey water tank would be OK, since it is only water.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Hey Bill, doesn't soap scum and other solids eventually fill the voids between the stones? TIA, Chuck
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Grey water systems are illegal in some states including Maine....Check before running out to put one in....
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Heathcliff wrote:

Grey water is the over flow from the settlement tank. It actually looks grey. It's what goes into the leach field. What's being called a grey water system is otherwise disposal of water not full of bacteria. Still not a good idea to just dump it.
Never heard of a backup unless pipe to field was clogged. Unless you need to pump gray water to leach field, it is gravity fed, i.e. lower than the tank.
We have a garbage disposal but seldom use it and put scraps of food in garbage. My septic is in great shape.
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Why?
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on 9/29/2009 3:31 PM (ET) John L. Holliday wrote the following:

They make extra work for the municipal sewage systems. The less solids in the municipal sewage system, like chicken bones. sanitary napkins, and other solids, the less debris left over that has to be trucked away before dumping the treated water into the waters.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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I guess that's a defendable position-- in a sewer-centric world. The landfill folks would argue the reverse;-)
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John H. Holliday wrote:

And the "clean green" composting people have another opinion.
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Most of that stuff should be composted though. Difficult to do in the city, common in the country.
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Since you're arguing against garbage disposals, I have to ask: Who puts chicken bones and sanitary napkins through their garbage disposal? Who's even *heard* of doing that?????
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From willshank: Never use a garbage disposal on a septic system. The foods decompose differently than sewage and give off H2S gas which eats concrete. Garbage disposal in a septic system or a grey water disposal system is a no-no. Scrape all leftover food into the garbage pail, or compost heap.
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So with literally millions of garbage disposals installed on septic systems, why aren't we having an epidemic of tank collapses from concrete corrosion?
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What about water softeners? Are they OK to use with a septic tank? I've heard they are hard on the concrete from some and others say they are OK.
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willshak wrote:

My disposal has its own little corner sink. I've been very tempted to re-plumb it to go to a buried collection bin, or even to pump it straight to the compost pile.
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Be careful of anaerobic digestion if in a pit. That will stink
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