Isn't water and laundry detergent from your washing machine supposed
to be pumped to your septic tank (if you have one)? I recently
discovered that my father has been pumping the water to the outside
ground. I would think that would be bad for the environment since it
has all that laundry detergent and bleach in it. I would also think
that would be bad considering he has well water. Any thoughts?
I'm sure the water used to be pumped to the septic tank. I think he
changed things when that pump broke.
Grey water disposal depends on local codes. In some areas it is perfectly
legal. Depending on soil type, there is little difference between running
grey water through the septic tank to a leach field and just running it out
to the ground.
Not necessarily bad: In many parts of the world 'grey' water is
disposed of that way. It's often used to water plants for example. In
some cases golf courses.
It's called 'recycling', much better than adding it municipal sewage
and dumping into a waterway or the ocean.
Some claim that the large amounts of detergent etc. in wash water slow
down the proper bacterial action of a septic tank.
Depends mostly on local codes. In most cities, it's probably not going to be
legal to dump the wash water anyplace where it's going to wind up in a storm
sewer along with rainwater. In most rural areas, probably no big deal.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
On Thu, 13 Dec 2007 14:29:45 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller)
Good point, detergents, particularly ones with some phosphate in it
are plant nutrients. On plants that is good, in estuaries it causes
algea blooms. The soap componant also fights nematodes but, again, you
don't want your river to have a "head" on it.
On Thu, 13 Dec 2007 01:49:01 -0800 (PST), "Mike S."
I run both my washing machine and bathtub out on the lawn. There's no
sense overloading the septic. Of course I am rural and not bothered
by inspectors and such. Most neighbors do the same. The toilet is
the main thing tha needs a septic, but the kitchen sink tends to have
greasy water and with a garbage disposal it's worse. Either way, the
kitchen sink should also go to the septic. The bathroom sink is
optional. Mine goes to the septic just because I did not want to
change the plumbing, otherwise that too would go out on the lawn.
That little bit of toothpaste and had soap is not going to hurt
anything. As far as detergent and bleach from the wash machine, just
use an environmentally safe detergent. I dont think bleach is all
that bad for the lawn in the small amounts used. One thing, keep the
discharge as far away from the well as possible.
One final note, I run my tub pipe along side of my garden. The pipe
is underground above the garden (I'm on a hill), then it's on the
surface lower down and extends about 30 feet down the hill below the
garden. In the summer I remove a fernco coupler and let the tub water
go into the garden. I rigged a piece of pvc with holes drilled in it,
so it dont flood the garden and wash away plants. The rest of the
year it goes further downhill. I keep the lower section of pipe above
ground because a few times it froze in winter. That way I can remove
the fernco and jam the garden hose in the pipe with hot water to thaw
it. This only happened twice in 8 years and was due to too much snow
building up at the end of the pipe. I've learned to shovel it away
after a snowstorm, and on a few occasions I have put a few cups of
rock salt at that pipe end to break up the ice buildup.
As far as the code, I was told that this is not allowed, but not
enforced either, and like I said, every one does it around here.
The toilet is the main thing tha needs a septic, but the kitchen sink
tends to have
In reading some old "do it yourself" books, I've read that it used to be
that a small grease trap (looked like a miniature septic tank) was put in
the kitchen drain line just outside the foundation. Then the water
continued on to the main septic tank. The grease trap was cleaned out now
and then as it had a visible lid on top.
It seems to me that some places in California required that grey water be
used to water lawns/plants, etc as water was too valuable to send to the
sanitary system without getting the most out of it. I seem to remember that
in Mesa, AZ. they promoted doing this to save on costs of treating it at the
treatment plant. Of course this was mostly in the more rural areas where
the neighbors wouldn't complain.
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