Washing machine water pumped to septic tank

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.
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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.
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On Thu, 13 Dec 2007 01:49:01 -0800 (PST), "Mike S."

I have been pumping my washing machine water out on the ground for 25 years.. The plants out there love it. It is a great way to "recycle" water
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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.
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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.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Thu, 13 Dec 2007 14:29:45 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

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.
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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.
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wrote:

(snipped)
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.
Tom G.
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<snip>
Yeah, and probably rarely emptied. I have BTDT for grease traps in industrial sinks. One should get at least triple pay for just lifting the lid on one of those.
Harry K
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just read today a company selling a plastic tank on wheels you pump the drain water into it, wheel it out into the yard, and water plants.
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