A colleague has a washing machine that is about 12 years old and they
moved into a house with a septic system. The way the original washing
machine was set up (when they were looking at the house) was that the
washing machine drain water flowed into a wash basin that was then
pumped to the septic tank.
They hooked their washing machine up the same (having never dealt with
a septic) and the problem is that there is so much lint from the
washing machine (top loaded) that it plugs the drain to the sump that
pumps the water to the septic. Realizing that it probably wasn't good
to have excess lint being pumped to the septic lines, they've tried to
"filter" the water by putting panty hose or other porous material on
the drain from the washing machine to the wash basin, but it's a PITA,
the material eventually clogs and rips and they're wondering what is
"typically" done ... whether the original setup that they observed was
"rigged" or if there is a better way to handle the lint from the
I suggested a newer washing machine that might have a lint filter, but
since front-loading machines preceded life before 12 years ago, I
wanted to ask if there was a screen or other more common solution
before they plunked $$$ into a new machine.
I think newer machine are less likely to have a lint filter, lint
isn't going to clog anything.
But the idea of a new machine over some nylon stockings doesn't seem
to make economic sense, to me.
I thought I read someplace that the very fine lint suspended in the water
that you can't really see is a bad thing for septics. Gets out in the
leech field. Maybe not credible info. I mean I had septic for many many
years with no issues no comments from septic guy when it was pumped and
inspected every 3 yrs.
With "modern" cloth, it can be safely assumed that "lint" will NOT rot away
in the septic system. But neither will much of the "dirt" that was the
reason you washing your clothes in the first place.
The "lint" that is caught of the old stocking would mainly be larger pieces
which are most likely to settle out in the tank and not be transported into
the field. Your filters mainly serve to keep the tank from accumulating
solids. It will have less effect is keeping out "fines" that will end up
in the field.
More and more local districts are requiring pump outs occasionally. (Our
place is once every five years.)
I figure that if you are going to pump out the tank anyway, you don't have
to be as careful with solids as one might have been in the era of "set up
the system and forget about it for 30 years." Compared to "town" water
and sewage service, a pumping fee (on the order of $200 "around here") every
3 years isn't all that bad ($10/month or less).
It's a good idea to "be curious" when the pump truck and guy does his thing.
LOOK into your tank and talk with the guy about how your system and its
"sludge" burden looks compared to others. If you see a lot of solids you
can either try to get your ENTIRE family to change its habits OR you can
just resolve to call the pump guy a little more often.
There are commercial lint filters available for the hose to the washtub. The
ones I use are a fairly coarse stainles steel "bag". The nylon thing probably
works better if replaced often enough. just about any coarse enough cloth bag
On May 22, 10:32 pm, "tom email@example.com" >
Plumbing section of a big box store should carry washing machine lint
filters. Three to a pack for a couple bucks. Even comes with a zip-
tie to secure the filter bag to the washing machine hose.
Since its already being pumped out, why not route it somewhere other
than the septic? My lawn gets watered when I do laundry.
Any water that is not sewage is know as "gray water". Google it and you
find lots of info. Some areas are still afraid of what might be in it and
forbid it's re-use for watering landscape. But most laundry detergents are
not harmful any more, and really, what's the diff if you are pumping it onto
the surface of the yard or a couple inches down in the septic system?
On the issue of a new washer having a better filter - most new washers come
with 'self cleaning' filters. These filter the water during the wash/rinse
cycles, but on the drain cycle the water is pumped back thru them and the
collected lint is washed down the drain.
Well yes. Chlorine bleach etc. Some people put all kinds of chemicals
in their washing machines! And then 'wear' the clothes next to their
Gosh knows what's really in most detergents?
Here, for example, recently, it has seemed, at the s.market where we
normally shop, anyway, impossible to buy any laundry detergent that
does not have that artificial 'Lemon' flavour/smell. Very irritating!
By the way we pumped our wash water onto a section of our lawn for
quite a few (ten to twelve maybe?) years (that was back before we had
water and sewer services and were also using an old fashioned wringer
washer) and the grass in that section, ether then or now, grew any
better or worse than elsewhere.
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