After living with city sewer systems for 75+ years we now are "proud
owners" of a septic system and about to be two systems. New
woodshop/garage will have half bath and sink for cleanup on a septic.
Have read don'ts like using bleach down the sink that will kill off
the critters that make septics work and some other tips but would
really like to go to a comprehensive site for more info. Does one
exist? Shortly after moving in a phone solicitor asserted we HAD TO
use their product monthly or we'd ...! Our DIL uses something monthly
but I question 3-5 ounces down the drain into a 1,000-1,500 gallon
tank having a significant impact. Permit for new septic notes that
1,500 gallon system is required for disposal houses. Previous owner
apparently had a disposal as a switch near the sink doesn't connect to
anything and wires under the sink terminate in wire nuts. Our house
septic is 1,000 gallons. Observations welcomed.
One thing you don't really want to put down the drain is food scraps. The
food will take a long time to breakdown in the tank. This will just fill up
the tank and it will require it to be pumped out . Much of the solid waste
will desolve and breakdown into a liquid form and go out the pipes to the
avoiding a disposal is right on advice for septic. the biggest
mainanence item is to get it pumped regularily---2 to 5 years depending
on how much use it gets. if you don't, the tank will fill up with
solids, and then the solids start washing into the drainfield and plug
it up. If you don't know when it's been pumped last, pump it now. i
don't believe in the additives. just keep it pumped regularily.
Ralph Mowery wrote:
v> > > really like to go to a comprehensive site for more info. Does
Using the garbage disposal to dispose of food waste will fill up the
spetic tank faster (but........depending on where you live pumping more
often might be less of a nusance than food waste in your trash
I have lived in a home with septic system AND a disposal & now live
in an older style home on city sewer & no disposal.
I would prefer a disposal over no disposal (JMO) when the weather is
really hot the flies can be a somewhat of a nusance but a liquid fly
trap helps keep them under control.
per this link minimizing & "leveling" your water usage is the best way
to treat your septic system
These links give opposite opinions on additives....so I don't know what
to say, my dad used them & they seem to make sense to me.
Was the phone solicitor "Krane Products"? I have bought some of their
stuff in the past, but have no idea if it realy does much or not. What I
do know is the stuff is expensive, and if you ever buy anything from
them, they will pester you to death from then on-- they will not take
"no" for an answer. You have to actually hang up on them, and I even had
them call back right after I hung up on them. Larry
I agree, you certainly do not want a garbage disposal on your sink when it
is going in to a septic system. The most important thing is to keep solids
from getting into the field. Pump your tank at least every 2 years, or even
every year if you are a freak/worry wort like me, and make sure they inspect
the tank baffles when empty. The baffles help prevent the solids from the
tank entering the field. Also, make sure you don't let weeds/vines/trees
grow in your field. The roots wreck havoc on it. It's also a good idea to
avoid driving over the field, at least with large trucks, especially during
any mud seasons. I'd also be careful with solvents/chemicals going into the
drains in the new woodshop/garage facility. There is a good book called
"The Septic System Owner's Manual", I'm sure if you do a search for that
title at your favorite book vendor you'll find it. Authors are Lloyd Kahn,
Blair Allen, & Julie Jones.
Here's some web resources for you:
Hope this helps!
The baffles are there primarily to prevent the floating scum from
entering the leach field.
A septic tank separates the incoming sewage into three layers:
- scum (floating on top; consisting mainly of grease, soap, hair, and
- sludge ("solids", on the bottom, mostly poop that hasn't decomposed
- liquid (the middle layer)
When operating properly, only the liquid flows out the septic tank and
into the leach field, where bacteria in the soil break down the
pathogenic bateria in the liquid.
If the floating scum layer gets too deep, it will get past the baffles
and enter the leach field. This is not good. It clogs things up.
If the sludge layer on the bottom gets too high, then sludge will exit
the septic tank and get into the leach field. This is not good either.
Additives are useless. Some additives are even worse than useless:
they have chemical properties that act to keep fine solids in
suspension (instead of sinking to the bottom where they belong). These
fine suspended solids are carried out the tank along with the liquid
into the leach field, and they eventually clog up the leach field.
We have a family of 5 with a 1500 gallon septic tank. I had the tank
pumped 5 years after purchasing the home. I watched the whole process
and spoke with the guy. He said I could have gone another 5 years no
problem. So it all depends on what you put down the drain. We have
no garbage disposal; we use detergent instead of bar soap in the
shower; we don't flush the "wet wipes", etc. We do use bleach in the
laundry. The showers, the toilets, the sump pump, and all the sinks in
the house go to the septic (we don't have a separate dry well for gray
Our rather modern septic system has a filter in the tank that ought to
be taken out every 4 month or so, and sprayed clean with a water hose.
Then reinstall it. It has to be lined up correctly to turn into the
groove slots. - udarrell
Air Conditioning\'s Affordable Path to the "Human Comfort Zone Goal"
You know it would be nice if posters here at least gave the general
area they are in as different climates affect some things in different
ways and septic use is one of them. The no 1, dont do for any area is
to not put grease on any kind in the system another is coffee
grounds.How you use and where your at determines how long your system
will operate. My wife and I lived in Duval county Florida and used a
septic tank (550 gal) for 28 years before we had problem Then it was
that the original field tiles were of cement (WWII available) and they
finely deteriorated The tank itself was only about 1/2 of solids. Mind
you that was in Florida and the septic there have a worm in them that
eats most of the solids.So where you live makes a difference. At
present I live in Tennessee alone and my septic of 550 gals has been
going strong now for 13 years and never ben touched. So if your tank is
constructed correctly you will know when it fills with solids before
any go into your drain field..
"only" 1/2 ?? If a tank is half full of solids, it is on the verge of
The scum baffles go about halfway down into the tank. If it's half
full of solids, the baffles go down into the solids and the liquid
forces solids into the leach field.
a "worm" ??? what kind of worm?
Exactly how will you know this, without opening the tank and inspecting
Bodily wastes will put out enough bacteria to digest things in your
septic tank. Expensive additives are unnecessary. Thirty years and mine
is functioning well. We pump settling tank out every three years.
Only comment pumper had was he advised liquid detergents as there was
some grease build-up. We use disposal sparingly and make sure we do
not dump grease down it. Little bleach from wash will not hurt
anything. Only paper that should be flushed is toilet paper as other
disposable paper like facial tissues or napkins may not degrade as
readily. Our original system did not perk well and we had to put in an
alternate drain field and I sometimes switch back and forth to let one
field rest and clean. Today in this area 2 fields must be put in.
More people in house, more water in system, more possibility of drain
field bubbling up.
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote in news:sblqg257cprmu6ohakvkc8i84jqs4ts1io@
Use common sense primarily. The thing is meant for crap, piss and water.
Everything else is foreign.
Of course other stuff ends up there naturally and there's nothing you can
do - dirt from laundry, toilet paper, dish soap, etc.
Concentrate on minimizing foreign stuff. If you have to use something like
dishwashing detergent, use what will minimize impact.
Some things I can think of offhand:
Dishwasher soap: Use liquids. Some crystals end up in the tank.
Laundry detergent: Same as dishwasher
Use low phosphate detergents.
Toilet paper: Use plain white.
Grease: Absolutely none! Nil! It hardens into small and large white clumps.
Even the little grease from browning ground meat. Toss it in a can and put
Chicken: I don't eat chicken. Chickens eat their own shit.
Household cleaners: If I had it in a bucket, I toss the bucket outside when
done. If your scared it will screw up your lawn or driveway, think what it
will do to the bio system in the septic. At least you don't need a backhoe
to fix some bad grass spots.
Paint: Don't wash painting project tools in the house. Take it out in the
yard and hit it wih the hose. It won't trash the grass. If it did, see
household cleaners above.
Condoms: Though it may be cheaper to replace a septic system vs knocking up
your wifes sister, not in the toilet with them.
Filtered cigarette butts: No no no! Go outside to smoke the "after" butt
and toss the condom over the fence or something.
Leep in mind women use a lot more toilet paper than men. Well, I don't wipe
my dink afterwards anyway. The more women in the household, the more paper
in the tank. Keep that in mind when you decide on pumping frequency.
Cat litter: Don't be a jack ass.
Paper towels: No. Not made biodegradable like some toilet papers.
Tampons: I don;t care what the box says. Trash it.
Faucett/toilet drips: Fix em right away.. Even the smallest one. Something
dripping a quart an hour will cycle an entire 1500 gal tank in 4 days.
There are many more. Use Google and find may sites with suggestions. You'll
start noticing common no-nos. Some have better detailed stuff like
http://alsnetbiz.com/homeimprovement/septic.html where washing machine
lint stays suspended in water. A good percentage of it is synthetic and not
biodegradable. Out to the drain field with you!
Google septic pumping chart:
1. Household chemicals like bleach don't hurt the septic system.
Microbes are everywhere and re-establish themselves automatically and
quickly. Even if you amazingly manage to sterilize the tank water,
microbes are in your waste and in your tank and pipe walls.
2. Additives are a scam.
3. Garbage disposals are practically standard equipment for a modern
kitchen and are very convenient. There's no need no deprive yourself
of one. Just check the septic pumping charts and adust your pumping
schedule accordingly. Pumping out a septic tank is CHEAP.
Is $140 cheap? That's the going rate around here, if the owner does
the digging to expose the access cover. It's all relative I guess.
One other thing to consider. There IS a downside to pumping the tank.
If there's a heavy rain when the tank is empty, and the soil gets
saturated from the heavy rain, the tank can actually push its way up
out of the ground, like a boat. Big time repair bill. Major $$$
An obvious way to prevent this is to run the water in the house to fill
the tank with water after it's pumped out. But at 10 gallons a
minute, it takes two and a half hours of constant running of your well
pump to fill a 1500 gallon tank.
Another thing to consider is that some tanks are not well designed to
keep scum out of the tank's exit pipe during the transition from empty
to proper operating level. At proper operating level they do a great
job, but during the transition they do not. Depending on the position
and design of the exit baffle, a lot of scum can get into the exit pipe
as the water level rises during use after pumping. Tanks with
down-pipes and on the exit are MUCH less susceptible to this problem.
So, if you are a frequent pumper, and you don't have a downpipe on the
exit, ask to have one installed.
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