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Piney 03-09-2007 07:38 AM

Septic Questions

== Root killer (copper sufate). I've always added it to an intermediate cleanout on the field line downstream. There's a section upstream from this cleanout about 20 ft. Can I add the Copper sulfate to the septic tank ??? Or will this cause problems with the tank operation ?

== Similar question-- drain cleaner. We're got a sluggish tub drain. I've poked around to check for hair that I can reach- nothing there. Can I use liquid drain cleaner (ie LIquid Plumber, ect) ??

and the last one--

If I remove the tank's cover, stick a pole into the goo and get an idea how deep it is--WHen is the time to have it pumped ??

Mike Swearingen 03-09-2007 11:57 AM

I've had a septic system for about 30 years and I've been a rural area real estate broker for more than 20 years, so I'm fairly familiar with them (but not a pro).
I too use copper sulphate about 3 times per year to keep roots out of the drainfield. Yes, you can put it directly into the septic tank, but why don't you just do what I've been doing successfully for 30 years...flush a cup or two down a toilet every 4 months or so. Works fine.
Drain cleaners are O.K. to use on a septic system, but try to avoid shocking the septic system with too many bacteria killers (excess bleach, paint, chemicals, etc.). Normal usage should provide all the bacteria for a septic system to function properly, and independent state studies have shown that all of those additives (Rid-X, etc.) are a waste of money. You don't need them. I never use them and my system works great.
Caustic drain cleaners, such as Drano, are usually only marginally good on a total blockage only. Otherwise, they usually just flow right past a typical partial blockage and don't help much. A far better type drain cleaner, especially for a septic system, is an enzyme-based drain cleaner such as DrainCare. You just pour in DrainCare, let it eat out the organic stuff (grease, hair, gunk) clinging around the interior of the drain pipe overnight and then flush it down with hot water. I usually jump start the flushing the next morning with a kettle of boiling water followed by running the hot water faucet only for a while. (Coincidentally, I just used DrainCare last night in our upstairs vanity sink drain. I keep it on hand and use it any time that a drain gets sluggish.)
The state here (actually NC State University) has done extensive studies of septic systems. Their primary maintenance recommendation is simple. Just have the tank pumped at least every five years.
I have my tank pumped out every year that ends in a five or a zero, and I've never had any problems. (When you get senile like me, that's the easiest way to remember when to do it. LOL).
Good Luck!

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