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Old 01-03-2012, 02:03 PM   #1
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Can a septic system handle a large family (5+ kids)? What would it require, a larger holding tank, larger leach field?

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Old 01-03-2012, 02:08 PM   #2
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Why do you ask?
It's done all the time.
Size of the system is determened by how many bed rooms.

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Old 01-03-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


not sure about the leach field, but the tank should be about 250 gallons per person.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:03 PM   #4
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


I have a "large" family; 2 adults, 5 kids. I have a 1500 gal tank w/ pump and four 90' leach lines. We are conservative with water use. So it's possible BUT I'd say it depends a lot on your soil. Do yourself a favor and get the upfront homework done right: pit tests, design, permit, and install. Read whatever you can and ask questions. Pay now or pay later. Better to do it now and do it right!
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:24 PM   #5
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


We're septic - large tank (maybe 2K gallons) and a wide leach field . . . short supply and perforated pipe . . . no issues.

It's more about routine maintenance, pumping - and avoiding flooding it with too much non-degradable elements like papertowels and fruit peels. For example: we don't have the dishwasher or washing machine plugged into the septic-tank line.

The only problem I had was when the 30 year old pvc supply septic line collapsed and backed up when I was remodeling the bathroom and had all the plumbing exposed - I had to dig out the tank lines and set all new ones and spent a few days cleaning sewer water out from the crawlspace.

So: I guess my point is don't leave any lines uncapped when working on plumbing :D
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:32 PM   #6
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Snav-
1- the collapsed supply line- was that the line from the house to the tank or from the tank to the drain field?
2- you said don't leave lines uncapped. Can you be more specific?
3- probably a tangent, but Im curious about where you got information about the gray water system you have. this could really prevent overloading a septic
system for a large family! I haven't had much luck getting local help with gray water.

Thanks!
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:12 AM   #7
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


So if I go with a 2,000 gallon tank, I would be OK with having a garbage disposal unit?

How does one prevent septic back-ups coming inside of the home? Don't they make back-flow prevention valves like they do for city sewer hook-ups?
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:23 AM   #8
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This really is not very complicated. You hire a professional designer who performs the required soil tests and groundwater tests. They design your system in accordance with state and local regulations. In my jurisdiction (MA), septic systems can be sized up to 10,000 gallons per day with special add ons, and are routinely sized up to 5,000 gallons per day as standard systems.

In most jurisdictions, designing and installing a septic system is not DIY, in fact in MA you need an engineer's license to design the system, and you have to be a licensed plumber to install. I don't know about your jurisdiction, in fact I am not sure you told us where you live, but the process may be similar.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:34 AM   #9
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Why do you ask?
It's done all the time.
Size of the system is determened by how many bed rooms.
I don't recall the exact criteria, but where I live the size is NOT determined by the number of bedrooms. In any case, your local Health Department will tell you what type and size of system to put in. The only option you'll have is to make it larger in case you plan to add a bathroom or something like that.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:18 AM   #10
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JackOfAllTrades
So if I go with a 2,000 gallon tank, I would be OK with having a garbage disposal unit?

How does one prevent septic back-ups coming inside of the home? Don't they make back-flow prevention valves like they do for city sewer hook-ups?
My understanding is never use a garbage disposal. It is used for waste that won't easily decompose in the tank and possibly clog your leach lines.
As for backups, my septic guy installed a pop up valve right outside the house. It was <$10 and is good insurance. Other than that, monitor and maintenance.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:25 AM   #11
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Quote:
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Snav-
1- the collapsed supply line- was that the line from the house to the tank or from the tank to the drain field?
2- you said don't leave lines uncapped. Can you be more specific?
3- probably a tangent, but Im curious about where you got information about the gray water system you have. this could really prevent overloading a septic
system for a large family! I haven't had much luck getting local help with gray water.

Thanks!
The supply line (meaning - the house's septic line that carries to the tank) collapsed. This happens sometimes - whether you have septic or not. It was an old pvc 5" pipe. Back in the 70's they were made with a thinner wall - after 30 years it just failed.

Anytime you're doing plumbing I think it's wise to cap your ends with the removable rubber-fittings that clamp on *just incase* your system fails or has a backup while you're working - which isn't just related to septic systems but just sewer systems in general - they can clogg, collapse and back up.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:36 AM   #12
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


You can put anything you want down your septic system........ if you're willing to have it pumped out every year or so. We have septic and do not use a garbage disposal under the sink, unless a goat came in and got under there somehow. Our laundry water goes to a separate location as well.

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Old 01-04-2012, 10:38 AM   #13
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Quote:
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We have septic and do not use a garbage disposal under the sink, unless a goat came in and got under there somehow.
I've seen that!
that pic is supposed to be a "Red Goat" disposer. www.redgoat.com
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:40 AM   #14
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:42 AM   #15
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


That is poor advice Danger. There is a long list of things that should never be put into a septic system, because they can damage the bacteria that make your system run, in some cases permanently, leading to premature failure of the system. Products that should NEVER be allowed to enter the septic system, REGARDLESS of how often you pump, include:

Strong acids (HCl, nitric acid, sulfuric acid) commonly found in industrial strength cleaning products

Strong bases (NaOH, KOH) commonly found in cleaning products

Toxic metals such as mercury commonly found in paint

Formaldehyde, oxalic acid, glue, inorganic floor cleaners, certain polishing products, rat poison and other rodenticides, ant killer

You get the picture, nothing toxic down the drain ever. As for organic material, if you don't mind pumping frequently (very expensive) you can use a garbage grinder and put organic stuff down the drain, but you would be far better to compost the organic material and use it in your garden. In my town, where we are all on septic and well water, the town prohibits installation and use of a garbage grinder, because it encourages disposal of all sorts of material that does not belong in a septic system, and leads to premature failure. We have no sewer system here, so failure of a septic system is a serious matter, and the town has taken steps to reduce the chance of failure.

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