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Old 01-04-2012, 11:47 AM   #16
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


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Originally Posted by Snav

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.
Thanks Snav!

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Old 01-04-2012, 11:57 AM   #17
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


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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.
Okay, you got me, that was NOT advise to be taken seriously, but rather comically. Of course there are chemicals that could/would cause problems, however, if they were pumped out DAILY... NO PROBLEMS!

NOW is it more of a joke?

The ONLY things we put down the drains here are water, poop, pee and TP!.. period. Never had a problem.

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Old 01-04-2012, 02:08 PM   #18
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


So NO garbage disposal but even when you wash dishes, there is always some food that ends up going down the drain. It's next to impossible to completely clear a plate 100% of its food content.

How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?

When you mentioned "failure", what does that mean? That the leach field stops working?

If you can't wash your toilet with bleach then how do you get it cleaned and disinfected?

Is it good to use that added septic bacteria to help dissolve the food/waste?


The more I read about it, septic systems can be a real problem.

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Old 01-04-2012, 02:35 PM   #19
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


I pump mine every 2 years (though what's suggested is every year - obviously I don't do that)

I clean my house with usual cleaners that get flushed (like bleach, vinegar, 409, barkeeper's friend).

Extreme toxins like muriatic acid and some things like latex paint (etc) I don't put down the drain - all these things are diluted outside with hose-water in the yard . . . so I've never had that enter the system. This isn't because I have a septic system - this is jus tbecause I prefer to keep my DIY filth outside of the house when I scrub my tools, etc.

Disposals: regardless of how fine the pieces are - many food items are not biodegradable and thus will float on the surface of the tank's water and the baffles may or may not prevent them from clogging the leach line.

"Failure" can mean lots of things: leach-line is what lets the water leave the tank and absorb into the ground. . . they can fail if they're clogged and back up the system because water isn't leaving hte tank. They can fail if they collapse or are installed incorrectly and water doesn't drain out.

"Failure" can also occur if the tank collapses (rare - but happens usually if people drive over top of it - something like that)

Septic-lines are just always an issue sewer or septic doesn't effect that - they can collapse, back up - etc etc etc - I still prefer my septic-tank because it saves me hundreds each year. For sewer service in the city we paid about $50.00 on each water bill - overa year that's $600.00. A pumping of my tank is about $200.00 - even if I did it every year it still doesn't cost me as much.

I've had serious issues with city-sewer, too - such as main pipe breaks and backups. The frustrating thing with that for me was that I couldn't just get up and fix it and be done wit hit - I had to wait for them to do what was necessary.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:53 PM   #20
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Pumping out a septic tank is a routine maintenance item. How often it needs to be done starts out as trial and error; the pumping company should be able to estimate when the next pump out should be done.

Septic system failure means that the leach field no longer absorbs liquid fast enough for the number of persons for which the system was designed. You may be able to get by temporarily with a time delay between showers or washing machine cycles. The tank rests at about 85% full. Normal operation has one gallon of liquid out to the leach field for every one gallon of sewage from the house The remaining empty space in the tank and the space within the pipes in the leach field allow a short term faster incoming flow from the house over short periods of time when the leach field can't absorb it that fast.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:10 PM   #21
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


As mentioned; "failure" means a lot.

I'm fairly new to septic systems so that term scared me. To me it meant "that's it, you're screwed and get ready to shell out $$". As it turns out, that may not be the case.

Things like seasonal water table changes, heavy rain, roots, etc can make a bad thing seem worse.

Bottom line is that a "failure" could (I stress could) be mediated by timers, effluent pumps, adjusting your distribution manifold. I'm assuming there are other things like terralifting that could help too.

I don't want to sound like a company rep, but there are a LOT of easy to read documents at orenco.com that explain these things much better than I can.

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:33 PM   #22
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


i been my house for 22 yrs and have a 1200 gal tank and have never had it pumped out. I don't use anything down the drain to help the tank. I guess i mite be lucky It is only me. I recycle budwiser maybe that is the secret??
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:36 PM   #23
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


8 years here, 1,000 gallon, never pumped.

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Old 01-04-2012, 07:25 PM   #24
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


use to the only time you needed to pump your septic tank was when it filled with too much sludge, that used to take up to 30 years for that to happen.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:08 PM   #25
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


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I pump mine every 2 years (though what's suggested is every year - obviously I don't do that)

Septic-lines are just always an issue sewer or septic doesn't effect that - they can collapse, back up - etc etc etc - I still prefer my septic-tank because it saves me hundreds each year. For sewer service in the city we paid about $50.00 on each water bill - overa year that's $600.00. A pumping of my tank is about $200.00 - even if I did it every year it still doesn't cost me as much.

I've had serious issues with city-sewer, too - such as main pipe breaks and backups. The frustrating thing with that for me was that I couldn't just get up and fix it and be done wit hit - I had to wait for them to do what was necessary.

From what I am gathering, it is better to OVERBUILD the system than to underbuild it. A bigger tank, a larger leach field, etc. I would probably go with a 2,000+ gallon tank and a larger leach field. I read that one can install a valve which switches the leach field lines so that the other lines can "rest" every 3-6 months.

If pumping costs $200, that is not that much money. Right now I am on a city line and I pay for water & sewer usage around $100 a month. If I move to the septic area, I would have well water, which is "free" except for the electricity to pump the well. So spending $200 a year to pump still beats out paying $1,200 a year for city sewer & water.

For sure I would install the anti-drain back valve. Don't want raw sewage coming back into the home. Cheap insurance. Even city sewer hook-ups require that valve.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:23 PM   #26
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Hmm - now well water I would avoid (personally) - septic I can handle, well water I cannot so we're septic and city water . . . well "country town water" not city.

Good point about the back-up valve. . . I've considered it and I just might do that.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:35 PM   #27
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


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For sure I would install the anti-drain back valve. Don't want raw sewage coming back into the home. Cheap insurance. Even city sewer hook-ups require that valve.
Please explain how this will help on a septic system. When the tank will no longer drain, it will push the valve shut. So in the mean time you continue to flush the toilets and run dishwashers, laundry etc. Wheres that water going to drain? Against a closed valve and right back into your house. Best to be proactive and service the tank on a regular basis.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:26 AM   #28
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


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Hmm - now well water I would avoid (personally) - septic I can handle, well water I cannot so we're septic and city water . . . well "country town water" not city.

Good point about the back-up valve. . . I've considered it and I just might do that.
No city water option in that area, just well.

Even now where I live the "city water" is really just a well dug by the city. You pay for it though, $100 a month for city sewer & water.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:42 AM   #29
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Please explain how this will help on a septic system. When the tank will no longer drain, it will push the valve shut. So in the mean time you continue to flush the toilets and run dishwashers, laundry etc. Wheres that water going to drain? Against a closed valve and right back into your house. Best to be proactive and service the tank on a regular basis.
The main reason for this valve would be to prevent water/sewage from entering the home, especially a basement, if the septic tank failed or was inundated by heavy rainfall. If the septic system developed a crack or if something was not closed properly, in a heavy rainstorm water can enter the tank and start to backup into the plumbing lines.

Of course like you said, prevention and tank maintenance is the best answer. The valve is mainly used in city sewer hookups but has been used in septic systems also.

It's basically a one way valve.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:48 AM   #30
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From what I am gathering, it is better to OVERBUILD the system than to underbuild it. A bigger tank, a larger leach field, etc. I would probably go with a 2,000+ gallon tank and a larger leach field. I read that one can install a valve which switches the leach field lines so that the other lines can "rest" every 3-6 months.

If pumping costs $200, that is not that much money. Right now I am on a city line and I pay for water & sewer usage around $100 a month. If I move to the septic area, I would have well water, which is "free" except for the electricity to pump the well. So spending $200 a year to pump still beats out paying $1,200 a year for city sewer & water.

For sure I would install the anti-drain back valve. Don't want raw sewage coming back into the home. Cheap insurance. Even city sewer hook-ups require that valve.
I bet the city will not let you install a septic tank now ?? and well water. If they will that is the way to go but i bet they will not let you do it ? good luck

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