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Old 01-05-2012, 07:09 AM   #31
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


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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
In addition, in many cities, if/when sewer lines are laid in your street you are required to hook in at your expense and abandon your septic system after a short grace period.

After that time you could use the leach field for a sump pump although the leach field usually does not perform that role well.

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Old 01-05-2012, 09:02 AM   #32
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


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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.
In the plumbing trade we call them back water valves. IMO its a waste of money to install them on a septic system and I wouldn't put one on a building drain connected to the city either, except if I had fixtures below the manhole rim.
Also, many of them do not close 100%
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:50 AM   #33
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


We're closing on a house next week with a 1500gal septic system. During the inspection I saw how full the tank was and clearly needed to be pumped. Owners showed a receipt that they had it done 10/2010, so either they got scammed or they beat their drains to heck.

Not enough to make me question the purchase, we'll just pay to have it pumped when we move in. Is there some type of bacteria additive that can be introduced to the system to ensure it is functioning as it should?



Happy to get the heck out of the 'burbs finally and into the country!!!!

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Old 01-05-2012, 12:18 PM   #34
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Septic tanks are always full

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Old 01-05-2012, 12:33 PM   #35
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


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We're closing on a house next week with a 1500gal septic system. During the inspection I saw how full the tank was and clearly needed to be pumped. Owners showed a receipt that they had it done 10/2010, so either they got scammed or they beat their drains to heck.

Not enough to make me question the purchase, we'll just pay to have it pumped when we move in. Is there some type of bacteria additive that can be introduced to the system to ensure it is functioning as it should?

Happy to get the heck out of the 'burbs finally and into the country!!!!
You may have been seeing the scum layer that floats to the top- always there. Prob wouldn't hurt to have it pumped, cleaned, and inspected anyway. Have them look at the dbox and leach field while they're at it.

Regarding the back flow preventer, I'm glad we have ours. It saved us TONS of headache and $ in the first week. When we bought our house, the power to the pump was intermittent and cut out. After one week of being in, we noticed the septic smell near the pop-up. The pump was never activated and the power to the alarm was off too! (thanks mr inspector!) If it wasn't for that valve, we would have been backed up. My septic guy was the hero of the day. Of course it's your call, but that $10 was easily the best $ spent for me!! I look at it often!

As for the bacteria additive, yes there are plenty. But it's a heated debate as to whether or not it's worth it. Some even think it can cause damage. I'll leave that one to someone with more years under their belt.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:47 PM   #36
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


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Septic tanks are always full
When the surface layer is so thick and dense it could not be penetrated with a spade it needs to be pumped.

Scott: thanks for the input on bacteria, haven't really looked into it. I'll do some searching in the forum and beyond.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:33 PM   #37
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Regarding the back flow preventer, I'm glad we have ours. It saved us TONS of headache and $ in the first week. When we bought our house, the power to the pump was intermittent and cut out. After one week of being in, we noticed the septic smell near the pop-up. The pump was never activated and the power to the alarm was off too! (thanks mr inspector!) If it wasn't for that valve, we would have been backed up. My septic guy was the hero of the day. Of course it's your call, but that $10 was easily the best $ spent for me!! I look at it often!

As for the bacteria additive, yes there are plenty. But it's a heated debate as to whether or not it's worth it. Some even think it can cause damage. I'll leave that one to someone with more years under their belt.
It's cheap insurance to have it installed during the main septic install. It would cost 5 times more to install it later.

As far as the bacteria, from everything I have studied it is not "needed" but can be very beneficial if the tank is overworked or the biological factor has been upset (bleach, acid, etc). The septic pumping companies will always bad mouth the stuff because it affects their business.

Septic systems require colonies of bacteria to eat away at the waste. Adding more of these colonies can help eat away at the waste faster. They've done studies where they had identical tanks, in the one tank they added the beneficial bacteria, the other they did not. The tank with the beneficial bacteria saw a 50% decrease in sludge. The bacteria did its job and ate away at the sludge.

In man-made ponds and lakes, they add a form of beneficial bacteria to the water to help these microbes and enzymes eat away at the sludge at the bottom of the lake/pond. I have 3,000 gallon Koi pond and use beneficial enzymes in it and it does make a big difference in water quality.

City sewer water treatment plants use the beneficial bacteria in their treatments. They have engineers and scientists that utilize the stuff. If a city sewer treatment plant uses the bacteria, it pretty much solves the debate as whether or not to use it. In a small home with low septic use, you probably don't need it. In a large home with large septic use, it would help out a lot.

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Old 01-05-2012, 01:56 PM   #38
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Jackofalltrades- interesting point about city sewer companies. I hadn't thought of that before. Tnx!
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:41 PM   #39
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Jackofalltrades- interesting point about city sewer companies. I hadn't thought of that before. Tnx!
Yep, they all utilize some form of additional bacteria/enzyme treatment. I know of a guy who works in such a city treatment plant and he said they have large barrels of this stuff and it's added to help with decomposition.

I found this on the web:

http://www.microtack.com/html/natural_treatment05.htm

http://www.microtack.com/html/natural_treatment03.htm

So it settles it with me. I utilize bacteria in my Koi Pond and it works, the city treatment plants utilize bacteria in their treatment and it works, so adding it to the septic system will work also. I've even read where the treatments helped with pumping intervals. Instead of pumping the tank every 2 years, they pump it every 4 years. That is not good news for septic pumping companies, so they are the ones who really hate the stuff. Plus not all bacteria additives are made the same.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:54 AM   #40
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


After a septic tank is pumped, there are usually enough bacteria remaining behind to get the septic action restarted automatically (and also be hazardous to someone who climbed down inside to inspect more closely).

You cannot judge the contents of a septic tank during home inspection prior to purchase simply by lifting the lid. You have to poke around using a dipstick (or as mentioned earlier, a shovel).

Some species of bacterial need aeration to thrive. Some of the more esoteric septic systems required in some towns have such aeration, added electrical cost and added components that can wear out and break down.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:20 PM   #41
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Jackofalltrades- thank you for those links. I think you've made me a believer.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:27 PM   #42
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Jackofalltrades- thank you for those links. I think you've made me a believer.
You're welcome. Like I said before, I don't think it is needed for normal usage households but for high use loads, it can't hurt to have more bacteria eating away the sludge.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:28 PM   #43
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


Those with a large family, how many loads of laundry can you do daily with a septic system?
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:06 PM   #44
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Septic Systems - How much can they handle?


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Those with a large family, how many loads of laundry can you do daily with a septic system?
Family of 7: 5 kids, 2 adults. We do 1-3 loads per day. Washing machine is reg top-load with Filtrol 160 added.

Does that classify as heavy-load for septic????????
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:34 AM   #45
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Family of 7: 5 kids, 2 adults. We do 1-3 loads per day. Washing machine is reg top-load with Filtrol 160 added.

Does that classify as heavy-load for septic????????
How big is your tank? Is it a conventional septic?

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