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OT Septic Tank Additive

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by HSLDS, Aug 4, 2008.

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  1. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Been there, done that...

    I lived in a house with a 30+ year old septic system - I learned a lot about how to maintain it...

    Figure a 'new' system is a 10, a 'dead' system is a 1 or 2.

    You are probably in a 4 or 5 right now - It can cost 20K plus for a new system, but if you can get it up to a 7 or 8 you'll be fine.

    The number one culprit is grease - do you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink?? My advice - loose it fast.

    There are lots of things that can be done to clear out the system to get to that 7/8. Compressed air, acid washes, steam/pressure washing. These are best done professionally, and only cost a few grand at most.

    The best thing you can do is have it inspected when the tank is pumped.
    Ask for ideas as how to best proceed when they do the inspection.

    The additives do NOT deal with the grease - only the other solids - again, the load put on it by a garbage disposal is often more than it can handle.

    Good luck, flush seldomly.
     
  2. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

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    This thread is really scraping the bottom of the bowl...don't you think?
     
  3. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

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    Just remember if you need to use a professional...show him some respect...cuz, it may be crap to you..but, its his bread n butter
     
  4. TC

    TC TS Member

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    Agree with HSLDS, The 3 worst things for a septic system are: Garbage Disposals, Grease, and failure to pump on a regular basis.
     
  5. Hauxfan

    Hauxfan Well-Known Member

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    Gosh, what a sh*ty subject.........lol

    Hauxfan!
     
  6. Bvr Tail

    Bvr Tail Well-Known Member

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    The man who serviced ours, until we got the new system, said to drop a cake of yeast in a toilet, and pour in a gallon of vinegar behind it every year!

    Does this make sense to you?

    Danny
     
  7. tburrey

    tburrey Member

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    Paul, I went through this septic tank problem last year. My tank was OK but next I checked my collector box (usually sits a couple of feet from the tank of course underground) it was about 30 inches below the soil top removed the lid and discovered my box was full of water and was not draining through the tile. I had a plumber come out (cost $150) to run a auger down the three tiles leading from the collector box to the drain field. Unfortunately it didn't work so I wound up paying $3200 for a new leach bed, tile, and a new lid for the collector box. My house is 30 years old and there are just two of us so I've had it pumped about every 3 years. I can't complain as it lasted a long time. I suggest you dig down and take a look at the collector box. Once there stick a hose with running water into each tile and see if the water backs up or runs out one or more of the hoses. This will give you a better idea of what your up against. I was advised by my plumber not to use Rid X or other products as it will not take the place of pumping your tank or help in any other way ( his words) and mine leach bed lasted 30 years so I think his advise was good. Tom
     
  8. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how bad you had to have been in your past life to have to come back as a Shi+ eating bacterium? : P
     
  9. Barrelbulge(Fl)

    Barrelbulge(Fl) TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Very informative thread. I am planning to move to Florida and the majority of houses seem to have septic tanks. Thanks for posting, Mike.
     
  10. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

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    Sorry ..this Dr don't fix that
     
  11. MAL-53

    MAL-53 Member

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    Paul, When you have your guy pump & clean the tank make sure he checks the outlet baffle in the tank. they will rot ( right down to the water line.)mine
    did,,I had an old system
    Then, since the baffle is not working, all your lighter solids, grease,
    soap scum,(what do you think soap is made from)? animal fat tallow. don`t follow
    one of those trucks in the summer it will get your attention real quick!!
    anyways, if your tank baffle is shot, you can make a new one with a piece of PVC pipe & tee & Fernco coupling(it`s not rocket science)then you need to check the drain field piping, dig down & cut out a section(s).that will tell you whats happening there. if the fields are fouled your probably going to have to replace them.thats major work and can be $$$.
    PS. don`t waste your $$ on additives. have the tank pumped & checked every couple of years you`ll be glad you gave a s**t AND make sure,you get a pro that KNOWS what he is doing, (one that did`nt stay at a Holiday Inn the night before) (those guys are out there) because if it Aint fixed right you`ll be doing it all over again in a few years. good luck and break `em all Mark
     
  12. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    The additives are a waste of money...


    Your tank doesn't go bad because of lack of "bugs"...and putting more bugs in doesn't do anything. (There is some grain of plausibility in that open-type municipal systems sometimes get wiped out by storms and such, and have to be re-inoculated with a tankload of crap + bugs from a neighboring town...but this would not be the case with a septic system).


    The biggest thing you can do is not use the food disposal in the kitchen. When you calculate the size tank needed for a given size house, there are several variables - number of people is the main one, but the mere existence of a food disposal almost doubles the size of tank needed, regardless of the number of people living there. Your tank could handle 4 people easily...or then again, 2 people could be too much if the wifey is running all manner of kitchen waste down the sink.
     
  13. LWLarson

    LWLarson Member

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    Actually, the additives are a bad thing for your drainfield. The knock on them is that they break down things in your tank and make small enough pieces to float out into your drainfield. Do everything you can to avoid ANY solids to your drainfield.

    You already have some great advice.... Here is a bit more... Lint from laundry is one of the biggest offenders. Lint traps on your wash water can be a good tool. Also... latex paint. Don't rinse out brushes and pails to your system. The pigments are very fine solids that will help to plug your drainfield.

    Pumping your tanks is a really good place to start. Your septic guy can probably offer you some insight to how bad your tanks are loaded up... He will also likely have some other helpful hints...

    Good luck...

    LWL
     
  14. MAL-53

    MAL-53 Member

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    this is gonna get interesting. I can hear the Jewish piano playing from here.
    After 16 yrs. you are only asking for trouble.lol Mark
     
  15. whiz-bang

    whiz-bang Active Member

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    What LWLarson said about additives said is true. Stay away from any magic in a can. The best way to maintain your septic system is pumping at least every two years. Your pumper will or should check tour baffles.

    Paul in Mn if your drain field has separate lines which is common in Mn you can have a installer add more lines if you have room. Then block of your existing lines at the drop box these will come back in couple of years. Providing your field is saturated and that is what i am guessing.

    I am a licensed certified on site septic installer in Minn.
     
  16. M-16

    M-16 TS Member

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    Bactrial soap is also hard on septic tanks. Once your tank fills up with solids your leach bed then plugs up. How long between pumpings depends on what you flush down it. Pumping will never hurt your system, but failing to can ruin it.
     
  17. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    My neighbor hasn't pumped his tank for over 35 years. Seems the tank lid is several feet below ground. What advice should I give him!!
     
  18. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

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    Most of the septic tanks I have seen have a grease trap. I didn't see any comments about them above and wondered if you need to empty it periodically? Do they normally empty it when they pump your tank? Jackie B.
     
  19. M-16

    M-16 TS Member

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    As long as space allows adding extra lines is better instead of having to haul away all of the messe old leach bed. Plus it may still be working a little.
     
  20. ArmySGM

    ArmySGM Member

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    Look for a product called Lenzyme to put down your toilet once a month. It's not cheap, but it works great. Regular maintenance and pumping is the key to keeping it working right. There are many kinds of septics now being used, so know what kind you have and what kind of maintenance it requires. For the basic system with a drain field, you should have it checked and/or pumped at least every four years. Like said above, educate your family members that not everything can be flushed into the system. Tampons, condoms, and articles of clothing do not belong in the septic system.

    Normal rule of thumb for size of system is usually 500 gals per bedroom. When buying a house with septic, ask lots of questions about it. How big is system? When was maintenance or pumping done? Where is the field? Do you have a record of the service done? What company does the maintenance? Does the company do inspections of the baffles and system when septic is pumped?

    Gary
     
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