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Septic Tank Advice - Not for the squimish

Septic Tank Advice - Not for the squimish

Old Jun 25th 2004, 8:01 pm
  #1  
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Thumbs up Septic Tank Advice - Not for the squimish

Well, it finally happened.

When I first moved to the States, I was surprised at the whole septic tank thing. I guess I was too used to the sewage fairy that would take everything away when I flushed in England.

Well, last night, it all started to back up. Stuff that shouldn't come out of the shower drain, started to come up. Toilets wouldn't flush and kept rising :scared:

The septic guy came out today as we thought that the tank was due for emptying (something I thought didn't need to happen). But, the tank was almost empty, we had a blockage somewhere.

After sticking a long metal pipe up the system, the offending blockage was released. Grease. And we're not talking just food grease.

According to this guy, food and body grease :scared: can build up in pipes over time and then it blocks your system.

So, for those that live in homes with septic tanks, this was his advice to maintain the system.

1) Don't forget that they DO need emptying. If you use 2-ply toilet tissue, about 4 - 5 years. If you use single ply tissue, every 7 - 8 years. The 2 ply has a hard time breaking up.

2) To stop grease building up, forget about all the stuff you can buy in stores. All you have to do is once a month, take baking soda and sprinkle it around your kitchen sink (DO NOT PUT IT IN YOUR TOILET BOWL), then take white vinegar and pour it over the baking soda in your sink. It will start to foam up but keep pouring until everything is washed away. The acid in the vinegar will help eat away grease build up in your pipes and help break everything down in the septic tank. The acid will help keep the bacteria (that break up the solids) growing. If you can stand the smell, use the white vinegar to clean your tub once in a while too.

3) To help bacteria growth, every so often go to your local food store and get the little packets of bread yeast and empty into the toilet bowl. Flush and this will go into the tank and help keep the bacteria alive that breaks up the solids.

Just thought I'd share these tips to help you guys save on septic tank bills and the hard scrubbing I had to do to get the mess out of my shower.

Not a bad visit for only $25.00 although we had to hear all the horror stories of what he finds in tanks, including a ring that his wife now wears :scared:
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Old Jun 25th 2004, 8:07 pm
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Eeeewww! I used to have a septic tank and just put some Rid X in once a month, I didn't have any problems. I didn't think of the yeast packets though...that's a much cheaper option!

You should also avoid using bleach as it will kill the bacteria.

$25 ????? WOW!! Nicely done!
 
Old Jun 25th 2004, 8:21 pm
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Originally posted by ElsieTheMaid
Eeeewww! I used to have a septic tank and just put some Rid X in once a month, I didn't have any problems. I didn't think of the yeast packets though...that's a much cheaper option!

You should also avoid using bleach as it will kill the bacteria.

$25 ????? WOW!! Nicely done!
Forgot about the bleach. He told us that too.

As for the cost, I was surprised too. I was dreading the thought of a problem with the tank and it being dug up. And just after I mowed the yard too

But all I have is a small patch of grass lifted up where he accessed the tank. I can look outside now and it looks like it hasn't been touched.

Turning out to be a good day.

Plus I had a rebate from my electrical company for $167.00. It paid this months bill and half of next months.

All I need now is good news from BCIS about my EAD and my day will be complete
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Old Jun 25th 2004, 9:04 pm
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Knew about the vinegar (fantastic stuff) and not to use bleach, but didn't know about the baking soda. Great tip that one. Thanks.

If you don't have a septic tank, vinegar and bleach mixed (3 parts vinegar to one part bleach) works well for slow drainage. We were told this by a plumber guy in NJ and it really works. You pour it into your bath or sink drain and leave it overnight, but please make sure you don't breath in the fumes and close the door with the window open so it doesn't come into the house. It really does work very well.
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Old Jun 25th 2004, 10:43 pm
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Default Re: Septic Tank Advice - Not for the squimish

Originally posted by rincewind
Well, it finally happened.

When I first moved to the States, I was surprised at the whole septic tank thing. I guess I was too used to the sewage fairy that would take everything away when I flushed in England.

Well, last night, it all started to back up. Stuff that shouldn't come out of the shower drain, started to come up. Toilets wouldn't flush and kept rising :scared:

The septic guy came out today as we thought that the tank was due for emptying (something I thought didn't need to happen). But, the tank was almost empty, we had a blockage somewhere.

After sticking a long metal pipe up the system, the offending blockage was released. Grease. And we're not talking just food grease.

According to this guy, food and body grease :scared: can build up in pipes over time and then it blocks your system.

So, for those that live in homes with septic tanks, this was his advice to maintain the system.

1) Don't forget that they DO need emptying. If you use 2-ply toilet tissue, about 4 - 5 years. If you use single ply tissue, every 7 - 8 years. The 2 ply has a hard time breaking up.

2) To stop grease building up, forget about all the stuff you can buy in stores. All you have to do is once a month, take baking soda and sprinkle it around your kitchen sink (DO NOT PUT IT IN YOUR TOILET BOWL), then take white vinegar and pour it over the baking soda in your sink. It will start to foam up but keep pouring until everything is washed away. The acid in the vinegar will help eat away grease build up in your pipes and help break everything down in the septic tank. The acid will help keep the bacteria (that break up the solids) growing. If you can stand the smell, use the white vinegar to clean your tub once in a while too.

3) To help bacteria growth, every so often go to your local food store and get the little packets of bread yeast and empty into the toilet bowl. Flush and this will go into the tank and help keep the bacteria alive that breaks up the solids.

Just thought I'd share these tips to help you guys save on septic tank bills and the hard scrubbing I had to do to get the mess out of my shower.

Not a bad visit for only $25.00 although we had to hear all the horror stories of what he finds in tanks, including a ring that his wife now wears :scared:
I put baking soda and vinegar down my kitchen sink disposer at least once a month, also good for deodorizing it are ice cubes and a chopped up lemon, put them in the disposer and turn on for a couple of seconds. They both help to keep things running smoothly. Don't have a septic tank thank God.
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Old Jun 27th 2004, 4:44 pm
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Default Re: Septic Tank Advice - Not for the squimish

Originally posted by rincewind
Well, it finally happened.

When I first moved to the States, I was surprised at the whole septic tank thing. I guess I was too used to the sewage fairy that would take everything away when I flushed in England.

Well, last night, it all started to back up. Stuff that shouldn't come out of the shower drain, started to come up. Toilets wouldn't flush and kept rising :scared:

The septic guy came out today as we thought that the tank was due for emptying (something I thought didn't need to happen). But, the tank was almost empty, we had a blockage somewhere.

After sticking a long metal pipe up the system, the offending blockage was released. Grease. And we're not talking just food grease.

According to this guy, food and body grease :scared: can build up in pipes over time and then it blocks your system.

So, for those that live in homes with septic tanks, this was his advice to maintain the system.

1) Don't forget that they DO need emptying. If you use 2-ply toilet tissue, about 4 - 5 years. If you use single ply tissue, every 7 - 8 years. The 2 ply has a hard time breaking up.

2) To stop grease building up, forget about all the stuff you can buy in stores. All you have to do is once a month, take baking soda and sprinkle it around your kitchen sink (DO NOT PUT IT IN YOUR TOILET BOWL), then take white vinegar and pour it over the baking soda in your sink. It will start to foam up but keep pouring until everything is washed away. The acid in the vinegar will help eat away grease build up in your pipes and help break everything down in the septic tank. The acid will help keep the bacteria (that break up the solids) growing. If you can stand the smell, use the white vinegar to clean your tub once in a while too.

3) To help bacteria growth, every so often go to your local food store and get the little packets of bread yeast and empty into the toilet bowl. Flush and this will go into the tank and help keep the bacteria alive that breaks up the solids.

Just thought I'd share these tips to help you guys save on septic tank bills and the hard scrubbing I had to do to get the mess out of my shower.

Not a bad visit for only $25.00 although we had to hear all the horror stories of what he finds in tanks, including a ring that his wife now wears :scared:
I had a septic tank, a monster it was made of slate and twice the size of the modern septic tanks I was informed (by the septic tank guy), when I lived in North Wales out in the countryside.

I'm on mains sewerage again here and mains gas (had LPG in Wales and oil in NI). I never found it inconvenient, just part of living further away from the towns. Would happily do it again.
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Old Jun 28th 2004, 9:40 am
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Better than Blackpool, they used to pump human waste into the sea at high tide.
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Old Jun 28th 2004, 10:32 am
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Default YUK..!

so do all the houses in usa have septic tanks.. ? were moving to Florida in October and very interested in your comments...take our system for granted here in UK but will keep a stock of yeast in the cupboard when we move..
Enjoy reading your informative comments.

Last edited by sueanne; Jun 28th 2004 at 10:41 am.
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Old Jun 28th 2004, 12:13 pm
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Our mantra used to be Location, Location. Location now it's City Water, City Water, City Water...never want to own a septic tank again.
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Old Jun 28th 2004, 1:49 pm
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Default Re: YUK..!

Originally posted by sueanne
so do all the houses in usa have septic tanks.. ? were moving to Florida in October and very interested in your comments...take our system for granted here in UK but will keep a stock of yeast in the cupboard when we move..
Enjoy reading your informative comments.
Not all houses at all- usually just those in rural areas. I live out in the country and have a septic tank, as I did previously in Indiana. I have never had a prooblem in many years od septic service- although we did have to get the honey dipper out one time to empty it...for $50 or so.

IMO it beats paying sewage fees- usually 50% of your city water bill, which averaged $40 a month. I am quite happy with my well and septic, and keeping an extra $60 in my pocket.
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Old Jun 29th 2004, 12:08 am
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This house is on a septic tank. We don't put any additives down it and it works just like it's connected to a sewer. A new header and field line was put in 7 years ago.

When we moved in we initially had big problems with the system because the previous owners left the house empty for over a year and shut the water off. Therefore, the material in the outlet and field line had hardened and eventually calcified.

A good tip is, if you're going to leave your house empty for a long time, have the tank pumped first.

Last edited by jaytee; Jun 29th 2004 at 12:10 am.
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Old Aug 29th 2004, 9:40 pm
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Default Re: Septic Tank Advice - Not for the squimish

Also, if you have leftover antibiotics (pills or drops) don't flush them down the toilet, as they will kill the bacteria as well. There is liquid septic tank maintenance stuff you are supposed to flush every six months or so but it smells vile. I hate, hate, hate having a septic tank. What I have suffered for a bit of country!
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Old Aug 29th 2004, 9:47 pm
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Default Re: Septic Tank Advice - Not for the squimish

The problem with medication is you can't take it back to the pharmacy in this country (something you could always do in the UK). You can't just throw it out in the garbage because anyone could get hold of it. At least flushing them down the toilet was always a safe bet, but now that is no longer possible! What does anyone else do?
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Old Aug 31st 2004, 9:25 pm
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Default Re: Septic Tank Advice - Not for the squimish

Originally Posted by Ben
The problem with medication is you can't take it back to the pharmacy in this country (something you could always do in the UK). You can't just throw it out in the garbage because anyone could get hold of it. At least flushing them down the toilet was always a safe bet, but now that is no longer possible! What does anyone else do?
Oh dear.... I guess I hadn't thought of anyone getting hold of my discarded medication. I've just thrown old meds away in the trash. I would ask my local pharmacist but he seems to hide among the shelves whenever an actual customer walks up to the window.
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