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Thread: Bio Additives/Enzymes for Septic Tanks

  1. #31
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    LOL.
    I heard a similar story involving an old cadillac. We dont hear them often because it's obviously illegal certainly by todays standards.

    Hey...when you are in an unfortunate situation in life but own your land....gotta do what ya gotta do.

    That's good old fashioned American ingenuity.

    Think about it:
    It's a hot summer day--all your drains and toilets are backed up.
    You don't have two nickels to rub together--but you do have a rusty 73 Camaro up on blocks in the back yard and your crazy uncle Jerry has a back hoe....


  2. #32
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I wonder whats realy under the ground at Cadillac Ranch?

  3. #33
    DIY Junior Member auntyzoom's Avatar
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    Default septic "system"

    Couldn't help but jump in here... so to speak -

    I used to have a place in Rosarito, Baja CA, & needed to install a system. There, forget about anything resembling "code" - ya just shoot yer best shot at whatever it is you're doing. Anyway, I had a bunch of workers come over & dig me a big hole into which was put a "tank" made of culvert - apx 3' x 4' & enclosed on each end & 1 end of which had a 4-5' 'inspection hole w/lid, which wound up being attached to the drain line from the toilet - only.

    Punched a bunch of holes on all sides/bottom, stuck short lengths of 2" drain pipe horizontally out of most of them, then placed a layer of rocks on the hole bottom & then around all sides of the tank, once it was placed in the hole. Your basic, all-in-one "system" - the mother of invention at work!

    The guys thought I was nuts! But that "system" has worked perfectly for over 10 years! Of course, there being only 2 in the house, and only the toilet contributing to the contents may have helped. In Mexico, cesspools are the norm...I've no idea how often, if ever, anyone pumps them out....maybe they just dig new ones?

    Where I live in very rural CA, have a septic sys. that works perfectly (just me & again, only the toilet - everything else is grey water in various forms).

    However, in the bathroom there's a notice for guests:

    POTTY RULES

    Put nothing in this toilet that you haven't eaten first!

    - - - -
    BTW, another good read on this subject is, "Septic Tank Practices" & sorry I don't recall the author.

    Interesting subject...

    Susy

  4. #34
    DIY Junior Member auntyzoom's Avatar
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    Ooops! Meant to ask if any of you folks have remarks/opinions as to poly septic tanks?

    Susy

  5. #35
    DIY Junior Member auntyzoom's Avatar
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    Yeah, cigarette butts & a slew of other, even more amazing donations! Incredible how some folks view their disposal options... thinking of it as a bottomless pit. Outta sight, outta mind, right?

    For anyone interested in poly tanks - septic or otherwise - check out

    http://www.loomistank.com

    I think there's links to other tank resources on that site, too. Loomis is located in Paso Robles, CA. I got my H20 tank there. Try Googling "water storage tanks" for more...

    Might be mistaken, but I think there are even above ground poly septic tanks available - although hard to imagine why one would want that! But there might be a reason for just about everything, ya think?

    Thanks for reminding me that I should read ALL the posts before opening the mouth!

    Susy

  6. #36
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abikerboy
    Vaplumber (paul) has a post above about plastic and fiberglass tanks. This is all new to me. Never heard of such a thing as a plastic or fiberglass tank before. Paul has owned his own shop since 1971, and before that, he has worked for several local plumbers and contractors. He is known for his honesty and experience, so I trust what he says. He has helped many of the older and poor folks in this area out as a favor at no cost, so I know that he is not out to just make a buck! One thing that nobody has mentioned that is bad on a septic is cigarette butts! Neighbor had problems with his septic and had a contractor out to fix it. Contractor was able to clean the system with no expensive repairs. He pulled what looked like a cotton ball off of the end of the outlet pipe. This thing was the size of a basketball!!! I was there, and saw this with my own eyes! First remark he made was "cigarette filters! Most destructive force around for a septic tank!" I put only my own waste down my tank, plus toilet paper and nothing else! Going by what my servicer says, the John Wayne toilet papers are the best. He says avoid anything that says quilted, extra soft, or medicated. He also says to avoid colored or scented paper, as the chemicals in them can be harmful to a septic system!.
    Rob
    Another thing no one mentioned is Liquid vs. Powder laundry detergent.
    I've been told to only use liquid.

    Also according to TSSOM (Lloyd Kahn) the lint from washing machines is a huge contributor to system failure. Polyester fibers being much worse than natural cotton fibers. Solution? Well there is one product called the "septicprotector" and it's essentially a reusable 160 micron filter which is emptied every few weeks.

    I actually had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Kahn yesterday as I was ordering a product and invited him to this forum so maybe he is lurking.


    A couple of interesting factoids is that about 25% are on septic tanks systems. If designed correctly our soil will neutralize all the pathogens that are unhealthy to humans before they reach groundwater.
    I think there is a negative connotation about septic tanks and maybe for no good reason.
    Looking at the big picture however, putting big chunks of plastic in the ground is probably not too good for us.
    Last edited by Mike50; 05-19-2006 at 06:44 AM.

  7. #37
    vaplumber
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    Liquid detergents are the best. Use non phospherous only. Dont over use bleach. Dont dump grease down. No cigarette butts as mentioned. Use a lint filter on your washing machine outlet. Best rule of thumb, only human waste and toilet paper. Make sure toilet paper package says septic system safe. Avoid drain cleaners and enzymes. The yeast joke as explained to me years ago, yeast is onle beneficial in a brand new system. If you have had your system cleaned, pumped or repaired enough bacteria will remain on the surface to re establish itself within 4 hours. In a brand new unused system the yeast will feed on waste and as the yeast micro organisms die they will attract and nurish the natural bacteria. Also open up your distributor box or boxes every third pumping of your tank and have the boxes sucked and inspected. The first sign of a problem will show up in the d-boxes

  8. #38

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    The only time it is good to use additives in your tank is if your going out of town for more than a week or if you need to add to your bio load do to more people moving in with you. The first 3 months of owning a house or after a pumping would be good times for additives.

  9. #39
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    I've read something similar but I still want to see the research on that.
    I also read that the only time that adding yeast would be beneficial is to a brand new tank. (??)

    My rule of thumb is still the "eat it first" rule in my little world.


    I'm also learning that there is no shortage of DIY lore,legend and wives tales connected to this subject. Let the buyer beware.
    Last edited by Mike50; 05-24-2006 at 12:33 PM.

  10. #40
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Shameless plug for a small publisher: Earlier in the thread you can order the book I spoke about.

    When ordering direct you also get a very nice bonus:
    A separate Maintainance folder for all your septic records. Every inch of the folder inside and out is covered all the professional advice posted here in the last couple weeks complete with drawings/diagrams.
    It even features a nice Grid pattern for you or your pumper to diagram exactly where your tank is in relation to your home/lot.

  11. #41
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike50
    I've read something similar but I still want to see the research on that.
    I also read that the only time that adding yeast would be beneficial is to a brand new tank. (??)

    My rule of thumb is still the "eat it first" rule in my little world.


    I'm also learning that there is no shortage of DIY lore,legend and wives tales connected to this subject. Let the buyer beware.
    About all that yeast will do is turn sugars into alcohol....but I wouldn't go trying to drink any of it.

  12. #42
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Thumbs up It's On..

    OK. All Permits approved and my property is marked so this time next week I will have a new 1000 gallon Concrete Septic Tank installed. Concrete with Rebar is relatively expensive.

    I plan on being here for a very long time and barring any leachfield issues-I won't have to worry about ever getting a new tank as long as I maintain it right.

    My tank is only about 5-10 feet down. I want some feedback as to whether I should spend the extra $ for a riser/manhole cover.

    I will not know the cost until the new tank is in the ground per septic contractor.
    I'm just thinking long term. Most people in my area do not bother with it.
    I suspect thats because Im in the high desert and the lot is at least 75% sand and small rock. It's not very difficult to dig here-I've planted enough
    large agave and cactus to know.

    It IS cheaper to have it installed Now.
    Should I get one and if so what would be a good price? Will it last for the lifetime of the tank. Any repair issues?
    The material is synthetic poly.

    One more opinion on the thread topic. My septic guy's family has been here in this business since 1922-that's a lot of experience.
    Additives of any kind are a "complete waste of time"...per him.

    Correction: This same Company claims there is no effect of soft water on septic tank action-contrary to an earlier expert opinion in this thread.
    Last edited by Mike50; 05-26-2006 at 08:58 AM.

  13. #43
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    My septic guy commented that it was nice to see everything was still working OK.

    "Im used to seeing situations where everything is blown up and sometimes where people have tried to DIY and it's all messed up"

    I have in fact had a couple people shocked that I would spend money on this as preventative maintainance. I'm one of those long term planning people...and quite frankly this might be the most potentially expensive thing I'll ever have to deal with here aside from the roof. And I didnt want to have this expense when I'm an old fart "retiree".
    So money I had earmarked for other cosmetic-landscaping is taking a back seat.

    By the time they hook up to the city sewer or this tank needs replacing I'll be pushing up daisies down there with my tank.

    I'm a former city boy here for 6 years and never had septic in my life so I've been thinking about this all the time and taking advice from knucklehead neighbors. I'm just grateful as hell I got the correct advice on this MB. You know who you are...

    Mike50

  14. #44
    vaplumber
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    Mike. You have done good with your system. I believe the new tank will probably out last all of us here. I agree with the additives being a waste of time. I have never seen evidence that they help at all. The yeast thing, as I stated earlier is just something that was preached to me over the years by instructors and the older folks. Ironic that at my age I can say older! We were always told to add yeast to a brand new system to help establish it. We were also told that it is not needed in a used system if you have it pumped because enough residual bacteria will remain on the tank floor to establish it self. I honestly do not know if yeast is any good in a new system or not. Kinda one of those things we do even though it has never proven itself. Also soft water does no harm at all to the system. It is really even better than hard water. Water becomes hard from dissolved minerals, and the harder the water is, the more minerals it dissolves and the faster it dissolves them, and the harder it becomes and so forth and so on. Concrete is loaded with limestone, and hard water only sees this lime as another mineral that it can dissolve. The only thing related to a softener that I have really seen evidence of doing damage in the concrete is the salt from the back washing of the softening equipment. I have opened hundreds of very young and short lived distribution boxes which were cracked and crumbling, and my first statement has always been "you have a water softener which discharges back wash into your tank" I almost always get a solid yes. I would direct my back wash line some place other than the septic tank. This makes perfect sense by reason also. If you live in an area where the winters are cold and icey, notice all of the road repairs, cement side walk repairs, and cement bridge repairs after a winter of salting them. Good luck with your new tank. You have done the right thing all the way around.
    Last edited by vaplumber; 05-26-2006 at 05:09 PM.

  15. #45
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abikerboy
    [...]... I did begin to use a monthly enzyme treatment, which caused expensive problems. According to four diff contractors, which I got estimates from, the treatments really do break up sludge. Problem there is that as the sludge is broken into smaller particles, it is allowed to float up into the exit baffle, and in turn is allowed into the drainfield, which cost me almost $7000 to repair.and my friends a favor![...]
    I think this is an important lesson/post that shouldn't get buried imo.
    Pros I've spoken with agree with the above.
    Maybe it will save someone some money.

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