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Thread: Bio Additives/Enzymes for Septic Tanks

  1. #16
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass
    It should last 30 years if installed correctly and you don't experience any direct hits from earthquakes.

    LOL. I knew someone would say that.


    This place is nuts. 5 months ago I start posting here..right?

    Now I have an Aquia...A Dremel....and very soon a fancy 3 thousand dollar septic tank. It's not right I tell ya!
    Last edited by Mike50; 05-14-2006 at 05:43 PM.

  2. #17
    vaplumber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike50
    Will it last 30+ years is my question? Any brands or designs to avoid if possible. Experience with root growth?

    Any other information about installation and features is appreciated.

    Mike50
    Mike, you are making the right choice. A concrete tank should last for 30 to 50 years and probably much longer. There are a few here locally that are going into their mid 60's and are in great shape. With roots, you should have no problem unless there is a leak. Roots only seek out moisture that they can sense, and will not bother the concrete if it doesnt leak. A good suggestion for you concerns the inlet baffle. The outlet baffle has a tail piece that extends down into the tank, but most installers here locally only use a simple pvc tee on the inlet. Ask your installer to add the tail piece extension to the inlet side. This will help prevent stirring of the septage as more enters the tank. You posted earlier that it is just yourself on the tank, and that you do not put certain things in your tank; in regards to this, your 6 years probably wasnt all that bad then. I would suggest pumping every four years, and if you add a member to your family, back it down a year. When you do your first pumpout of your new tank, your pumper can tell you if you are safe to go longer, or if you should service it sooner. If you have a disposer on your kitchen sink, I would suggest every two years. They create a lot of small particulate matter which is light and easily flushed into the drainfield. Best of luck with your undertaking!

  3. #18
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vaplumber
    Mike, you are making the right choice. A concrete tank should last for 30 to 50 years and probably much longer. There are a few here locally that are going into their mid 60's and are in great shape. With roots, you should have no problem unless there is a leak. Roots only seek out moisture that they can sense, and will not bother the concrete if it doesnt leak. A good suggestion for you concerns the inlet baffle. The outlet baffle has a tail piece that extends down into the tank, but most installers here locally only use a simple pvc tee on the inlet. Ask your installer to add the tail piece extension to the inlet side. This will help prevent stirring of the septage as more enters the tank. You posted earlier that it is just yourself on the tank, and that you do not put certain things in your tank; in regards to this, your 6 years probably wasnt all that bad then. I would suggest pumping every four years, and if you add a member to your family, back it down a year. When you do your first pumpout of your new tank, your pumper can tell you if you are safe to go longer, or if you should service it sooner. If you have a disposer on your kitchen sink, I would suggest every two years. They create a lot of small particulate matter which is light and easily flushed into the drainfield. Best of luck with your undertaking!

    Thanks. I will mention the tail piece extension. I have a 750 gallon tank now, and I wondering if I should upgrade to a 1000 gallon + or...? Are you familiar with
    the price breaks? I live on an acre so space isn't an issue here.

    M.

  4. #19
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    If you have the $$ a larger tank is better. It will give you more time between pumpings.

  5. #20
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    I have been on septics all my long life and never had any problems until I moved to this house five years ago. Pumped twice in 4 years because it completely stopped up with sludge. (Looks like soap scum) I also installed a new drain field.

    The pumper guy said a lot of the problem was using Charmin. He said Charmin and a few other papers don't break down like the cheaper brands. He said never put towlets, paper towels etc. in the tank.

    Years ago, I rented a cottage from my Grandparents. This place was 40+ years old. The soil was all sand and drained well. One day the toilet didn't flush, period; it just would not go down. I dug up the tank (after a lot of digging) and found a 120 gallon oil drum on end. I had to open the end with an ax. It had never been pumped. It also has no drain field. Ah the good old days.

    bob...

  6. #21
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump
    The pumper guy said a lot of the problem was using Charmin. He said Charmin and a few other papers don't break down like the cheaper brands. He said never put towlets, paper towels etc. in the tank...


    bob...
    Well thats interesting but conflicts with information garnered from several professional sources. One happens to tout the "Charmin *Plus*" as one of the more desirable brands. They are all biodegradable is my understanding.
    So..I guess the jury is still out and there are variables involved as well.

    Kleenex and baby wipes are also proven to be detrimental I believe.
    Maybe someone else will weigh in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cass
    If you have the $$ a larger tank is better. It will give you more time between pumpings.
    You betcha. My estimate was done yesterday and much to my surprise
    the price break from 750 to 1000 or from 1000 to 1250 is really Cheap.
    In my case I'm trading up to the Concrete (with rebar) 1000 from my current 750 metal and the price difference is 80 dollars. Go figure.

    I'll blog the progress of this for anyone reading who might be thinking of
    getting a replacement tank.

    Is concrete expensive? relatively yes. But my thinking is this: Why not do this once and for all in the 2-4K range as opposed to 20 years from now when maybe it could cost 20 grand (concrete) for example. Do any of us know for sure what kind of financial shape we will be in 20 years from now-not really. Stuff happens. This is my thinking.
    It's doable now....
    The Leach field is another story and unknowable until they dig or your system gets fried.
    By the time this system fails (If it ever does)--no doubt we will probably be on a city sewer line after the Yuppies invade. heh.

    Another think I've learned is that not all concrete tanks are created equal.
    Some are not made with Rebar.

    In the coming week(s) I expect the county guys out here with cans of orange spray paint letting us know where we can/can't dig. That's where we are now.

    M.
    Last edited by Mike50; 05-16-2006 at 10:19 AM.

  7. #22
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Check out the toilet paper poll

    Some papers have too much cotton content.
    They plug toilets and they don't break down.

  8. #23
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Terry]Check out the toilet paper poll


    Well, there you go.
    I will just be sure to only use 1 ply from here on out. thanks Terry.
    Last edited by Mike50; 05-16-2006 at 10:42 AM.

  9. #24
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    I do have a dumb question. When ever I hear about Leachfields that have "gone south" I hear figures like 6-7 thousand thrown around to repair them---where do these numbers come from...?

    Those are big numbers.

  10. #25
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abikerboy
    When they "repaired" mine, the repair meant that they dug up my back yard and put in a completely new drainfield. Mine cost me $7000 for two reasons. First was the new drainfield has 12 lines that are 100 feet long each. Second reason, the ground wouldnt pass a perk test, so they dug out a huge bed, filed it with gravel and sand, and laid the new lines on top of this, and then backfilled with top soil. Seems kinda overkill to me though, this is the way that the health dept said it had to be done. Not much I could do about it, so no sweat!
    Rob
    Yowsa. 100 feet. I had no idea. The health dept. regulations/enforcement are becoming all to apparent. In my case this lot is in fact all coarse sand, small rock. It's a challenge to keep any soil moist for long here for gardening purposes. I'll go so far as to say that for 9 months out of the year-Nothing stays wet here for very long at all. Last summer we had one day where the mercury hit 124.

    That being said we Do have excessive hard water/mineral deposit issues.

    I was told they will find out status of my Leach field when the new tank is installed. All I can do is hope for the best at this juncture.
    Last edited by Mike50; 05-17-2006 at 12:30 PM.

  11. #26
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    small publisher direct:
    http://www.shelterpub.com/

    Answer to original question from one source:
    (edited)

    Septic system additives, especially enzymes:

    "You don't need to add enzymes; they're naturally present in the sewage. Beware of telemarketers or ads hawking additives claiming to avoid tank pumping.
    They actually break down the scum and sludge into small particles, which are then readily flushed out into the drainfield,increasing possibility of premature drainfield failure."

    *The Septic System Owners Manual* (Kahn) chapter 4. down the drain
    Last edited by Mike50; 05-17-2006 at 06:43 PM.

  12. #27
    vaplumber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike50
    http://www.shelterpub.com/

    Answer to original question from one source:
    (edited)

    Septic system additives, especially enzymes:

    "You don't need to add enzymes; they're naturally present in the sewage. Beware of telemarketers or ads hawking additives claiming to avoid tank pumping.
    They actually break down the scum and sludge into small particles, which are then readily flushed out into the drainfield,increasing possibility of premature drainfield failure."

    *The Septic System Owners Manual* (Kahn) chapter 4. down the drain
    This is my belief too. Im not saying that they dont help. Ive just never saw any evidence that they do.

  13. #28
    vaplumber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike50
    Thanks. I will mention the tail piece extension. I have a 750 gallon tank now, and I wondering if I should upgrade to a 1000 gallon + or...? Are you familiar with
    the price breaks? I live on an acre so space isn't an issue here.

    M.
    I would go to a 1000 or possibly a 1250. There is no use going any larger and in fact larger could cause other issues like sludge piling. Here in Virginia there is very little pricing dif between the sizes. Some of the contractors are using plastic or fibreglass tanks now but I would not recomend them. Some makers tell you that when pumping the tank that you must fill the empty tank with water to avoid a collapse.

  14. #29
    vaplumber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike50
    Yowsa. 100 feet. I had no idea. The health dept. regulations/enforcement are becoming all to apparent. In my case this lot is in fact all coarse sand, small rock. It's a challenge to keep any soil moist for long here for gardening purposes. I'll go so far as to say that for 9 months out of the year-Nothing stays wet here for very long at all. Last summer we had one day where the mercury hit 124.

    That being said we Do have excessive hard water/mineral deposit issues.

    I was told they will find out status of my Leach field when the new tank is installed. All I can do is hope for the best at this juncture.
    If you use a water softener I might suggest draining your backwash line into a seperate drywell. The backwash is mostly salt brine and salt is hard on concrete. I havent saw much actual tank damage here from water softeners, but 9 out of 10 homes that I have worked on with water softeners I have found the cement distributor boxes crumbled and cracked.

  15. #30
    vaplumber
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    A story that I shall tell for amusement; Back when I was still doing some sewer and septic work I was called out to unclog a line. We ran the length of the line, and located the tank. When we dug up the tank it was so full that the water had pushed the lids up and was bubbling out as we dug. We pumped down the tank and had some slight backflow from the drainfield so we set or sights on exploring the drainfield. There were no records or diagrams recorded that we could use so we ran the line again and followed it to the drainfield location. We also discovered a delapitated line and decided to replace the entire line hoping that would be our fix. As we dug into the drainfield, we discovered the drainfield was only an old VW bug burried in the ground with the line run through a broken window and the old car had filled up with sludge, mud and obvious past cave ins that had been backfilled and leveled out over the years! It still amazed me to this day that there were no wet spots in the yard above the drainfield/car!

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