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Country Discussion Topics
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Worried about ol' Seppy    Posted 11-18-2003 at 14:51:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Can someone tell me the intervals in which a septic tank needs to be pumped. Ours is about 3 years old and has never been touched. Just two people living in the house right now. It's a 1200 gallon tank. I've read horror stories about going out with a stick and shoving it done in the tank and measuring the scum, water, and sediment layers but this has me just a little "grossed" out. I'd rather go by time if that is possible. Do you all use a septic additive? I heard they can do more harm than good....Thanks for any input.


Bob with septic    Posted 11-19-2003 at 07:06:16       [Reply]  [Send Email]
There are certainly diverse opinions as to pump out or not here ;-) I tend to agree with the maintain and leave it alone opinions. It is easier, cheaper and less to think about ;-) We are and have been very careful about what we send down to the tank. We have had many years of problemless septic use (with a number of systems). I think one should NOT have a garbage disposal or treat their system to harsh chemicals. This is probably more important than how often you pump or whether you do at all. It is always a challenge to have city folks visit where upon we must impart some septic system rules ;-)


I'm amazed!    Posted 11-19-2003 at 04:24:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
At some of the posts. The fact is that very little decomposition occurs in a septic tank because anaerobic bacteria live there and they are not terribly efficient at breaking down solid waste. If you don't get rid of the solids, eventually enough builds up and has no place to go but run into the pipe to the drainfield and cause it to fail...that's the leading cause of septic failure. How often you pump depends on a lot of factors including size of the tank, number of users, and how careful the household is with the septic (i.e. what they throw into that tank!).

Septic systems must be pumped periodically if you want to extend the life of your drainfield. I'm posting a link to a chart that gives pretty good guidelines based on a number of factors. Bottom line is, you *can* go for a long, long time without pumping in some situations but as soon as you go too long you will cause your drainfield to fail.

Tom A


Joe Dirt    Posted 11-19-2003 at 04:42:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
That's what I thought. But I wasn't sure. I only know what I've seen. The system in my parents house was put in way before my time.(I'm 28)When I was at home yet there was 6 of us and we had to pump it every year. It went 3 years once and the pumper guy broke his stir stick trying to mix it up so he could pump! My mound system is 6 years old and has been pumped twice. We are required to pump every 3 years.


Wm. from NC    Posted 11-19-2003 at 02:24:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
I agree with some of the other posts. I have worked with wastewater for 27 years. If your system is "doing it's thing", leave it alone. The worst thing you can do, is to upset the balance of food to organisms. It takes a while to get this balance, and if you pump out every three years, you are not going to achieve any kind of balance. The worst thing to cause problems is grease. Do NOT put grease into the system. It can block the inflow and outflow lines. Then you have problems!There are organisms that will eat away the grease, but you will have to add them to the system. They can be pricey. If the system is working, leave it alone.


Taylor Lambert    Posted 11-18-2003 at 21:13:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
I install septic tanks, and the best thing to do is to leave them alone I do ocasionally flush some yeast or riddex to acelerate bacteria. Weve lived here 21 yars and not had to pum the tank we did have to replace it wne the metal one collapsed. usually if one quits its the field lines have saturated which is rare here. We just put in another set of lines elsewhere.


Joe Dirt    Posted 11-18-2003 at 18:57:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
To you guys who have never pumped your sewers...

... Don't you people poop?


Sorry, going to my corner now. :>(


Greg F.    Posted 11-18-2003 at 18:24:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
Where we are the county tells us to pump every three years. We have lived here for 10 years and only had it done one time. We do use additives on a monthly basis. Maybe Iím a sucker but it seems to work. The company I buy the additives from is out of Florida. They claim if I ever have a problem as long as I using their product they will pay for it. This includes pumping, new drain field, and clogged pipes. They claim that their product will deal with grease, antibacterial soaps, and petroleum based products. Sounded good to me. I donít know if it is worth the money but we have not had any issues. Our washer, shower, sinks, and everything else runs in the system. Our county will not allow any gray water outside the system.


RayP(MI)    Posted 11-18-2003 at 18:20:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
No set hard and fast rule. Depends on size of tank, size of family, loading (what all gets dumped in tank). Suggest you contact your local extension office for information. Regarding additives, septic tanks run on naturally occuring bacteria - which will multiply to keep up with the food supply. No need to use additives. These bacteria eat the waste products and convert them into soluble nutrients that get carried out with the water into the drain field. Reason for pumping tank is to remove nondigestable solids which settle to the bottom of the tank - such things as dirt off the veggies washed in the sink, etc. If you allow these solids to build up too much, they will fill the tank to the outlet, and flow into drain field, plugging it. That is a nasty problem. You really should have tank pumped at regular intervals to protect your drain field. Now to set some other myths to rest: Reasonable amounts of bleach and detergents in the laundry are not a problem. Grease can plug up the drain lines, but bacteria can eat them in the tank. Septic tanks thrive on water flow, and all your grey water can be sent to them as well. (If the drain field can handle them.)


Pitch    Posted 11-18-2003 at 16:29:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
Our old house had a 750 gal tank we lived there for fourteen years and had it pumped once. Our new house has a 1200 gal but we have only ben here a year. I have heard that those additives are a total waste of money but who really knows.


Willy-N    Posted 11-18-2003 at 16:28:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
My first place went over 15 years and I do not know if it was ever pumped, 2nd place went 9 1/2 years and was pumped because we had to, to sell it but it realy did not need it. Our new place it has been 7 years and it will be a while befor we do it cause it works just great. We do not put the wrong things in it and NO additives at all! All depends or how you use or abuse your system. Mark H.


Fawteen    Posted 11-18-2003 at 15:29:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
With a decent tank, a good drain field, some common sense and a little luck....NEVER! Or nearly so, anyway. The tank here was put in when my wife bought the house in 1965, and has never been pumped.

We don't use any additives, but we also don't run grease and food scraps down the kitchen drain, and our washing machine goes into a dry well. Other gray water runs into the septic with no apparent ill effects.

Personally, I suspect pumping a tank too often inhibits the bacterial process that breaks down the solids anyway.


slim    Posted 11-19-2003 at 06:30:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
My mother's was put in in 1951. It has been pumped once. It didn't need it then. They had a problem with an odor in their house. Smelled like propane. The propane man convinced them it was the septic tank. They had it pumped and the pumper said it didn't need it. They got another propane man out and guess what? It was a propane leak.

later

slim


4020dt    Posted 11-19-2003 at 07:10:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
Put one in here too in very early '50's , never has been pumped . Still working good .


Fresh water    Posted 11-18-2003 at 17:23:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
DO you know the fine for putting anything in a dry well. Don't tell your story in town........


Fawteen    Posted 11-18-2003 at 17:40:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
Depends on where yer from. Not everywhere has been legislated to death. Yet.


dig    Posted 11-18-2003 at 15:42:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Same as ours. It was put in in 1966 when the house was remodeled and has never been pumped. A friend of mine is a plumber and he says it takes at least 3 years for the bacteria to get established and doing a good job. But you're supposed to have the tank pumped every 3 years. So the bacteria never really get established. But the company that sells you the bacteria starter makes money.


Pigster    Posted 11-18-2003 at 15:02:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here in Wisconsin we had a mound system put in when we bought the place(old system failing). At that time a stipulation when "they" issued the permit was that the systym be pumped every three years. When the time comes we get a postcard in the mail that must be completed by a licensed waste hauler stating that he has pumped and inspected the system.

With this regular maintainence we haven't had any trouble at all and we don't use any additives although around here people claim value for about anything from the commercial additives to yeast to beer to cheese to rotted meat.

My humble opinion is that what you don't put into your system(things that will kill the bacteria) is more important than adding a witches brew in hopes of improving what nature has already got going to near perfection.


deadcarp    Posted 11-18-2003 at 18:35:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
spot on neighbor! best thing to do with a working septic system is exactly nothing! i will put in a small plug for that Roebic stuff though: our system was pretty gummed up in 1990, i asked around and my cousin recommended it so what's $6?
we had the pumper truck out once, the thing started working again and i flushed roebic down there and forgot about it. we got about 3 feet of snow in the yard, but the tank was so warm and active that it stayed melted over that septic tank right thru til spring - that tells me something did something so good enough. been working okay since - i have another jug downstairs if it starts backing up again :)


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