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Old 02-03-2010, 12:09 PM   #1
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Septic tank questions.

We just moved to my husband's family property we inherited from his uncle. It is a beautiful place and is going to make a great farm etc. But we have to have a septic tank. I've never lived anywhere that I've had to have one so I know nothing about them. I understand the basics I think but would like to know more. The house we will be moving into will have to have a brand new one.

How environmentally friendly are they?
Are there any that are more enviro-friendly than others that we should buy?
How can we make it as friendly as possible?
Is there anything we should, should not put down the toilet?
What is a bleeder line and how does that affect the ground? What exactly is "bleeding".
If it leaks, what are the consequenses of that?
How environmentaly friendly is RidX? (I've heard you have to use this from time to time.)
Should we switch to family cloth? We've been back and forth on this, not very consistent with it.

Just some background info on us:
We wash with Charlie's Soap.
I use a mooncup so no tampons will be flushed.
I use bioKleen toilet bowl cleaner.

Thanks for the info!

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Last edited by weegrace; 02-03-2010 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:38 PM   #2
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Re: Septic tank questions.

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Originally Posted by weegrace View Post
We just moved to my husband's family property we inherited from his uncle. It is a beautiful place and is going to make a great farm etc. But we have to have a septic tank. I've never lived anywhere that I've had to have one so I know nothing about them. I understand the basics I think but would like to know more. The house we will be moving into will have to have a brand new one.

How environmentally friendly are they?
Are there any that are more enviro-friendly than others that we should buy?
How can we make it as friendly as possible?
Is there anything we should, should not put down the toilet?
What is a bleeder line and how does that affect the ground? What exactly is "bleeding".
If it leaks, what are the consequenses of that?
How environmentaly friendly is RidX? (I've heard you have to use this from time to time.)
Should we switch to family cloth? We've been back and forth on this, not very consistent with it.

Just some background info on us:
We wash with Charlie's Soap.
I use a mooncup so no tampons will be flushed.
I use bioKleen toilet bowl cleaner.

Thanks for the info!

It's what we have, and we have no problem with putting tp down it. We just use the recycled stuff, not the super-fluffy stuff. It all says "septic tank safe" but it's a lot harder to break down. Rid-X is mostly bacteria and enzymes, and we've found it works well to maintain the bacteria in the tank. You will still need to have it pumped, though, depending upon the age. Ours is pretty old, since we live in an old farmhouse, but it works very well.

I like it because the water goes back into the system and is filtered through the soil, not dumped after chemical treatments. The bacteria break down the solid waste/paper and the rest is filtered through pipes, then through the ground/soil. We have very sandy soil here, and have never had issue with the ground getting soggy. If it leaks, you're leaking human waste above the ground potentially. So make sure you keep it pumped--we do it every year, but newer tanks won't need as much maintenance.

The biggest problem is roots and grasses getting into the lines. That can break pipes and cause a LOT of nastiness. I would suggest finding a good septic guy in your area and having them come look at the system, make sure it's adequate for your needs and see if it needs maintenance now. Good luck!
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:38 PM   #3
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Re: Septic tank questions.

I agree with the PP.

It is probably actually better for the "environment" than a regular sewer system. We haven't had any issues with ours. We have been here 6 years. We replaced the tank - because it was rusty with holes (just remembered this) before we moved in. We maybe have had it cleaned once since then (but I don't actually remember if we have). Our gravel lines are a little too close to the surface. In the summer you can see where the gravel lines are because it is green there and the rest of the lawn is brown. ( For the most part people in Oregon don't water in the summer they just let their lawns die). But my DH reworked out yard last summer and added more topsoil so hopefully it won't get the tread marks this summer.

The lines that go out from the tank are your "leach lines". Stuff is supposed to leak out and go out. If it leaks then that would be a problem with your tank. Our new tank has worked really well. I can't remember if it is plastic or concrete?

The people before us didn't have a garbage disposal, but we installed one and have never had an issue. I wash a ton (cloth diaper 3), and don't get special tp. It was really a pretty easy transition.
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Last edited by fish3737; 02-03-2010 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:14 PM   #4
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Re: Septic tank questions.

We have an aerobic system, so instead of lines, we have three sprinklers that we use to water our grass. It comes on at midnight (that is a setting, not the required time.) It has an aerator that mixes up the stuff and helps it break down faster. We have to put chlorine bleach in it once per month, about one gallon, maybe. The chlorine helps the odor, etc. We don't have any issues with it, although we have had aerator issues in the past....but I think that was a brand specific thing and has since been fixed. We have lived here two years and have never had to do anything other than the bleach and the aerator repair, as mentioned earlier. We will eventually have to have it pumped, but I would guess that will be once every 5 years or so????

My only issue is the when we first moved it, our kids had no idea what it was and played in it one day! Yuck! I mean I know it's really just gray water, but still YUCK! I love to tease them about the pee water!
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