What not to put in your septic tank

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Mike50, May 18, 2006.

  1. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Southern California
    Excerpts from>The Septic System Owners Manual< (Kahn,Allen,Jones)

    1. Drano, Liquid Plumber, or any lye based chemicals.

    2.Oven-Off or any other strong cleaning agents (although home photo lab rinse waters are considered fairly safe.

    3. Root deterent or any product containing copper sulfate. Commonly sold in hardware stores,these products may kill clogging roots but by the same token will kill the beneficial living microorganisms in your system.

    4. Septic system additives, especially enzymes.

    Responding to the belief held by many septic tank owners that adding cakes of baking yeast is beneficial, John H. Timothy Winneberger, Ph.D., a well known septic systems pioneer, said the only way yeast could benefit a septic tank is if "you eat it first."

    Chapter 4 summary-Down the Drain

    To sum it up, there are many steps you can take on a day-to-day basis to promote a healthy system and to prevent system failure:

    *Install a low flow toilet and/or low flow shower head.

    *Use a graywater system for laundry and/or bath wastewater.

    *Don't allow taps to run. Fix leaky taps

    *Wash dishes economically

    *Don't use a garbage disposal. Compost your kitchen waste if possible.

    *Don't put anything other than toilet paper down the toilet drain.

    *Minimize bleach and other chlorine products.

    *Don't put unnessary dirt or sand down the drain.

    *Use bio-degradable soaps.


    The book further goes on to cite a study from the Univessity of Arkansas at Little Rock:

    Results showed that an excessive amount of any of the cleaners and disinfectants applied in a slug loading (all at once) was required to kill the bacteria in the septic tank. However after normal septic system usage, the bacterial population recovered to it's original concentration within hours.
    In other words, although under extreme stress and shock loading conditions, the bacteria can be destroyed, rejuvenation does occur within hours. {end.}

    I'm not saying this is gospel-you should always take internet advice with a grain of salt in applying it to your particular and unique situation.
    Lloyd Kahn contradicts himself in saying that no chemicals should be put down the drain---but OTOH he cites the study showing that septic systems mend themselves within hours after application.

    I highly recommend this well illustrated, wise and humorous book.
    Lloyd Kahn has quite a unique resume.
    Last edited: May 18, 2006
  2. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Riverview, Fl.
    Thanks for that Mike. I will send this on to the wifey. Maybe she will quit dosing me with that chlorinie stinkie stuff in the bathroom all the time.

  3. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Does the book say whether a septic tank fully decompose and render untraceable a human body?

    Hypothetically speaking...
  4. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Riverview, Fl.
    Has this got anything to do with Jimmy Hoffa?
  5. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Southern California
    From TSSOM:

    SAND & DIRT:

    "Anyone or anything that is really dirty should be hosed outside to keep sand and excess dirt out of the drain. Sand is a special problem. A tank inspector in a beach town has found up to a foot of sand in the bottom of tanks. Pumpers can't get this sand out of their trucks, so they are reluctant to pump it from your tank. Someone can go and shovel it out but this is a DANGEROUS practice! A self contained breathing apoparatus is a must. Best not to let it get into the tank in the first place."


    "Spread water usage out to maintain adequate retention time an avoid overwhelming the system. Don't do four loads of wash in a row-it's a tremendous volume of water for the system all at once. Don't have three people taking consecutive showers and someone else doing the dishes all at the same time."


    1. Minimize the liquid load
    2. Minimize the solid load
    3. Watch what goes down the drain
    Last edited: May 18, 2006
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