septic tank enzymes

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ann Mary, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've read that there other "homeade" enzymes that can be put down your pipes instead of the expensive store-bought ones to help eat the bad stuff in the septic tank but I was wondring what they are and how much and how often. I think one of them was sour milk???? :help: Any body know about these things?
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    B as in B, S as in S......

    If it makes you feel better, throw a head of cabbage or a dead chicken in your spetic tank.
     

  3. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Ordinary baking yeast is said to improve the situtation but I don't know for sure.
     
  4. crashy

    crashy chickaholic goddess

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    I agree!! If you think you need to dump something down there get those little yeast cakes and flush a few of them.
    I have heard its just a tale but I follow these rules just cuz I can:use bleach sparringly and dont use a garbage disposal. But I know of folks who do both with no problems.
     
  5. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    I've lived with a septic tank most of my life. We really didn't worry about it too much. As long as you don't put nasty chemicals into it they generally do fine. The one I currently have drains water from the washing machine into the septic tank. I don't like that at all! I think all that soap helps to kill the necessary bacteria. Sometimes Granny would flush a packet of yeast down the toilet that had gone out of date to help things along.
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Waste of time & money in most cases.....

    A septic system is like your tummy. It is a closed system, lets solids & liquids in, it digests the solids into _alomst_ nothing, lets the liquids out into the leach field to soak away.

    Just like your tummy, it works _just great_ all on it's own, with the little microbs that are already there. Adding more microbs does not help do a thing, unless something has gone wrong to upset & kill the microbs that are already there. Adding stuff has no value on a good working system, and adding stuff to a system that got messed up is a band-aid approach. Would be much better to correct the problem in the first place (less harsh chemicals, less clear water, etc.

    Now, over time there are a lot of solids that go down the drain that just can't be digested away - grease is very slow to digest, dirt particals, wood & cotton fibers, sand, iron filings, and so on. Over a period of years, these items settle in the bottom of the septic tank - not harming anything, but slowly filling it up. If you never pump your tank, eventually these settlings will overfill your tank, and spill out into the leach field. This will quickly plug up the leach lines, and your whole septic system is destroyed.

    So, best thing you can do for a septic system is to not feed it much harsh chemicals, not overload it with pure water, pump the tank every 2-5 years (depending on size & number of people using it), and otherwise just leave it alone. It won't need or use any of the majik powder yeasts beyond what it already has from your morning toilet flushes - that is all it needs to keep itself working all by itself. :)

    --->Paul
     
  7. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Bacteria are the decomposers in septic tanks. Yeast is a mold (fungus). The function of yeast is to convert carbohydrates (sugar) to carbon dioxide and alcohol. If yeast really worked in septic tanks, it would kill off all of the tank’s beneficial bacteria due to its production of alcohol.
     
  8. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, we live in an area with alot of field water run-off and it seems to always head in the direction of our septic tank no matter how we try to divert it....it's underground so that makes it hard to change the course of. Had the tank pumped last fall but already water is backing up into the basement drain...no tree roots around...have run the washing machine out on the lawn all summer, don't have a disposal except the featherd kind and don't use harsh chemicals and have a low-flush toilet and use the outhouse alot. So...??? We will be renting a "snake" soon to see if it is a line to the septic but just wanted to know if there was something else that would help out. thanks!
     
  9. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Chances are your septic tank is just working fine. It is more likely that your drainfield is either clogged with solids or submerged in water…in either case, your wastewater has no place to go.
     
  10. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You are saying your septic tank is either water-logged from too much surface water in the tank or in the leach field. Or, perhaps a line is clogged somewhere forcing the water to backup.

    There is nothing an ensyme or yeast can do to help that problem. Nothing at all.

    The water must be diverted; The clog must be removed; or a new system must be built on more apporpriate land.

    Your problem is not the digestion, but in too much water or a plug.

    Need to fix the problem. I know, the commercials on TV make their majik powder sound so nice. But, it won't help your problem one bit.

    --->Paul
     
  11. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    I was reading the book my Mom just got me, "1001 secret household formulas & money saving tips" and it says to add warm water, yeast and baking soda to the flush to keep healthy bacteria flowing. Wasn't that the question asked?
    I am so over all you negos yelling at people when they ask questions on this board. (Or know it alls)
     
  12. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thank you sullen for the tip...and I will try it just in case it might help even though the "evidence" is against it.??? I realize that the water is the problem but but when there is nothing short of lots of $$$ and more acreage( we don't have anywhere else to move the septic) to solve this kind of problem I am willing to try a little yeast and baking soda "just in case". We live in the middle of wheat fields and it is odd to have a problem like this but none the less we happen to be where the fields all send their underground water whether we want it or not. Hopefully the "snake" will be able to take care of the problem as it stands right now.
     
  13. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ok, fine. But, how does that help solve the problem of a water-flooded septic system that backs water into the house???????

    And, what does the yeast do to help a septic system when bacteria is what does the work, not sugar-eating yeast?

    Baking soda will change the ph if you use enough, but is that needed - and how much would you need to make a difference in a 500 gal plus tank? It may help a bit with odors in the drain you put it in....

    Warm water - if you have cast iron pipe, a quart or 2 of warm water will be cold by the time it leaves the house, much less getting any heat to the 500 gallon plus septic tank.

    So, what good does that household tip actually do?

    Not trying to be negative. Not at all. Trying to help solve the problem is all. This person has a problem, and asked about it. Good for them. Hard to do sometimes, and really hard to ask about things that we don't understand - hard to know what is the important info that helps solve the problem, or where the problem really is.

    If I ask a question, I much much prefer knowledgeble people trying to help solve the problem. Not worthless tips that do not help.

    Due to written word, and the need to be brief, that sometimes comes across as short, or stern - or somehow negative? It's not intended as such. Just how internet forum communication is.

    Me, I'd rather have real honest help to my questions - even if it turns out my question was all wrong. :) I _always_ appreciate the attempt to help and inform me.

    Hopefully the person asking these questions does as well. Even if, in this case, the solutions are not as easy or as simple as hoped for.

    Obviously a knowledgeble local septic installer can do a _much_ better job diagnosing these issues. But, that costs money, and time. Nice that people try to figure out how things work themselves, and bless the people that take time to try to help out, blinded by distance & lack of info or not.

    For me, your message was the only negative one I've seen here. JMHO, and we all can have our own opinions, no prob. :)

    --->Paul
     
  14. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Oh no, the secret is out! warm water + yeast + baking soda = a working septic system.
    (Can you hear me smacking my forehead with the palm of my hand?)
     
  15. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Whoops... I know my septic tank was inspected and pumped when I bought this place 9 years ago. Shortly afterwards, I dug the lid up one time and opened it and had a look inside (never seen a septic tank before, wanted to see what it looks like). Closed it up again, covered the lid with dirt again, and haven't touched it since. No plumbing problems here - but then this is a pretty dry area for most of the year, and the monsoon season doesn't seem to affect the system at all.

    'Course, I also don't use bleach, and rarely any harsh cleaners... they'd probably make a difference. As it is, the system seems to take care of itself.
     
  16. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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    We built our house 18 years ago. So we've been the only ones to use the septic. It's NEVER been pumped. It's never backed up. I use bleach in my laundry, I use bleach to clean all of my bathrooms, rinse out my dishwasher and other things. My dh is a master plumber, he will pour, very slowly and carefully, muratic acid down a commode every few years to clean it if he thinks calcium is building up too much in it. Still no problems with the septic. Your tank is closed, it's a big concrete box, how is water getting into it from the ground? You might have a problem with your drainfields like CF said, not your septic tank. You do not need to add anything to it. If it backs up because the bacteria has been killed off, you will have to dig it up and open it up to get bacteria back in it. Adding stuff down the drain won't help. Mostly, you don't have to worry about a septic system. The guys on here are telling you the truth.
     
  17. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Shagbark,etc: hopefully I never gave anyone the impression that you never have to worry about a septic system. A septic systems has to be maintain and periodically serviced (pumped). A septic tank is not a closed box. It has an outlet. The outlet goes to the drainfield. Water can get into your septic tank if the drainfield floods or the watertable rises to a point higher than the pipe in the drainfield. If your drainfield is plugged with sludge (from never having pumped out your septic tank in 18 years…ahem), then the wastewater will not leave the septic tank because it has no where to go. Once your drainfield is plugged with sludge from never pumping the septic tank, it’s too late to fix it! There is no way to get that sludge out of the drainfield.
     
  18. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've often found it interesting that folks that ran aquaculture systems were well versed on the use of enzymes in breaking down poop and maintaining a good working system. Yet those in the septic business insists this never works, and that only given them money to pump your tank is the only proper care. Enough to make me skeptical. Having had aquariums and observed what would take place in them when I would add a pinch of rid-x, I'm seen it work well.

    Had a funny one awhile ago with the inlaws in this. They've used rid-x on their system, had it in place for over 30 years without mainenance. Friend of theirs is a septic fella. He had an absolute screaming tantrum about BS, you've had it pumped, it's backed up, it's failed, etc. Father-in-law, being a calm person, invited him over to come inspect the tank for himself. Which he did. Infuriated him that the tank was fine, didn't need pumping, and was working fine with rid-x. He still mutters that my father-in-law secretly has his tank pumped. Seems septic experts can't learn or acept truths.

    As for being underwater, mine has been underwater for many years. Works just fine that way. Having your leach field under water does not actually equate to failure of the system.
     
  19. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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    I understand what you are saying. Carefully using your septic tank prevents that from happening, like not dumping grease down the drains, which keeps the solids below the level of the outlet pipe.If the bacteria is working fine, then the sludge should be dissoveling. But rain falling down on your ground will not enter the tank itself is what I am saying. Yes,your field could get clogged and this would cause back up into the tank. Or the lines could get run over by someone who didn't listen to you when you told him not to drive his bulldozer on the drain fields and then he crushed your pipes causing backup and the necessity of diggin up the pipes and replacing them. :D But we don't pump because it has not been necessary. Dh's dad, also a master plumber never pumped his, which he installed himself, for 30 years. But he also never let his wife dump grease down the drain,or have a disposal or flush mice down the commode. Which is the #1 clogger of commodes. And I don't mean little furry mice. This is a woman problem. :eek: All of the plumbers hate augging mice out of the toilet. Then the woman says, "I never did that, I don't know how it got in the toilet." And the guys are thinking, "Yeah, I just bet your husband did it" LOL
     
  20. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    mary, what is it that backs up through your basement drain? Septic water or just water? If it's just water, it doesn't have anything to do with the septic.


    Also, rather than try to divert surface water away from your tank by digging ditches, divert the water by building soil up. Basically construct a mound of soil shaped like a mountain ridge, but low and wide. Water will hit the "foothills" and be diverted along the base. I built these in my yard where people walk. They're wide and low enough that people don't even notice them. But when it rains, the water follows them around and away from my house.