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This past weekend I have connected my mobile home to a new septic tank. I have never used a septic tank before and was wondering what are the do's and don't associated with being a new septic owner. I've been told (by a city boy) that I need to add some type of starter to the tank to begin the bacteria activity. Is this true, if so what do I use. Also I need to know what NOT to put in the system, like bleach or other harsh chemicals. What would I use to clean the toilet with or to clean out a slow sink drain. Thanks in advance.
 

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Keep in mind what it's for , black water(toilet), and grey water( sinks/showers/laundry ).

If you have a garbage disposal on your sink, it is not the best for a septic system, unless you have a trap in the 4" inspection pipe in the tanks, then you have the dubious honor of cleaning the debris out, ewww, far better to scrape your plates into the garbage than down the drain. Oils, fats, and the like from cooking, will thicken in the system and can clog the drain field over a period of years, then the tanks will back up and you have a mess, again, drain oils/fats off into a container that can go in the trash.

The slow drains that you brought up, that is because of physical blockage, learn to clean the drain stopper of the hair ball that eventually forms, and learn to remove the P-Trap if necessary to access and clear the blockage. Chemicals to clear slow drains are not a good idea anyway, personal experience has shown me how bad they eat away plumbing parts.

Flushable products; wet wipes, toilet cleaning pads/rags, feminine hygene products, paint from the brush, etc.... not into the septic tank, they don't break down as advertised, I've had the joyous task of cleaning that stuff out of macerators, even 6months later after being shredded, it still wasn't broken down and can still clog the system.

The longest septic system in good running condition without any treatments/pump-outs or repairs, that I know of was still in use after 45 years with concsiencous use.

THe shortest running septic system, 2years, city habits in a brand new home brought out to the country, leach field failed and the yard/landscaping had to be dug up, new leach field plumbed out, $$$thousands of dollars worth of preventable damage.

Just keep in mind what it's there for, and you will get many years of trouble free usage out of it.

Have had our conventional septic since '99 and by state requirement it has been inspected every 3years and the inspector gives it a clean bill of health, with many years of use if we continue our habits.
Have been around marine septic systems since '95, they require tighter usage habits to keep healthy.
 

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Or are you just new to the tank?
If it is a new system. Oldtimers swear the best way to get a system started off right.. Is to toss a dead cat in to the tank.. Remove the lid do not try to flush it down the torlet.
 

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Here's a website that will give you some information about the septic system & how it works (yes, it's Canadian but I think the general principles will be the same :)

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/93-081.htm

ETA: I use vinegar & baking soda to keep the drains moving and clean my toilet with lemon juice & a bit of borax - works just fine :)
 

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Farmer Dave said:
I've been told (by a city boy) that I need to add some type of starter to the tank to begin the bacteria activity. Is this true, if so what do I use.

He's absolutely right.

Be sure to crap in the toilet a few times.

That's the stuff that makes it work. :) Same bugs. They just continue the digestive process in the tank.

Don't use a lot of harsh chemicals.

An occational shot of drain cleaner if you need to, and a bit of bleach now & then shouldn't slow it down. You don't want to blast it with this stuff tho.

It is a living thing, like your tummy, and you just want to treat it nice. You might put something wrong in your tummy from time to time with no big deal, but constant wrong stuff will give you problems.

--->Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #6
rambler said:
He's absolutely right.

Be sure to crap in the toilet a few times.

That's the stuff that makes it work. :) Same bugs. They just continue the digestive process in the tank.
rambler said:
I feel a bowel movement coming on.


Runestone said:
ETA: I use vinegar & baking soda to keep the drains moving and clean my toilet with lemon juice & a bit of borax - works just fine
Runestone said:
Great...no harsh chemicals!


Thanks to ALL for your help.
 
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