TP/Septic question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Bink, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. Bink

    Bink Well-Known Member

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    Okay--we're building a house with a septic system. We've been using Scott toilet paper because we can get it at a good price, and we know it won't clog up the septic at the new house.

    Once the house is built, my 86-yr-old mother will be living with us. When I was at her place in May, I noticed she uses the ultra-soft-mega-quilted Charmin -type toilet paper. She has hemorrhoids.

    Is there a softer paper than Scott that won't ruin the septic? I don't want her to be miserable.
     
  2. Christine in NY

    Christine in NY Well-Known Member

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    Our family doctor told us that the worst thing for hemorrhoids (and septic) was the ultra-soft toilet paper (too much lint or something) - he rec'd that my uncle, the hem. king, use Scotts or Marcal. Maybe you could convince her to switch?
     

  3. jamo

    jamo Well-Known Member

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    I'm not trying to be a smart alek or anything, but at 86 I think she should be able to use whatever she please to handle her private matters ;)
     
  4. Christine in NY

    Christine in NY Well-Known Member

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  5. Bink

    Bink Well-Known Member

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    Well, yeah normally I'd agree with you, but not if what she uses is going to bust my septic system. :)
     
  6. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    We do not put ANY paper products in the septic system. There is a small trash can next to the potty, lined with a Wal-Mart bag. All paper goes in there, and it's carried out daily.

    Paper products may break down over time, but when you think about it, they are cellulose and rag products. You wouldn't flush a tree or a cotton plant down your potty. :eek:
     
  7. Bink

    Bink Well-Known Member

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    I've thought of that, too, Rose. But I doubt I'll get her to go for it. For one, she's extremely modest, and I think putting her dirty paper in a bag instead of flushing it would mortify her. Also, there's the fact that she's 86, and for all the time she's used a flush toilet, she's flushed the paper. It's automatic.

    I will probably see if she can stand Scotts or Marcal, but if anyone has other brands that will work, I'd like to hear them. :)
     
  8. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Other than wine and beer, the only other Euro custom worth anything is a Bidet. We have one installed in our strawbale house and it makes thorough cleanup civilised.
     
  9. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    To test the suitability of toilet paper for septics, do this:

    Fill a mason jar 3/4 full of water, add about 1 foot of TP to the jar. Put the lid on and shake it. If the TP falls apart right way, it's okay for septic systems.

    I know Scotts will fall apart instantly, not sure about Granny's paper. Maybe if you did this test in front of her she'd understand.
     
  10. Bink

    Bink Well-Known Member

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    Oh, that's a good idea! Thanks!
     
  11. I'm sorry that I cannot remember the date of issue, but there was a Consumer's Report guide dealing with toilet tissue. It rated the brands based on price, comfort/softness, and break-down/septic friendliness. You might be able to find it on a search.

    I do remember that one of the best for septic, and softness was Angel Soft. Although I dislike the name (relating angels to wiping privates is rather disrespectful to their Creator), we have been pleased with the product. You can put a length of any tissue in the toilet, DON'T flush, then go back later, and see if it has started to break down on its own or not.

    Anyway, try giving her her own roll of Angel Soft.
     
  12. poppy

    poppy Guest

    No wonder I have so much septic trouble. I just did the test on pages from my sears catalogue. Failed miserably.
     

  13. I always check the package for any TP or soap product - if it doesn't specifically say "safe for septic" I don't use it. The good news is that I think Charmin says this on the package - I am almost sure I have that brand at home now - though I don't pay that much attention. Get the cheapest stuff that is safe for septic.
     
  14. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I have had septic tanks most of my life.

    About the only thing I ever did was dump grease in a can and insist that feminine products go in the trash. I never worried about cleaners, toilet paper, or any of the other things I hear are supposed to be so terrible for tanks.

    Never had a problem with any of the tanks I've owned. The only expense has been getting them pumped once in a while (usually every 2-3 years as I have a big family).

    Toilet paper, no matter what brand, is not going to ruin your tank if it is properly maintained.

    Jena
     
  15. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    But if you don't put the TP in the septic in the first place, you don't need to have it pumped! :)
     
  16. soulsurvivor

    soulsurvivor Well-Known Member Supporter

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    we got a high water table here, and getting our septic system to even stay in the ground was done by getting inventive and having a beautiful raised flowerbed on the top of it. We've lived here 22 years, and have always done the Walmart garbage bag. No paper goes down. No septic tank cleaning needed in last 22 years. And about once every 3 months or so, we put a septic cleaner through the system.
     
  17. jassytoo

    jassytoo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In this county all our septic tanks are inspected. Ours is 28 years old and the man who came said it was very clean with only minimal sludge at the bottom.We don't use any additives and we are careful about cleaning products etc. The only time we have ever had trouble with the tank was when we used Charmin tissue and again when we tried Quilted Northern. Now we stick to Scott. Have you talked to your mom about it? She might be o.k. with the Scott.
     
  18. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Rose and Soul Survivior, you'd both treading down a path of doom regarding your septic systems. While I agree that not flushing paper will decrease the frequency for which you will have to have your tanks pumped, you should both realize that there is still a build up of sludge in the tank. Don't wait until you have to have the tank pumped because of a sewage back up problem....because by then it will be too late. The back up will be due to sludge overflowing the tank and plugging your drainfield. At a minimum, open your tank and probe the depth of sludge in the tank. Instructions can be found at this website: Septic Tank Maintenance

    And Soul Survivor, this is from the Minnesota Extension Service:

    Septic Starters, Feeders, Cleaners and Other Additives
    There is no quick fix or substitute for proper operation and regular maintenance. Do not use starters, feeders, cleaners and other additives.

    ! There's no such thing as a safe AND effective septic system additive. !


    Starters: A starter is not needed to get the bacterial action going in the septic tank. There are naturally-occurring bacteria present in wastewater.

    Feeders: It is not necessary to "feed" the system additional bacteria, yeast preparations, or other home remedies. There are millions of bacteria entering the system in normal sewage. If the bacterial activity level is low, figure out what is killing them (for example, cleaners) and correct it. High levels of activity will return after the correction.

    Cleaners: Additives effective in removing solids from the septic tank will probably damage the soil treatment system. Many additives suspend the solids that would normally float to the top or settle to the bottom of the tank. This allows them to be flushed into the soil treatment system, where they clog pipes and soil pores leading to partial or complete failure of the system.

    Other Additives: Additives, particularly degreasers, may contain carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) that flow directly into the groundwater along with the treated sewage.
     
  19. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Fifteen years, no doom. Have opened the hatch and inspected. :)
     
  20. charles

    charles Well-Known Member

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    I've noticed that people in the North pump out their septic tanks much more frequently than do people in the South (who may never pump them out).

    It may be because southerners are such friendly, wholesome, clean-livin folks.


    Year-round warmer soil temperatures might also have something to do with it. Bacteria merrily multiply and decomposition proceeds right along.