Septic Systems Mainteance : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

My septic system has never been pumped out in the 25 yrs I have lived here. It has never needed it. But I wonder if I should do it just in case. I live on a high evalation and very dry and sandy. It depends on the area you live how often you need it I think. How good a perk test you get on your permit to have a systic system installed. But I feel like I should to be on the safe side. Anybody run a pump business that can help with some info? I would really rather spent it on drums and food. Thanks, elaine

-- Elaine Hammons (, December 02, 1998


Elaine: Need some questions answered. (1) What size is your septic tank? (2) How many people are using the system or have used the system in the past? (3) What is the amount of solid waste in your wastewater? Do you use a garbage disposal? Do you flush toilet paper down it? Does your clothes washer water go to the septic or is it piped out for irrigation? Here is a general rule of thumb: If your tank capacity is 1,000 gallons and you have 2 people in the household, and you use a garbage disposal, it should be pumped every 6 years. I think you are way past due my friend. By the way, there's a very informative web site on septic systems: It has anything and everything you want to know about septic systems.

-- bardou (, December 02, 1998.

Do you use a garbage disposal? Do you flush toilet paper down it?


-- Not me (, December 03, 1998.

Dear Not Me: Anything you put down the garbage disposal can be used in a compost pile. Toilet paper does not break down easily, just like stuff you put down the garbage disposal does not break down easily. The sludge goes to the bottom of the tank and isn't easily decomposed. Thus your tank fills up with sludge and that's why you have to have it pumped often. Septic systems are very expensive to repair if they fail. So be kind to your septic system. Oh, and one more thing, if there's no water to flush your toilet, what are your plans for the toilet paper and human waste you generate? Just curious?

-- bardou (, December 03, 1998.

From Australia. I have just had to have my septic tank cleaned and discovered everything goes into it and there was one foot thick of grease on top. (I have only been here two years). $160.

In my young days we had "the long drop" and moved the building every couple of years. However a pan with a lid can be used and have either a sack of slaked lime and sprinkle each time OR use a scoop of sawdust to asbsorb both smell and liquid. Compost when it gets half full as it is heavy and use around fruit trees. I wouldn't use it for vegetables but I suppose if you could use cat and dog doo dahs you could also use human put through a worm farm. I seem to be alone in my area worrying about Y2K however I remember a lot of things about living on the smell of an oil rag.

-- Joan Howson (, December 03, 1998.

Elaine, every house in our village had a pit for human waste. When they became full it was scooped out with a long hadled bucket and carted to the gardens/field as fertilizer.

That stuff may become more precious than gold.

-- TTF trying to forget (, December 03, 1998.

I don't know where you folks are from, but here in the states, septic systems are heavily regulated by the local health departments. When you sell a home in California, it is a State law that every home with a septic system be inspected and the septic pumped. If you are caught using sludge from a septic system, it is a heavy fine. Why do you think U.S. Health Officials tell you not to eat vegetables, fruits, etc. when you go to places like Mexico? Human waste is a breeding ground for strains of hepatitis. Strains of hepatitis is are passed from human fecal matter.

-- bardou (, December 04, 1998.


After WWII I lived in a small North German Frisian town for 6 years. Not only were there no sewers, there were no septic fields. Just private sewer pits.

And get this: Each residence also had a well nearby. A hand pump was a luxury. Ground water table was probably between 5 and 10 ft down.

Can't remember any hepatitis, etc.

Remember my post where I described having to eat guts from a fresh manure pile? Several months ago I started posting excerpt of my memoir so people could learn from my experiences. But many did not believe me and called me nuts. I feel secure in knowing what our future may bring and how to deal with it.

-- trying to forget (, December 04, 1998.

We had a septic tank in one home and never dealt with it at all. Never used it for laundry detergents or food garbage. That seems to be the secret I believe, to having it take care of itself.

As far as cat and dog fertilizer. I don't think the burn holes in my lawn from dog piles indicate that that stuff would make very good fertilizer. Their stomach acid is made for disolving bones. Much harsher stuff than that of cows whose stomach(s) are designed for digesting grasses.

I am enjoying this education but I hope it won't be required. :-) It seems human waste is easily compostable and very much usable for fertilizer. Dig a pit large enough for the number of people who are to use it for a year. After each use, you should make an effort to spread it out a bit. Don't just let it pile up. Use hay, straw, sawdust, garden cuttings, etc. for oxygen layers. The rule; spread and cover anything that smells, every use. Use it for a year then dig another hole and let the first one age. It will finish composting by itself. You don't need to turn it over as the oxygen layers take care of that requirement for you. At the end of the second year, dig up the earthworm riddled, sanitized, composted, "earth" and use it in your garden. Everything will have returned to its natural state. The first hole will then be ready for use again while the second hole ages.

-- Floyd Baker (, December 04, 1998.

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