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Q&A about things should you never flush down the drains.
FAQs about items and chemicals are safe or not safe to flush down the toilet and into a private septic system or into a public sewer?
This article series provides a list of chemicals, objects, and trash items that it would be should NEVER be flushed down a toilet Cat litter, dryer sheets, disposable diapers, drugs, coffee grounds, & lots of other stuff should not go into the septic tank nor down a drain into a public sewer.
Q&A on chemicals, objects, and trash items that should not be flushed down the drain
Questions & answers about stuff that should never be flushed down drains into an onsite septic system, posted originally at NEVER FLUSH INTO SEPTICS are found here
by (mod) -
ok to flush small amounts of wine down the drain
Sure, it won't hurt a septic system to empty out a bottle or two of wine into a drain. But if you are operating a winery and have a large volume of wine that needs disposal, that would be a different matter and not something I'd recommend without further investigation.
Is it ok to pour wine down drain into septic tank?
by (mod) -
plastic cup clogs drain
Well it's a bit of a surprise that it might take 6 months for a plastic cup to clog a drain, but perhaps, yes. The cup may have moved to a more troublesome spot, or it may have caused an accumulation of solid wastes that finally blocked the drain.
On 2017-07-02 by Jeremy
A small plastic cup, about 1.5" x 1.5", got flushed down a toilet at my friend's house. This happened more than half a year ago. He called me this morning saying both showers and toilets at their house were acting up and draining slowly. Is there any chance the cup is causing it?
by (mod) -
ok to flush lime from pickling cucumbers
If you mean dissolved liquid lime, maybe a quart, that's probably harmless because the total concentration of lime in the tank would be miniscule.
If you are operating a commercial pickling operation, no, don't flush large volumes of pickling waste down into a private septic system.
Dumping powdered lime into a toilet is likely to clog pipes.
Dumping large volumes of lime into a septic tank risks killing back bacteria and thus causing the tank to fail to process sewage - shortening the drainfield life.
More details including a calculation of the concentration of lime in a septic from dumping a lime pet dip into a toilet can be read at CHEMICALS to KEEP OUT OF SEPTICS inspectapedia.com/septic/Septic_System_Chemicals_to_Avoid.php
by Shirley smith
Is it okay to flush a small amount of lime down the sink when pickling cucumbers
by (mod) -
will a small bit of a toilet paper holder clog the septic system?
Well chances are the piece of toilet paper holder will float all the way to the septic tank and really do no harm. If it happens to Lodge in a drain line then it may indeed cause clogging Dash and you'll know that if rains appear to begin to be slow or backing up. If you don't have those symptoms in my opinion there's nothing else that's Justified.
Just had a small piece form a toilet paper holder go down the toilet, will this just end up in the septic tank or can it clog it
by (mod) -
household cleanser is ok
Sure, Anon. Using a cleanser at normal household usage levels will not harm a septic system.
When cleaning the toilet bowl, is it ok to use comet as the cleaner in a septic system
by (mod) -
do not flush disposable wipes into a septic system
I wouldn't hesitate to use baby wipes. Just toss them into a plastic trash bag that can be closed an disposed-of with household waste. Don't flush them.
Household bleach, in normal usage quantities and levels, ought not be harmful to septic systems.
by Tyee Cambron
I never knew that baby wipes shouldn't be flushed into the city sewage or even septic. Well. That definitely makes cleaning a youngling more difficult and results with less cleanliness. No more fun with the Disney products or Finding Dory products.
And just like most of the listed items to not flush. I can't believe.... wait actually.... For how stupid people are, not knowledge but even knowledge will accidentally or purposely flush the items.
And for my story. I just wanted to look up if I can drain a bleach bucket that I use to clean certain floors and a separate bleach bucket that I use to clean/sanitize certain toy items.
So I really shouldn't flush it. But what the hell am I supposed to do with it? dig a hole in the yard and fill it up with bleach?
by (mod) -
chemical used to completely destroy a septic tank on purpose?
I am not aware of any such septic tank destroyer that would be safe to use. Concrete, steel, and plastic or fiberglass tanks are resistant to modest levels of acid and base, but worse, if you had such a material you would be contaminating the environment or risking a fatal explosion. Don't even think about it.
On 2017-02-04 by Thomad
What could be poured into an industrial sized septic tank to completely destroy it, preferably something that would only take a small quantity?
by (mod) -
Is it ok to use cola to clean toilets or to remove stains?
Dumping a few ounces or even a can of Coke®, Pepsi®, RC Cola® or any other soft drink into a septic system won't hurt the system.
Some of these products are acidic and might help clean a toilet, and indeed letting a mild acid sit for a few hours on some types of stains may improve their removal, but in my opinion you're at risk of falling into another type of pit: that of urban legend. Vinegar and baby oil are also effective at removing some stains.
The effectiveness of any cleaning substance on a specific stain depends on several factors:
The surface being cleaned - of what material is it comprised
The components or ingredients of the stain - a rust stain or lime or calcium stain respond better to mild acids than some other stains
The components or ingredients of the stain removing chemical - no single chemical is best-effective against all types of stains.
Ciafone, Amanda. "If “Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola” Then “Cold Drink Means Toilet Cleaner”: Environmentalism of the Dispossessed in Liberalizing India." International Labor and Working-Class History 81 (2012): 114-135.
With the sudden, almost ubiquitous reentry of The Coca-Cola Company to India during economic liberalization, the branded commodity became a sign of both aspirational global consumer-citizenship for India's urban middle class and of corporate enclosure for those dispossessed of material and symbolic resources to fuel this consumption.
Village communities around several of Coca-Cola's rural plants, including in Mehdiganj, Uttar Pradesh, organized against the company's operations, which they accused of exploiting and polluting common groundwater in the production of bottled drinks as an increasing expanse of the country fell into a crisis of water scarcity.
This “environmentalism of the poor” has articulated a powerful critique of corporate globalization and privatization, illuminating the exploitation of the resources of the rural poor for the consumption of those on the other side of an increasingly widening economic divide.
Varner Jr, Thomas L., Timothy W. Blount, and Charles R. Minns. "Removing stains from fixed items." U.S. Patent 5,522,580, issued June 4, 1996.
A method for removing various stains from stained fixed items uses an aqueous cleaning composition having a pH of at least about 9.0 and composed of up to about 30 percent by total composition weight of a wetting agent containing 1 to about 5 carbon atoms; between about 3 and about 15 percent by total composition weight of a peroxyhydrate oxidizing agent; and a pH adjustment substance.
Was going to use cola as a cleaner in the toilet, after seeing this as a tip. Is it ok to use with a septic tank?
by (mod) - Are biodegradable cleaning products safe for a septic system?
Normally, yes. There are some cleaners specifically advertised as "safe for septics", but beware:
Watch out: be sure that you use any cleaning product in the concentration, in the manner, and for the purpose described by its manufacturer. Otherwise your use may be harmful or even dangerous.
For example, at normal household use volumes and concentrations, ammonia, bleach (NEVER USED TOGETHER WITH AMMONIA), vinegar, even cola drinks are safe for septic systems.
Are biodegradable cleaning products safe for a septic system? (purple Power concentrated industrial-strength cleaner degreaser as well as Fabuloso)
by (mod) -
Milton Sterilising Liquid safe for use in septics at typical use
Milton Sterilising Liquid, sold by Milton Baby Care products in 1/2L and 1 litre bottles, is typically used at a concentration of 0.6% (30 ml in 5 litres of water) to sterilise baby bottles, nipples, etc.
At that volume and concentration, that is at most 5L of disinfectant, per day, poured into a septic tank where it will be diluted by about 2000 to 5600 L of wastewater in a typical residential septic tank even before additional wastewater enters the system from daily use, my opinion is that there is no worry that the disinfectant will harm the septic tank.
Milton Pharmaceutical Company (UK) provides an MSDS sheet on this product, indicating thereon that this is a chlorine-bleach type product.
Milton Sterilising Fluid 1%w/v gives 10,000 ppm available chlorine
Milton Sterilising Fluid 2%w/v gives 20,000 ppm available chlorine
Separately at http://inspectapedia.com/septic/Chlorine_in_Septic_Systems.php we discuss the effects of bleach on the septic tank and soakbeds or drainfields.
On 2016-03-30 by chris
Can Milton sterilising liquid go in the Septic tank
On 2016-02-13 by (mod) -
do not flush wipes down drains
David Stanley said:
People keep ignoring that wet wipes although flushable don't break down in the sewers and are causing expensive clogs. A better alternative is the Hand Bidet Sprayer which lets you wash with water. It's cleaner, healthier and no clogs.
On 2015-11-17 by (mod) -
drain cleaners at normal usage volume and concentration are ok for septics
At normal household use, a drain cleaner, poured into a trap and left for hours or longer, won't damage the septic system . It's using large quantities or using magic bullets that purport to fix a failed septic drainfield that is more dubious.
I like to pour about a half-quart of drain cleaner into the tub drain, let it sit overnight, flush out thoroughly with cold water in the morning.
Keep me posted.
On 2015-11-16 by J. Loeven
Trying to find solution to sluggish bathtub drain to avoid tearing down kitchen ceiling to get to plumbing above. The label of every product in the Home Depot reads "Safe For Septics," or the like. Although I can't believe them all, one or two must be O.K. Any suggestion short of "Tear Down The Ceiling" would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
On 2015-10-09 by (mod) -
popsicle stick drain clog risk
Since the cost to you will be the same if you wait and watch (WITH CAUTION to avoid a sewage backup) for a drain clog as if you call a plumber to snake the drain immediately, I'd watch for signs of a blockage.
A popsicle stick down a sink or shower or tub drain would be stuck in the trap and could easily be fished out or removed by taking off, clearing, and replacing the trap.
But a popsicle stick down the larger diameter of a toilet drain may flow all the way out of your building into the public sewer where it won't be large enough to cause trouble.
by Jeannie tambini
My son flushed a popsicle stick down the toilet of our old house with old pipes yesterday. What should I d?
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Thanks to reader Megan O'Connell for discussion of biodegradable cat litter disposal in septic tanks 04/2009.
"It Blocks Cat Odors And Maybe Radiation - material used in litter is tested in sopping up nuclear contaminants", Andrew Revkin, New York times, 24 February 2000, p. B1. This article describes testing of cat litter used in a trench filled with zeolite (cat litter) to form a wall to intercept radioactive contaminated ground water seeping towards a stream that empties into Lake Erie. The article explains that zeolite is a family of 48 minerals that absorb odors and moisture, found in various brands of "animal litter". The most abundant mineral in the zeolite family is clinoptiloite that has a strong affinity for strontium 90.
Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to Operate & Maintain [ copy on file as /septic/Septic_Operation_USDA.pdf ] - , Equipment Tips, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8271 1302, 7100 Engineering, 2300 Recreation, September 1982, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfimage/82711302.pdf.
Pennsylvania State Fact Sheets relating to domestic wastewater treatment systems include
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-161, Septic System Failure: Diagnosis and Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-162, The Soil Media and the Percolation Test
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-l64, Mound Systems for Wastewater Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-165, Septic Tank-Soil Absorption Systems
Document Sources used for this web page include but are not limited to: Agricultural Fact Sheet #SW-161 "Septic Tank Pumping," by Paul D. Robillard and
Kelli S. Martin. Penn State College of Agriculture - Cooperative Extension, edited and annotated by
Dan Friedman (Thanks: to Bob Mackey for proofreading the original source material.)
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Advanced Onsite Wastewater Systems Technologies, Anish R. Jantrania, Mark A. Gross. Anish Jantrania, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A., is a Consulting Engineer, in Mechanicsville VA, 804-550-0389 (2006). Outstanding technical reference especially on alternative septic system design alternatives. Written for designers and engineers, this book is not at all easy going for homeowners but is a text I recommend for professionals--DF.
Builder's Guide to Wells and Septic Systems, Woodson, R. Dodge: $ 24.95; MCGRAW HILL B; TP;
Quoting from Amazon's description: For the homebuilder, one mistake in estimating or installing wells and septic systems can cost thousands of dollars. This comprehensive guide filled with case studies can prevent that. Master plumber R. Dodge Woodson packs this reader-friendly guide with guidance and information, including details on new techniques and materials that can economize and expedite jobs and advice on how to avoid mistakes in both estimating and construction. Chapters cover virtually every aspect of wells and septic systems, including on-site evaluations; site limitations; bidding; soil studies, septic designs, and code-related issues; drilled and dug wells, gravel and pipe, chamber-type, and gravity septic systems; pump stations; common problems with well installation; and remedies for poor septic situations. Woodson also discusses ways to increase profits by avoiding cost overruns.
Country Plumbing: Living with a Septic System, Hartigan, Gerry: $ 9.95; ALAN C HOOD & TP;
Quoting an Amazon reviewer's comment, with which we agree--DF:This book is informative as far as it goes and might be most useful for someone with an older system. But it was written in the early 1980s. A lot has changed since then. In particular, the book doesn't cover any of the newer systems that are used more and more nowadays in some parts of the country -- sand mounds, aeration systems, lagoons, etc.
Design Manuals for Septic Systems
US EPA Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual [online copy, free] Top Reference: US EPA's Design Manual for Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal, 1980, available from the US EPA, the US GPO Superintendent of Documents (Pueblo CO), and from the National Small Flows Clearinghouse. Original source http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/Pubs/625R00008/625R00008.htm Onsite wastewater treatment and disposal systems,
Richard J Otis, published by the US EPA. Although it's more than 20 years old, this book remains a useful reference for septic system designers.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water Program Operations; Office of Research and Development, Municipal Environmental Research Laboratory; (1980)
"International Private Sewage Disposal Code," 1995, BOCA-708-799-2300, ICBO-310-699-0541, SBCCI 205-591-1853, available from those code associations.
"Manual of Policy, Procedures, and Guidelines for Onsite Sewage Systems," Ontario Reg. 374/81, Part VII of the Environmental
Protection Act (Canada), ISBN 0-7743-7303-2, Ministry of the Environment,135 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto Ontario M4V 1P5 Canada $24. CDN.
Manual of Septic Tank Practice, US Public Health Service's 1959.
Onsite Wastewater Disposal Books
Onsite Wastewater Disposal, R. J. Perkins;
Quoting from Amazon: This practical book, co-published with the National Environmental Health Association,
describes the step-by-step procedures needed to avoid common pitfalls in septic system technology.
Valuable in matching the septic system to the site-specific conditions, this useful book will help you install a reliable system in
both suitable and difficult environments. Septic tank installers, planners, state and local regulators, civil and sanitary engineers,
consulting engineers, architects, homeowners, academics, and land developers will find this publication valuable.
Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, Bennette D. Burks, Mary Margaret Minnis, Hogarth House 1994 - one of the best septic system books around, suffering a bit from small fonts and a weak index. While it contains some material more technical than needed by homeowners, Burks/Minnis book on onsite wastewater treatment systems a very useful reference for both property owners and septic system designers.
Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to Operate & Maintain [ copy on file as /septic/Septic_Operation_USDA.pdf ] - , Equipment Tips, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8271 1302, 7100 Engineering, 2300 Recreation, September 1982, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfimage/82711302.pdf
Septic System Owner's Manual, Lloyd Kahn, Blair Allen, Julie Jones, Shelter Publications, 2000 $14.95 U.S. - easy to understand, well illustrated, one of the best practical references around on septic design basics including some advanced systems; a little short on safety and maintenance. Both new and used (low priced copies are available, and we think the authors are working on an updated edition--DF.
Quoting from one of several Amazon reviews: The basics of septic systems, from underground systems and failures to what the owner can do to promote and maintain a healthy system, is revealed in an excellent guide essential for any who reside on a septic system. Rural residents receive a primer on not only the basics; but how to conduct period inspections and what to do when things go wrong. History also figures into the fine coverage.
Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, Bombeck, Erma: $ 5.99; FAWCETT; MM;
This septic system classic whose title helps avoid intimidating readers new to septic systems, is available new or used at very low prices.
It's more entertainment than a serious "how to" book on septic systems design, maintenance, or repair. Not recommended -- DF.
US EPA Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual Top Reference: US EPA's Design Manual for Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal, 1980, available from the US EPA, the US GPO Superintendent of Documents (Pueblo CO), and from the National Small Flows Clearinghouse. Original source http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/Pubs/625R00008/625R00008.htm
Water Wells and Septic Systems Handbook, R. Dodge Woodson. This book is in the upper price range, but is worth the cost for serious septic installers and designers.
Quoting Amazon: Each year, thousands upon thousands of Americans install water wells and septic systems on their properties. But with a maze of codes governing their use along with a host of design requirements that ensure their functionality where can someone turn for comprehensive, one-stop guidance? Enter the Water Wells and Septic Systems Handbook from McGraw-Hill. Written in language any property owner can understand yet detailed enough for professionals and technical students this easy-to-use volume delivers the latest techniques and code requirements for designing, building, rehabilitating, and maintaining private water wells and septic systems. Bolstered by a wealth of informative charts, tables, and illustrations, this book delivers: * Current construction, maintenance, and repair methods
* New International Private Sewage Disposal Code
* Up-to-date standards from the American Water Works Association
Wells and Septic Systems, Alth, Max and Charlet, Rev. by S. Blackwell Duncan, $ 18.95; Tab Books 1992. We have found this text very useful for conventional well and septic systems design and maintenance --DF.
Quoting an Amazon description:Here's all the information you need to build a well or septic system yourself - and save a lot of time, money, and frustration. S. Blackwell Duncan has thoroughly revised and updated this second edition of Wells and Septic Systems to conform to current codes and requirements. He also has expanded this national bestseller to include new material on well and septic installation, water storage and distribution, water treatment, ecological considerations, and septic systems for problem building sites.
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