Septic System Care

This topic was being discussed on another thread so I brought it here.

Some say septic system additives are useful.

Others say they are not needed and worthless.

What do you say?

You might want to read this before answering.

Great reminder Michail thanks .
This is what many of us have been saying all along .
A good read ……es/DD7439.html
Roy Cooke ](

When you read between the lines, the articles are telling indeed.

For example, one headline says “Do not use additives” yet the paragraph under that headline says:

While it is very true that “it is not necessary” to use additives “to enhance the performance of a properly operating system,” in today’s world, it is very rare to find a “properly operating system” because everyone puts egg shells, grease, and detergents down their systems. So it can be very useful to use additives “if the level of bacterial activity is low,” regardless of the cause. So if one doesn’t want to go to the inconvenience of “reduc[ing] or eliminat[ing] the use or disposal of” “disinfectants and other products that are killing them,” then one can “enhance the performance” by adding additional bacteria and enzymes.

It is also true that “some additives” cause solids to become suspended, so it is best not to use that specific type of additive.

The best additive to use are bacterial in nature.

I had a house from 1999-2001 that had a septic tank (11141 Valley Lights Drive, El Cajon 92020; look it up in the public records). That was my first personal experience with a septic tank so I read up on its care and maintenance and found all the discussion currently noted. I also asked a couple of reputable septic system professionals here in East County and asked them. One of them, owned by “Mr. Red,” has been in business since, oh, about 1492, I think. The business has been in his family for generations. He recommended a product that Home Depot sells, so I decided to give it a try so that I could continue to pour egg shells, detergents, grease, etc., down the drains. Two years later, when I sold the home and had the septic system pumped and inspected by Mr. Red, he came up to the house, knocked on the door, and wanted to know why I wanted the septic system pumped and inspected. I told him because I was going to sell the house. He asked me when I last had it pumped. I said it was pumped and inspected when I bought the house back in June 1999. He said it looked like it had been pumped out within the last month or so. I told him that I had called him back in 1999 to ask for maintenance tips and that he had told me to use XXX once a month. So I did. Ahhh, he said, that explains it. Good stuff. Enough proof for me.

Shortly after that, I went home to Kingsville, Texas, and my uncle Rodney was having his septic tank pumped (a tank that I helped build back in 1973) and I asked him how often he had it pumped. “Since all the kids are gone, we do it every six months or so.” I told him about Product XXX, and he started using it. When we had a similar discussion last year on, I called Rodney to ask him whether he was still using Product XXX. He said that he was. He used it for six months and then went to have the tank pumped out like he always did. Tank didn’t need pumping. Enough proof for him, too. I just got off the phone with his wife (Billie Joe; she’s the inside person, so she always answers the phone) and she said they have not had the tank pumped since they’ve been using Product XXX, except for Christmas 1999 after I was there that summer.

Now all I have to is find out what Product XXX I recommended because she couldn’t find it and I don’t remember. It do remember that it was a bacterial additive.

I would not recommend the chemical additives; those are the ones that cause the solids to suspend.

Anecdotal stories are just that **ANECDOTAL. ***(Your results may vary)

*Sounds like a commercial for antibaldness cream or someother body enhancement product. Those stories sell product to the gullible and uninformed but are not generally backed up with much proof.

A properly working system is the what is needed not quick fixes. I’m glad you found product XXX to work for you but with so many other factors involved in a septic system we will never know if it was the type of use you gave the system or the product:p

Maybe the indirect application of Margaritas helped the system to function well:shock:

That might very well be true. On the other hand, many people rely on personal experience which typically result in referrals. My Clients love it when I can refer someone or something based on personal experience.

The proof is in the pudding, so to say.

Rodney just called, and after chastising me for a few minutes since the company making Product XXX (and we’ll provide the name shortly) is located here in San Diego (actually Escondido). He said that not only has he had extremely good luck with it, but so have my other two uncles, Doug in Houston and Charles in Austin. Additionally, we come from a very large farming and ranching family, and all my cousins, second cousins, great uncles, grand uncles, no-name uncles, etc., in San Antonio, Victoria, and Floresville also are using it and having great success with it.

Product XXX actually is not a quick fix. It is both a short-term and a long-term solution to helping out older systems and helping newer systems continue working properly.

Thank you for being glad for me.

Knowing the Kirk family like I do, they are not easily satisfied. Rodney, Charles, and Doug actually taught me almost everything I know. We built septic systems, irrigation systems, fences, houses, swimming pools, etc., so I was a little happy that I was able to contribute something back to them. And considering how difficult it is to please the Kirk family, if it works for them, I have no problem referring it to my Clients. I’d even be willing to back it up with my own personal guarantee to provide my Clients with a new septic system if theirs failed or they had to have it pumped while using Extra Strength Septic System Maintainer.

Actually, alcohol is not good for a septic system, but I don’t waste alcohol anyway, nor do any of the Kirks, so that wasn’t an issue.

The name of Product XXX is “Extra Strength Septic System Maintainer,” and is produced by Trisynergy in Escondido CA, 1-800-446-6076.

So consider it anecdotal if you want–doesn’t bother me at all. I rely on personal experience more than anything else in my life, and the referrals that come with personal experience, such as with Angie’s List, where my company happens to be listed.

Now if I were an employee of the company, or the company had paid me to say what I say, or if I had stock in the company, might be a different story. Angie’s List, however, doesn’t accept paid testimonials. Neither do I.

Relax Russel;-) Science be dammed, personal experience rules:eek:

Take a little gentle ribbing anyway OK

Below is some information on what a garbage disposal mfg. thinks is the solution.

AND at least one jurisdiction’s(Maine) take on the issue.

quote from link:
Insinkerator-Septic Disposer The Division was asked by a plumber to review the Insinkerator Septic Disposer, which is a residential garbage grinder that uses an “enzyme” additive on a recommended daily basis. Under provisions of Section 913.1 of the Rules, it is recommended that garbage grinders should not be used with onsite sewage disposal systems. If such units are proposed to be used, compensatory measures shall be taken such as: a) increasing septic tank capacity by a minimum of 30%, b) the installation of a second septic tank installed in series, or c) the use of septic tank outlet filters, to prevent suspended solids from entering the disposal field. It is the experience of this office over the last 25 years that homeowners do not need to put special additives into their septic systems. In fact, some can do more harm than good.

The Division recommends that neither residential garbage grinders nor septic tank additives be used with onsite sewage disposal systems.


That’s been a recommendation since the advent of garbage grinders, ah do believe. However, it’s not necessarily true anymore with the additional knowledge we have about septic systems and how to get the most from them.

I don’t have any problem with any of that:

1 - “If such units are proposed to be used, compensatory measure shall be taken…” Exactly. Such as adding bacteria/enzymes to the system to help it along.

2 - “…compensatory measures shall be taken such as…” Exactly. Take compensatory measures, of which three are listed.

3 - “It is the experience of this office over the last 25 years that homeowners do not need to put special additives into their septic systems.”
Perhaps they should have said “most homeowners.” Nonetheless, it has been my experience as well concerning “most homeowners.” However, the three choices provided are quite expensive. There’s another choice that is not so expensive: adding bacteria and/or enzymes.

4 - “The Division recommends that neither residential garbage grinders nor septic tank additives be used with onsite sewage disposal systems.”
And how often do you find a house with a septic system that does not have a residential garbage grinder? All of them around here do. There’s not a single homeowner anywhere who wants to do without that ol’ garbage disposal, and those who still don’t have them wish they did.

So, with all the garbage disposals being installed by the plumbers, what to do, what to do? Explore options. The least expensive option, and one that is working quite well here in San Diego and over yonder in Texas is the addition of Extra Strength Septic System Maintainer.

By the way, talk about word spreading fast, I guess someone called the 800 number and asked some questions. Trisynergy called me wanting to know if I and my family would be interested in doing a commercial for them. Hmmmmmmmm. After the commercial, I guess I would have to remove my personal experience referral because then it would be a paid experience referral. Hmmmmmmmm. Interesting, though. I said I would let them know. :margarit:

Yes, I do believe too many margaritas has caused you to make such a bold sweeping statement. I haven’t had a garbage disposal for over three plus decades except for a short time on my present septic system and it was removed after it started leaking. They are not really needed but many consider them a must.

I just figured that since you were so good at making bold sweeping statements, I would try my hand at it. :mrgreen:

Disposals have been a must in my family for five generations now. Love 'em. They even take chicken bones, popsicle sticks, and the occasional sand and small rocks that stick to my hands after playing in the dirt outside with Ms Margarita and Dr Cuervo.

Why Russel, I had no idea. You must be related to Mr. Hammes!

Architect, inventor John W. Hammes built his wife the world’s first kitchen garbage disposer in 1927. After ten years of design improvement, Hammes went into business selling his appliance to the public. His company was called the In-Sink-Erator Manufacturing Co.

The preceding is from:Kitchen Innovations

Do you not know what a generation is? :shock: I deemed you much more knowledgeable than that based on your posts. Ah, well, posts sometimes do not tell the whole story. :wink:

I sure wish I had some In-Sink-Erator stock! They’ve got all the contracts in the big subdivisions here.

Anyway, my grandfather put a disposal in his home in 1965. I didn’t live with my mom and dad, but my dad’s three brothers also got disposals in 1965 and 1966. That’s two generations.

I have a disposal as do all of my siblings. That’s the third generation.

My brother’s son and daughter have disposals. That’s the fourth generation.

My brother’s granddaughter has a disposal in her home. That’s the fifth generation.

So, there ya go!

Actually, in reading that, I just realized that it should have been six generations for I helped my granddad put a disposal in my great grandmother’s house in Floresville in 1966. So, yes, six generations in my family have had/continue to have disposals.

Actually I do, it is often considered to be 40 years but approximately 20 years/gen seems logical for consecutive generations. That makes 5 generations to be about 100 years. Agree?

No. (It comes down to personal experience :slight_smile: )

For example, one of my grandfathers, at about the age of 40, divorced his wife and married an 18-year-old student in his college class. They proceeded to have five children. All five of those children are aunts and uncles. Most aunts and uncles are older than their nieces and nephews. However, I am four years older than my oldest uncle/niece over on that side, and 18 years older than my youngest uncle/neice.

So generations can overlap. It really has nothing to do with the number of years. It’s a people thing:

Great great great great grandfather came over from Bohemia in the 1870s I think it was. That’s my first generation here in America.

Great great great grandfather is the second generation.

Great great grandfather is the third generation.

Great grandfather is the fourth generation.

Grandfather ( 1909-1978 ) who adopted me is fifth generation.

Dad (1930-1960) is six generation.

I’m seventh generation American (no children, thankfully).

My brother’s son and daughter are eighth generation.

My brother’s granddaughter is ninth generation.

So nine generations in about 136 years.

In some of the families that I grew up with in South Texas, there were seventeen children (large farming families). In many cases, the oldest child had several children before mom and dad were finished having children, so there again you have overlapping generations.

Its not for me to judge your personal experience. Thanks for sharing you personal family tree. :slight_smile:

BTW- My wife is part Bohemian.

Has she ever taken you to a Bohemian wedding feast? Somethin’ else.

Nah, I have not had the pleasure. I guess the Bohemian influence is too far removed.:frowning:

Since I’m from a very large family, I’ve been to quite a few of them. They start about 30 days before the wedding and end about 30 days after the wedding. And since my family there in Floresville TX are ranchers and farmers, enough food and beverages to feed many Third World countries.

This guide is from the Ontario building code

How many times have you heard the story that to get your septic going all that was needed was to throw a dead cat in? Chemicals are wives tales, just like the dead cat theory.

That’s exactly why my kitchen sink and clothes washer discharge to a ditch in the pasture instead of into my septic tank. :smiley: