Septic System Problem

Hello All,

I have a question regarding a septic system.

If a home owner is repeatedly using excessive amounts of Javex in the washing machine is it possible that the Javex could “stress or destroy the biological treatment taking place in the system?” Seems possible.

If javex can cause this, what problems can this cause to the system?

What are the health concerns of the occupants of a home where the waste water back flows into the house causing excessive odors?

CS

Chistoper I think your right about the use of large amounts of bleach or javex,and for the waist water back it should not be happening and if it’s the same property the tank is full and should be pumped out and the leaching bed maybe pluged and not working.In any case a septic contracter should be called in to check it out.

That is why most septic tank owners discharge the washing machine into the yard.

I have been told the products sold also to help septic tanks are not a good idea.
I have also been told water softner back flush is harmfull .
( This was disputed by a later post ).
I do believe a lot of Javex could cause difficulty.
Roy Cooke
Added how old is the home how often has the tank been pumped .
Yes it needs to be cleaned and evaluated by a qualified person immediatly
Yes the back up could be loaded with Bacteria health concerns ,I think yes ???

I lot people seemed to say it is a health and safety concern but not many people seem to know why that is!?

Excessive chlorine bleach kills the bacteria that digests the sewage. IE. breaks it down into a liquid. Nondigestable solids settle to the bottom of the tank and need to be pumped out at least once a year.
If the solids are not broken down they fill the tank and will plug the field pipes. If not corrected the sewage may back up into the house fixtures.
E.coli a bacteria found in the human digestive track will make you sick and can kill you if you ingest enough of it.

Vern, Do you guys really pump every year? In this area that would be very excessive. If a tank needs pumping every year there is some problem with the system. For example

  • bleach or other bacteria killing agent entering the system
  • fats or other hard to break-down material entering the system
  • prolonged low temperature in the tank (ya, maybe you guys qualify)
  • system or portions of the system improperly sized.
  • major leak in the tank

I agree with everything your saying. But I’m curious to know if the odors are harmful or not and if so, why are they harmful?

Same as where there is smoke there is fire .
If you have odors then obviously they are comming from a place that is exposed to our living area.
Not for me to figure out where ,I would just write it up as needing immediate repair by qualified person.
The odor is telling us some thing to ignore could be a hazzard to our health.
Me I would not stay around.
Move on to next area of inspection.
Roy Cooke

What you are smelling is methane gas and could build up the house and could explode.All it would take is a spark.Tha problem needs to be repaired write it up.

Thanks guys this is everything that I heard before but thought I would ask anway because I was curious to hear what other inspectors would say.

By the way this is not a home I inspected it is my girl friends parents place. I believe I all ready know what is wrong with their system. I tried to tell them the problem and the health concerns but they’re really not concerned. Oh well, they’ve been warned. :roll:
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Print this whole section of and give to them and say I was not sure so I went to the experstand this is their openions.
Good Luck walk softly they could be your relations for a long time
Roy Cooke

Won’t be for long if they blow up,… I just don’t want to be around if or when it happens. For this to happen it seems like a long shot but in the event that it can happen I will advise my GF to make sure the will is up to date!! :slight_smile:

Added note:

Sewer gas is a mixture of gases formed during the decomposition of household or industrial wastes. These include hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and methane(which are highly toxic), as well as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

Exposure to sewer gas can happen at home if it seeps in via a floor drain or a leaking or blocked plumbing vent on the roof or even through cracks in a building’s foundation. Sewer gas tends to accumulate in basements, but can mix with all the air in a house. Individuals who work in or reside near sanitation industries or on farms might be exposed on the job if they clean or maintain municipal sewers, manure storage tanks or home septic tanks.

Sewer gas often has a “rotten eggs” smell, which comes from the hydrogen sulfide it contains. Exposure to low levels of this toxic chemical can irritate the eyes, cause a cough or sore throat, shortness of breath and fluid accumulation in the lungs. Prolonged low-level exposure may cause fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, irritability, poor memory and dizziness. High concentrations of hydrogen sulfide can interfere with the sense of smell so you don’t sense the “rotten eggs” smell that warns of its presence. At very high concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can cause loss of consciousness and death.

The other toxic component of sewer gas is methane, which interferes with the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood and can cause suffocation and death when you inhale high concentrations. Exposure to low levels causes headache, nausea and drowsiness.

If you suspect that sewer gas is leaking into your home, contact your local public health department.
Try to get an inspection. Alternatively, you can call in a plumber to find and repair a leak. Because sewer gas is highly flammable, don’t take any chances. If the smell is strong, call the fire department, avoid striking matches or using appliances that produce flames, and get your family out of the building.

Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.

If you have a gas leak detector or CO detector sample the air in the home just for grins before Sunday supper.

Hi Barry,

That is excellent information and what I was really looking for.

Thanks,
CS

Ok, simple solution. Pour all the bleach you feel like down your system and not a problem as long as you add bacteria that the bleach is killing off!!

minor problem or cheap maintenance ridex.com

big problem and need a fix www.newtecbio.com

My washer machine goes directly into my septic and no problems and NO PUMPOUTS for 12 years straight! I use newtech’s packages and the bacteria that is killed through bleach and anything else I throw at the system is replensihed. You do not need a yearly pumpout as log as you have strong bacterial counts. Find a product that suits your budget and get on a regular maintenance program and keep the system in tip top shape.

Good luck :slight_smile:

Ok, simple solution. Pour all the bleach you feel like down your system and not a problem as long as you add bacteria that the bleach is killing off!!

minor problem or cheap maintenance ridex.com

big problem and need a fix www.newtechbio.com

My washer machine goes directly into my septic and no problems and NO PUMPOUTS for 12 years straight! I use newtech’s packages and the bacteria that is killed through bleach and anything else I throw at the system is replensihed. You do not need a yearly pumpout as log as you have strong bacterial counts. Find a product that suits your budget and get on a regular maintenance program and keep the system in tip top shape.

Good luck

Wow, I can’t believe how often some have pumped their tanks. Lots of people will poo poo (sorry for the pun) what I do but it has worked for years. Last time I had the tank pumped was 17 years ago. The dishwasher and washing machine all go right to the septic tank.

Don’t spend all your money on the magic elixirs for the septic tank. Waste of good money. I just buy a 3 pack of dry yeast and empty 1 of the packets into the toilet every 4 months.

If they are getting sewer/septic smell in the house, my guess is the drain field is blocked / clogged / or shot. Even a tank cleaning may not help.

Good luck.

DR. Weil has to check his facts a bit more. The gas he is talking about in the above paragraph sounds like carbon monoxide.

From Wikipedia:

Potential health effects (of methane)
Methane is not toxic; however, it is highly flammable and may form explosive mixtures with air. Methane is violently reactive with oxidizers, halogens, and some halogen-containing compounds. Methane is also an asphyxiant and may displace oxygen in an enclosed space. Asphyxia may result if the oxygen concentration is reduced to below 19.5% by displacement. The concentrations at which flammable or explosive mixtures form are much lower than the concentration at which asphyxiation risk is significant.

Wow, I can’t believe how long some people go between tank pumpings. If you have a properly sized tank for the house/family size (1000 gal Imp for a family of 4), good practice is to pump every 2-3 years. If only 2 persons in the house, it should be pumped every 5-6 years with normal use.

In our area, there is a new outlet filter that can save the leach field in the event that the tank usage is not normal or it is not pumped at proper intervals. It is cone shaped and slips down into the top of the open “T” found at the interior outlet. It catches solids/undigestibles that may be leaving the tank and will eventually block the field over time. The filter may plug up and the drainage system performance declines with slow flushes, backup…but that’s the warning alarm. Some sewage blackwater may also end up on the lawn but that’s just another warning that the filter needs service. But it just saved you a leaching field at what $5,000 - $15,000. The filter should be serviced yearly. I recommend this filter in my report plumbing appendix.

Vern:

Anyone that that has to pump a tank yearly has a problem system…probably a way too small tank for the house load.