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Old 01-29-2014, 08:16 AM   #21
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The other good thing about having them come out is they discovered a partially collapsed run. They are coming out to repair in the spring (assuming spring ever comes)
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:01 AM   #22
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I was paying $300, but switched pumpers. The new guy pointed out that I had been previously charged for a 1500 gallon tank, when my tank is only 1000 gallon. I guess my old pumper guy didn't know sh!t.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:04 AM   #23
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No matter what, it's wise to keep an eye on the system.

In our area, the aerobic type septic system we have (Jet brand) is no longer legal to install. If it ever had to be replaced (with a legal system), the cost would be nearly $20,000.

Needless to say, I monitor it on a regular basis.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:14 AM   #24
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I checked my records and saw we were charged $410 to pump our 600 gallon aerobic system in November of 2010. That seems high, but is on the lower end of the prices I was quoted from two other pumpers. And the 600 gallon figure is the capacity of the aerobic tank only. The total combined volume of the three tanks in the system is ~1,500 gallons so that's what I'm paying for. And I do know the municipal systems keep going up on what they charge these guys to offload their cargo...
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:20 AM   #25
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Needless to say, I monitor it on a regular basis.
We are required by state law to contract with a licensed septic company to have our aerobic system inspected three times a year.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:22 AM   #26
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Not 'having' to do something is vastly different from what you 'should be' doing. Sure, you can get away w/o pumping for a very long time. But you are sending unprocessed 'stuff' into the drain field. When the drain field fails, the cost will be much higher than pumping every 3 years or so (dependent on usage and size of tank). Some other poster I think, talked about how he doesn't need to pump because he adds some bio-something every month. I posted numerous links of evidence that those likely do more harm than good - I don't think he ever responded. I wonder if he got his tank pumped? -ERD50
Reminds me back in the 90s we had just bought a new house and the lateral lines weren't perking correctly as more than likely the soil was poor and the land area wasn't big enough to support system. We called to complain so he came and fixed it. Solution was extending the line to the road ditch and covered the pipe with a bunch of rocks. Welcome to the world of rural counties with no regulations.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:23 AM   #27
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$275

Pumping requirement can be a function of the laundry detergent being used. Lots of bleach effectively "kills" the system and will cause solids not to break down. Many route the laundry out a separate dry well for this reason. Or do a Ridx monthly treatment.
These are good points I had forgotten about. My wife is a bit of a clean freak.....and bleach was always a good friend of hers. We were recommended to keep bleach out of the septic system so she gave up the bleach....but she twitches a bit without her bleach. We went HE laundry detergent. They also recommended to stop using bar soap, no big deal these days with the bottled body washes. She still uses the pellet soap in the dishwasher though.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:25 AM   #28
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We are required by state law to contract with a licensed septic company to have our aerobic system inspected three times a year.
Seriously? Someone's brother-in-law owns a septic inspection company.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:53 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
No matter what, it's wise to keep an eye on the system.

In our area, the aerobic type septic system we have (Jet brand) is no longer legal to install. If it ever had to be replaced (with a legal system), the cost would be nearly $20,000.

Needless to say, I monitor it on a regular basis.
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We are required by state law to contract with a licensed septic company to have our aerobic system inspected three times a year.
I was going to ask if you knew why they banned aerobic systems - they seem very effective from everything I know.

But I think the answer is in REWahoo's response - they need to be maintained. If that pump stops, then your system isn't doing what it needs to do, and presents a risk. W/o inspections, they can't be sure people are keeping them maintained, so I guess they decided it is best to ban them?


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These are good points I had forgotten about. My wife is a bit of a clean freak.....and bleach was always a good friend of hers. We were recommended to keep bleach out of the septic system so she gave up the bleach.....
I'd have to dig up the links, but I recall reading from a credible source that reasonable amounts of bleach are OK, but I was surprised at just how bad drain cleaners are.

Going by memory here, but the daily and normal house-cleaning and laundry levels of bleach would not be a problem. Dumping a half-gallon at once might be (lots of dilution in a 1500 gallon tank). But treating even one clog with drain cleaner seemed like enough to wipe out the good bacteria in the tank. I've always been able to plunge out any drain clogs, so I don't even have drain cleaner in the house - I wonder what the label says about septic use?

-ERD50
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:58 AM   #30
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No matter what, it's wise to keep an eye on the system. In our area, the aerobic type septic system we have (Jet brand) is no longer legal to install. If it ever had to be replaced (with a legal system), the cost would be nearly $20,000. Needless to say, I monitor it on a regular basis.
$20,000, wow! No wonder some older built homes at a nearby lake still have buried automobiles as a septic tank.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:01 AM   #31
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27 years and have never had to pump the septic tank so not sure what the cost is. I contribute that partly to the fact I do not put garbage into the system via a garbage disposer.
22 yrs for us (2 of us), and the house is 5 yrs older. Never any problem. Plumber friend says disturbing the system if not needed can ruin it, and Industrial Hygienist friend says feces is 50% bacteria by weight, so no need for additives if you don't use bleaches or other bacteriacides.
Now that we're both retired & not using our employers' facilities things might b e different.
Knocking on wood here.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:09 AM   #32
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Seriously? Someone's brother-in-law owns a septic inspection company.
There are hundreds of brother-in-laws in the state, and I'm happy to pay one of them to take care of a system I don't want to deal with. Plus, it makes this sort of thing more difficult to get away with:
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Solution was extending the line to the road ditch and covered the pipe with a bunch of rocks. Welcome to the world of rural counties with no regulations.
Our neighbor across the road (5 acre lots) tried to save a few bucks and not maintain his system. The stink got so bad after a few months the neighbor beside (and downwind of) him got tired of the smell and, after complaining to him repeatedly about the problem, reported him to the county. Problem solved.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:11 AM   #33
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In our area, the aerobic type septic system we have (Jet brand) is no longer legal to install.
Why, was there some problem with the design of that particular brand?
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:18 AM   #34
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OK, didn't find the original sources, but this is from Clorox (obviously biased, but I doubt their lawyers would let them get away with lying on this):

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Q. I use bleach in my white wash, but also have a septic tank. I need to be careful about how much bleach I use, so as not to kill the bacteria in the tank. We are a family of four adults, but have occasional invasions of germy little grandchildren. Any ideas?

A. I can put your mind at ease regarding using Clorox® Regular-Bleach and your fear of harming your septic tank bacteria. As long as you use the recommended amount (3/4 cup per wash), the bulk of the sodium hypochlorite active will be broken down to salt and water while attacking the stains, soils and germs in the wash load. Any un-reacted hypochlorite will find lots of "things" to react with going down the pipes before it enters your septic tank field to be converted into salt and water. So as long as you’re not pouring a whole bottle down the drain, you have nothing to fear and those germy grandkids can have the cleanest, whitest clothes while visiting.

- See more at: Septic Tanks and Bleach
And that makes sense to me that much of the bleach would be broken down in the wash cycle. The key to sanitizing is 'clean, then sanitize' - dirt/gunk breaks down a chemical sanitizer.

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22 yrs for us (2 of us), and the house is 5 yrs older. Never any problem. Plumber friend says disturbing the system if not needed can ruin it, and Industrial Hygienist friend says feces is 50% bacteria by weight, ...

Knocking on wood here.
Instead of knocking on wood, get your tank pumped!

That 50% bacteria is part of the solution and part of the problem. Yes, it means you don't need to add bacteria to the tank, but those bacteria eventually die and some components of them settle out to the bottom of the tank and start to fill it up. That reduces the capacity, and more and more unprocessed stuff enters the drain field. That's bad, and drain fields are expensive to replace (the $20,000 mentioned earlier would be a ballpark). Newer regs might have tighter restrictions than when first installed, so you might be facing a very expensive replacement, could be that size system would not be allowed, and you'll have to go more 'high tech' ($$$).

Seriously, read up on some .gov and .edu sites for some real info rather than some random anecdotes about people who did this or that and 'never had a problem' (have they dug up and inspected their drain field to see how well it is functioning?). You likely won't be aware of a problem until it is too late (and very expensive).

edit/add: and another thing.... If you have not had your tank pumped, have you had it inspected? Tanks have a 'baffle' at the outlet - the baffle pulls the water from just below the surface, so that grease and other scum don't enter the drain field (grease is bad for the drain field). Those baffles often fall apart after a while, and need to be replaced. When they pump the tank, they inspect the baffle. So if your baffle has been non-functional for the past ten years or so (very likely), your drain field has really been compromised.

When you sell your house, the county or any other inspection service is sure to have an issue with a tank that hasn't been maintained in decades. It's gonna cost you!

-ERD50
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:21 AM   #35
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We've used bleach from day one in our aerobic system and never had an issue with it. Like anything else you pour into a septic system - including water - too much of it can be a bad thing.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:22 AM   #36
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I am so glad that my retirement is well funded, because for me (only) this means that I will never, ever have to deal with a septic tank at all during the rest of my entire life. I may not long for international travel, but I think that living in a location with city water/sewage is a great way to spend my discretionary money. YMMV

Different strokes for different folks, but this entire thread is horrifying to this city gal. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have city water ($2.77/month) and sewage ($2.06/month).
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:28 AM   #37
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I am so glad that my retirement is well funded, because for me (only) this means that I will never, ever have to deal with a septic tank at all during the rest of my entire life.

Different strokes for different folks, but this entire thread is horrifying to this city gal. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have city water ($2.77/month) and sewage ($2.06/month).
Oh, poop.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:33 AM   #38
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I am so glad that my retirement is well funded, because for me (only) this means that I will never, ever have to deal with a septic tank at all during the rest of my entire life.

Different strokes for different folks, but this entire thread is horrifying to this city gal. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have city water and sewage.
I recall you making this comment before, and I'll give you the same answer I did back then:

I've lived ~ 1/2 my life on municipal sewer service and 1/2 on private septic. There really is no difference to the homeowner in terms of 'yucky-ness'. With a private septic, they come and pump it every few years (and you could be away when they do). They are in and out in a half hour or so. No problem.

In fact, the yuckiest experience I had was on municipal sewer - the pipe clogged going to the street and I ended up with 'yuck' in my crawl space. That was bad! That could happen whether the pipe goes to a septic or to the main sewer line - really no difference.

I'm not sure what 'well funded' has to do with it. There are some very, very expensive houses around here on septic, and some cheap shacks on city sewer?

-ERD50
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:33 AM   #39
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Oh, poop.
Exactly! And at my house it just disappears when I flush and I don't have to deal with it, or even think about it.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:50 AM   #40
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9/2012 $500 to pump out a 1400 gallon tank in rural Oregon.
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