the commercial products that claim to clean up problems, improve your
bacteria, etc are just marketing hype. Adding copper sulfate to kill
roots is another no-no. It will also kill the bacteria you want in your
septic system, and the pass through of copper which is a controlled
heavy metal may be a violation. Next, anti-bacterial soaps. This is
more marketing hype. Soaps have been antibacterial since they were
discovered -- why else would we wash with them? To get technical, soaps
are the salt of a weak acid and stronger base. When they dissolve in
water, they make it alkaline. They are also organic, so they disolve
grease and the alkalinity causes bacterial cells to rupture,
(officially, cell lysis). The 'new' soaps are like the new improved biz
that evolved out of TV commercials in the 50s. Rather than go on and
on, you can get information on-line at the National Small Flows
Clearinghouse, an EPA supported information center at West Virginia
University. Small flows is what septic systems are all about. The
Clearinghouse has information modules geared to the average homeowner
that are downloadable. You can also subscribe to their free journal, SF
- The Small Flows Quarterly. The phone number is 800-624-8301. The web
page is www.nsfc.wvu.edu
There is also an online information source at Cornell University, but I
don't have the link here even though I work more closely with their
people and information packets. I'm sure a search by google would come
up with 100,000 Cornell hits. You might just try www.cornell.edu and
then search from there. They are the New York State extension service
host organization, so the information should be easy to locate.
My low pressure system has 3 tanks. I was advised by a professional to put copper sulfate in the LAST tank. That way it never gets into the first 2 tanks, where the bacteria do their work (since gravity moves the water "down" from one to the next).
Other than your mention of the possible issue about heavy metal, do you see any problem with this? Or, for that matter, other anti-root products being put into the last tank of a muti-tank system?
This is a concern to me because I have a lot of trees near my drain field.
[This message has been edited by rpxlpx (edited July 16, 2002).]
Unless you have a homemade septic tank made of barrels, plywood, etc., I can't see why you'd need to replace it.
Commercial septic tanks are normally constructed of either concrete or some type of plastic and unless the tank has somehow been cracked and is leaking there'd be no need to replace it.
Depending on use, tanks do need to be pumped after a certain number of years because the solid matter that sinks to the bottom finally builds too high. This is normal.
Drain fields occasionally need to be dug out and rebuilt because they eventually sludge up and cease to percolate.
But I'd be highly suspicious of anyone telling me I had to replace the tank itself and I'd make them show me why.
Sounds to me like someone trying to sell you a brand new -- and very expensive -- septic system.
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