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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
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2007-08-28          145132


My father in law is always giving things to read that I don't read, but finally he stuch this one under my nose that I read on bacteria and other problems in the jetted bath tubs so many of us have.

So it seems one of the ways to clean the jet tubing is to fill the tub with hot water and about 20 ounces of bleach with a half dozen caps of automatic dishwasher liquid, run for 20 minutes, then drain and rinse.

They recommend doing this up to twice a month. Only problem I was wondering about is that for my septic system to wrk well it doen't like bleach it likes bacteria and fungus right.

Will that much bleach on a regular basiswreak havoc on my septic tank?

Dennis


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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-08-28          145137


Dennis, before you get too carried away trying to sanitize the tub, make sure of what type of tub you have!

A lot of the newer ones are plumbed differently than they used to be, it is common now to have the pump and hoses set up such that they completely drain when the tub is emptied.

The old tubs kept water in the pump to keep the seals from deteriorating, but newer materials don't do that, and the manufacturers got away from creating the health hazard of leaving water sitting in there.

You also need to be sure that the bleach or detergent won't cause any problems to the pump or other seals. Even some bath oils will cause a problem on certain products.

Best of luck. ....

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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
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2007-08-28          145138


Thanks Murf,

Based on your comment I went to the Kohler site and fortunately they still make the same tube ten years later, unfortunately it has not caught up to the design you meantioned for newer units. The directions are basically what I had found:

"Flushing Your Whirlpool System
Flush your whirlpool system twice a month or more, depending upon usage. Use the following sequence:
- Turn the jet trim rings fully clockwise to remove air induction.
- Fill the whirlpool with warm water to a level at least 2 (5cm) above the highest jets, or leave water in the whirlpool after using.
- Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of a low-foaming dishwasher detergent and 20 ounces (590 ml) of household bleach(5% - 6% sodium hypochlorite) to the water.
- Run the whirlpool for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the whirlpool and drain.
- If desired, rinse the bath surfaces with water.
- Rinse the surfaces of the jets, faucet, handrails, drain, etc. and wipe them dry with a soft cloth."


So I still am wondering if this will wreak havoc on my septic tank!

Dennis ....

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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-08-28          145140


Gotcha, maybe do a little research on neutralizing the bleach before you pull the plug and drain it.

Would something like a swimming pool chemical used to adjust the Ph alter the bleach to the point where it's harmless to your septic tank.

Best of luck. ....

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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2007-08-28          145158


I can't imagine any "household" type use of bleach in the relatively small quanties mentioned would have a detrimental effect on the digestive properties of a typical septic tank. Think of how much detergents and bleach are used for normal bathing and washing. And you have to consider the bacteria-laden solids---several hundred gallons worth in the first chamber alone that would have to be completely stirred up and sterilized.

But if you are concerned you're taxing the system with bleach, a gallon or two of very soured milk poured down the drain, I'm told, will straighten that out. ....

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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2007-08-29          145177


I have a lot of training in water treatment and water purification.

Trust me when I tell you that you cannot sterilize one thousand gallons of fulminating poop with a couple of cups of bleach.

Bleach has a half-life curve. That is why you have to keep adding it to your outdoor pools every few days. Chlorine out-gasses into the atmosphere and also gets just plain used up.

Even if you could somehow kill off your septic, think of how many pounds of new, active "biological material" you are going to add to the system in the next week.



....

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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-08-29          145181


Mark, purely as an educational exercise, and I am aware of your background and experience, which is why I ask, how is it possible that that much bleach wouldn't sterilize, or at least drastically slow down, the septic system.

My chemistry days are a long way back, but I do recall from both my education and training that a 0.005% (1 part bleach for 20,000 parts of water) solution of household bleach will render most surface water safe for human consumption.

The instructions Dennis posted call for 20 ounces, 0.59 litres of bleach.

That being the case, 590 ml (0.59 litres) would sterilize 11,800 litres of water, which is about 3,122 gallons. I'm guessing this is about 3 times the capacity of his septic tank.

You see where I'm going with this?

Best of luck. ....

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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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kleinchris
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 269 Westminster, Texas
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2007-08-29          145198


I feel I can give a little something to this discusion as I am also a water geek, with a degree in water quality and waste water quality. When you add small amount of bleach into water it will begin to kill any bacteria in the water,as well as begin to react with other minerals in your water that are there naturally or that you have put there in the form of additives. Whatever it is coming into contact with, it is reacting with. The more reactions, the weeker the bleach becomes. So lets just say yours hot tub has alot of bacteria in it- thats good for your septic system.
Going back to the half life comment... bleach is unstable. It wants to dissipate into less complex compounds, in this case mostly salt and water. Probably the single biggest factor in speeding up the dissipation process is air bubbles in plumbing lines. This is something water systems spend decades trying to fix, but it's also the whole point of this discussion. This means the more air you pump through you hot tub, the weaker your bleach ratio will become. If your worried, test the levels before discharging into the septic. My septic system has no problems dealing with bleach at 2 mg/L. if you are still worried, just let the jets run all night. ....

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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2007-08-29          145200


Well.... there is a BIG difference between sanitizing clear water for purposes of drinking and killing off ALL the bacteria in a solid chunk of feces.

The same dilution tables will tell you to double or triple the chlorine if the proposed drinking water is cloudy with suspended solids.

No amount of chlorine could every make a bucket of poop safe to consume.

Recently I found several mouse messes in my tool drawers in the garage. I mixed up a strong bleach/detergent solution in a 5 gallon bucket to sanitize the mess. Then I went off to do something else and forgot to empty the bucket.

Two weeks later when I looked in the bucket there was a thick layer of pond scum on the remaining water.

Clearly the 8 ounces of bleach that I had added to the roughly 4 gallons of water had gone somewhere else.

Had I added some fresh poop to the mix and let it sit two weeks in a warm garage....... well........ I will let your imagination fill in the blanks.

Bottom line: Septic systems are re-inoculated several times a day with untold billions of bacteria and relatively huge amounts of organic material for the critters to feed on.

An occasional bolus of chlorine cannot possibly do long lasting harm to such a thriving, massive culture.
....

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kleinchris
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 269 Westminster, Texas
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2007-08-29          145201


I realized I just did something that others have done to me here- not answering you question or talking around it so...

"My chemistry days are a long way back, but I do recall from both my education and training that a 0.005% (1 part bleach for 20,000 parts of water) solution of household bleach will render most surface water safe for human consumption."

That is true, for most water. But, if you were to take just one s*** in that same water, that ratio doenst work any more. You have a tank full of years of s*** which eats up chlorine quicker than the dissipation factor. On the other hand, if you were to dump a gallon of undiluted bleach straight into the drain, that might cause some damage.
....

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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-08-30          145217


Thanks guys, I new the ratio I was talking about was clearly for 'good' water, not the contents of a septic tank, but wasn't sure how much of an effect it might have, that's all.

I do know chlorine dissipates, I add many pucks of it to my pool on a regular basis and a good whiff on the downwind side clearly indicates where it's going on a hot day!!

Best of luck. ....

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Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2007-08-31          145254


Upon further refection I have come up with another facet to the story.

My opinions and observations are based upon the premise that septic systems are self regulating and self sustaining.

In other words, outside bacteria are not necessary to start the septic reaction or sustain it.

Maybe someone out there has some experience with bacterial matters and can weigh in on this premise. ....

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cutter
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 1303 The South Shore of Lake Ontario, New York
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2007-08-31          145265


Dennis,

If you are worried about the chlorine why not try a non-chlorine Potassium Monopersulfate shock treatment? You can purchase a pound bag of it at most pool stores for about three bucks and it should last quite a time for your limited use.

What this stuff does is burn off the contaminates, it does not kill algae like chlorine, but I doubt you have that. It will eat up the oils and soaps. I use it in my pool and love the results.

....

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Justus
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 179 Justus, Pa.
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2007-09-01          145268


I don't think I'm straying too far off subject when I ask if the products they sell using "Beneficial Bacteria" to add to your septic system really work? For instance, Septic Helper states it has 8 types of bacteria to aid in the breakdown of solid waste. Are these products actually beneficial to the system or literally "Money down the drain?" Steve ....


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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2007-09-03          145315


The previous owner of my present home NEVER pumped out the septic tank..... for something like 18 years running.

She did, however put the freeze dried bugs down the toilet once a month or so.

When I had the system pumped there was just the usual amount of goop on the bottom of the tank that one would see with pumping at three year intervals.

The pump guy was quite surprised when I told him how long it had been since the septic had been pumped. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Jacuzzi Tubs Bacteria Sanitize and Septics

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cutter
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 1303 The South Shore of Lake Ontario, New York
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2007-09-03          145319


From what I understand, the tank additives are a good way to clean your wallet but do little to help the system. My tank had not been pumped since the house was new in 1976 so that is one of the first things I did when I purchased it in '92. I have a great relationship with one local professional, so he keeps me out of the poop, so to speak.

Yes, the tank was fine but the lack of maintenance had ruined the distribution box and the fats and oils were just beginning their journey into the system. He replace the box and said we had caught it just in time. For the $100, I'll have him pump it every three years.

....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-09-03          145321


$100? We just had ours pumped after 7 years and it was $350 and we shopped around (1500 gallon dosing tank). ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-09-04          145324


I'll toss in a little different question tbat kinda fits the thread. We have a common septic system with a 1000 gal tank and the distribution field liones. The queation is about a kitchen garbage disposal, can we have one without overloading the septic system? The Mrs. of course would like one but I've been kind of a foot dragger thinking it would cause more ferequent tank pumping. Any thoughts or experiences? Frank. ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-09-04          145327


Frank,

I have a similar septic system, and I have a garbage disposal under the kitchen sink. We also have a dishwasher, along with two full bathrooms.....and 6 people who shower every day.

The biggest factor here is the quality of your drain field. If your sewer drain field will handle the extra amount of water that comes with the use of a garbage disposal, you shouldn't have any trouble.

Cooking grease is a problem in many rural septic systems. Your wife should never dump her used grease down the sink drain. Things like leftover food, plate scrapings, old vegetables from the fridge, etc.......no problem at all. Gravy and chicken grease.....used cooking oil.....etc.....should be collected in a jar and disposed of in the garbage can.

I had my sewer drain field replaced last year, after the drain field pipe had collapsed. It was an old drain field, installed in the early 80s. The pipe the previous owner used was a flimsy, 4 inch, black plastic pipe. It wasn't suitable for use as a drain field pipe. However, when we dug it up, the pipe and sewer system was in otherwise perfect condition.

We've lived here for 9 years, with 6 people in the house. The garbage disposal is used every day, several times each day. My septic tank was pumped out only once, and that was only because I was troubleshooting my sewer problems, when I noticed that I had sewer water in my driveway. Had it not been for the collapsed pipe, pumping out my septic tank wouldn't have been necessary.

Get your wife a garbage disposal. You can use it with confidence, so long as you don't abuse the system with grease.

Joel ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-09-04          145328


First off, there seems to be a bit of intermingling of questions and answers, and even amongst some facts too.

Now, a 'healthy' septic system does not need any additives, however, statistics show that 'healthy' and 'average' are not the same either. Even moderate amounts of grease, oil, soap or paper can lead to a clogged system MUCH faster than it should. The idea of the additives is to make up for the 'poor diet' most of us feed their septic system.

As a side note, a pint of buttermilk left on the counter for 48 hours and then poured down the drain will do about the same thing as the expensive additives sold in stores.

The other point was garbage disposals, the extra water is not the issue, it's the food waste that is the problem, things like food waste will compost but they will not be eaten by the type of bacteria in the septic system. They will break down in the septic tank, but very slowly since the bacteria needed for composting is aerobic, and a septic tank (being under water) is anaerobic.

A garbage disposal only adds the same amount of water as running a tap for the same amount of time, about 2 or 3 gallons per minute.

If you do the math, a 'typical' person uses between 40 & 80 gallons of water per day, if you use 60 as the median, and have a household of 6 people, that is 360 gallons of water per day. That would completely change the water in a 1,000 gallon septic tank (assuming there was no solids which we know there are) every 3 days!!

Every time you pour a gallon of water down a drain, another gallon goes out into the tile field, if that happens too often, the bacteria can be diluted down to a level that will not sustain proper digestion of the matter going down the drain.

Best of luck. ....

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cutter
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 1303 The South Shore of Lake Ontario, New York
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2007-09-05          145397


KWS,

Yes, the cost may have gone up in the last couple of years, mine is due here this fall so I will find out. If I recall, it was at $85 for a long time if he had to dig the lid on the 1K tank and then rose a few bucks. Given that the wife pays the bills I am unsure how much the last one was. Hope I am not in for a $400 hosing!

....

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