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Posted by terv (Member # 29410) on :
Had our septic system pumped. They found 4 foot of sludge (I know gross) instead of 4 inches. He swore we must be using huge amounts of bleach or charmin toilet paper.

The bleach idea was that it kills the good bacteria which disintegrates the sludge.

Could I pee out enough abx to kill the the good bacteria?
Posted by Tincup (Member # 5829) on :
WHY didn't I realize before opening this post that it would contain something gross? I mean HEY TC!

You said on the post title "septic system". That should have given me a clue, ya think? But, no. DUH ME!

I can't say what caused your specific problem, but my guess would be yes, it is possible.

Here is an article talking about tap water having antibiotics in them. And this is just one of many I've seen over the years.

(I didn't read this one, just grabbed it as an example.)

For what it is worth, I add a packet or two of Brewers Yeast to the toilet every few months for that reason.
Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :
I disagree. I don't think the quantity of abx you consume would make a difference in a septic system.

Consider laundry soaps, bleach, and other chemicals such as toilet cleaners, etc.
Posted by LisaK (Member # 41384) on :
they always ask me if we use bleach. nope. but, I know I don't have a lot of the right kind of flora in my gut and maybe my family doesn't either? maybe that has something to do with it.

brewers yeast? doe that really help?
Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :
It's the chemicals.
Posted by Tincup (Member # 5829) on :
Mouthwash and antibacterial soaps can also be a problem, along with use of long-term antibiotics.

And yes, chemicals can be a problem, but if you aren't using them you need to look elsewhere for the cause. And perhaps do some preventative maintenance.

"Long-term use of medications, such as antibiotics, may also destroy important bacteria in your septic tank and drainfield.”

"Just as chemo (or long term antiobiotics) kill all the good bacteria in our intestines and we consequently can get diarrhea, the theories are (a) that our waste products are already diminished in the bacterial stuff and/or (b) the amounts of chemo still excreted in our urine or stool that are live are killing off any remaining bacteria that is needed in the spetic tank to eat away at the waste products.”

"Prescription antibiotics and drugs are extremely hard on the microbes in the system. Flushing them into the wastewater system increases the maintenance.”

Some help for your tank...

Yeast in septic tank?

“Green” recipe for adding bacteria to your septic tank
Posted by Catgirl (Member # 31149) on :
When I was on abx stuff wasn't breaking down in the septic very well. They sell stuff that you can add to it at night before bed.
Posted by randibear (Member # 11290) on :
hahaha.....oh boy.....

ridx. its thebest. once a month. but the rest. i dont know, still tryingto figure that crap out....
Posted by steve1906 (Member # 16206) on :
Quote> Could abx cause septic system issues?

I would say yes. Take good care of your (septic system), if you need to replace it it's going to cost you between $20,000 - $25,000. Be good to it, and it will be good to you!

How Medications Affect Your Septic System

We recently had a discussion on WDUN’s The Home Improvement show, where we talked about the affects of medication and other materials on your septic system. This blog post is going to take this topic a little further and explain how medications can cause damage to your septic tank’s ecosystem.

Americans flush all types of items down their drains, resulting in clogs, burst pipes, and even septic tank backups. Some of these items are common sense items that the average homeowner should know to avoid flushing down the toilet or pouring down their sinks. Other items, such as medications, may not be so obvious.

The simple rule of thumb to remember is this:

The only thing you should flush down your toilet is toilet paper and waste water. Period. No goldfish, no medicine, and definitely no baby alligators (the last thing we need is more giant alligators running rampant in the Georgia sewer systems)!

Why You Shouldn’t Flush Medication Down the Drains

Your septic system is a living entity, full of helpful bacteria whose sole purpose in life is to consume and break down human waste. When chemicals such as antibiotics, antibacterials, chemotherapy treatments, and even an abundance of salt water, enter your tank, it causes an imbalance in the ecosystem, weakening or killing the bacteria in the septic tank. This causes solid waste to build up in the tank much faster, leading to issues in the drainfield and/or mound.

In addition to issues with the septic system, medications and chemicals can also eventually lead to groundwater contamination as well.

Note also that medications can enter your septic system through normal human waste as well, as the body does not always fully metabolize medications, allowing remnants to exit your body via the digestive system.
Protecting Septic Systems from Medication and Chemicals

Below are some steps you can take to prevent damage to your septic tank and drainfield by errant prescriptions.

Do not flush medications, chemicals, salt water, anti-bacterial soap or cleaning supplies such as bleach, ammonia, or glass cleaners down your toilet or drains.

Consider adding an effluent screen to your septic tank to reduce waste entering your drainfield. Be sure to have the screen maintained regularly, per your plumbing contractor’s instructions.

If you have a sick family member residing in your home who requires high dosages of antibiotics, or who is receiving chemotherapy treatments, up the time in-between septic pumps. Consult a licensed plumber or home improvement contractor to determine how often you should schedule your septic pumping.
When you do have your septic tank pumped, be sure to have the plumber refill the septic tank with clean water to help dilute any left-over chemical or medication residue.

Consult a certified plumbing or home improvement contractor for a full list of tests and measures you can take to prevent damage to your septic system. The small amount of money you pay for the consultation will far outweigh any future costs in the event of system failure or breakdown.

How to Dispose of Medication Properly

There is no straight-forward answer when it comes to the proper disposal of medication, mainly because each medication (and its affect on the environment) is different. Your best bet is to contact your local pharmacy, police department, or hospital to ask if they have a medication recycling program in place.

Here's another one:

Carl J. Sorensen and Jacob D. Moser (Dr. Stephen J. Druschel) Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN 56001

Nearly 30 percent of United States residents are not on city sanitary sewer, so they must use septic systems for waste water treatment. Septic systems use microbiological degradation to treat waste water. Residual antibiotics from human medicinal use may enter a septic system at sufficient levels during a prescription course to limit the system’s ability effectively treat waste.

This loss of treatment may cause a septic system to become clogged by the un-degraded organic waste initiating hydraulic failure. When hydraulic failure occurs, untreated liquid waste will be released into groundwater and potentially surface waters including ditches, streams, lakes and rivers. Such contamination is a human health hazard that can lead to closures of public waters and have significant impacts on ecosystems. Our project involves the design and construction of a scale model septic system to replicate the microbiological treatment which takes place in real septic systems.

There are two identical models representing a control and an antibiotic affected unit. Both models have septic tanks and drainfields, with an influent simulating the flow from a residence into a septic tank. The experiment involves dosing one septic system with the antibiotic amoxicilin, then monotoring the treatment ability of the system and well as the health of the microbe population. The treatment quality is monitored for pH, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen changes.

The microbial population health will be monitored using flow cytometry which compares the number of living versus dead organisms. Three different antibiotic levels will be evaluated to asses the antibiotic level that would cause failure in a residential septic system.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Carl Sorensen

Institution: Minnesota State University, Mankato

Type: Poster

Subject: Civil Engineering

Year: 2010

Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :
She didn't say she was FLUSHING medications down the toilet. Only the amount she is consuming. That isn't very much.
Posted by steve1906 (Member # 16206) on :
Note also that medications can enter your septic system through normal human waste as well, as the body does not always fully metabolize medications, allowing remnants to exit your body via the digestive system.

Septic systems use microbiological degradation to treat waste water. Residual antibiotics from human medicinal use may enter a septic system at sufficient levels during a prescription course to limit the system’s ability effectively treat waste.

Posted by Tincup (Member # 5829) on :
Can't believe we are still discussing terv's poop. How ya doing there terv?

"The life cycle of pharmaceutically used antibiotics does not simply end when a patient swallows a pill or when livestock are treated.

In most cases, the antibiotics are excreted. The exact amount varies depending on the route of application and the species, but various estimates of active compounds being excreted in urine or feces range from 10% to more than 90%.

For some highly consumed antibiotic classes, such as beta-lactams, tetracyclines, (fluoro)quinolones, phenicols and trimethoprim, excretion generally exceeds 50% of the administered dose."


"Waste-water treatment removes up to 90% of ciprofloxacin by sorption to sewage sludge, but biological degradation is poor."

**This is a single septic tank that terv has, not city sewage.

"As a result, ciprofloxacin accumulates in sewage sludge and, if the sludge is used as fertilizer, in the soil in concentrations in the low mg per kg range."

"In the soil, ciprofloxacin persists for more than 90 days with only minimal transformation. Although the strong adsorption to soil might reduce its bioavailability, it still elicits effects on soil microorganisms for long periods of time..."

I know poop.


Link here-
Posted by just don (Member # 1129) on :
Just a personal opinion,,,I have had over 15 septic tanks.

The type of soap,and other factors are responsible for a sludge build up.

You didnt say how large the tank? How many people in family? water useage? Age of system including the laterals? Shaded or sunny leach field? Depth of tank below surface can matter?

And lastly who put it in pro or novice?

My grandpa always said best septic treatment is a dead rabbit,,,so that no flush goldfish doesnt work for me

They do sell different stuff to help your tank. green Pig is just one of them. rid X is probably the best known

I have found Tide soap hard on drain pipes and septics.

Actually the sludge is a natural thing and not to be concerned. the very IMPORTANT thing is it does not get high enough to flow to the leach field,,,EVER.

Over pumping a tank too often is as bad as under pumping.

Your tank stays the same liquid level within an inch or two.A straight 1 bye 2 with white cloth wrapped around it is a good indicator.

Take the cap off, stick the hite clothed end down to the bottom till it hits. Pull up and see how deep black sludge is on bottom of the stick. The top water will be grey maybe but a deffinite difference.

You can do that a few times and you will quickly get a feel on how fast the sludge is coming up. Stab the tank every other month,,,every 6 months etc,,,maybe every year

With some added treatment it should not be often,,,and WATCH what you put in it,,,nothing but the basics and read labels and make sure cleaning stuff is eco friendly

The small amount of abx thru the body makes little difference when you figure the dilution factor.
Posted by terv (Member # 29410) on :
Finally checking in. Wow lots of responses and data to go through. Thanks!

We have had our septic pumped twice. The first time we had let it lapse 8 years. When the guy came we got an A+ in septic system condition. The guy said that we must have a great diet etc. (We were very proud of that).I guess your septic guy can determine your diet.

This time it was 5 years since the last time. This is the amount of time I have been treating.

We have 4 people in the family.

Yeah our level was getting high enough to dump into the other tank. To make things worse a fuse blew and the pump in the lower tank wasn't working. Dumb luck that the septic guy came when he did.

The only thing that I can think that gets constantly dumped into the septic system is Costco laundry soap. Unfortunately cleaning isn't my thing so while chemicals do go in there it is nothing compared to laundry soap. Plus I doubt I am cleaning more than I did when we got the A+ grade. However I will review my family's chemical use.

Our cap isn't exposed so we can't monitor. The septic guy offered to raise it to ground level so maybe we will do it.

Sending this thread to my husband. He is in charge of the poop.

[ 11-02-2016, 08:32 AM: Message edited by: terv ]
Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :
Buy soap nuts from Green Virgin.
Posted by terv (Member # 29410) on :
Any suggestions for dishwasher detergent? I didn't find anything on soap nuts site.
Posted by just don (Member # 1129) on :
5 years is a relative long time for sludge up. I have heard people pumping their tanks every other year.

that could be overkill a stated before.

I say this cause its what we USED to have if your NOT highly regulated. We used to channel black water down septic,,,that was stools and kitchen sink(includes dishwasher but would not have to)

Had all the grey water run out back on top of the ground. that would be shower water, clothes washer, bath sink etc. . That really is not dirty water.

It didnt go far and water soaked away fast,,and the sunshine broke down any soaps really fast. Also included sump pump for basement certain times of the year.

Not sure that would pass any significant inspections,,,but there were NO inspections of any kind 75 years ago when that was set up.

May not apply if you have an acreage type property you MAY sell some day. OR if you plan to live there a very long time,,,nobody sees the wet surface area,,,and its not hard to convert it back any part of that helps a ton.

As stated the clothes washer and shower soap is 90% of the problem,,,when it does NOT have to be.

So you have a unique underground watering system for that patch of ___out back. As long as it does not run on a neighbor,,,and they dont give a hoot!!

ALL water is not necessary to septic,,,especially if you have a water softener and the salty brine is discharge into it.

Terv, you didnt say IF you had a sofenter??? They are VERY hard on septics
Posted by just don (Member # 1129) on :
For clarification we didnt live within 1/2 to a mile of anyone else

AND they were probably doing the same thing.

AND zero inspections

Ours watered the lilacs out back,,,they were none the worse for wear after 60-75 years of same.
Posted by steve1906 (Member # 16206) on :
Do not let your cleaning lapse 8 years, or even 5 years. I would recommend ever year, or every other year.

If you ever sell this house and don't pass inspection it's going to cost you $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Posted by terv (Member # 29410) on :
We have 10 acres but weren't smart enough to put the plumbing in to divert the non sewage water to the outside.

The ph of our water is around 9 - naturally. Very high. Our water treatment is something that blows air into the water to get rid of most of the sulfur and then a charcoal filter.
Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :
Originally posted by terv:
Any suggestions for dishwasher detergent? I didn't find anything on soap nuts site.

I use Seventh Generation POWDER.
Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :
Originally posted by terv:

We have 10 acres but weren't smart enough to put the plumbing in to divert the non sewage water to the outside.


That's probably a big issue.
Posted by Catgirl (Member # 31149) on :
This stuff is great (dishes are shiny)!

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