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Septic tank questions ( arghhh ! )


ea93105
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One of the biggest projects is replacing the 60 year old clay pipes ( what a nightmare ) with new heavy duty plastic pipes.

At what elevation should pipes enter the tank ? I know the pipes themselves should slope 1/4 per foot or so, but the mystery we have is that we cannot see any pipes entering the tank after filming the inside. The current ground water level does not let us see the bottom half of the tank, so maybe the pipe is entering very low, is this normal ? The lower half of the tank is much lower than the elevation at which the pipe would end up if just sloping 1/4 per foot from the house.

Also, we are going to build a system which can eventually be hooked up to a municipal sewer system ( when and if it ever comes to Riberas ). I hope it comes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have just put in a grey water and dark water septic tanks and watched two others put in.  All had entrance near the top.  The tanks were in the ground a ways so as to get the necessary slope.  If your entrance is to low you are going to have drainage problems.  The high water table here from the lake will in wet seasons really be a problem for you.  Pipes will not properly drain and if the water table gets to high they will back up into your house.   

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3 hours ago, rafterbr said:

I have just put in a grey water and dark water septic tanks and watched two others put in.  All had entrance near the top.  The tanks were in the ground a ways so as to get the necessary slope.  If your entrance is to low you are going to have drainage problems.  The high water table here from the lake will in wet seasons really be a problem for you.  Pipes will not properly drain and if the water table gets to high they will back up into your house.   

The water table is at its highest in like 20 years ? Even at current level, it is about 8 feet below the house ground level so I don't think backing up will be a problem. I plan to separate showers and laundry for irrigation use.

Thanks for the info on where the pipe should enter, that seems logical.

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2 hours ago, vista lake said:

To build a septick tank, for grey water and dark water cost like $30 000 to $35 000 pesos, and Here in Riveras I install a heavy dutty water pump in the grey water tank, so when they almost full the pump start on to drain the water!! Conected whit the raing water draing!!!

Problem is that the grey water has to go somewhere when you pump it out and it doesn't usually smell that great. You could have some very unhappy neighbors.

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None of my grey water goes into my septic tank or any other tank. I'm sure if it goes into a tank, it would smell bad when you pump it out- it's been sitting there festering and breeding bacteria.

Instead, I hooked up my showers, sinks and washing machine so they each run out through 2" PVC pipe with quarter inch holes drilled about 6" apart on the underside through garden areas, so they just water the gardens and as the water is fresh (with a bit of soap in it), it doesn't smell. I stuck 2" caps on th ends of the lines, but didn't glue them on- they're held in place with a rock, so if the line should get plugged up with crud (only the kitchen one does, and not that often) all I have to do is remove the rock and the cap, stick my hose end in there , shove it up the pipé, turn the water on and wash it all out.  

Nothing but the 2 toilets go into the septic system (pre-digester tank, then into built block drain field 1 and a half cubic meters) and has never needed to be pumped out in the 11 years I've been using it. And the whole thing, materials and labor, probably cost less than half of the prices I'm seeing here.

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11 hours ago, ea93105 said:

The water table is at its highest in like 20 years ? Even at current level, it is about 8 feet below the house ground level so I don't think backing up will be a problem. I plan to separate showers and laundry for irrigation use.

Thanks for the info on where the pipe should enter, that seems logical.

Just as a point of interest and no big deal, but the lake was higher in both 2008 and 2010 than it is today.

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40 minutes ago, Zeb said:

Speaking of Septic tanks, we were told to never place toilet paper down the toilet.  Is there any type of TP made for Septic tank disposal?

We have flushed Costco's Kirkland toilet paper through our 4 inch PVC pipes into our septic field for 12 years without a problem.

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A toilet should never have a 2" drain pipe. 4" is standard. A lot of paper isn't great for the septic, it's true. But there's no reason why it can't be flushed, assuming 4" piping. The way I deal with not too much paper going into the system is that pee paper gets thrown in the waste basket, and #2 all gets flushed. Poopy paper in a basket is just too gross for me.

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mudgirl, you are trying to change the way things work here by sheer force of will. "Standard"? Maybe up north. Not here. Have you ever seen the 2" plastic sewage pipes down by the lake in Ajijic? The ones that service the whole area? That used to come up during heavy rains?

This discussion has been had many times before, and before long this thread will be 5 pages long no matter what anyone says. So, here is my current thinking: do whatever the hell you want with your TP, people, and we shall see who pays the consequences. Just don't come crawling back here when you have to pay big repair bills for your septic, or your neighbour starts to complain about the smell.

Let loose the dogs.

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23 minutes ago, ComputerGuy said:

mudgirl, you are trying to change the way things work here by sheer force of will. "Standard"? Maybe up north. Not here. Have you ever seen the 2" plastic sewage pipes down by the lake in Ajijic? The ones that service the whole area? That used to come up during heavy rains?

This discussion has been had many times before, and before long this thread will be 5 pages long no matter what anyone says. So, here is my current thinking: do whatever the hell you want with your TP, people, and we shall see who pays the consequences. Just don't come crawling back here when you have to pay big repair bills for your septic, or your neighbour starts to complain about the smell.

Let loose the dogs.

Yes it has, and probably includes most viewpoints.  I once had a septic tank NOB. No comment on how well I liked the arrangement.🙄

 I am glad to have no need for a septic tank since there is a working sewer in Ajijic Centro and I've been happily flushing everything on good old Kirkland t.p. for over ten years with no problem.

I have no idea what size the pipes are.

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As long as the bacteria is working good you should not have a problem with the paper.  As a preventive I flush yeast down the toilet every 6 months or so.  I do have a grey water tank so shouldn't have much dark water anyway.

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6 hours ago, mudgirl said:

A toilet should never have a 2" drain pipe. 4" is standard. A lot of paper isn't great for the septic, it's true. But there's no reason why it can't be flushed, assuming 4" piping. The way I deal with not too much paper going into the system is that pee paper gets thrown in the waste basket, and #2 all gets flushed. Poopy paper in a basket is just too gross for me.

Here in northern California, both my houses have US style septic systems which include extensive leach fields.  Optimal management involves minimizing water throughput by grey-water diversion, use of appropriate TP that disintegrates easily,  no in-line kitchen garbage disposal, no use of chlorine or bar soaps, substituting 'oxygen' based cleaners instead.  One house is in the redwoods, which have highly invasive root systems, and I add copper sulfate to the distribution ports of the leach field regularly to discourage their probing tendrils.  Properly managed, this type of septic system of medium size can go 15 user-years between pump-outs.

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Kirkland TP and many other main brands are septic friendly and say so on the label.

The largest problem in older systems was the use of square registro junction boxes,  used before "Y" style PVC fittings were available.    Those plug up really nicely....

Agree with raftrbr, TP is not an issue in reasonable amounts in a properly designed and functioning septic tank setup.

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10 hours ago, ComputerGuy said:

mudgirl, you are trying to change the way things work here by sheer force of will. "Standard"? Maybe up north. Not here. Have you ever seen the 2" plastic sewage pipes down by the lake in Ajijic? The ones that service the whole area? That used to come up during heavy rains?

This discussion has been had many times before, and before long this thread will be 5 pages long no matter what anyone says. So, here is my current thinking: do whatever the hell you want with your TP, people, and we shall see who pays the consequences. Just don't come crawling back here when you have to pay big repair bills for your septic, or your neighbour starts to complain about the smell.

Let loose the dogs.

I'm not trying to change the way things work here. (The way things work here often is that they DON'T work) But if one is building their place from scratch, or putting in a new septic system,  which was the topic of this thread, is there some reason not to do it properly, to avoid future problems?  Just because Mexicans like to reduce a 4" toilet outlet to a 2" pipe to save $ on pipe, everyone should do it like that forever? Of course, anyone who likes having a basket of shitty toilet paper in the bathroom is welcome to use 2" pipe , just like they're welcome to stick a vent pipe out of the septic tank, which is the only reason a bad smell would come out of the septic tank, as opposed to having the vent pipes run up inside the walls, and vent on the rooftop.

I wouldn't presume to criticize your advice on computer problems; perhaps you could leave septic advice to those who actually understand how to set up a properly functioning system.

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Agree with the last three posts of rafterbr, mudgirl and GoSolar.

Septic systems in the U.S. and Canada are ONE big enclosed cement box that need a leech field in which to drain. In Mexico, the boxes themselves are divided in two (or three compartments) the last one of which is open at the bottom to drain. They are different but both systems work very well if you put the right stuff into them... and that includes septic friendly TP. You can google the care and feeding of septic tanks but the most important thing is to not put in chlorine or other heavy duty cleaners which kill the needed bacteria for digestion of waste.

Registros, if done properly, can be a huge help because they give you a point of access if there is a blockage. Or they can be a source of aggravation if you haven't done your homework.

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8 hours ago, mudgirl said:

I'm not trying to change the way things work here. (The way things work here often is that they DON'T work) But if one is building their place from scratch, or putting in a new septic system,  which was the topic of this thread, is there some reason not to do it properly, to avoid future problems?  Just because Mexicans like to reduce a 4" toilet outlet to a 2" pipe to save $ on pipe, everyone should do it like that forever? Of course, anyone who likes having a basket of shitty toilet paper in the bathroom is welcome to use 2" pipe , just like they're welcome to stick a vent pipe out of the septic tank, which is the only reason a bad smell would come out of the septic tank, as opposed to having the vent pipes run up inside the walls, and vent on the rooftop.

I wouldn't presume to criticize your advice on computer problems; perhaps you could leave septic advice to those who actually understand how to set up a properly functioning system.

The OP said nothing about toilet paper. That came up later, so your point is off-point.

But, you had me good until your snide "I wouldn't presume to criticize your advice on computer problems; perhaps you could leave septic advice to those who actually understand how to set up a properly functioning system." How the heck would you know what I know about anything? Along the same lines, we're supposed to believe you are the expert in this area? Your comments do not support that supposition. Perhaps you could lay off the personal attacks.

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1 hour ago, Ferret said:

Agree with the last three posts of rafterbr, mudgirl and GoSolar.

Septic systems in the U.S. and Canada are ONE big enclosed cement box that need a leech field in which to drain. In Mexico, the boxes themselves are divided in two (or three compartments) the last one of which is open at the bottom to drain. They are different but both systems work very well if you put the right stuff into them... and that includes septic friendly TP. You can google the care and feeding of septic tanks but the most important thing is to not put in chlorine or other heavy duty cleaners which kill the needed bacteria for digestion of waste.

Registros, if done properly, can be a huge help because they give you a point of access if there is a blockage. Or they can be a source of aggravation if you haven't done your homework.

What do you suggest using to clean things such as the toilet?  Baking soda perhaps?

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