is salt water bad for septic system?

Discussion in 'The Aquarium' started by tomtoothdoc, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. tomtoothdoc

    tomtoothdoc New Member

    does anyone know whether or not salt water (say draining a 125 gal. tank) is harmful to septic system? both to the bacteria in the septic tank and the drain field. i injured my back and not supposed to lift heavy things (like 5 gal. bucket of water=40 lbs, 125/5 * 40= 1,000lbs) i was planning to use the python system to drain the water directly into the kitchen sink.
  2. renogaw

    renogaw New Member

    absolutely it is horrid for the septic system.
    1) bacteria going in to the system would fight the bacteria in your septic system already
    2) a lot of septic systems are made of concrete, and salt water destroys it
    3) your septic system is only designed for so much water going through it, so it would push solid waste out of it into your leech field.
    4) all that salt water would destroy your leech field.
  3. scsinet

    scsinet Active Member

    I'm not entirely sure I agree with point #1. The bacteria that populates aquariums is aerobic, whereas the bacteria in a septic system is anerobic. Aerobic bacteria will not survive in the oxygen depleted septic environment, so my feeling is that it would neither help nor hurt... the bacteria in the water would just die.
    All of the other points are valid though.
    Would draining a 125g tank one time into the septic system hurt it... well it it certainly wouldn't help. It probably wouldn't cause instant failure of the septic system, but most septic tanks haven't been maintained like they should, so doing so could cause problems.
    I certainly don't put any seawater into mine. Do you not have a window or something that you can run a siphon hose out of? What I do is I have lots of areas of my yard that are just mulched over where I don't want anything growing, so I drain my water into those areas. It works as a pretty decent short term herbicide. Storm sewers are another option.
  4. stdreb27

    stdreb27 New Member

    Originally Posted by renogaw
    absolutely it is horrid for the septic system.
    1) bacteria going in to the system would fight the bacteria in your septic system already
    2) a lot of septic systems are made of concrete, and salt water destroys it
    3) your septic system is only designed for so much water going through it, so it would push solid waste out of it into your leech field.
    4) all that salt water would destroy your leech field.
    I've heard this too, but if you do a 20% water change your only talking about 23 gallons at a time. And is salt really that bad, I mean we used to dump alot of soaps and cleaning supplies down the system. Is salt that much worse than Ajax or Clorox or Pinesol? Or the old and grease from working on the car, and from work? Or were we just destroying our system in a different way?
  5. scsinet

    scsinet Active Member

    Originally Posted by stdreb27
    I've heard this too, but if you do a 20% water change your only talking about 23 gallons at a time. And is salt really that bad, I mean we used to dump alot of soaps and cleaning supplies down the system. Is salt that much worse than Ajax or Clorox or Pinesol? Or the old and grease from working on the car, and from work? Or were we just destroying our system in a different way?
    Not really. The soaps and things that we throw down there don't stay in solution. They eventually separate out and float to the top of the water, forming a scum layer. Solids (read: poo) settles to the bottom and forms a sludge layer.
    The septic tank has baffles to allow only the middle layer (gray water) to exit onto the drain field.
    The problem renogaw describes is due to the fact that salt doesn't separate out. Salt dissolved in water will stay dissolved, so it won't separate into scum or slude so it'll end up out in the drain field. Since the drain field depends on vegetation growing above it, and since salt kills vegetation, it will start to degrade the operation of your septic system, not to mention the corrosive effect that salt has on the concrete tank, and all the other stuff he mentioned.
    Of course, you could cover your yard in chaeto, that way the saltwater will actually help... rotfl
  6. scsinet

    scsinet Active Member

    Oh yeah, and you shouldn't use liquid bleach at all (or in very, very small quantities) if you have a septic system.
    Once you pay for one major septic system repair, you'll know why.
    Color safe bleach is okay.
  7. stdreb27

    stdreb27 New Member

    Originally Posted by SCSInet
    Oh yeah, and you shouldn't use liquid bleach at all (or in very, very small quantities) if you have a septic system.
    Once you pay for one major septic system repair, you'll know why.
    Color safe bleach is okay.
    lol, oh the bliss of ignorance.
  8. reefkprz

    reefkprz New Member

    you should not dump that much salt water into your septic system, not only for the reasons mentioned above like the corrosive effect on your tank, and damage to the ecological balance of your leach field.
    the salt content in your tank would kill most of the freshwater bacteria in your tank, causing your tank not to operate effectivly for a long time untill it dilutes out and the bacteria regrows.
  9. tomtoothdoc

    tomtoothdoc New Member

    thanks for the advice. what if i drain the tank say 12.5 gal./day for 10 days. would that be safe enough?
    the tank is at the front of the house and the accessible storm drain is more than 250-300 feet away towards the backyard. don't have hose long enough nor pump strong enough to push water through that length.
    i guess i will have to wait for my back to get better (probably 6 weeks which will be in january) so i can lift the buckets but there may be snow on the ground by then.....oh well one way or another it won't be easy...bummer
  10. reefkprz

    reefkprz New Member

    you would be better off to just drain the tank out the door or nearby window on a rainy day.
  11. renogaw

    renogaw New Member

    why don't you call your local fish store and have them send over a lackey to do your water change, or drain it, or whatever? give the kid a couple bucks and be done with it.

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