Toilet paper and septic tanks

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by dman2, Jun 30, 2018.

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  1. Jun 30, 2018 #1

    dman2

    dman2

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    I had my septic tank pumped out last year for the first time in 6 years and they said everything looked fine, but maybe to do it a little sooner next time. I understand how a septic system works (solids on the bottom, liquid in the middle, and a layer of scum on top). Anyways, I just opened the lid today and stuck a pole in there just to check it, and there was a pretty large layer of toilet paper floating on the top. Is that normal, or should it be breaking down better than that?
     
  2. Jul 1, 2018 #2

    frodo

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    not normal at all. you need to use degradable paper

    tp11.jpg
     
  3. Jul 2, 2018 #3

    dman2

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    We do. For the most part, we use the Kirkland paper and it says septic safe on it. I do know occasionally my wife will buy some Charmin or Cottonelle or something that is really soft if we run out, so maybe that is it and it has just been in there for months. I know that Scott one you pictured is probably best, but is there a 2 ply that will work? I just conducted a test and put a few sheets of Kirkland and a few sheets of Scott in a container of water. After shaking them up, they both disintegrated pretty well but the Scott all sunk to the bottom. Maybe the Kirkland is not that good for it? As far as what's in the tank now, it is floating in a pretty bundled mass. I just stirred it around with a stick and it seemed to break up pretty well.

     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  4. Jul 3, 2018 #4

    frodo

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    did you notice any larva or any kind of life in your tank?
    drop 2 packets of bakers yeast you buy at the grocery store in the flour/sugar aisle
    into the tank..flush in the toilet
     
  5. Jul 3, 2018 #5

    dman2

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    I didn't look too hard but I do remember seeing a worm in there. I will buy some yeast today and throw it in there. Then should I just keep breaking it up with a stick for now and let it dissolve/sink down? I don't think anything will happen to that solid mass. After that, just monitor it for a while to see what happens? I gave the family the lecture not to put anything but small amounts of toilet paper in there so who knows...maybe someone put some paper towels or napkins or kleenex down there without me knowing.
     
  6. Jul 5, 2018 #6

    dman2

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    I finally picked up some yeast and I opened the tank today to toss it in and there was no more big mass of paper in there. Breaking it up with the stick the other day must have made it dissolve and/or sink. Now there is just a normal looking layer of foamy scum on the top so I guess I will just look inside it every once in awhile to make sure that doesn't happen again.

    Back to my toilet paper experiment mentioned above, I did notice that both actually sink when broken up. I tried it again and briefly shook the container and both papers broke up and sank.
     
  7. Jul 6, 2018 #7

    frodo

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    what concerns me about your tank is that you are able to see the paper at all, if the tank is plumbed correctly all you should see the the top layer of crust

    79bbacacbe508d7a79fff6cb75a9d2b6.jpg
     
  8. Jul 6, 2018 #8

    johnjh2o

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    Sounds like there is no baffle in the tank as in Frodo's drawing.
     
  9. Jul 8, 2018 #9

    dman2

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    There is a baffle. There is a lid right above it that I can open and see the water go into the tank along with the paper and it goes into the baffle like it's supposed to. I'll report back here in a few weeks and see what happens..
     
  10. Jul 8, 2018 #10

    frodo

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    huh...it sounds to me like your tank was pumped, they did not remove the crust
    so.......now the crust has blocked your baffle, and the paper is exiting the top of the baffle

    14th_amendment.png

    poke a shovel handle through the baffle, and clear the clog,
     
  11. Aug 12, 2018 #11

    dman2

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    Just thought I'd report back on this. I failed to mention there was a clog earlier this year, most likely between the tank and the house. After that was cleared, the camera showed that concrete pipe was cracked and separated at the joints so I replaced that. Anyways, the kids admitted they put paper towels in there sometimes so maybe that was it. After I broke up that layer with a stick and put some yeast in like you said, a month later it appears fine. There is no paper floating on top when I checked it today. Thanks for the suggestions.
     
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