Draining Float Tanks into Septic Systems – DSP 267

>>Graham: All right Hello, hello everybody

>>Jake: Hey hey everyone >>Graham: I am Graham >>Jake: And I am Jake >>Graham: And still no Ashkahn with us for right now Instead, we're going to keep cranking through the long list of construction questions you guys have sent in

Today's is “long time listener, first time asker” >>Jake: Whoa >>Graham: “Does the saltwater destroy your pipes and drains? What if I am on a septic system?” >>Jake: Those, that's two questions So, they got a twofer on their first time in? >>Graham: We let them sneak it in, yeah, yeah Well, you're lucky you started with a catchy little phrase there in the beginning

>>Jake: Feeding them scraps from the table Poor habits, poor habits >>Graham: But you just hopped right into my habit of making fun of people Speaking of bad habits, that's one of them >>Jake: I thought we weren’t going to do that anymore

>>Graham: You did, you just did >>Jake: All right All right No, great question Amazing question

Actually a very serious question There's two to talk about here Let's talk about the drains first, and then we'll move on to septic >>Graham: Yeah, yeah, yeah Pipes, drains and pipes

>>Jake: Drains and pipes, and all the way out to the city, and out to wherever that goes, wastewater treatment We've seen a range of things being accepted for float centers In Portland, we're allowed to empty our tanks down our drains We run a bunch of water through there to make sure we don't get any salt crystals building up or anything like that Some places around the country they cannot even empty their tanks down their drains

One place we know about, they're only able to do 100 gallons per day, so it takes them a couple days to even turn over all the tanks in their float center Why are people being restricted? Well, the city, the municipalities, they're scared of what those minerals salts, those Epsom salts might do to their infrastructure Some of that fear is warranted If you hit old cast iron pipes or you get anything exposed, there is a possibility for corrosion It'd be remiss to tell you that there's not

>>Graham: That said, I haven't heard of any- >>Jake: We haven't heard or any >>Graham: Or seen it >>Jake: We haven't seen it It is only a possibility >>Graham: Theoretical, yeah

>>Jake: It's only theoretical >>Graham: I'm sorry, just to back up just slightly I would say for a very summery answer of the actual damage that saltwater does going down your drains and stuff, although we talk about saltwater eating away at so much in our facility, I've seen so much more saltwater damage of floors- >>Jake: For sure >>Graham: So much saltwater damage of walls, so much saltwater damage even on ceilings than I have on drains and pipes specifically >>Jake: I've seen a few drains that had some interesting damage

So, let's think about what your drain body is, right? So, we have an ABS drain body, basically plastic We have low end, basically, galvanized iron with a chrome plating on it, and then we jump up from there to brass or brushed nickel or something like that Commercial drains, very high end drains Well, the plastic's not gonna break down Those high end commercial drains made out of brass and milled and everything, they're not really breaking down

We haven't seen any damage Those drains that are cheap and chromed, though? We have seen damage there We have seen the salt get underneath the chrome We've seen it start to eat away the metal on that surface So, there- >>Graham: I guess that's a good point

Even screws that we've used to hold them in- >>Jake: Yeah >>Graham: If you don't use stainless steel screws or something like that- >>Jake: Yeah, we swap out all the screws, all the set screws >>Graham: Yeah, your screws can rust out right there So, using the right materials is very important >>Jake: Which is terrible, because then when you go to back the screw out, it just basically strips out the threads, and then you gotta bust out the drill and core it out so you can actually get that thing out of there

Because we run a pressure washer down our drains regularly, just to push out hair and everything like that and make sure we're not getting any debris or anything, because we let people wear shoes into our float center and then we wash everything down our drains So, we're removing our hair strainers often Now, the city >>Graham: Okay, well, what about pipes Have you seen or heard of damage to the pipes right under the drain or building pipes? >>Jake: I have not heard of it

If they're old and metal, it's a possibility >>Graham: It is totally a possibility >>Jake: But the majority of them going in now are ABS Black plastic Modern construction and everything like that

>>Graham: I guess we're worried about it enough that we always do, if we're ever draining our tank, even if there's a lot of saltwater going down the drain for any reason, we tend to just run warm water down after it >>Jake: A lot >>Graham: Just to make sure that we're not letting any salt settle anywhere >>Jake: I think one of my biggest fears, and why we think about that, is maybe not even what's going under our commercial property, right? We have a building that was built after a certain period that's gonna be using appropriate drainage and everything like that But what happens when you hit the city lines? What happens when you hit the edge of the road? What if all of a sudden, you'll see damage in drainage pipes where roots and stuff like that are making their way in

I could see salt exacerbating that problem We've never seen it We've never heard of it but it is something that keeps me awake at night once in a while >>Graham: One of the hundreds of things that keeps you awake at night, panicking >>Jake: I rarely sleep

It's terrible >>Graham: Okay Now we can move on to city stuff I feel good about moving to city stuff >>Jake: Okay

All right Cool So, again, we've seen a range of things We've seen cities that are completely fine with it We've seen cities that are like, “we're fine with it as long as you run water afterwards”

We've seen cities that have limited the amount that you can put down We've seen cities that have just straight up said no “You're not going to be able to drain that saltwater into our system because we have this modern version of sewer system where basically we have these holding tanks that have good bugs in them, good bacteria that are partially breaking down the waste From there, it overflows into the municipal supply” What they're afraid of is all those salts throwing off the chemistry within those tanks and stuff like that

>>Graham: Which is a really nice transition to the septic tank one, right? >>Jake: Yeah >>Graham: That's almost like a pre-holding septic tank that we're talking about >>Jake: Yeah, it is It's more or less, yeah It's a drum that they basically, they're gonna excavate out

That's gonna be down in the ground We've seen a few people be able to, as part of their agreement with the city, adding good bugs back into the system, flushing things, enzymes, down into their toilets regularly each month We've also seen a step from that where the city says no, and they want you to put this drum in the ground, and then you're gonna have a commercial truck come out and pump that solution away Your clients are allowed to shower, because that's such a small amount of salt down going the drain, but you cannot empty your tanks and you have to have that pumped off of site Then that brings us straight up to septic systems

If you have nothing else out there >>Graham: That is so, and this is the concern with septic system is exactly what you said- >>Jake: Right >>Graham: For that city concern, which is septic systems are, they're not just a cesspool in the sense- >>Jake: No >>Graham: They're not just where you're dumping all of your waste >>Jake: Nope

They're a holding tank with a leach field, and that water has to basically work its way out into this leach field, which is also another concern People have been worried about the leach field, all those salts building up in that patch of earth after that >>Graham: So, describe a leach field, just for those who aren't familiar with it >>Jake: Okay So, what we're looking at, you sit down, you do your business, a little dookie maybe

That goes down the drain, and then for a septic system, it's gonna go into basically a holding tank That holding tank has a couple things going on You have the separation Basically, you're gonna have heavier solids coming down to the bottom You're gonna have, this is kind of a gross, I hope you're not about to have lunch

You're gonna have this middle portion of basically water, liquid, and then you're gonna have the scum on top Involved in there are these good bacteria that are breaking down the waste materials, breaking things down so that eventually those fluids, those liquids, once they're kind of purified out a little bit, they can make their way out through the leach field, pull out contaminants before that goes back to the water supply The idea here is that you don't just want to poop off a cliff because then that's just pollution in your water supply So, they're trying to clean that water before it gets returned back to the environment, which makes sense You're out in a rural area, you know what I mean? >>Graham: Yup

>>Jake: We have not heard a lot of good news about this >>Graham: Yeah That's most often In fact, every single time- >>Jake: Yup >>Graham: I've talked to someone with a septic system- >>Jake: Right

>>Graham: The answer has been either, if they're really crafty, you can do something like an evap pond where you're- >>Jake: Right >>Graham: Actually now draining your own float tanks into a place and letting the sun evaporate it, the salt crystals, and then re-harvesting those, using it for your garden or something >>Jake: Yeah, someone in Hawaii was talking about doing that Yeah >>Graham: Which is cool

>>Jake: Yeah >>Graham: I think that's an awesome solution >>Jake: Labor intensive >>Graham: Very labor intensive You also need to be a relatively dry space

>>Jake: Right >>Graham: Or at least hot, hot summers >>Jake: Right >>Graham: For when you're doing that- >>Jake: Certainly wouldn't work in Portland >>Graham: and if you need to drain in winter- >>Jake: Yeah

>>Graham: Then it goes to the more common solution, which is actually having someone come in suck out your tanks into big truck or yeah, you're putting your tanks into a holding vat, and then the truck's coming along and sucking up from there A porta potty type tube- >>Jake: Right, exactly >>Graham: Where you're just- >>Jake: That's basically what's happening there >>Graham: Yeah >>Jake: One of our past apprentices is actually hooked up with a septic engineer, which I didn't know was a thing, but very excited

They haven't let us know anything yet- >>Graham: A septitician? >>Jake: A septitician >>Graham: A septic engineer >>Jake: They're gonna straighten their tie They're not gonna be very happy about that >>Graham: Go back and listen to the last- >>Jake: Yeah, a little call back for you

>>Graham: Episode if, yeah, that didn't make sense to you >>Jake: But we haven't heard any news on that front yet If we hear something, clearly we'll let you know We love sharing information Or if you guys know anything

If you've dealt with septic systems in your area, you don't have to just submit questions You can submit statements In fact, sometimes we ask for questions and people submit statements So, it could happen >>Graham: Yeah, let us know

Definitely let us know when we're wrong Don't just sit out there feeling smug >>Jake: I'm always fine to know that I'm wrong So let us know, let us know >>Graham: I think that's pretty much it for right now

>>Jake: Yeah >>Graham: So, typically drainage is not a problem It's good to be careful Run hot water through things >>Jake: Yeah

>>Graham: Make sure for your actual hardware, the drain cover and things like that, the screws you're using stuff that's not gonna rust out >>Jake: Commercial stuff >>Graham: Yeah, exactly >>Jake: Yeah You're gonna have to spend a little bit more money in your budget from day one

It's something that you might overlook, too, you know what I mean? People are like, oh, I'm gonna be putting in maybe three floor drains per room, and they're like, I can save a lot of money by going with these $20 floor drains >>Graham: Right Yeah >>Jake: You're just shooting yourself in the foot because if it's set in concrete, what are you doing now? You're chipping that drain out, and then you're resetting the concrete? Concrete has to recure It's all about setting yourself up for the future, setting yourself up for success

>>Graham: Yeah If you're using septic systems for the last of the summary, the news is probably you can't actually use it You need to figure out some alternative to dumping your tanks down the drain >>Jake: But this is a call to action If somebody has an idea, if somebody has an idea, reach out to us

>>Graham: Prove us wrong >>Jake: Yes, absolutely Always >>Graham: If you have questions of your own, go to floattanksolutionscom/podcast

We'll answer them right here Maybe we can get an Ashkahn answering them, or one of our guest speakers for the conference or something like that We're kind of mixing things up recently, so who knows >>Jake: All right Thank you so much, and you guys have a great day

>>Graham: Bye everyone

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