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alternatives to using chlorine tablets in aerobic septic system?

 
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first time owning a septic system. my understanding is that the last tank of my aerobic septic system gets injected with chlorine water from chlorine tablets before spraying into a field.

Does anyone have experience using an alternative.. maybe a UV light rod (like for purifying water or for aquarium) ? I want to grow edible trees in the septic field and not sure how good chlorinated treated water would be for the trees
 
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Can you tell us more about the system you have?  We aren't supposed to allow any bacteria killing agents near our tank as it breaks down the shit with fermentation before leaching into the grass.  

We are supposed to feed it yoghurt every month.
 
S Lee
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as explained to me.. there are 2 or 3 tanks (prior to the last holding tank) where bacteria and aeration happens to process the waste water. The last tank has some kind of float valve/switch which will spray when full. The chlorination happens in this last tank.
 
r ranson
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S Lee wrote:as explained to me.. there are 2 or 3 tanks (prior to the last holding tank) where bacteria and aeration happens to process the waste water. The last tank has some kind of float valve/switch which will spray when full. The chlorination happens in this last tank.



Ah.  That is different than mine.   Mine has two tanks where it ferments, then ooozez into the lawn to evaporate.

Not sure the answer,  but I bet someone here might.
 
S Lee
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r ranson wrote:

S Lee wrote:as explained to me.. there are 2 or 3 tanks (prior to the last holding tank) where bacteria and aeration happens to process the waste water. The last tank has some kind of float valve/switch which will spray when full. The chlorination happens in this last tank.



Ah.  That is different than mine.   Mine has two tanks where it ferments, then ooozez into the lawn to evaporate.

Not sure the answer,  but I bet someone here might.



I think they call your system an anaerobic septic system
 
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Does your system spray the water on the surface? The septic systems I'm familiar with use a field or mound where the excess moisture evaporates. For this kind of system, tree roots or other deep rooted plants can cause big problems. The roots will infiltrate the perforated piping and clog things up.

The best approach is to talk to a certified installer in your jurisdiction. They will be able to tell you if you can skip the chlorine injection and stay legal.
 
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If its sprayed to the atmosphere, it will need chlorine.
Normally chlorine is only used if it may enter a water course.

It is not recommended that someone use pool chlorination tablets in a septic system; instead, calcium hypochlorite is better for your system since
regular pool chlorine can interact with sunlight and burn surrounding grass and vegetation.

From- septic chlorinators
This company deals with liquid chlorinators
The most common disinfectant device found on aerobic septic systems is the Tablet Chlorinator.  Depending on your household's water usage, you can expect to use one tablet ($2.00) per person each month.

Concentrations of chlorine residual are 1/10th milliliter per liter (.1ppb).

PRO TIPS
Use only Septic Tablets, NO pool chlorine
Never add more than 1 tablet per-person each month




 
r ranson
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Wow, that sounds really high matianace.  What situation would one use a system like that?  
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Good question r_r. A situation with a high, mobile water table and close neighbours or water bodies comes to mind. It may be the only option other than regular vac truck visits, which gets spendy in a hurry.

However, I need to inquire locally. A neighbour put in a multi-phase system that puts out "water you can hypothetically drink." Hmmmm.
 
S Lee
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Does your system spray the water on the surface? The septic systems I'm familiar with use a field or mound where the excess moisture evaporates. For this kind of system, tree roots or other deep rooted plants can cause big problems. The roots will infiltrate the perforated piping and clog things up.

The best approach is to talk to a certified installer in your jurisdiction. They will be able to tell you if you can skip the chlorine injection and stay legal.



our system spray the water like lawn sprinklers. I don't think it's the same type of draining like pipes in a drain field that roots get into
 
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Do you mind if I ask if your County requires a Maintenance Contract for your system?
 
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This is a somewhat standard method of getting rid of the treated water, but you might want to inquire about possible alternatives in your locality.  In particular, find out if the treated water without chlorine can be considered "greywater" and used in a greywater zone instead.  Such possibilities include underground watering of trees and other "water loving" landscaping, that is quite certainly never to be used to grow food for humans (no garden irrigation).  Also, the non-chlorinated greywater can never come into direct contact with humans or pets, so no more spray irrigation of the lawn.  No surface pools either.
 
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We have a 3 tank aerobic septic system aka On-Site Septic Facilities (OSSF); it requires putting the chlorine tablets into a trap at the last (spray) tank. The system has two pumps; an aerator for the 2nd tank and the sprayer for the last tank. This type of system is required anywhere in Texas when limestone is close to the ground’s surface. In Hays County, we are required to have a maintenance contract, for quarterly inspections by septic inspector (to the tune of $300/year). The alternative is to get the license to maintain your own OSSF. I have asked around for passive alternatives and have been told either impossible or prohibitively expensive. The search continues.
 
Anne Miller
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S Lee, the alternative that we use is chlorine bleach that we buy in the laundry aisle at our grocery store.

I only know what is allowed in Texas though I want to say that is great advice by Patricia Mitchell.  In Texas, most counties that I know of require that maintenance contract.  

I have heard that if the county doesn't require a maintenance contract and the homeowner is caught not following advised standards then the homeowner will be required to have a maintenance contract.
 
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Anne Miller wrote:Do you mind if I ask if your County requires a Maintenance Contract for your system?



Good question, I'm not sure.. nobody has told me anything. I will check
 
S Lee
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Creighton Samuels wrote:This is a somewhat standard method of getting rid of the treated water, but you might want to inquire about possible alternatives in your locality.  In particular, find out if the treated water without chlorine can be considered "greywater" and used in a greywater zone instead.  Such possibilities include underground watering of trees and other "water loving" landscaping, that is quite certainly never to be used to grow food for humans (no garden irrigation).  Also, the non-chlorinated greywater can never come into direct contact with humans or pets, so no more spray irrigation of the lawn.  No surface pools either.



are you saying that unchlorinated water cannot be used to water edible fruit or nut trees? if so, why not?
 
S Lee
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Patricia Mitchell wrote:We have a 3 tank aerobic septic system aka On-Site Septic Facilities (OSSF); it requires putting the chlorine tablets into a trap at the last (spray) tank. The system has two pumps; an aerator for the 2nd tank and the sprayer for the last tank. This type of system is required anywhere in Texas when limestone is close to the ground’s surface. In Hays County, we are required to have a maintenance contract, for quarterly inspections by septic inspector (to the tune of $300/year). The alternative is to get the license to maintain your own OSSF. I have asked around for passive alternatives and have been told either impossible or prohibitively expensive. The search continues.


sounds like we have the same type of septic system
 
John C Daley
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S Lee, unchlorinated effluent may still contain pathogens which are harmful to humans.
That means you may get ill, sick, throw up you dinner, get the runs or have cuts grow black and gooy.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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I agree with John C. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand these systems, they spray the effluent above ground. I assume this is intended to evaporate the black water. Without treatment, this process would form aerosols that could carry pathogens a surprisingly long distance, potentially contaminating fruit, vegetables, and surfaces that people interact with.
 
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S Lee wrote:

Creighton Samuels wrote:This is a somewhat standard method of getting rid of the treated water, but you might want to inquire about possible alternatives in your locality.  In particular, find out if the treated water without chlorine can be considered "greywater" and used in a greywater zone instead.  Such possibilities include underground watering of trees and other "water loving" landscaping, that is quite certainly never to be used to grow food for humans (no garden irrigation).  Also, the non-chlorinated greywater can never come into direct contact with humans or pets, so no more spray irrigation of the lawn.  No surface pools either.



are you saying that unchlorinated water cannot be used to water edible fruit or nut trees? if so, why not?



Not exactly what I' saying.  You can't use unclorinated (but treated) water to irrigate an edible garden, nor could you use it to water any trees with above-ground sprinklers or surface soakers.  However, you might be able to water your fruit trees using buried soaking methods, but that's tricky to install with existing roots.  The idea is to break the human pathogen cycle, in case there's a pathogen to interrupt.  Most likely there never will be, but it's a safe-than-sorry set of rules.  If you choose to break some rules of the Department-of-making-you-sad, these would not be the rules that I'd choose to break; these are some good rules.

Again, the unclorinated treated water is no longer "black", but "grey", and might be able to be used under greywater rules in your locality.  Finding out what you can do with greywater is probably the best course of action,  If your locality won't let you consider the output to be greywater anyway, you can still reduce your waste-water flow (and therefore your chlorine consumption) by diverting all the greywater sources inside your house away from the sewage line and to a separate greywater processing & usage.  Only the toilets themselves are *always* blackwater.
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