Winemaking (rec.crafts.winemaking) Discussion of the process, recipes, tips, techniques and general exchange of lore on the process, methods and history of wine making. Includes traditional grape wines, sparkling wines & champagnes.

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Default Septic System Problems From Using Sanitizing Agents & Cleansers

I live in a rural area and my home has a septic system. I'm familiar with
these systems as I've lived in homes serviced by one for over 30 years.
Rarely have I had a problem until recently. I started making wine from kits
last year. I've made 5 kits, 6 gallons each, since August. I'm aware that
cleanliness is very important so I clean my bottles, fermentation tanks,
other equipment, etc. prior to being used. I'm wondering if all of this
cleaner has killed the bacteria in my septic tank and contributed to my
problem. My question to the group: Has anyone experienced any problems
similar to this?

I'd like to avoid having to dig up and replace my system when the solution
might be as simple as not pouring so much cleanser down the drain and/or
adding a bacterial starter to my system.

TIA

John



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Default Septic System Problems From Using Sanitizing Agents & Cleansers

On Thu, 3 Jan 2008 21:30:13 -0600, "JB" > wrote:

>I live in a rural area and my home has a septic system. I'm familiar with
>these systems as I've lived in homes serviced by one for over 30 years.
>Rarely have I had a problem until recently. I started making wine from kits
>last year. I've made 5 kits, 6 gallons each, since August. I'm aware that
>cleanliness is very important so I clean my bottles, fermentation tanks,
>other equipment, etc. prior to being used. I'm wondering if all of this
>cleaner has killed the bacteria in my septic tank and contributed to my
>problem. My question to the group: Has anyone experienced any problems
>similar to this?
>
>I'd like to avoid having to dig up and replace my system when the solution
>might be as simple as not pouring so much cleanser down the drain and/or
>adding a bacterial starter to my system.
>
>TIA
>
>John


Hello John,

How familiar are you with the operation of a septic system?
If your system is sized correctly there should be no problem adding
reasonable amounts of sanitizing chemicals.
One of the biggest problems with septic systems is improper
maintenance. How often do you have your septic tank pumped? Pumping
frequency depends on the size of the tank and the number of people in
the household, and can be as often as every year. Many people wait
until there is a problem before having the tank pumped. By that time
there is likely to be clogging in the weeping tile bed which can be
very expensive to remedy.
I've lived in a home serviced by a septic system for close to 70
years. In our current home, we've been on the same septic system for
the last 27 years and, with regular pumping, have experienced no
problems.
I've slowed down a bit in my winemaking over the past few years but,
in 2006 I made 29 six gallon batches with no septic system problems.
As far as adding a bacterial or enzyme starter/rejuvenator they are,
according to the experts, at best ineffective and a waste of money and
even worse, can be extremely damaging to the system and/or the
environment.

Good luck with your system. I hope it's a simple cure.
You may want to check out http://www.inspect-ny.com/septbook.htm

Ross.
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Default Septic System Problems From Using Sanitizing Agents & Cleansers

Use Oxiclean. Use nothing else. Even use it for your wash with no
other detergent. It's oxygen bleach and good for septics. I use it for
everything, and I mean everything. DO not use anything with chlorine
bleach in it. Check the labels on granulated dishwashing detergents.
Again, don't use hypoclorite stuff. There are dishwashing detergents
with only soda ash( Potassium bicarbonate and water glass. Use that.
That should get you going in the right direction.

JB wrote:
> I live in a rural area and my home has a septic system. I'm familiar with
> these systems as I've lived in homes serviced by one for over 30 years.
> Rarely have I had a problem until recently. I started making wine from kits
> last year. I've made 5 kits, 6 gallons each, since August. I'm aware that
> cleanliness is very important so I clean my bottles, fermentation tanks,
> other equipment, etc. prior to being used. I'm wondering if all of this
> cleaner has killed the bacteria in my septic tank and contributed to my
> problem. My question to the group: Has anyone experienced any problems
> similar to this?
>
> I'd like to avoid having to dig up and replace my system when the solution
> might be as simple as not pouring so much cleanser down the drain and/or
> adding a bacterial starter to my system.
>
> TIA
>
> John

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Default Septic System Problems From Using Sanitizing Agents & Cleansers

Ross,

Thanks for the web site. I found a wealth of information. Looks to me that
my problem may lie with my field lines if my theory about the bacteria kill
is incorrect. I had my system pumped out a couple of days ago and I'll find
out soon enough if the same thing happens again. As I'd said, I have a lot
of experience with septic systems and, from the information I read on the
web link you shared, I seemed to be doing most things right. I looked back
over the past several months to see about anything that had changed and the
wine equipment sanitizing/cleansing was all I could come up with. I usually
ferment two batches at once so, whenever I have to rack, I clean/sanitize
two 9 gallon tanks before and after racking. I originally used a bleach type
powder but more recently switched to an "Oxy" type cleaner. I just got to
thinking that if this stuff is so good at killing bacteria then is it also
wiping out the same in my septic system?

Again, thanks for the follow up.

John


> wrote in message
...
> On Thu, 3 Jan 2008 21:30:13 -0600, "JB" > wrote:
>
>>I live in a rural area and my home has a septic system. I'm familiar with
>>these systems as I've lived in homes serviced by one for over 30 years.
>>Rarely have I had a problem until recently. I started making wine from
>>kits
>>last year. I've made 5 kits, 6 gallons each, since August. I'm aware that
>>cleanliness is very important so I clean my bottles, fermentation tanks,
>>other equipment, etc. prior to being used. I'm wondering if all of this
>>cleaner has killed the bacteria in my septic tank and contributed to my
>>problem. My question to the group: Has anyone experienced any problems
>>similar to this?
>>
>>I'd like to avoid having to dig up and replace my system when the solution
>>might be as simple as not pouring so much cleanser down the drain and/or
>>adding a bacterial starter to my system.
>>
>>TIA
>>
>>John

>
> Hello John,
>
> How familiar are you with the operation of a septic system?
> If your system is sized correctly there should be no problem adding
> reasonable amounts of sanitizing chemicals.
> One of the biggest problems with septic systems is improper
> maintenance. How often do you have your septic tank pumped? Pumping
> frequency depends on the size of the tank and the number of people in
> the household, and can be as often as every year. Many people wait
> until there is a problem before having the tank pumped. By that time
> there is likely to be clogging in the weeping tile bed which can be
> very expensive to remedy.
> I've lived in a home serviced by a septic system for close to 70
> years. In our current home, we've been on the same septic system for
> the last 27 years and, with regular pumping, have experienced no
> problems.
> I've slowed down a bit in my winemaking over the past few years but,
> in 2006 I made 29 six gallon batches with no septic system problems.
> As far as adding a bacterial or enzyme starter/rejuvenator they are,
> according to the experts, at best ineffective and a waste of money and
> even worse, can be extremely damaging to the system and/or the
> environment.
>
> Good luck with your system. I hope it's a simple cure.
> You may want to check out http://www.inspect-ny.com/septbook.htm
>
> Ross.



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Default Septic System Problems From Using Sanitizing Agents & Cleansers

On Sat, 5 Jan 2008 12:17:29 -0600, "JB" > wrote:

>Ross,
>
>Thanks for the web site. I found a wealth of information. Looks to me that
>my problem may lie with my field lines if my theory about the bacteria kill
>is incorrect. I had my system pumped out a couple of days ago and I'll find
>out soon enough if the same thing happens again. As I'd said, I have a lot
>of experience with septic systems and, from the information I read on the
>web link you shared, I seemed to be doing most things right. I looked back
>over the past several months to see about anything that had changed and the
>wine equipment sanitizing/cleansing was all I could come up with. I usually
>ferment two batches at once so, whenever I have to rack, I clean/sanitize
>two 9 gallon tanks before and after racking. I originally used a bleach type
>powder but more recently switched to an "Oxy" type cleaner. I just got to
>thinking that if this stuff is so good at killing bacteria then is it also
>wiping out the same in my septic system?
>
>Again, thanks for the follow up.
>
>John


John,

You're welcome.
Here's a link to another site that will give you a lot of information
on sanitizing solutions. I copied this page many years ago and refer
to it quite often. It is geared toward beer making but pretty well all
the info applies equally to wine making.
http://realbeer.com/jjpalmer/cleaning.html
Take a look at the chlorine info and you'll see the recommended
concentration is 200 ppm which is achieved with 1 tablespoon household
bleach in 1 gallon of water. That concentration would not even be
noticed by a healthy septic system.
Also, you will note that after sanitizing with chlorine, or any other
sanitizer for that matter, if you rinse with tap water you are in
effect nullifying the sanitizing you just did because tap water
contains bacteria. This is even more likely if, like me, you are on a
septic system, your water is probably from a well and untreated like
municipal water supplies.
I don't know where you are located but, if you are in an area where it
gets very cold for extended periods of time here's another
consideration. If the frost gets down to the weeping bed and the
tile/ground interface freezes, absorption is drastically reduced.

Again, good luck.

Ross.


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JB JB is offline
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Default Septic System Problems From Using Sanitizing Agents & Cleansers

Ross,

My house is at the base of a hill/ridge. We've had over 8 inches of rain the
past month and the ground is soaked. Usually, a couple of days after a big
rain, I notice water seeping out of a walkway where I'd made a hillside cut
and stacked brick for a retaining wall. I'm hoping that my problem is that
the ground is saturated right now and a few days without rain will clear
things up.

Thanks again.

John

> wrote in message
...
> On Sat, 5 Jan 2008 12:17:29 -0600, "JB" > wrote:
>
>>Ross,
>>
>>Thanks for the web site. I found a wealth of information. Looks to me that
>>my problem may lie with my field lines if my theory about the bacteria
>>kill
>>is incorrect. I had my system pumped out a couple of days ago and I'll
>>find
>>out soon enough if the same thing happens again. As I'd said, I have a lot
>>of experience with septic systems and, from the information I read on the
>>web link you shared, I seemed to be doing most things right. I looked back
>>over the past several months to see about anything that had changed and
>>the
>>wine equipment sanitizing/cleansing was all I could come up with. I
>>usually
>>ferment two batches at once so, whenever I have to rack, I clean/sanitize
>>two 9 gallon tanks before and after racking. I originally used a bleach
>>type
>>powder but more recently switched to an "Oxy" type cleaner. I just got to
>>thinking that if this stuff is so good at killing bacteria then is it also
>>wiping out the same in my septic system?
>>
>>Again, thanks for the follow up.
>>
>>John

>
> John,
>
> You're welcome.
> Here's a link to another site that will give you a lot of information
> on sanitizing solutions. I copied this page many years ago and refer
> to it quite often. It is geared toward beer making but pretty well all
> the info applies equally to wine making.
> http://realbeer.com/jjpalmer/cleaning.html
> Take a look at the chlorine info and you'll see the recommended
> concentration is 200 ppm which is achieved with 1 tablespoon household
> bleach in 1 gallon of water. That concentration would not even be
> noticed by a healthy septic system.
> Also, you will note that after sanitizing with chlorine, or any other
> sanitizer for that matter, if you rinse with tap water you are in
> effect nullifying the sanitizing you just did because tap water
> contains bacteria. This is even more likely if, like me, you are on a
> septic system, your water is probably from a well and untreated like
> municipal water supplies.
> I don't know where you are located but, if you are in an area where it
> gets very cold for extended periods of time here's another
> consideration. If the frost gets down to the weeping bed and the
> tile/ground interface freezes, absorption is drastically reduced.
>
> Again, good luck.
>
> Ross.



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Default Septic System Problems From Using Sanitizing Agents & Cleansers

You should consider the possibility that you have changed the carbon
to nitrogen ratio or the pH in the septic tank favouring a different
biosystem.
pH shift add a small amount of garden lime
Nitrogen low add a small amount of urea fertiliser.

Bob M
www.molab.co.nz
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Default Septic System Problems From Using Sanitizing Agents & Cleansers

About this, what about flushing a couple of packets of active yeast?
That's what I do. It seems to work very well.

Cathy N
(from TX)




http://community.webtv.net/CATHYM55/ComeandvisitCathys

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Default Septic System Problems From Using Sanitizing Agents & Cleansers

On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 14:27:50 -0600, (Cathy N)
wrote:

>About this, what about flushing a couple of packets of active yeast?
>That's what I do. It seems to work very well.
>
>Cathy N
>(from TX)
>

Cathy

Unfortunately, active yeast IS one of the things that can do damage to
a septic system.

This is addressed specifically at:
http://www.inspect-ny.com/septic/septadds.htm#septadds1
where it states:
'Yeast can cause frothing and excessive activity in the septic tank,
preventing normal settling of solids and coagulation of greases. This
agitation forces solid waste into the drainfield and by clogging the
soil, shortens its life.'

You want to avoid damaging the drainfield because it is a huge expense
to repair or replace.

Ross.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JB View Post
I live in a rural area and my home has a septic system. I'm familiar with
these systems as I've lived in homes serviced by one for over 30 years.
Rarely have I had a problem until recently. I started making wine from kits
last year. I've made 5 kits, 6 gallons each, since August. I'm aware that
cleanliness is very important so I clean my bottles, fermentation tanks,
other equipment, etc. prior to being used. I'm wondering if all of this
cleaner has killed the bacteria in my septic tank and contributed to my
problem. My question to the group: Has anyone experienced any problems
similar to this?

I'd like to avoid having to dig up and replace my system when the solution
might be as simple as not pouring so much cleanser down the drain and/or
adding a bacterial starter to my system.

TIA

John
Hi JB. I think you don't need any septic tank pumping in the near future. I read that as long as you also have enough water, you are diluting the detergents enough not to be too much of a threat to the bacteria in the tank.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by JB View Post
I live in a rural area and my home has a septic system. I'm familiar with
these systems as I've lived in homes serviced by one for over 30 years.
Rarely have I had a problem until recently. I started making wine from kits
last year. I've made 5 kits, 6 gallons each, since August. I'm aware that
cleanliness is very important so I clean my bottles, fermentation tanks,
other equipment, etc. prior to being used. I'm wondering if all of this
cleaner has killed the bacteria in my septic tank and contributed to my
problem. My question to the group: Has anyone experienced any problems
similar to this?

I'd like to avoid having to dig up and replace my system when the solution
might be as simple as not pouring so much cleanser down the drain and/or
adding a bacterial starter to my system.

TIA

John
Iíve come across quite a number of resource and even built a list of websites containing useful information related to the subject on how to handle and treat winery wastewater. You might want to check this out.
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