Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    2

    Water wells and septic systems

    I have been reading everything I can get my hands on, but I still have one major area of concern which I haven't seen addressed anywhere, namely water supply and disposal in a rural setting. Our house is on a well, with a septic system. The water has been tested for drinking quality and tests fine (no colifoms or nitrates). It is quite hard which won't matter for making salt water, but it appears to have a high iron content, judging by the reddish stains left in the sinks. I'm guessing I will need water treatment of some sort, but I am concerned about the waste of using a Reverse Osmosis system. We have been in the house for a year, and have never run out of water, but I have no idea of the long term recharge capacity of the well.  It seems rather wasteful to send 5 or more gallons of water into the septic tank for every gallon needed for the aquarium. For that reason, I am interested in the Poly Bio Marine Kold Ster-il system, which is a filtration and de-ionization system rather than RO. It appears to provide high quality water without the waste water. Does anyone have any experience with this system?
         My other question concerns the discharge of used salt water during water changes. I wonder about the effect of adding 10 - 20 gallons of salt water to the septic tank each time I perform a water change. Much like aquaria, septic tanks operate on a complex community of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, and I would be concerned about the possibility of killing them off by adding the salt water. Also, all of the water which goes into the septic system eventually ends up seeping out under the lawn through the tile bed. This raises the possibility of long term increases in soil salinity, eventually killing the lawn. I can't just pass the problem on to the municipal storm drain system, because our neighborhood has grass swale run-off control instead of storm drains. Pumping the salt water into the grass ditch out front would definitely kill the grass! I have seen estimates of 100 gallons per day for an average family's water consumption. If this is the case, then adding 20 gallons of salt water along with the 100 gallons of home sewage, into roughly 1000 gallons already in the tank is an addition of about 2% saltwater. Doesn't seem like much, especially as I would only be doing it every few weeks or monthly. Are there any septic tank experts on the forum who can tell me whether the added salt is likely to cause a problem? I guess what I'm hoping is that someone can tell me that they have been dumping salt water into their septic tank for 20 years, and it hasn't had any effect!
    Thanks for the space!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    606

    Re: Water wells and septic systems

    Kent has a unit called the Maxima I think that doesn't produce any waste water. I have seen systems where they collect the waste water in a large container and mix it like 2:1 with the water that comes through the DI unit.
    As far as dumping salt water down into you septic system I don't imagine it would be much worse than acidic human waste. Could be wrong though.
    ________
    Tanks: 400 gal Reef, 180 gal FOWLR, 300 gal Sump, 40 gal Frag Tray plumbed as one system - 900 gal total water volume.
    DIY Calcium Reactor, Nielson Reactor and Skimmer

  3. #3
    Senior Member Fishysan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    368

    Re: Water wells and septic systems

    Hi ya,

    I can share my experiences & what I've heard.

    I have a Kent Maxxima - it is an RO/DI unit. Great unit.

    DI systems have no waste water, but are more expensive and probably more maintenance.  At one point I started making my own out of recharged TWP carts. I dropped it all because of the hassle with chemicals (acids and bases) to recharge them, and they are way to expensive to toss. If you can buy a system that recharges itself, and it's not expensive to run, it's probably the most environmentaly friendly.

    People get away with a lot with their septic beds, but ideally you should try to minimize sending any large amounts of water, especially salt water, it's way. I have read "septic bed" experts saying that it shouldn't be done, OR that it's no big deal (to dump saltwater into your septic).

    It's all about volume of course.

    Do you not have a water softener system? Does your softener dump it's recharge waste into your septic bed? That is bad, but many do - tons of extra (salty) water being added to your bed. This typically leads to getting it serviced sooner, and you can always give the bed a boost with some bacteria culture mix once and a while (years probably) to help recharge it.

    When I was rural, the waste water from the softener, and waste water from the RO/DI would end up in the sump hole where it was then pumped out of the weaping tile into the ditch by the road. I also dumped my salt water there too. If you consider the amount of salt that they dump on the roads, you aren't even a drop in the bucket when it comes to impacting the ditch grass, or the runoff. Like you said, your 20gal of salt water a month isn't even a blip in what the neigbourhood is using just flushing the toilet once a day (mulitplied by each household, and it's done way more than once a day!!).

    The same problem exists with washing machines dumping large amounts of grey water into your septic, but it survives that too...

    People used to have dry wells for gray water, but they are now illegal I believe. Essentially a dry well is a deep hole where you dump your gray water - from the washing mashine, water softener, RO/DI, etc. where it returns to the ground and eventually the water table.

    Hard water right out of your well will likely be hard on an RO unit - you may acutally waste way more than 5gal per 1gal of product. Depends on how hard it is. Can you measure it with a hardness test kit?

    Soft water, if you have a softener (which sounds like you don't your taps/toilets are stained orange with iron) will make work easier for your RO unit.

    If your water is also hard, likely you will be working a DI system out well too because there will be a lot of crap to remove from the water.

    If you have a softener, and an iron remover, you might be quite sucessful with an RO/DI unit. You could set up a system to recoup the waste water to irrigate your yard. Otherwise, I would just dump it into your sump hole (ie the ditch out front).

    As for water usage, if you figure out how much you are going to use a day, think of it in terms of flushing the toilet an extra time everyday. Do you think that would make or break the system? No...

    Anyway, woah, rambled long enough.. hope this helps. Either way you do it, it's not going to impact the water table that much compared to what everyone's doing (watering lawns, etc.) and if you are returning it to the earth, it will eventually make it's way back to your tap. Set up a reclemation system for the RO and use it to water outside. hehe

    Fishysan ><>
    ---
    180g display main floor, 150g trough, 75g, 20g in basement
    SPS, LPS, softies, many clams & 14 fish
    main: 250w AB DE HQI x 3, 5' x 3 VHO actinic - trough: 400w venki

  4. #4
    Senior Member MINIATUS's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    258
    In response to the Kold-steril unit its based on the polypad that is available in LFSs. My last setup I made my own filter out of the Tap water filter. when it was exhausted I took Actived carbon The exchange resisin from Chemi pure and cut disc from the Polyfilter. ran my water thru it and had excellent results. No waste water.


    MINIATUS

  5. #5
    Senior Member Fishysan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    368
    I've been thinking that I should reclaim the water my air conditioner dumps in to the drain and the water my dehumidifier does too. They both essentially remove water from the tank, and dump it down the drain.

    I could catch all that water & then treat it (mostly for metal removal I would figure) and dump it back into the tank. Would save a lot of water...

    Anyone ever see anything like that? I'm not sure if I would rely simply on GAC or polyfilter - as they reduce metals, but not sure if they reduce em right down. I could buy a single stage DI (or a TapWater purifier cart) and use that.. Hmmm.

    Fishysan ><>
    ---
    180g display main floor, 150g trough, 75g, 20g in basement
    SPS, LPS, softies, many clams & 14 fish
    main: 250w AB DE HQI x 3, 5' x 3 VHO actinic - trough: 400w venki

  6. #6
    Senior Member MINIATUS's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    258
    Kold-Steri filters are based on the Poly-Bio-Marine filter pads, they remove organics, ammonia, heavy metals, phosphates ,silicates, and never had any problems with any of my tanks.

    MINIATUS

Similar Threads

  1. How shoul I prepare water for water changes
    By Dockery in forum Water Quality
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-26-2006, 06:20 PM
  2. aquatic eco systems
    By George in forum Deals & Steals
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-11-2005, 09:39 PM
  3. Methods used to control water in overflow filter systems?
    By Toutouche in forum Reef Discussion
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: 08-30-2004, 02:13 PM
  4. live rock & mh systems
    By newbie_clown in forum Just Getting Started
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-08-2004, 08:19 AM
  5. Truth About R/O Water or Pure Water
    By ijo in forum Reef Discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-06-2003, 12:51 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •