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Question DetailsAsked on 2/20/2018

Is sugar water harmful to my septic tank? I'm on PD dialysis and I use sugar water in that process.

I use a 2 1/2% solution of sugar water at about 12000 mls a day. Will that harm the tank? If anything I would think that what little bit of sugar goes in the tank that it would help to feed the bacteria or whatever brakes down the waste. Am I wrong?

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1 Answer


Nah - just be prepared to forgive the bacteria if the tank burps now and then ;>) - the bacteria will probably love the sugar high it gives them. In fact, many septic tank companies initially dose a new tank with bakers yeast and sugar and a bit of sewage from the pumping truck, to give the system a kick start on developing a healthy crop of aeaerobic bacteria. Those little critters like sugar, among other things - in fact when I grew up on a septic system people in our area put a cup of sugar in hot water down the drain every week to two to promote the grease-eating bacteria - at least in our area those who did so had a lot less issues with grease mat formation in the tank or leach field clogging.

About the only normal food they don't do well with (because of slow processing) is fats and grease, which should be kept out of the system as much as feasible - and a few spices in very high concentrations - have run into a few case histories of families constantly eating VERY highly spiced foods native to Caribbean or Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia) having chronic bacterial collapse in their septic system, requiring disposal of those cooking wastes (from frying pan, crock pot, etc) in the garbage rather than down the drain.

Good septic system practice includes not using the garbage disposal to grind up meat fat (or as little other solids as possible - maximize garbage can use for bulk food waste, though normal scraped-off plate waste is no problem), using paper towels to clean up and dispose of wok or frying pan grease scraping it into the garbage can instead, and pouring liquid grease from frying or deep oil baking into old metal food cans to cool and gel, then plastic bag and throw that out in the garbage too.

Basically, normal food items (other than overloading with garbage disposal waste or grease/oil) does not hurt a septic tank significantly or permanently. What DOES wipe the bacteria out, thereby harming processing of the waste andpromoting clogging of the tank or leach field, is unusual concentrations of drugs and chemicals - especially antibiotics, bleach, chemical cleaners. Normal household use not a problem - what normally kills off the bacteria in a septic tank is disposal of unwanted bottles of chemicals, bottles of certain spices, degreasing or concentrations of carwashing chemicals used in a garage and going down the floor drain, dumping drugs down the drain (especially anitbiotics), or using a lot of drain cleaner at one time - more than the recommended dosage. Also chemicals like paints and paint thinning chemicals. Also if a major (like whole-house o very contaminated area) cleaning is done for mold/mildew or blood/body fluids or drug lab chemicals and that waste is put down the drain.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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