Washing Paint brushes into Septic Tank

Paint brushes cleaned and washed down drain goes to septic tank. We can’t pump this tank and discharge it without finding a new place to take it. 

This post will probably apply more to real estate agents and home flippers.  If you’re in the Clark, Cowlitz, or Skamania County areas, there have been drastic changes at our treatment plants.  

Treatment plants is where we dispose of the septic tanks when you order them to be cleaned.  

Homeowners need to be aware too, but most of the time, homeowners usually know better.  

The treatment plant will only accept wastewater if it has the “Three P’s”.  

  1. Pee
  2. poop
  3. paper (Toilet paper, no flushable wipes or hygiene products)

Now what does this mean to real estate agents and home flippers? It means that if the contractors are washing their tools down into the septic tank, when it comes time for the pumping, the load will be rejected by the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  

Now all flippers and real estate agents will say, “I have never heard of that?” And you would be correct.  This rule came to us December 1st, 2018. To be implemented immediately.  

So we arrived at a house on friday the 14th. Real Estate transaction.  Real estate flipper is flipping the home. Every contractor that worked their washed all of their tools down the drains and into the septic tank. When we arrived we could see that the water had turned white and chemical smells were coming out of the tank pretty bad.  

We decided not to pump the tank at this time. Because if we did, that truck would not be able to work for the next week as we tried to find a place that will accept this mixed load of hazardous material and human waste.  We cannot shut a truck down that long.  What do we do with the driver that can’t work?  I hope you can understand the predicament we would have put ourselves in if we had pumped that septic tank. 

Now we have a place in Portland, Oregon that will accept the load.  But cost is not known at this time.  I have to discharge the load with them and they need to run samples on the sewage to find all of the chemicals in the sewage.  Once they can identify the chemicals, they have a process to remove each one.  Once the chemicals are removed, the load can go to the treatment plant.  

We have to remember.  The treatment plant is a living device. The plant operators sole goal while working, “Keep the bacteria alive and healthy.” Outside of that, if there’s hazardous chemicals in the truck.  Load is denied. 

Now what does that mean for garbage?  Diaper wipes and hygiene products.  At this time the plant will still accept those, but at a higher cost of labor and potential of us having to enter our tanks to remove it.  

You see, our trucks were designed to handle the “Three P’s” , just like our wastewater treatment plant.  We just have a 4 inch valve at the back of our trucks, and gravity takes it out of our trucks, and into the plant.  If there’s garbage, we have to empty into a screen/garbage separator.  And it’s not cheap.  According to the plant operators, diaper wipes broke a $25,000 auger screw two months ago.  

Garbage, aka cleaning wipes and hygiene products make us have to go inside our tanks to clean them. They clog up our internals and make is so our trucks won’t work. 

1 comment

  1. I think I am having trouble with my septic tank. I think it might need to be pumped but I don’t know for sure. Do you think it would be best to do this? I’ll for sure go with a professional on this.

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