Your Questions About Ways To Conserve Water In The Kitchen

Sharon asks…

Should the level of water in my septic tank rise when it rains a lot?

We’ve been having problems with our septic tank filling and backing into the basement. We found a toilet that had been leaking for 4 months, and once we turned the toilet off (and conserved water) the water level in the septic tank went back to normal.

For the past month, my husband and I have only let water from flushing the toilets and from the dishwasher (which I only run once/week) go down the drain. Everything else (bathwater, kitchen sink, washing machine) we take outside in buckets, to give the leach bed time to dry out. In the past week, we started letting some bathwater go down the drain, and the tank didn’t seem to have any problems with it.

Then yesterday, we had a series of storms that dropped about 2 inches of rain. When I checked the tank this morning, the water level was 1/3 of the way up the height of the inlet pipe.

Is this normal? Or should I be concerned that something is clogged, or that the water table is too high?
When this first happened (June 07), I did have a professional come out and look. He pumped it, jetted it, and in 4 days it was full again. He did say after he jetted it, the leach bed was taking water, but he saw water coming in the tank when no one was home (the leaking toilet). We had the Septic Enforcement Agency come out and look, and she said our next step would be to cautiously dig around the tank and look for cracks. But since the water level didn’t rise again before today, we thought the problem was fixed. I hate to dig the whole tank up and inspect it if the problem is just a saturated drain field from the rain. That’s why I was just wondering if the water level going up after a lot of rain was normal.

Also, I do not have a sump pump, no construction in the area, and the reason I know the level is that there is an access pipe coming up from the tank (where the pumper accesses the tank). The water is not backing into the basement yet.

admin answers:

Well, you should have it pumped and checked to make sure that everything is ok. We had the same problem and yes water from rain will go in there. The problem is most likely what you said… The leach fields are drenched and there is no where for the water to go. If there has been some construction in your area or a bunch of trees were cut down this could be your problem as well. The leach fields are being stripped away and are completely useless when there is not enough room for the water to go where it needs to. We found that by planting a few trees in the yard and starting a small garden it helps (tomatos love to live by a septic tank). However, you should have it checked to make sure that there are not cracks and that the places where the water leaves the tank are not clogged. We are getting onto public sewers soon (it is just becoming available to us) so we are trying to make this tank last until they have the plant up and running because they will charge us to connect to the main lines. Good luck, you should be able to let all of your water go out there… So something is wrong and calling in a service man may be your best bet.

Sandra asks…

What should my ‘conserving energy’ skit be about?

My teacher is grouping us up and making us create Public Service Announcements to present, and the topic is Conserving Energy. We’re supposed to make it look like a commercial basically, but my group and I are clueless and any suggestions would be great! The announcement is supposed to last at least 40 seconds, and we don’t want something stupid and childish, just a good commercial/skit that includes some information or something. We also need an item or company to be mentioned, like the thing being advertised. Thanks!

admin answers:

A skit where someone goes from their bedroom to the kitchen turning every single light on in the house to get a drink of water. (My brother use to do that and so do my children.) Then someone else can come behind them and fuss at them for doing so. You can make jokes about the person being scared or clueless, or whatever.

Anyway, turning on every light in the house is unnecessary and wasteful. Turning on one light to get a drink of water is a way of conserving energy.

William asks…

What are good household energy conveservation tips?

What types of changes will help to decrease power usage in a house. Water heater is gas so that will not use electrical power.

admin answers:

Its great that people are pondering about energy crisis atleast now. I appreciate your interest and inform about the ways of conserving energy as far as i know.
The first and foremost is the consciousness about your energy expenditure.
-dont ever use filament lamps thy do a lot of unnecessary heating
instead use cfls.they have a profound effect on the energy bills.
-use a microwave oven whenever possible.they are more efficient than the traditional gas stoves et cetera.
-try to reduce drying clothes in the dryer unless it is essential.prefer the natural sunlight instead.
-use a table lamp for night study insted of illuminating the entire room
-use a cfl when there is none in the halls or kitchen
-use the stairs insted of the escalator which also helps you to excercise
-use your bicycle often.i tell you ,you look more cool on the cycle than in the car for fetching nearby needs.

Lisa asks…

What is the best way to prep the ground of a garden next year?

The soil is pretty sandy and I’m guessing lacking in nutrients. Should I haul in a few yards of black dirt, or just mix in a good layer of compost? Any other tips?

admin answers:

When we first got our house in Mi. The garden was all sand. We add tons of organic material every year, shredded leaves, grass clippings, kitchen vegie waste and weeds. Our soil is fabulous now. To begin with you can put in compost and some black dirt, but buying it is expensive. Get a leaf blower that also vacuums and shreds leaves. Mix these into the top 4 to 6 inches of soil before planting. Plant, then when plants are established surround them with your grass clippings (if these are not poisoned). Do not let the green grass touch the plants. Until it has turned brown it will burn them. The grass clippings add nitrogen, and break down to be more organic material. You can also add more shredded leaves as mulch. Mulch adds organics, keeps weed down and helps conserve water. Save your kitchen waste, and either compost it, or just bury it in parts of your garden you will use next year. In a year or 2 you will start to see different soil. Mulch, mulch, mulch, you cannot do too much. Good luck.

Thomas asks…

Why is it wrong for me to waste water?

I leave the water running when I shave, brush my teeth and wash my dishes. I take a 40 minute shower twice a day. And I flush my cigerette butts down the toilet.

admin answers:

Fresh potable water for humans to safetly use is both finite and shinking on a worldwide scale.

We can use water more efficiently by conserving what we have, desalinating sea water which carries with it an energy need that can increase greenhouse gases or recycle water with possible risks (ie. Estrogen pollution). Out of the three the easiest to do is conservation.

Now I’m not saying you have an iminent water shortage on your hands but in a way how can we discuss conservation of water without the principle of doing it even in what are now some water rich areas. For example I live next to a creek fed by mountain snows and yet 500km away there are people who are desperate to get their house water tanks full from poor rainfalls.

In your case I would half fill my washbowl and put a plug in and then shave and wash the razor then empty the contents and refill half way to wash my face off. The same would be done to wash my teeth and a glass of water to rinse.

As for washing dishes you need only two kitchen sinks of water to wash and rinse by hand or I use enough kitchen utensils and crockery for two settings and a dishwasher with a 5 star energy rating (most efficient) and I adjusted the washer to a minimum water level as per it’s instruction which a lot of people don’t and I use an eco setting to limit the power being used which means I have to open it to allow the washed items to air dry.

As for flushing cigarette butts down the toilet, your introducing an item that can take up to 2 years to break down with a lot of poisionous carinogens in it as well against what a toilet and sewerage system normally processes which goes against good habits for recycling. Put your cigarette butts in the garbage and give thought to maybe a dry recycling toilet. These toilets use no water and process the effluent into a component you get to use in fertilizing your gardens etc. Instead of paying to give it away.

I hope all this info helps.

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