living and dyeing with a septic tankAugust 2, 2008
I started thinking about this because of putting spent dyebaths down the drain. The sewerage system can cope with this in small amounts but I’m trying to find out how it will be with a septic tank. The one for the house we’re buying is shared, and I gather we won’t be responsible for the maintenance, but I don’t want to do anything that might cause problems with the system.
Paradoxically, Procion dyes seem to be OK, whereas natural dyes aren’t because of the mordants. Paula Burch has a round up of ecological issues with dyes
For natural dyes, soapnuts sound worth a try. I had some soapnuts once and wasn’t entirely successful at washing clothes with them, but I didn’t try using them as a mordant! India Flint in her book Eco-Colour lists a number of traditional mordants, less toxic than metals, and mentions that burnt seaweed was traditionally used in the Hebrides!
I haven’t found much info about indigo and septic tanks yet… but I think the used vat would probably have to go into landfill because of the lye.
Useful general info
note: disposal of campervan toilet – we already use the green Aqua Kem, but Bio-solve might also be worth investigating.