We have a property where as best we can tell they ran the kitchen sink drain into a dry well buried in the ground. We have plans to re do this into the septic system but in the mean time, can I use septic tank treatment like ridx in this think to help break down some solids?

I'm certain it's just greywater with probably food scraps.

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    It might help that or drain cleaner , the bacteria probably won’t do much in a dry well unless it is plugging up with grease and holding water. My great grandmother had a dry well for her outside wash tub and we had to punch a new hole right next to the old one every other year and she used home made lye soap so I am not sure if either will really work , most drain cleaners are primarily lye , sodium hydroxide or pot ash, I can’t remember the other types but most are similar. – Ed Beal Oct 16 at 23:29
  • A dry well already has access to lots of soil bacteria--types which are suited for that environment. Adding to it probably won't accomplish much. The main issue is volume. – isherwood Oct 17 at 19:16

A septic tank breaks the waste into three categories: 1) scum that floats to the top, 2) waste that settles to the bottom and is eaten by bacteria and decomposes the solids, and 3) effluent (liquid) that is in the middle and runs out to the drainfield.

There is a delicate balance in your septic tank to keep the bacteria healthy and working. When you use too much soap, Clorox, etc. it will kill the bacteria and the septic tank will stop working. Adding a treatment neutralizes the soap, etc. and keeps the bacteria healthy.

Your dry well does not have this layer of waste and bacteria. Rather, the waste is scattered throughout the well. So, no, adding a treatment like Rid-x will not help.


To my knowledge, there's no point to adding bacteria to a septic tank- there's already plenty of bacteria there. Septic tank bacterial additives are 100% advertising, 0% treatment. Thus there would be even less reason to add it to a dry well.

Is the sink draining? Does it have a garbage disposal that you use?

The main purpose of a septic tank is to separate solids from liquids, and allow the liquids to percolate off into the soil. If you have sandy well drained soil there may be no reason to change anything.

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    Like Lee Sam pointed out, sometimes bacteria are killed off or dramatically reduced through neglect, etc. Treatments can restore those colonies. – isherwood Oct 17 at 19:12

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