In my former life, my specialty was individually owned water and
wastewater treatment - read septic systems. I have some knowledge
about design and concerns in their use. What I say here applies to a
small home studio. If you generate gallons of pickle you need an
As in everything, moderation is key. A production company generating
hundreds of gallons of spent pickle would never be allowed to put
that into a septic system. An individual who generates a gallon of
spent pickle in a year (that’s probably my level) added
intermittently by cup amounts to the waste stream, will not create a
problem with the tank. The freeboard (the area above the liquid
level) space is subject to a very corrosive atmosphere due to the
carbonic and sulfuric acids formed by moisture and gasses (like CO2
and H2S) produced by decomposition in the tank. This is the area
where concrete disintegrates and first weakens the tank.
Eventually every tank has to be replaced, but unless physically
damaged, it usually lasts many decades
The other factor is the volume of the tank. In this area, tanks are
at least 750 gallons and usually 1,000+ gallons. Even the smaller
size would not be affected by the addition of a pint of spent pickle.
Yes, the contents of the tank do drain to the underground leach
field, where organics further decompose, chelation of ions and
filtering by the soil occurs as the water seeps down and eventually
recharges an aquifer.
Sooooo. discharging a pint or so of spent pickle every couple of
months is not a problem for a septic system. That amount is not a
problem for municipal waste treatment systems.
If you are still uneasy, get a five gallon bucket of crushed
limestone and put it somewhere out of the way. Pour the pickle into
it. The pH will be neutralized, the water will evaporate, any metals
will be contained, and you can continue to pour the pickle into this
bucket until it is full of sludge. That would take many years.
I continually encourage readers to contact their County Extension
agent with all kinds of questions. They have access to specialists
at the University who do research and have networks of colleagues. In
addition, there are many bulletins available online to anyone. I look
for University websites ending in ‘.edu’ as the reliable source for
Whew! That was more verbiage than usual. Sorry! Judy in Kansas, where
the wind has switched to the North and I suspect temps will drop.