Author Topic: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?  (Read 2787 times)

Offline Oberhasli

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I have been making cheese for about 11 years and when I first started I would put the whey down the drain.  Well, we have a septic system and it ultimately failed.  The fellow who came out to fix it said it was because of the whey I was putting in - too much bacteria.  Has anyone else ever had a problem like this?  I have been dumping my whey outside onto the forest area we have for years now.  It is a pain though especially in the winter and the feet of snow we get here.  But, since I haven't been putting it down the drain - we haven't had a problem with the septic since.  I can go into details about why the system failed- but it is one of those "too much information" type of things if you are not familiar with how septic systems work.  Basically we had no "layers" in our tank - and it all went out as gray water and clogged the leach field.  It recovered - but I haven't ever dumped down the drain again.

Has anyone else experienced this problem?
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Offline padams

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2010, 04:45:08 PM »
I use mine for bread instead of water....haven't been brave enough to try any of the other ideas, altho once my garden gets going, it's going on the plants!  I think I might start setting it out for my outside cats, too.

Does anyone know if it can be frozen to use later for things like bread?
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Offline Minamyna

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 04:47:55 PM »
I feed it to my dogs and once I get pigs I will feed it to them. I also feed the the runny yogurt I get though, I probably don't get as much whey as you do.

The dogs are on a meat diet so the whey just adds to that.

Offline Gürkan Yeniçeri

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010, 06:24:32 PM »
First Ricotta and then bread making. I gave to friends who bake their own bread to. Rest is distributed between worm farm and fruit trees.


Offline John (CH)

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2010, 07:15:35 PM »
There's a similar longer thread here with non-cheese making ideas.


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Offline Nitai

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2010, 10:46:57 PM »
Whey can be hard to keep up with but there is so much more you can do with it! Other than ricotta and baking, it can make wonderful drinks. Everyone is buying whey powder to add to their drinks nowadays, so just use the whey. As is you can make great lemonade with it, or a number of other drinks. But even better is to bottle it, put it away in a closet and check back after 1 week, then 2, until you like the flavor and level of fizziness. Then use it to make lemonade or whatever else. It is like a spritzer, and it is good, and good for you. When we have events here we regularly have 5 gallon buckets of wheymonade.

Also, if you make paneer, you can use whey that has fermented a bit as your curdling agent.

I even saw one blog where a lady made her own whey powder, but it was way(uh-oh the whey jokes) too laborious for me.

Offline Denise

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2013, 10:29:13 AM »
But even better is to bottle it, put it away in a closet and check back after 1 week, then 2, until you like the flavor and level of fizziness. Then use it to make lemonade or whatever else.

I've been looking for ways to use up whey and came upon this thread. Can anyone confirm that it's OK to just leave bottles of the stuff for weeks at room temperature (summer temperatures in the low to mid thirties Celsius) and it's still safe to drink? TLOML has been insisting that I throw out any whey that won't fit in the fridge and doesn't get consumed in a couple of days, and I hate throwing stuff away.

If it goes fizzy, does that mean the bottle should be stoppered tightly to prevent the gas escaping, or loosely to avoid exploding bottles?

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2013, 05:29:13 PM »
I can't comment on the bottling, but I've had some success with mixing leftover whey with coconut milk and whatever else you like (Ovaltine is a favorite of mine; have also used vanilla) and using it as a protein-rich replacement for low-fat milk.  One thing I thought I'd try is the above with a few dollops of home-made yogurt to add some body.  I'm like everyone else here in that I hate to throw the stuff away, and my neighbors would be ticked off if I got some pigs or goats ::).

Offline Denise

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2013, 08:35:42 PM »
Mixing with yoghurt sounds good - kind of an Indian-style lassi drink? I found that adding lemon juice and honey makes a great refreshing lemonade poured over ice, and I was wondering if fizzy whey could be used to make natural fizzy lemonade. Too much of a wussy to try storing potential whey bombs (!)  in the cupboard under the stairs, though....

The dog likes to drink neat whey, though the cat turns her fastidious little nose up at it, and there always seems to be so much of the stuff to be got through!

Offline Spellogue

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 12:40:01 AM »
There seems to be thousands of ways to use whey.

You can use it in place of water to cook rice or pasta, but be careful, it tends to boil over. 

Once it's been boiled the bacterial cultures will have been killed off and then it wouldn't be a concern with the septic tank from a bacterial standpoint.  It is still nutrient rich though, and even too much boiled whey could tax the system.  A better place for it would be the compost pile.  It wouldn't need to be boiled to add to the compost either, so if you are trying to dispose of copious amounts a compost may be part of your solution.
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Offline Back 2 The Frotture

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 01:21:44 AM »
Throwing the whey out into the woods is a huge environmental issue.  For example, tossing 300 liters (75 gallons) of whey is the equivalent of 100 people's wastewater solids concentrated in that spot.  Our domestic needs are 0.8 grams per liter of COD on average, while whey ranges from 50 to 70 grams. 

Please don't toss whey, feed it to the pigs, or dedicate a septic tank with spill over into nitrogen hungry plants.

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2013, 06:58:30 PM »
Throwing the whey out into the woods is a huge environmental issue.  For example, tossing 300 liters (75 gallons) of whey is the equivalent of 100 people's wastewater solids concentrated in that spot.  Our domestic needs are 0.8 grams per liter of COD on average, while whey ranges from 50 to 70 grams. 

Please don't toss whey, feed it to the pigs, or dedicate a septic tank with spill over into nitrogen hungry plants.
I think you're talking apples and oranges here because whey is (almost) 100% organic with only 10% solids that are primarily lactose and protein, as opposed to human waste water that contains inorganic materials like phosphates and, well, other stuff :-X.  Seems like the bugs and plants in the soil would love the whey compared to the (other stuff)!  ;).

The initial problem that Oberhasli had was a septic system back-up caused by excessive scum caused by the whey, so I'm not so sure that a "dedicated" septic tank would fare better.   My take (based in part on experience with a septic system) would be to try adding more bacteria (i.e. Rid-X).   Then again septic tanks are "septic" and rely on anaerobic decomposition so even that may not help.  Ideally, municipal wastewater treatment systems and spray-farms that aerate their waste water would love the whey because of the nutrients.  So in my humble opinion if you don't have direct access to municipal treatment, then "feed the forest flora",  or the tomatoes, azaleas, gardenias, mushrooms, hydrangeas,  whatever ...

Offline jwalker

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Re: Whey Into Septic System Problem - Other Disposal Methods / Uses?
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2013, 09:46:20 AM »
Having designed and installed many septic systems over the years , I have never heard of this problem , but upon doing a little research , it seems that whey is more detrimental to the environment than one would guess , and its disposal a huge problem for cheese makers.

I have been putting it into my septic system ( about four gallons a week ) , but am now looking at other methods of disposal before any problems arise.

Below is one issue with whey:


On June 14, Minerva Cheese Factory accidentally released whey, a milky cheese byproduct, into a storm sewer, said Doug Miller, an ODNR law enforcement supervisor. A filter malfunction caused the whey to enter the sewer, Miller said.

"Minerva Cheese Factory has been very cooperative with the investigation," Miller said. "This is an unfortunate circumstance, but truly unintentional."

When the whey entered Sandy Creek, it depleted oxygen, killing fish along a 1.5 mile stretch downstream from the Minerva Wastewater Treatment Plant, Miller said.
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