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Old 05-13-2012, 04:59 PM   #1
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septic question


I hope I make myself clear in my explanation lol. We bought a 50 year old home for very little and had no inspection done a few years ago. It has a dug out well and a septic. The well is fine and water tested good.

Apparently there was a second bathroom added before we bought it and when they did they had problems with it backing up and we were told that there was alot of ground water that laid around because of the high water table. Anyways we found a pipe in that back part in the bush where water was coming out and asked the previous person what it was and was told they put that near the septic area to drain the excess water from the septic so it wouldnt lay on top an flood?

Just strange to me, we ddin't see that when we bought the place or we would of questioned it. So now that we are clearing some land we have this pipe draining water, it appears clear, but I find a slight smell coming from it? Our leech area appears fine?

Now I am worried there is a problem with septic? Has anyone ever heard of putting a pipe from the septic area and burying it and having it drain excess water away from septic?

Our toilets and sinks are working fine, no smell from the actual septic. Oh and one more thing, the septic has no sealed lid, only a plastic covering was over it and easy to remove and you can see into it when you remove quite clearly. We will have it cleaned out next month once it dries up some ...lots of rain lately. Thanks for any suggestions!

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Last edited by countrygal2012; 05-13-2012 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:04 PM   #2
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septic question


Sure sounds like a failed drain field. One of the many reason for a full inspection before buying.
Not a cheap fix.

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Old 05-13-2012, 05:22 PM   #3
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Sounds like they opened ended one of the leach lines because the leach field would not properly perc the water. Basically you are draining septic water to the surface.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:01 PM   #4
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I sure hope that isn't it. We were told that the draining was only ground water being drained away from septic so it doesn't backup or overflow.

Has no one heard of doing that before?
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
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In my state (MA), the rules are that the bottom of the septic system must be not less than four feet above the high groundwater table. Under certain conditions, this cannot be achieved, and I have heard about installation of drains to artificially lower the groundwater level to achieve the required separation. This is very unusual, but I believe it does occur.

Obviously no one on this forum has any idea about the design of your system, possibly you don't have any idea yourself. Typically if the system was designed, there will be a record with the local Board of Health. In some rural areas, systems are built in unusual ways, sometimes entire components such as the septic tank are missing. I suggest you attempt to get your hands on a copy of the design, then you may be able to tell what that pipe is for.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
In my state (MA), the rules are that the bottom of the septic system must be not less than four feet above the high groundwater table. Under certain conditions, this cannot be achieved, and I have heard about installation of drains to artificially lower the groundwater level to achieve the required separation. This is very unusual, but I believe it does occur.

Obviously no one on this forum has any idea about the design of your system, possibly you don't have any idea yourself. Typically if the system was designed, there will be a record with the local Board of Health. In some rural areas, systems are built in unusual ways, sometimes entire components such as the septic tank are missing. I suggest you attempt to get your hands on a copy of the design, then you may be able to tell what that pipe is for.

Just another thought, it does dry up at times, and it is just clear water that drains out, if it was from the septic it would be discolored and thicker I would imagine.

I will have to definetly look into finding out where I can get that information from. All I know from previous owner that only when they added the second bedroom and bathroom did they have that problem of backing up, and again, it's hard to know exactly what happened, cause they don't really know but tell me it was when the second bathroom was added so they hired someone to come out and they checked the septic and put in an extra drainage pipe to get rid of the ground water.

Hopefully, I will find out what it is as I don't want any septic sewage being put out on our land, as I can't imagine they would be able to do that legally or environmentally if it was harmful?

Last edited by countrygal2012; 05-13-2012 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:25 PM   #7
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I don't think I understand your post too well. Of course you are putting sewage onto your land if you have a septic system, that is what they are for. As to whether the system is designed properly, or working properly, there are septic inspectors who can be hired to make that determination. Without plans for your system, there is zero chance anyone on this forum can tell you how it works, or if it works. I suggest you hire a licensed inspector, possibly a plumber with septic experience, to examine the system, make a report to you as to the condition, and recommendations for repairs if necessary.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:28 PM   #8
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I sure hope that isn't it. We were told that the draining was only ground water being drained away from septic so it doesn't backup or overflow.

Has no one heard of doing that before?
So if the drain is indeed draining water from around the septic sytem, this means it would be located somewhere around the leaching field piping. ...

Need to remember that the leaching/lateral field piping is draining waste water from the top of the septic tank in to a crushed rock bed that was installed around each pipe that "tees" off the lateral main piping, while the incoming solids go to the bottom of the septic tank. ...

Any water coming from "any" pipe near the leaching field is going to have "somewhat" septic water coming from it, along with any water from a elevated water table....

So, whomever told you the pipe behind the bushes was only for draining excess ground water, didnt tell you the "rest of the story". When the second bath was added, now the leaching field is being overloaded. Just my opinion though. As above stated, you need a pro inspection. good luck
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:11 AM   #9
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In this area it can be normal practice to have a curtain drain in "front" of the leach field (that is, preceding the leach field in the direction run off water is moving) to help protect the leach field from wash out during heavy rains. I have one, and it was designed in by the original engineering firm for the system.

In the spring time mine trickles clear water most of the time, but normally dries up by June and then only has water coming out after a heavy rain.
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:35 PM   #10
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Hi Done That,

That is exactly what we have. I spoke to someone else in the area and he also has one to drain of heavy rains. It is clear water that drains and also drys up when weather changes, and runs downhill. Thanks. We also have the septic guy coming out end of month to clean it too.

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