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HarknessConst 12-09-2010 11:41 PM

Hello, Contractor from W.WA

I am new to the site, but I've been over on your sister site for a while as jhark123.

I am here because I love construction and want to help prevent some of the mistakes I see on a daily basis.

Feel free to PM me with general carpentry, concrete and septic installation/maintenance questions.


Jason Harkness

Gary in WA 12-10-2010 01:52 PM

Welcome to the forum, fellow Washingtonian! I'm near Tacoma. Glad to have you here....


cessna1466u 12-19-2010 04:21 PM

I need your help! In Bonney Lake
Hello Harkness, boy an I glad to come across your post. I am in Bonney Lake,WA and need some septic help. I had an issue and hired someone to come out, actually I asked him to come out and take a look and give me an estimate. I had everything dug up already but he and his son started digging some more and next thing you know I have a huge chunk of my yard dug up and I am owing the guy $500 for digging and mending 5 feet of pipe. I was out of money by then and said I would fill the holes back up myself, well of course the problem is back and now he said hes not responsible because I probably did the damage myself. Needless to say, I wont be calling him again. My problem is that about 2 years ago I noticed a puddle about 30 feet from my house, it smelled like septic and had a friend come help me dig it up. We found a 5 foot section of pipe that had a cap at the end that was broken off. We replaced the cap with a new one and thought the problem was fixed. Well about 2 months ago we started getting that foul smell again. I checked the location and sure as heck there was water there again. It was after the huge rain storm we had so I thought maybe the ground was saturated, well it kept on coming up. So about 2 weeks ago I started digging and found that the cap was still there. I called around to get a company to come out and talked to someone that showed me how to get the "As-Built" plans from online. I did that and realized that the 5' pipe should be 26'. I dug around and found no traces of the rest of the pipe. I put all the dirt back thinking maybe it was just saturated. Well it wasnt and it came back. I dug it up, called the septic person I mentioned earlier and he dug and found the rest of the pipe that had been destroyed by landscapers. He attached my capped pipe to the other and called it a day. Told me to throw down some gravel around the pipe and fill it back up. I did that and of course it didn't work. As a bit of more info, when he was here we dug up further and found the other 6 veritcals and one did have a slight leak, they were actually all buried incorrectly, some are only about 8 inches from the grass level. They all seemed to be working properly thought. My question is this, if I were to dig that broken one back up and cap it completely, will the drain system be able to handle the draining? Or will I start to get puddling in other areas? I realize it all depends on if the rest of the filed is indeed in working order. But what do you think.

Last but not least, here is my plead. With this guy when he came out he invoiced right away and expected me to pay up right away. That of course put a strain on the holidays and other bills. I don't expect anyone to work for free, I know I dont. What I am asking is if this is not a simple solution and I need a pro like yourself to help out, could we work out some kind of payment plan or to be invoiced in 30 days. I just need to get through the holidays, I don't mind working right along you, I don't expect you or crew to do all the work, I just need a break on the immediately payment. I feel I need to get this repaired soon, I have 4 kids that love to play outside and they have not been able to because of this. I know it can't be sage for them, I am also worried that the neighbors are going to call the health department or something. Thanks for listening. What do you think? Is this something I might be able to handle or do I need a pro, and if so can we work some thing out?

HarknessConst 12-19-2010 05:43 PM


Do you have a .pdf or a link to your as-built that you could send to me? That will help me understand the type of system that you have.

It sounds to me that your system was either installed incorrectly or damaged after installation. Unfortunatley, this is not cheap thing to fix. If you cap the offending lateral, you will likely over-load the remainder of the system.

I can help you on the payment end by taking credit card payment for the initial inspection/consultation and setting you up with some of the HUD emergency repair grant/loan programs if you qualify.

PM me if you would like me to schedule a site visit.

cessna1466u 12-19-2010 05:50 PM

More Info
Unfortunately I am not able to PM, I am a new user and that option is not available to me. I do have a PDF though and could email it you. I must say that you are scaring with talk about a HUD loan and stuff like that. It is starting to sound like we are talking about re-doing the entire septic system. I was hoping more for it to be a repair job not a re-install job. Please let me know if there is an email I can send you the pdf and have you take a look at it. Thanks for your immediate reply. David

HarknessConst 12-19-2010 06:03 PM


My email is

The HUD grant program is for up to $1,000 of emergency repairs (the repair can be more, but you would pay the remainder). The grant does not have to be repaid if you qualify for it.

The HUD loan program is for up to $60,000 of repairs, is low interest and has a flexible repayment plan.

I can't really say without looking at your as-built and the site what the repair would be.

If you are in a poor soil area and/or near surface water the county could require system replacement (not likely)

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