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Old 07-14-2010, 04:25 PM   #1
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clearing septic field


Has anyone tried those bacteria/enzyme products that claim they will clear a clogged leach field. If so, what product would you recommend?

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Old 07-14-2010, 05:54 PM   #2
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Has anyone tried those bacteria/enzyme products that claim they will clear a clogged leach field. If so, what product would you recommend?
Although there are lots of products on the market for septic maintenance, that's all they are "maintenance" products. To be used for preventative maintenance only. There isn't any type of chemical, product, enzyme, etc. that will clear a clogged leach field.

Do you know what type of leach field you have?

How do you know there's a clog in the leach field?

How old is the septic system?

What are the soil conditions?

Where are you located?

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Old 07-14-2010, 10:55 PM   #3
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I've been on a septic system for more than 34 years, and I've been a rural area real estate broker for more than 23 years and deal with them all of the time. The only known "cure" that I am aware of for a clogged drainfield line is replacement.
NC State University has done extensive research on various septic systems. Basically, the conclusions are that any and all of those "additives" are a total waste of money. Normal usage provides all of the bacteria needed for the good operation of a septic system. Keeping harmful chemicals, grease and solids out of the system as much as possible is far more important.
The only maintenance recommended is pumping the septic tank out at least ever five years, and more often if heavily used or in poor soil. My home is on well-drained, high sandy soil, and I have the tank pumped out in every year that ends in a 0 or 5 (just to keep it idiot-proof for me...lol), I recently had it done for 0.
I originally had the basic 210' of drainfield line, and had to add another 85' a number of years ago when the drainfield was cut across by a new county water line to my home.
Consult your local Health Department for their Septic System Technician's recommendations based on your soil type. (Septic systems or its components, IMHO, should only be constructed by properly equipped, experienced professionals.) You will need a permit anyway.
Good luck!
Mike

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Old 07-14-2010, 11:38 PM   #4
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I've been on a septic system for more than 34 years, and I've been a rural area real estate broker for more than 23 years and deal with them all of the time. The only known "cure" that I am aware of for a clogged drainfield line is replacement.
I completely agree with you Mike. You may also want to research Terra Lift. I've seen amazing results with this technology. The machine sends a probe into the ground with hydrolics, blasts air then polystyrene beads into the soil. It rejuvenates and aerates the soil to allow the effluent to "leach" again as it should. Works very well with easily compacted soils and/or overly-saturated drain fields. Additionally can be used in a saturated bio-swale to eliminate ponding. Not effective 100% of the time, but probably 90% success rates. Can buy someone a lot of time and save/postpone expense of replacement. http://www.terraliftinternational.com/

As far as preventative maintenance treatments go, a natural living bacteria utilizing water as the carrier is best. Microbes basically form colonies inside the drain lines, tank, and drain field helping to break down organic material. Although most people know better than to dump bacon grease, feminine hygiene products, etc. down the drain; most people don't realize that even anti-bacterial hand soaps and the like can kill the good natural bacteria in the system. The best way to avoid problems however, is still regular pumping. Every year won't hurt. 3-5 years is more standard for a 1000 gallon tank with a typical single family residence.

Lkatv - Local health districts as well as the EPA are also helpful in providing information for care and maintenance of your septic system.
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:23 AM   #5
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Thank you, Brad. You're the pro at this. I'm just tossing in my two cents. I've heard of Terra Lift I think, but have never really looked into it. The next time that I have a client experiencing septic system difficulties, I will suggest it to them. Thank you.
Mike
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Old 07-15-2010, 08:21 AM   #6
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Thank you, Brad. You're the pro at this. I'm just tossing in my two cents. I've heard of Terra Lift I think, but have never really looked into it. The next time that I have a client experiencing septic system difficulties, I will suggest it to them. Thank you.
Mike
I think the average cost for a TerraLift is about $1,500. But if it buys you another several years.. much less expensive than replacement.

Might be worth your time Mike to contact one of your local service providers and ask if you can ride along the next time they do one. Reading about it is one thing, but experiencing how it actually works is pretty fun. Kinda like Yellowstone if you like geysers. If you get a good reaction, the ground will actually elevate and effluent blasts out of the drainfield into the air.

http://www.terraliftinternational.co...hcarolina.html
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:12 AM   #7
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Sounds interesting!
I would like to see that Terra Lift system do its thing, if I can find one around here.
Thanks.
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:00 PM   #8
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Lateral,

"...most people don't realize that even anti-bacterial hand soaps and the like can kill the good natural bacteria in the system."

I've also heard that patients using chemotherapy drugs can stress a septic system. Got it from this thread:

Chemotherapy and a septic tank
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Old 07-16-2010, 01:36 PM   #9
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Lateral,

"...most people don't realize that even anti-bacterial hand soaps and the like can kill the good natural bacteria in the system."

I've also heard that patients using chemotherapy drugs can stress a septic system. Got it from this thread:

Chemotherapy and a septic tank

Thanks for the info. Learn something new every day. I'll have to research that.
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Old 07-16-2010, 03:18 PM   #10
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Septic tanks need to be pumped only when the level of solids in the tank exceeds approximately 10 percent of the depth of the tank. If you are careful about what you put down the drain, i.e. compost your organics, don't flush them down the drain, you can go many years without pumping.

It is easy to check the depth of solids, simply open up the tank manhole cover, insert a wooden stick covered with a rag into the tank, and check where you meet resistance. Then push the stick to the bottom of the tank. In a typical 5 foot deep tank, if you have 6 inches or less solids, no reason to pump.

The purpose of pumping is to remove solids that would otherwise bypass the tank and make their way into the field. Minimal solids, minimal problems.
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:11 AM   #11
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I have a 4" PVC upright "T" baffle inside my septic tank to prevent most solids from getting into the distribution box and drainfield.
My late wife had incurable breast cancer for more than 15 years, had a number of chemo treatments over the years, and they told us that it would affect our septic system. She also had radiation shots for scans, and so did that stuff. Actually, I could never tell what, if any, effect that it had.
Lots of things can affect a septic system tho...anything that can kill bacteria.
Mike

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