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Old 04-01-2011, 09:59 AM   #1
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Septic problems


I am new to this site. I have a few questions. It appears from paperwork left in my house that my septic system was put in in 1962. I do not have records showing it was ever replaced at any point. It says the tank is 750 gallons, however, when I had it pumped he took out a little over 1,000 so perhaps the tank was replaced at some point. Long story short the tank fills up very quickly (family of 4) and then if you take a long enough shower, water will come up out of the basement drain. It does not smell or anything. I had the plumber camera the drain and he ran into a slug of "stuff" so to speak. I had the tank pumped and did a few toilet flushes to clean out the lines...water running fine...tank full after a few days and so not getting to drainfield. Now when you take off my tank lid after digging down 5 feet, there is a round pipe off to the side that is flush with the tank. They ran a snake down that. The only problem area for the snake appeared to be a "T"...I do not have a distribution box apparently. Nothing came back when he snaked it...no mud or anything. I do not know what has been flushed down the toilets in my house these last 50 years but I will say that I have put feminine hygiene products down it for a while (quit about a year ago). Anyway, if the snake went out to the drainfield, could there be a clog inside the tank and if so, how do I figure that out? I have ordered a product called Septic Seep that I am going to try since I do have clay soil. Any other suggestions? Of course I am not flushing any feminine hygiene products anymore. My field must be working somewhat because I can take a shower, use the toilets, etc but always with a little water in the basement. Please help! The money required for a new drainfield makes me want to cry.

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Old 04-01-2011, 11:58 AM   #2
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Septic problems


Well, pick up some Kleenex your next trip to the store, because it certainly sounds like a bad drain field to me. Call your local septic company, and have them check it out for you. '62 is a few years ago, but in some ways, in my opinion, a lot of these guys were a bit ahead of their time, in the sense that they started making sketches of their installations early, and many of them are long time, family owned business. Point being that you could even get lucky, and find the ones who installed, adn may be able to tell you what you have. On the other hand, it probably doesn't matter a lot, as it sounds like it has to be replaced.

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:28 PM   #3
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Septic problems


I'm with Dexter on this. Your leaching field has failed. That's why the tank is filling up and water backing up. With luck they may be able to replace just the field and not the entire system but it is doubtful. Codes have changed a lot over the past 50 years.

Is there any chance you can tie into sewerage?
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:50 PM   #4
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Septic problems


The septic tank normally rests at about 85% full which level is usually around a foot below the top. This is the level of the outlet pipe to the leach field.

The leach field therefore doesn't go into action until the septic tank, if pumped out, regains that level.

Above this level and (if you opened the hatch) threatening to overflow means your leach field needs attention.

There should be a baffle or T shaped pipe at the outlet so grease floating in the surface of the water doesn't go readily down the outlet. Lots of grease going to the leach field means that soon the leach field has to be replaced (or dug out and the pipes relaid in new sand in the original location).
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:59 PM   #5
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Septic problems


Is the shower water still coming up in the basement even after you had the tank pumped?

I had a similar problem about 5 years ago. I had the tank pumped and the problem persisted. I exposed a distribution box and it was clean and flowing. About once every week the shower water would bubble up in the basement. I would snake the pipe from the basement and everything would be fine....for a while. Then the bubbling would start again. The problem turned out to be a broken pipe between the house and the septic tank that allowed tree roots to enter the pipe. Replacing that pipe solved the problem for good.

Maybe your problem will be this "simple" to fix. Good Luck!
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
It appears from paperwork left in my house that my septic system was put in in 1962. I do not have records showing it was ever replaced at any point. It says the tank is 750 gallons, however, when I had it pumped he took out a little over 1,000 so perhaps the tank was replaced at some point.
Your local health department may have records of the original install and/or if it has ever been replaced. It most likely has never been replaced. Typically when pumping; especially if it has been too long, the pumper needs to add a lot of water to pump the solids. Hence the reason 750=1,000.

Quote:
I had the plumber camera the drain and he ran into a slug of "stuff" so to speak. I had the tank pumped and did a few toilet flushes to clean out the lines...water running fine...tank full after a few days and so not getting to drainfield. Now when you take off my tank lid after digging down 5 feet
If the plumber found a "slug of stuff", i.e. sludge/grease/solids built up in the line between the house and the tank, that would indicate you have a belly (low spot), or possibly a break or tree roots in the line that is holding the sludge. The remedy to that would be excavation to replace the line from the house to the tank, or maintaining the line with a high pressure jetter. Installed in '62 however, it could be that the line is Bituminous Fiber aka Orangeburg, basically rolled tar paper. If that's the case, a jetter would blow it apart. Thus, replacing it with PVC would be the best option. For future ease of maintenance, and to avoid having to dig it up again, have a poly riser installed over the tank lid. As others mentioned, there should also be sanitary-t baffles on the inlet and outlet of your tank to prevent solids from entering the drainfield or backing into the house.

Quote:
I have ordered a product called Septic Seep that I am going to try since I do have clay soil. Any other suggestions? Of course I am not flushing any feminine hygiene products anymore. My field must be working somewhat because I can take a shower, use the toilets, etc but always with a little water in the basement. Please help! The money required for a new drainfield makes me want to cry.
As you've become aware, feminine products should not be flushed. Likewise, there are many other so-called "flushable" products on the market such as baby wipes, hand wipes, cleaning wipes, disposable mop ends, etc. None of which should be flushed! Nothing but TP and human waste should be flushed. Also properly dispose of grease, fats, and oil from cooking. Avoid pouring any cleaners and other chemicals into drains that can kill the "good" natural living bacteria.

Where are you located? What may be a better alternate solution (and far less expensive) to rejuvenate your drainfield would be a Terralifthttp://www.terraliftinternational.com/. Check out their website for service providers in your area. I've seen amazing successes. The machine; with hydrolics, sends a probe into the ground, builds pressure, then blasts air and polystyrene beads into the soil to re-aerate and rejuvenate the soil allowing the effluent to once again, leach as it should. Bio or "septic seep" type products can also be added to help aid in soil restoration.

If city sewer is planned in your community, you're better off trying to maintain the system until it becomes available. When it does, some municipalities will require you hook up within a few months of them stubbing onto property. Thus, spending thousands to replace your septic system now only to have city sewer available soon, would be a double whammy.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:33 AM   #7
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I have had my septic replaced. Thanks for the replies.

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