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Old 09-16-2011, 08:10 PM   #1
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Septic problems - I'm baffled


I am having problems with my septic tank. The tank is 3 yrs old and there is just me and my wife living in a log home in New Brunswick. The tank is backing up into the tub.

The intake pipe is under water and thought I had a problem with the feild. threr is no obstruction on the intake pipe. Looking at the outlet pipe, I found it above the water. I used a board to feel down the sides of the baffles and could not find obstructions or the spot on the baffle for water flow

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Old 09-16-2011, 09:34 PM   #2
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Septic problems - I'm baffled


Three years is a good time to pump the septic tank unless you know from inspection that the tank does not need pumping.

Any chance that the ground has settled or heaved so the septic tank is not level?

How might you determine that the intake pipe is under water?

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Old 09-17-2011, 05:23 AM   #3
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Three years is a good time to pump the septic tank unless you know from inspection that the tank does not need pumping.
I swished around with a board on the bottom with no problem. There is just me and my wife and we don't get any visitors.

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Any chance that the ground has settled or heaved so the septic tank is not level?
Have nt checked this yet, but you would think I would have heaving in the spring. The tank is in gravel with good drainage and there has been no major storms or rain. Could I check this with a level on the top.

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How might you determine that the intake pipe is under water?
I have opened all three holes and the intake pipe is just under the water. The discharge pipe is going out the side and I have to use a mirror and a flashlight but it is above the water level.

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Old 09-17-2011, 05:35 AM   #4
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Septic problems - I'm baffled


First order of business is to pump the tank. Soap, grease, paper, "other solids" build up over time and should be removed. Bacteria and enzymes will only consume and digest so much waste and if you use anything containing bleach to clean your plumbing fixtures, that will limit the bacteria in the system.
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Old 09-17-2011, 05:46 AM   #5
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The recent rains may have saturated your field so the water is not soaking away---

Did you folks get an unusual bit of rains recently?

We had another post like this a week ago----ground was just to wet.
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Old 09-17-2011, 06:05 AM   #6
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Is the water level in the first two hatches higher than in the third?

The normal level of liquid (excluding foam) is about 9 inches below the top of the tank insides.

YOu need to check the connection between the two tank chambers for clogging (modern tanks with 3 hatches have two chambers).
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Old 09-17-2011, 06:08 AM   #7
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The recent rains may have saturated your field so the water is not soaking away---

Did you folks get an unusual bit of rains recently?

We had another post like this a week ago----ground was just to wet.
I went through that when Irene came through here....had 4" of standing water over top of my tank and cesspool. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the ground "boiling" above the tank lid.
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Old 09-17-2011, 06:14 AM   #8
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I remember you mentioning that---Mother Nature has a way of humbling us.
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Old 09-17-2011, 06:23 AM   #9
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I remember you mentioning that---Mother Nature has a way of humbling us.
Yes, it really makes you appreciate the finer things in life, like a 5 gallon bucket.
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Is the water level in the first two hatches higher than in the third? The normal level of liquid (excluding foam) is about 9 inches below the top of the tank insides.

YOu need to check the connection between the two tank chambers for clogging (modern tanks with 3 hatches have two chambers).
I checked the water levels, intake 4" middle 3", outlet 3". I ran a bath and let it drain the water level in the inlet rose to 3" below the inside and then went back down to 3". The inlet baffle is 8"X8" and seams to go down to the bottom.

I took a empty coffee container and scooped out the water at the outlet end and took 10 - 5 gal pails and pored them out 100 ft into the woods. This brought the water level down so it was intake 7" middle 6", outlet 5" below the inside. So it seems to be flowing through the baffles. How far would I have to bring it down so I could see the openings between the baffles.

The next question I have to ask is whether the tank was put in backwards? The inlet pipe is 5" below the inside while the outlet is only 1" below, should it be reversed? I put the level on the top and the inlet side is higher but the inlet pipe was below the water while the outlet was above the water.

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Old 09-17-2011, 04:57 PM   #11
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The inlet must be higher than the outlet. Three inches is the standard difference.

With the inlet submerged, solid matter will have a tendency to hover and build up in the submerged part of the pipe, which is the last few feet approaching the tank.

For a 2 chamber tank the large chamber is the first and connected to the house drain.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:46 AM   #12
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Yes its backward, I phone building supply, plumber and a septic cleaner and all agreed that it is backwards. The bottom of the intake pipe is 9" below while the output is 6" below the inside of the tank. The plumber I talked to said it would work for around 1 1/2 to 2 years and then quite, we got 3yrs.

The fellow who done it was a contractor that was suppose a general contractor and has been in business for some time.

I am having the tank pumped out and hopefully will get us through the winter without any problems. I plan to have the septic pumping people inspect the tank and confirm in writing that the tank is backwards, as well I will be seeing if I can get the building inspector out to take a look at it and give me a written statement that it is backwards.

The tank needs to be lifted, the hole lowered and the tank turned around. The question is whether the infiltrators will have to be lowered. If the contractor does not agree to redo the tank I will call my lawyer
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:30 AM   #13
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Just a word of advice----the inspector can and probably will write you up for a violation and insist that the work be done NOW.

He's not there to help you. Only to see that the houses he inspect are up to code.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:41 AM   #14
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Just a word of advice----the inspector can and probably will write you up for a violation and insist that the work be done NOW.

He's not there to help you. Only to see that the houses he inspect are up to code.
I have not talked to the contractor since I have found this out about the tank, but when I called him and told him it had problems he told me it was inspected and meet code. I want the inspector to say it has to be fixed and have the contractor who put it in fix it. If there is a violation it should go to the contractor
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:02 AM   #15
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You are wrong there---

If your mechanic forgot to put a muffler on your car would you drive around looking for a cop to verify that the muffler was missing?

Who would get the ticket--? you or would the cop write it in the name of an unseen mechanic?

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