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TL1 03-10-2013 09:49 AM

septic tank backing up
Yesterday morning our septic tank backed up causing quite the mess.

I called and had someone come out and pump it and as of now its pretty much empty. The guys pumping it said that most likely, based on what happened and how it was completely full, that we may have issues with our field lines.

Here is where I'm concerned. Our neighborhood is getting a sewer system, we were originally scheduled to hook on in February, but it's been delayed at least another month, maybe two. I don't want to sink money into getting the field lines replaced and only need it another month or two.

My question, coming from someone who knows nothing about plumbing, is there any way of knowing or finding out if the field lines are functioning as they should and if we'll be good until we can hook on to the county's sewer system?

747 03-10-2013 09:54 AM

My hydro jetter guy does septic field installations. Its the reason why he has a hydro jetter. I don't know anything about them. Maybe it just needs to be hydro jetted. He isn't a plumber. He does Excavating /drainage/septic field installation

Daniel Holzman 03-10-2013 12:19 PM

Consider the following option. Typical home usage is on the order of 75 gallons per day per person, so a 4 person household uses about 300 gallons per day. This can easily be reduced to half (150 gallons per day) by careful management of water (flush toilet only when essential, reduce water usage from showers by taking short showers, reduce water consumption by combining laundry loads etc.). Typical septic tank is 1500 gallons, so you could pump tank at worst every ten days, most likely half that since there will likely be some flow into the field. So you can pump the tank until the sewer line is done, then abandon the septic system in place. The cost for two or three tank pumps is likely to be far lower than fixing a failed system.

jagans 03-10-2013 01:52 PM

Daniel Has it nailed in my opinion.

Limp what you have over the finish line, and use economy with water, you know, if its yellow, let it mellow, etc. If you belong to a health club shower there. Tell your kids to shower in the gym locker room etc. etc. I would add: Call the contractor who is doing the city sewer tie-ins and explain your situation to him with a gift, if you get my drift. Maybe he can move your tie in up a few weeks. The people who have septic systems that are working should not care, and most people would understand, and help you out.

joecaption 03-10-2013 02:20 PM

They should have been able to tell if it has failed because as they were trying to pump the water out of the tank the water from the leach field would have been running back in.

jagans 03-10-2013 05:18 PM

Thanks Joe, good tip. That means the water in the leach field is not percolating down through the soil medium.


oh'mike 03-10-2013 05:48 PM

Has it been raining or snow melting?

Your ailing field might get better as the soil dries out----(just trying to give you hope)

The other members have you in good hands----Mike----

TL1 03-10-2013 06:12 PM

Thanks for all the information. Luckily there are only two of us in the house so we're going to hopefully limp along the next few weeks. The contractor that's installing the sewer system is only responsible for the system itself, the hook ups will be handled separately. At this point we're at the mercy of the county and whenever the contractor finishes testing which they've been doing over the past week.

oh'mike - we've had a lot of rain and a little above normal snowfall this year. When we dug down to the septic tank yesterday it was very wet all the way where typically you would hit dry ground by 10 - 12 inches deep.

oh'mike 03-10-2013 06:32 PM

Conserve water---your field is soaked----even good fields can slow down when saturated---

good luck----Mike------

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