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Old 02-14-2013, 12:20 PM   #16
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


The outlet from the tank is more likely nearer to the top than 3/4 of way up. The problem is the 'baby pool' is not that much below the tank. There only has to be a slight slope for the water to flow out. It is also below grade and the ground above becomes saturated.

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Old 02-21-2013, 10:13 AM   #17
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


If the outlet to the field is about 3/4 of the way up inside the tank and I have a 1000 gallon tank - that would mean in the air space in the top of the tank, it would be about 250 gallons worth of space.

During heavy rain, is it logical to think 250 gallons of water comes running backwards from my fields, pouring into the outlet and into the tank? Then on top, also flows back out the inlet and into my main drain line up back towards the house?

That sorta seems like a lot of water coming backwards from the field. But maybe not.

And when I have these issues (basement toilet won't flush, cleanout valve/main totally flooded) - does it actually mean my tank is 100% full/flooded - as in 1000 gallons full?

OR - are the fields simply flooded and thus halted - so no more water can exit the tank - so no more water can enter it? So there is still 250 gallons worth of air space in the tank, but use of water from the house is actually just getting backed up pre-tank?
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:27 PM   #18
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


owner could remedy the solution and have the tank pumped out - removing all the rain water. if it's 5 years old, it's right about time for it. at same time an inspection also and perhaps getting the value shut off to the old field since you think that is where the rain water came from instead of from the new field.

as I mentioned before... is there any rainwater 'strategy' so as not having all the rainwater coming off the owner's roof spilling out into the yard, saturating the field? roof rainwater could be piped to an area below the level of the field
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:03 PM   #19
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


How about digging out around the leach field (if possible) and pitching away from it so that the water table cannot rise up into the outlet pipes then back into the septic tank?
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:04 PM   #20
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


If water accumulates on the surface above the leach field and that surface is above the level of the septic tank interior then you can get back flow from the leach field into the septic tank.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-21-2013 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:18 PM   #21
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


Quote:
Originally Posted by denemante;

The old field location, however, is toast. It's low-lying and has standing water during rain.


On the diverter valve (A, B fields) I've been unable to get it 100% over to A (our new field). Just 95% there. I spoke with the manufactuerer about this. Something could be stuck in there. Sand/dirt may have gotten into the top of the valve, etc. It's "easy" and cheap to replace. Lots of digging though since it's about 3-4 feet down in a standpipe.


Thus, 95% is going out to the new field and 5% still goes to the old field.
I would fix this first. 5% open 24/7 would surely fill your tank in no time at all.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:39 PM   #22
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


I've had what might be an interesting twist.

We've had no rain and the ground is dry. One of our toilets got the flapper chain stuck under the flapper and it ran all day. Low and behold - the basement toilet wouldn't flush. The tank must have been full/flooded, just like it gets during periods of heavy rain.

Except this time - the fields were already dry.

Is there any coorelation I can make here to the tank flooding during heavy rain vs. tank flooding from house water? Or is it really an identical situation?
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:31 PM   #23
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


A septic system has a buffering capacity in gallons which is the remaining air space in the septic tank and the interior of the connecting pipes and leach field pipes.

A leach field has an absorption capacity in gallons per minute. "Failure" of the leach field means that the GPM has gone way down (not necessarily to zero) because grease or fine particulate matter clogged the soil around the leach field pipes.

When you (or a rainstorm) exceeds both of the above capacities then your main drain backs up.

The calculations for septic system size are such that under normal use the chances you wil fill everything up are very small. When the toilet ran all day it is possible that you did fill everything up.

Or maybe your leach field is starting to fail.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:00 PM   #24
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


1. Typhoons do not occur in the Atlantic, only the Pacific, but we get your point. Apparently, your ground is not percolating the storm water away. I assume this was from Sandy? Clay can literally stop water. Bentonite clay is used for waterproofing and can actually be used for grouting to stop water flow below ground. Leach fields are tested for perc, but some perc really good and some are really marginal. Maybe the one you had installed is right on the cusp. This is worth checking.

Hopefully your problem will go away as the water recedes.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:25 PM   #25
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


I'm the OP, and I'm back. To recap, my septic system has worked perfectly for 4 years, and when emptied, got a clean bill-of-health. During extended periods of heavy rain, the basement toilet won't flush. All is well a day later. Obviously, rainwater is finding it's way into the tank. Most likely, it's not leaking directly in the tank so much as it's coming in via the fields.

For landscaping and mud reasons, I do have a few low areas in my backyard (near the fields) so I plan to regrade. And yes, some of these are over the fields, so I hope it helps that problem too.

I'm curious - if there was a really significant grade across my entire backyard (bermuda grass), and the fields were under it - even if a typhoon hit - would the majority of that water take the path of least resistance and roll off the back side of my property into a ditch? So to the fields underneath, it's generally like a sunny day?

Or would a major/substantial amount still go straight down?

BTW - in my scenario - I could get light rain for a week and I'm good. I live far elevated and miles from any stream/river, but it's only when I get a text message from the Weather Channel that local stream/rivers have a flood warning that I notice my problem....meaning that it's a time of really heavy rain.

I think it's a pretty simply question...we know grading is done to make water go where we want. If a backyard is totally flat, water goes into the Earth. But to what degree is the question. I'm sure if it's a 45-degree hill, very little would enter the Earth.

If it's a 1 degree angle, water will in fact run off. But will MUCH more water permeate the Earth with only a 1 degree angle vs. a 5 or 25 or 45??

Surely somebody has figured this out. And yeah, I know different soil types and grass factor in

By the way - I'm not sure if water table plays a factor for me. I live in a neighborhood with rolling hills. I look out my upstairs windows and I'm level with my front neighbors basement. I look out my back windows and look down on the roofs of others. And all of those "lower" people haven't had a glitch in their septic in 14 years.
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:24 PM   #26
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


I'm glad my health department actually checks all this stuff out..... Even have site plans soil test etc etc...
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:20 PM   #27
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why do septic fields and tank get saturated


After reading through this, two questions enter my mind. Did the installer cover the leach bed with rosin paper or tyvek before backfilling to keep surface water from inundating the drain field? And are the inlet pipe and outlet pipe too close in height. If the discharge pipe is set at a height that allows 750 gallons of liquid to accumulate in the tank, then there will always be 750 gallons there. Septic tanks don't empty. If you flush a commode and put 5 gallons of water in the tank, 5 gallons of relatively clean water leave the tank and head to the drain field. The original 5 gallons stays in the tank and if working properly, all of the solids settle out, where bacteria break them down into mostly liquid which will eventually make it's way to the top and be discharged to the drain field. When you pump a septic tank, you remove the undigestible solids from the bottom of the tank. Within 2-3 days the tank is again largely filled with liquid. If you have a grading issue that places your drain field higher than the tank, then you should have a pressure dosing system with an effluent pump that charges the drain field. My own system has two 1000 gallon tanks in tandem which empty to a 500 gallon dose tank. At a certain level the pump starts and doses the drain field with a couple hundred gallons of water. If it rained heavily and my drainfield collected a lot of ground water, it could run back from the drain field to the tank.

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