Can I Clean Out My Septic Tank Myself? - Plumbing - DIY Home Improvement | DIYChatroom
Advertisement


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Plumbing

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Display Modes
Old 03-21-2016, 01:16 PM   #16
Member
 
SHEPLMBR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 89
Rewards Points: 178
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom738 View Post
OK, that is just overregulation and possibly lobbying from septic companies. I could see five years, maybe, but every three years is just a tax on little old ladies who live alone.
depends on size of tank.
SHEPLMBR is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-21-2016, 01:23 PM   #17
Member
 
tireshark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 285
Rewards Points: 566
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Thanks for the input everyone. Well, after reading some of you talk about multiple sections in a septic system, i went out to dig some more to see if i had it all... and you were right, what i was looking at was just one small section. Here is a photo of the entire thing (at least i think it's pretty much the whole thing) exposed... i had only uncovered the section where the hole is, and thought that was all of it.




Now that i realize how much is there, i will probably just call the septic company. I still feel like i could physically remove all of it, but that much material is way too much to deal with. I might could deal with it if it was just that small section, but i'm not going to tackle the whole thing.

I replaced the entire drain field myself last year, and i've replace 99% of the piping under the house leading into it... so after i get it pumped, im hoping it will be good to go for many years.

BTW, here is a short video of me poking the scum layer so you can get an idea of how thick it is. In the spot where the shadow is, i couldn't even break through... and where it broke through in the rest of it is because of me probing it yesterday.

This is a rental house and it hasn't been pumped out in 'i think' 10 years (it's my parents, and i started helping my mom with the maintenance on it about 3 years ago when my dad passed)... so lots of baby wipes im sure, and possibly even roots as well.

I was expecting to see more than one lid, and separation between the sides... but sticking my stick in there and probing around it feels like its just a big box with an inlet and outlet in it. I imagine the mass is interfering with the outlet, because it looks like its actually blocking it from this angle. I'll find out more about the internal structure when it's empty.




I'm like seniorcitizen... going to be interesting to see how they deal with this. Hopefully they can break it up enough to suck out without having to tack on more fees.

Thanks again for all the good input.

Last edited by tireshark; 03-21-2016 at 01:35 PM.
tireshark is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to tireshark For This Useful Post:
Tom738 (03-21-2016)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-21-2016, 01:25 PM   #18
Member
 
tireshark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 285
Rewards Points: 566
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Oh and just to add to the discussion about sewer fees, they are only $12 a month where i'm at.
tireshark is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to tireshark For This Useful Post:
gregzoll (03-21-2016)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-21-2016, 03:16 PM   #19
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 722
Rewards Points: 1,414
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SHEPLMBR View Post
depends on size of tank.
Absolutely. Still, 3 years would be good practice for three people on a 900 gallon tank, which is a pretty small tank and a home with slightly over the median number of people (2.49 for PA) in it. (Or I suppose two people with a garbage disposal they use a lot, etc...). It's insane to require it for someone living alone with a reasonably sized system--insane enough, btw, that I would never trust a pumping company to be telling the truth if that's where I heard it from. Of course, sometimes crazy laws get passed.

There is no harm in pumping a tank every three years, but anyone who passes a law mandating it has never lived on a tight budget. I'd much rather a senior take an extra few years between pumps and spend that money on things that could save someone's life, like assist bars in their bathrooms or junk removal to get tripping hazards out of their home.

http://inspectapedia.com/septic/Sept...g_Schedule.php
Tom738 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 04:03 PM   #20
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,158
Rewards Points: 6,652
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom738 View Post
OK, that is just overregulation and possibly lobbying from septic companies. I could see five years, maybe, but every three years is just a tax on little old ladies who live alone.
It depends on if you live in a Flood zone or have Wetlands where you live. Public Health departments are getting stringent on Septic tanks more now then before, dur to a lot of people are not getting them emptied or maintained.



gregzoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 04:10 PM   #21
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,158
Rewards Points: 6,652
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Use the shovel to break through. I am sure with all of that grease and junk has not helped. Wipes, Tampons, Paper towels are not supposed to get flushed for a reason. They turn into concrete after a while.

Also Rid-X needs to be used or Robic Foaming root killer.

I would not put it past that the field is screwed up from deferring the maintenance on the tank.



gregzoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 04:12 PM   #22
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,158
Rewards Points: 6,652
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Tom738 homes and businesses with Septic tanks are not supposed to have garbage disposals. Also a sewage grinder helps in breaking down stuff, before it gets pumped out to the tank. Systems with the newer tank setups, use multiple tank stages, so that the field only ends up with water.



gregzoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 05:26 PM   #23
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 722
Rewards Points: 1,414
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Tom738 homes and businesses with Septic tanks are not supposed to have garbage disposals. Also a sewage grinder helps in breaking down stuff, before it gets pumped out to the tank. Systems with the newer tank setups, use multiple tank stages, so that the field only ends up with water.
Newer? Systems that are forty years old have multiple chambers, and on any good system the fields basically only wind up with effluent unless you don't pump them.

RidX is NOT the answer to septic problems. 99% of the time it is just flushing money down the drain. Chemicals and septic systems are generally unmixing things.

Plenty of homes and businesses with septic tanks have garbage disposals; you have to pump more frequently if you use them much. I don't know where the "supposed to" comes from, although obviously you're better off composting most organic matter.

A grinder (for household use) just sounds like extra moving parts to fail.
Tom738 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 06:34 PM   #24
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: PA
Posts: 5,918
Rewards Points: 582
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


well iam not good at paying the bills ..thats why i have a wife...she informed me /..that number i quoted is per quarter.....so now its more like 20-40 per month...ok iam not perfect...but i still won't not touch that septic...sorry for the miss quote
ben's plumbing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 07:03 PM   #25
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 12,667
Rewards Points: 6,334
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Possibly never considered but I'd say the worst thing that could be put in a septic system and even a municipal sewer for that matter is synthetic materials from the laundry. Think about it, what does it take to break those non organics down.
SeniorSitizen is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 07:28 PM   #26
Property Mgt/Maint
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 6,478
Rewards Points: 8,202
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Are you sure about that $400 fee? Around here that would include locate, dig to uncover and the pumping. If you are already uncovered the fee is about half.

Municipal sewer fees are annual about $125 to $150 directly proportional to water usage. I am about 2 blocks out side the sewer district. So the only thing that gets flushed into this tank is poo, pee and paper. No chemicals.
Yodaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 07:28 PM   #27
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,158
Rewards Points: 6,652
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Tom738 i am talking about the newer units now required in a lot of areas, that you have three separate tanks that the waste has to go through, before it goes out to the leach field.

You can no longer replace a Concrete tank with another, in those areas that requires the newer systems.

Those homes and businesses that have garbage disposals, also have a tank with a screen, that catches that junk, so that it does not go into the main tanks.



gregzoll is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to gregzoll For This Useful Post:
Tom738 (03-21-2016)
Old 03-22-2016, 06:07 AM   #28
Member
 
SHEPLMBR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 89
Rewards Points: 178
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Tom738 homes and businesses with Septic tanks are not supposed to have garbage disposals. Also a sewage grinder helps in breaking down stuff, before it gets pumped out to the tank. Systems with the newer tank setups, use multiple tank stages, so that the field only ends up with water.
Sewage grinders are not recommended for septic systems because the solids that settle at the bottom would turn into a slurry and make your septic field fail. Seen that before.
SHEPLMBR is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to SHEPLMBR For This Useful Post:
Tom738 (03-22-2016)
Old 03-25-2016, 10:19 PM   #29
Member
 
tireshark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 285
Rewards Points: 566
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Had someone come out and pump it. Before they got there i took a shovel and broke up the mass and pulled a few basketball sized clumps of thin roots/debris out. $350 for about 10 minutes of work, good day for him i guess.

Oh and for the people who cautioned me about it being hazardous to your health... not only did these guys not have any goggles or face masks or anything, but they weren't even wearing gloves haha. One guy wasn't even wearing boots... just what looked like his regular sneakers.

Anyway, they were in and out real quick and didn't really check things out very well i thought (in fact, i dont think they even bent down to look into the tank). After they left, i looked in the tank and there was about 3-4 inches of sludge left... is that normal? I didnt know if they were supposed to suck every last drop out, or leave a few inches behind. Anyway, i leaned down in there with a light and could see big sections of sludge that were piled up along the walls in several spots. I have a 20 ft. homemade hoe that i use to clean culverts out with, and i used it to break all the clumps up. Called them about 5 minutes after they left and had them come back and pump some more out. Of course he told me that they are supposed to leave 5 or 6 inches of sludge for bacteria growth (and maybe they are, i dont know), but i still asked him to come back to suck out all the clumps i broke up.

To his credit, he didnt really give me a hard time... after all, i did all of the hard work on the job... uncovering the access, breaking up and removing roots, and scraping down the walls... even with the trip back it was an easy $350 for him and his partner. He did ham it up a little, going 'see im hittin rocks' 'see that i got a big rock blocking the pipe' and i was thinking 'geez man just move your pipe back where its deeper' but i didnt say anything cause i didnt want to get too picky haha. I had my hoe down there scraping stuff towards the middle while he was pumping it though. Anyway, he didn't suck all of it out, but got it down to about 2 inches and if nothing else, it made me feel better about dropping the cash on it.

Now that it's empty i can see the interior of the tank. There are no chambers, it's just a big box. The inlet has no baffle, it's just a straight pipe into the tank... although, there is a very large 90 degree fitting laying on the bottom of the tank... i thought maybe that was the inlet baffle that broke off or something... otherwise i dont know where it came from. The outlet has about a 1 foot baffle on it... looks like its just a cast iron 90 degree bend that extends down a little bit. If the inlet is supposed to have a baffle, i guess it's too bad because it looks like there is no way to access it unless you are down in the tank.

Anyway, that's the conclusion of my septic tank ordeal.
tireshark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 10:28 PM   #30
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 722
Rewards Points: 1,414
Default

Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by tireshark View Post
Had someone come out and pump it. Before they got there i took a shovel and broke up the mass and pulled a few basketball sized clumps of thin roots/debris out. $350 for about 10 minutes of work, good day for him i guess.

Oh and for the people who cautioned me about it being hazardous to your health... not only did these guys not have any goggles or face masks or anything, but they weren't even wearing gloves haha. One guy wasn't even wearing boots... just what looked like his regular sneakers.

Anyway, they were in and out real quick and didn't really check things out very well i thought (in fact, i dont think they even bent down to look into the tank). After they left, i looked in the tank and there was about 3-4 inches of sludge left... is that normal? I didnt know if they were supposed to suck every last drop out, or leave a few inches behind. Anyway, i leaned down in there with a light and could see big sections of sludge that were piled up along the walls in several spots. I have a 20 ft. homemade hoe that i use to clean culverts out with, and i used it to break all the clumps up. Called them about 5 minutes after they left and had them come back and pump some more out. Of course he told me that they are supposed to leave 5 or 6 inches of sludge for bacteria growth (and maybe they are, i dont know), but i still asked him to come back to suck out all the clumps i broke up.

To his credit, he didnt really give me a hard time... after all, i did all of the hard work on the job... uncovering the access, breaking up and removing roots, and scraping down the walls... even with the trip back it was an easy $350 for him and his partner. He did ham it up a little, going 'see im hittin rocks' 'see that i got a big rock blocking the pipe' and i was thinking 'geez man just move your pipe back where its deeper' but i didnt say anything cause i didnt want to get too picky haha. I had my hoe down there scraping stuff towards the middle while he was pumping it though. Anyway, he didn't suck all of it out, but got it down to about 2 inches and if nothing else, it made me feel better about dropping the cash on it.

Now that it's empty i can see the interior of the tank. There are no chambers, it's just a big box. The inlet has no baffle, it's just a straight pipe into the tank... although, there is a very large 90 degree fitting laying on the bottom of the tank... i thought maybe that was the inlet baffle that broke off or something... otherwise i dont know where it came from. The outlet has about a 1 foot baffle on it... looks like its just a cast iron 90 degree bend that extends down a little bit. If the inlet is supposed to have a baffle, i guess it's too bad because it looks like there is no way to access it unless you are down in the tank.

Anyway, that's the conclusion of my septic tank ordeal.
Yes, the inlet needs a baffle, and that is the inlet baffle that's fallen off. The guy who pumped it should probably have noticed that and told you.

I'm not an expert, but it seems like without it the inlet pipe is more likely to get blocked and have the septic back up into the house.

http://inspectapedia.com/septic/Septic_Tank_Tees.php

Note: do not fall into the Septic Tank. People get trapped. Seriously.
Tom738 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Tom738 For This Useful Post:
tireshark (03-25-2016)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sealing septic tank lid...Issues? MANGINA Plumbing 11 01-16-2016 11:05 AM
Smell from septic tank gma2rjc Plumbing 46 05-20-2015 11:23 PM
Old Septic Tank davemax Plumbing 3 07-08-2014 05:46 PM
septic tank issue..options? jaycenter Plumbing 4 07-02-2010 08:05 PM
Garage over Septic tank and Leach lines canyonbc Building & Construction 11 01-13-2010 10:48 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts