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Old 03-25-2016, 11:16 PM   #31
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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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.
Doesn't mean they are right! I've seen plumbers do the same thing. If you want Hepatitis B & C plus all kinds of nasty enteric ( gut) infections, go ahead. That's the wonderful thing about America & it keeps hospitals going
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:37 AM   #32
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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Doesn't mean they are right!

Yeah i didn't mean to imply that they were, i was just passing it along for entertainment.

They definitely should have had some protection... i mean, i'm pretty relaxed about it, and even i thought they were a bit crazy, especially since they are probably doing this stuff every day.
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Old 03-26-2016, 10:17 AM   #33
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


If he is diligent he has had Hep vaccines.
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Old 03-26-2016, 10:30 AM   #34
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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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?.
You've just experienced doing business with contractors. No matter if they didn't have a job for the next month it has to be done fast. Hopefully you keep good records and put them on your Sh!t List not to be called again.
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Old 03-29-2016, 10:22 AM   #35
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


My tank hasn't been pumped in 15 years. The sludge is supposed to break down and then gets pumped out into the drain field. I checked it last year and there were no solids in the tank. I do have a garbage disposal but use it very lightly, no big stuff.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:24 PM   #36
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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My tank hasn't been pumped in 15 years. The sludge is supposed to break down and then gets pumped out into the drain field. I checked it last year and there were no solids in the tank. I do have a garbage disposal but use it very lightly, no big stuff.
Relative had a tank that hadn't been pumped for forty years, seemed fine. It is possible but depends on light use, no fats, really good field, system designed to overcapacity relative to usage, lots of things going right, etc...

But at the end of the day, $300 every three or four years to avoid a $40K replacement job is really cheap.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:40 PM   #37
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Throw a dead cat in there once in a while to renew the enzymes and bacteria.


*just kidding folks*


Actually, there is a product you buy and flush into the toilet once a month to do exactly the same thing.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:49 PM   #38
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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If he is diligent he has had Hep vaccines.
Yes, it certainly helps but some people lose any evidence of their immunity. I'm one. I've had two full sets of three Hep B vaccines and the antibody has disappeared. So am I Immune? They don't know. I have to have repeated tests to make sure I don't have the virus. ( Will get a reference)

That's why I have new blood tests waiting for me to have drawn.

It's better to be safe to the best of your ability. Sorry to be a downer, but you risk not only yourself but your wife/girlfriend/partner, babies, etc.

An older Occupatioal Health nurse told me she would rather have HIV than Hep B or C. Based on the resultant illnesses.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/hepb.html -under Vaccine Nonresponder

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Old 03-29-2016, 07:17 PM   #39
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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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.
A company I worked for charged 31.5 cents a gal to pump a tank. We then paid 21.5 cents a gal. to offload it at some reclaim place. We would take the small pumper to the yard and transfer the load to a tanker trailer, when it was full we'd haul it 50 miles to the dump site.

That means on a 1000 gal tank we grossed $100. Subtract fuel, wages(commission), overhead and the tanker trip- we made squat....
But that was just one service we offered. We banked on call backs for other services too.
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My tank hasn't been pumped in 15 years. The sludge is supposed to break down and then gets pumped out into the drain field. I checked it last year and there were no solids in the tank. I do have a garbage disposal but use it very lightly, no big stuff.
I got ya beat- it's been 20+ for me, but it's on my list
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:32 PM   #40
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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I got ya beat- it's been 20+ for me, but it's on my list

An old pro told me that if a septic tank is working then leave it alone because once you pump it out, it will require more frequent clean-outs. Don't know if there is any truth to it but I do like the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" line.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:57 AM   #41
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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Throw a dead cat in there once in a while to renew the enzymes and bacteria.


*just kidding folks*


Actually, there is a product you buy and flush into the toilet once a month to do exactly the same thing.
Waste of money. At worst it can even plug up your drain field.
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Old 03-30-2016, 02:00 AM   #42
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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An old pro told me that if a septic tank is working then leave it alone because once you pump it out, it will require more frequent clean-outs. Don't know if there is any truth to it but I do like the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" line.
Has to do with quantity of sludge and scum in the tank. If you want to see if you need to have it pumped, you can check the scum and sludge levels relative to the baffles. If the bottom of the scum layer or the top of the sludge layer are too close to the bottom of the baffles--i.e. if there is a risk the scum will get into them or there isn't enough room for the sludge to settle and get broken down--get it pumped. If you are unsure, pumps are cheap preventive maintenance.

The "If it ain't broke" philosophy doesn't quite work, because if you don't pump it and it needs pumping, it will destroy your field and give you a $30-40K bill instead of a $200-400 bill.
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Old 03-30-2016, 06:24 AM   #43
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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Relative had a tank that hadn't been pumped for forty years, seemed fine. It is possible but depends on light use, no fats, really good field, system designed to overcapacity relative to usage, lots of things going right, etc...

But at the end of the day, $300 every three or four years to avoid a $40K replacement job is really cheap.
Why would it need to be replaced? There are no solids, the thing is doing it's job as designed but even if I had to replace the drain field I could do that myself. And for a whole bunch less than $40k.
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Old 03-30-2016, 06:29 AM   #44
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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Has to do with quantity of sludge and scum in the tank. If you want to see if you need to have it pumped, you can check the scum and sludge levels relative to the baffles. If the bottom of the scum layer or the top of the sludge layer are too close to the bottom of the baffles--i.e. if there is a risk the scum will get into them or there isn't enough room for the sludge to settle and get broken down--get it pumped. If you are unsure, pumps are cheap preventive maintenance.

The "If it ain't broke" philosophy doesn't quite work, because if you don't pump it and it needs pumping, it will destroy your field and give you a $30-40K bill instead of a $200-400 bill.
Can you elaborate on this? I'm no expert and read various opinions and I'm sure not all tanks are the same. Mine is just a big box with a pump on the bottom. I swirled a long stick around and can't feel any solids. The pump sends it out to the drain field so I'm lost on what a truck pump is going to do differently or how my field would be damaged or why it would cost so much.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:04 PM   #45
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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Why would it need to be replaced? There are no solids, the thing is doing it's job as designed but even if I had to replace the drain field I could do that myself. And for a whole bunch less than $40k.
Ordinarily a septic tank is a holding tank designed to let sludge settle, scum come up to the top, and ordinary effluent to go through the output baffle and drain in the drainfield. Some of the sludge breaks down over time through the action of aerobic bacteria, but not everything in the sludge is going to break down. The sludge and scum layers get thicker over time until one of them threatens to hit the bottom of the baffle or until the sludge layer is so close to the bottom that new deposits into the tank are more likely to throw up a lot of particulate matter.

Particulate matter from sludge (or scum) can then start going out into the field with the effluent. This can clog up the field, and it is MUCH more expensive to replace a field than to get a tank pumped. In your particular situation, you may be able to do the work to replace your field yourself--you'd have to check the law in your jurisdiction--but most places and on most properties, it can run you tens of thousands of dollars to put in a new field.

There are a very few people who I've heard your position from--that it never needs to be pumped if functioning correctly. But I've heard from almost everyone--including water engineers and *all* of the literature I've seen written about them--that they need to be pumped eventually even under ideal conditions. If you look up "septic myths" on Google, you'll find one of the first ones is the idea that they never need to be pumped.
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