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Old 03-30-2016, 01:06 PM   #46
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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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.
That is not an ordinary septic tank; most of them are designed in one particular way, as a gravity-fed settling tank that holds slum and sludge and allows effluent runoff into a drain field. Possibly yours is designed to drain to an uphill field or has some other unusual design that necessitates having a pump. If you feel no sludge on the bottom, where is the sludge going?

You should find the designs to your septic (perhaps on file with the county) and ask an expert what maintenance your system needs.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:47 PM   #47
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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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.
I don't read to research it since I have personal experience with mine. I'm not selling a do not pump your tank service. I didn't make the claim none of them ever needed it. I don't see why it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to put in a new field, gravel and pipe can't be that much. I can see why some could depending on the situation but mine is small and I can do the work myself. But it's been working fine for nearly 20 years.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:49 PM   #48
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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Originally Posted by Tom738 View Post
That is not an ordinary septic tank; most of them are designed in one particular way, as a gravity-fed settling tank that holds slum and sludge and allows effluent runoff into a drain field. Possibly yours is designed to drain to an uphill field or has some other unusual design that necessitates having a pump. If you feel no sludge on the bottom, where is the sludge going?

You should find the designs to your septic (perhaps on file with the county) and ask an expert what maintenance your system needs.
No thanks. I learned many many years ago to not get the government involved in anything it doesn't need to be involved in. I explained it gets pumped out. The sludge is biodegradable because I don't eat anything that potent.
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Old 03-30-2016, 02:36 PM   #49
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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I don't read to research it since I have personal experience with mine. I'm not selling a do not pump your tank service. I didn't make the claim none of them ever needed it.
It's your house; it's your risk to take. Normally I prefer to know more about things I'm maintaining than what I've learned from when they fail. Learn more or wait for it to fail; your choice.

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I don't see why it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to put in a new field, gravel and pipe can't be that much. I can see why some could depending on the situation but mine is small and I can do the work myself. But it's been working fine for nearly 20 years.
Depends on your community and labor costs, etc..., but it certainly can cost that much if you're hiring someone to do it. For you, the question is whether it's worth spending the pumping costs to limit risk or not.

https://www.angieslist.com/articles/...tic-system.htm

Quote:
No thanks. I learned many many years ago to not get the government involved in anything it doesn't need to be involved in. I explained it gets pumped out. The sludge is biodegradable because I don't eat anything that potent.
Unpermitted work can raise a lot of problems, some at sale, also some when you are dealing with something that needs to be done right for health reasons, also some when you don't learn enough about the right way to do it.

You said it gets pumped out through the bottom--I read that as during normal operation, not as regular pumping, but if you meant regular pumping out of the tank, it is probably not a conventional septic tank, just a holding tank. If it is getting pumped out through the bottom, this may pump it out into your real septic tank, which may be overfull.

Last edited by Tom738; 03-30-2016 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 03-30-2016, 02:53 PM   #50
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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It's your house; it's your risk to take. Normally I prefer to know more about things I'm maintaining than what I've learned from when they fail. Learn more or wait for it to fail; your choice.

Depends on your community and labor costs, etc..., but it certainly can cost that much if you're hiring someone to do it. For you, the question is whether it's worth spending the pumping costs to limit risk or not.

https://www.angieslist.com/articles/...tic-system.htm



Unpermitted work can raise a lot of problems, some at sale, also some when you are dealing with something that needs to be done right for health reasons, also some when you don't learn enough about the right way to do it.

You said it gets pumped out through the bottom--I read that as during normal operation, not as regular pumping, but if you meant regular pumping out of the tank, it is probably not a conventional septic tank, just a holding tank. If it is getting pumped out through the bottom, this may pump it out into your real septic tank, which may be overfull.
Dude. Give it up. You can't bully me into agreement with you. You are some random guy on the internet getting hysterical over something he has no control over. What I have heard has panned out in my reality. You've made a lot of grandiose statements and can't back them up. 40k for a small septic field? That's not happening here. There's only one tank, it works fine. Like I was told it would. I'm not doing anything more about it and you need to find a way to live with it.
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Old 03-30-2016, 04:10 PM   #51
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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Dude. Give it up. You can't bully me into agreement with you. You are some random guy on the internet getting hysterical over something he has no control over. What I have heard has panned out in my reality. You've made a lot of grandiose statements and can't back them up. 40k for a small septic field? That's not happening here. There's only one tank, it works fine. Like I was told it would. I'm not doing anything more about it and you need to find a way to live with it.
"Bully?" Really? No worries; next time I will try not to help you. Have a great day!
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Old 03-30-2016, 06:28 PM   #52
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Pumping of a septic tank is the least of your worries. Problems arise once the septic field fails and all will fail. Then your looking at a huge expense since what worked in the 1950's no longer will be approved today.
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Old 03-30-2016, 07:45 PM   #53
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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bully, hysterical, grandiose
None of these words are an accurate description of Tom's discourse.

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40k for a small septic field?
Yes that is a high figure, but you yourself literally said that you could see some fields costing 'tens of thousands' to replace.

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I'm not doing anything more about it and you need to find a way to live with it.
I'm pretty sure Tom, nor anyone else here, is going to lose any sleep over what you do with your septic system.
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:42 AM   #54
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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None of these words are an accurate description of Tom's discourse.



Yes that is a high figure, but you yourself literally said that you could see some fields costing 'tens of thousands' to replace.



I'm pretty sure Tom, nor anyone else here, is going to lose any sleep over what you do with your septic system.
I'm pretty sure your opinion doesn't mean much to me either. Why would you imagine it does? I was talking about my system, he said it would cost 40k, so either you didn't follow the conversation or you're deflecting for whatever reason. And it isn't just me, I've lived here 16 years and never saw a pump truck on the street so whatever the design is it's obviously working for a lot of people. And yes, telling people if they don't pump out tanks every three years or pay 40k is a bullying tactic where I come from. Not all systems/circumstances are the same so a blanket statement like that is a bunch of hot air.
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Old 03-31-2016, 12:00 PM   #55
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


You might not be looking at your septic tank, but at a pump tank which is sometimes used down stream of the actual septic tank. The lack of sludge in the tank makes it a fairly good possibility.

I would check the city/county records to see if they have records on what is installed at your home.
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Old 03-31-2016, 01:14 PM   #56
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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I'm pretty sure your opinion doesn't mean much to me either. Why would you imagine it does?
Quote where i said, or implied, that i thought my opinion meant something to you.

You said that Tom would have to 'find a way to live with' how you deal with your septic tank, implying that your opinion was bothering him. I merely pointed out that no one will have to 'find a way to live with' your opinion, as at the end of the day, we couldn't care less what you do with your septic tank.

Quote:
I was talking about my system, he said it would cost 40k, so either you didn't follow the conversation or you're deflecting for whatever reason.
You're acting like what he said was a specific quote for your specific system (or anyones specific system for that matter), even though he didn't have knowledge of your setup. It was obviously just a comment made in passing, not intended to apply to every single system out there... at least obvious to everyone but you, it seems.

I get the feeling you are one of those guys that likes to argue about petty semantics, and is never wrong. In that case, i would like to save you the trouble of writing up a scathing reply, and go ahead and say that you are right and im wrong. I apologize for rustling your jimmies, i'll try not to be such a bonehead in the future. Good day.
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Old 03-31-2016, 02:00 PM   #57
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Wow that escalated quickly
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Old 04-01-2016, 07:59 PM   #58
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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Wow that escalated quickly
Yeah and it's too bad.

As just a regular homeowner, there are a few things I would never attempt on my own. Cleaning my septic tank is definitely one of them.

As for the OP, if you want to attempt it, and you have made it apparent that you do want to, then go ahead, but be realistic: you will likely vomit very strongly, the smell, especially up close is pretty incredible. Your neighbors will rapidly get the smell, so if you are going to clean it and do something with the sludge or "gray water", you will need to move quickly before someone calls and complains. And God help you if the health department shows up because of a complaint and they see what you are trying to do.

Sounds like you may just want it pumped. About $250 in my part of the world.
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:09 PM   #59
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


Here's my take on it. If you sit around and reply to forum posts, you will never get anywhere. If you ask how to screw in a light bulb, you still get someone who tells you to have a professional do it. The solution is to get on your hands and knees and work. Forget the waste hazard stuff. If you can bag up dog sh*t and throw it in the trash, human sh*t is not more or less hazardous. We buy manure and spread it over our lawns and brag how good it smells for a week. Get're done!
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:39 PM   #60
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Re: Can i clean out my septic tank myself?


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Here's my take on it. If you sit around and reply to forum posts, you will never get anywhere. If you ask how to screw in a light bulb, you still get someone who tells you to have a professional do it. The solution is to get on your hands and knees and work. Forget the waste hazard stuff. If you can bag up dog sh*t and throw it in the trash, human sh*t is not more or less hazardous. We buy manure and spread it over our lawns and brag how good it smells for a week. Get're done!


A typical tank might be 750 gallons or even larger. Water weighs about 8 lbs/gal. I would guess you'll get 5 gallons in a heavy duty garbage bag weighing approx 40 lbs each.
So 750 gallons / 5 gal. per bag = 150 bags of waste.
Maybe you can put out 5 bags a week with your regular trash pick up, for the next 30 weeks!
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