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Old 05-13-2015, 07:47 PM   #1
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Question on Old Septic


An elderly relative is scheduling an old septic to be pumped for the first time since install in late 70s. Low use (and careful use--e.g. no grease, etc...) compared to property size.

I am not there. Should we make sure sludge and scum levels are checked before pumping so we know whether the drain field is likely compromised? Is that something the guys who pump do regularly?

Does knowing the answer change what we do, or do we just use the drain field until we see evidence of failure in either case?

Also, is there any downside to raspberries (roots are thin but deep) and the like in or near the drain field?
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:57 AM   #2
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Not sure what "checking the sludge and scum levels" has to do with the leach field.
That tank is about 40 years past the time it should have been pump up there may been an issue with even getting all the soilds out since they have been in there so long.
One sign of a failed leach field is once the tanks been cleaned out it keeps filling up with water from the leach field.
How the roots effect the drain lines depends a lot on what type pipe it is.
Some older systems where done with Orangeburg or even Terra Cotta pipe, both highly likly to have issues.
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Old 05-14-2015, 02:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Not sure what "checking the sludge and scum levels" has to do with the leach field.
If sludge is too high or scum is too low, it shows a high likelihood that it has escaped the tank and travelled to the leach field, which it clogs...

Pipes are likely plastic of some sort--all of the other pipes associated with the house (basement drain, french drains, plumbing) are plastic or (on the supply-side) copper.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:02 AM   #4
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My septic inspector said not to plant anything within 8' of my drainfield.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:24 AM   #5
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I don't know about most, but my septic guy always writes on the slip the sludge to scum to liquid ratios. As old has yours is no mater how careful, that ratio will be out of whack. A septic tank needs to be pumped out every 4 to 5 years depending how heavily its used and whether you own a garbage disposal and how much it's used. Have it pumped. It's not going to make anything worse.
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