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Old 01-28-2017, 10:26 AM   #1
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Septic Tank Blues


I replaced the sump pump in my septic tank about 2 years ago. It rained real heavy a week ago and there was water standing outside around the tank. The pump seemed to be running. The pipe was vibrating as if water was flowing through it, but the tank would not empty. It has been dry for a few days now (no rain), yet the tank is 3/4 full. The pump seems to be running. I pulled the pump and inspected it. It looked ok. Nothing clogging it. I hoped by pulling it, it would have cleared an air bubble if vapor locked. I plugged it back in. Pipe vibrating. There was a circulation in the water in the tank....but the water level did not drop.

Need suggestions on troubleshooting this. Suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:52 AM   #2
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Re: Septic Tank Blues


A sump pump in a septic tank?
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Old 01-28-2017, 11:32 AM   #3
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Re: Septic Tank Blues


Where is the home located? Is it below freezing?

Do you know where the distribution box is? You need to verify if you have water flow.
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Old 01-28-2017, 04:28 PM   #4
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Re: Septic Tank Blues


Septic tanks do not use sump pumps.
When's the last time the tank was pumped out?
How old is this system?
Most likely you have an issue with the distribution tank or a failed leach field, none of which are a DIY fix.
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Old 01-28-2017, 04:51 PM   #5
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Re: Septic Tank Blues


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Septic tanks do not use sump pumps.
When's the last time the tank was pumped out?
How old is this system?
Most likely you have an issue with the distribution tank or a failed leach field, none of which are a DIY fix.
Joe,

There are AOS (Alternative Onsite Septic) systems that use a standard sump pump to discharge what are the fluids from tanks to a leach field.

I have one that uses a standard Zoeller pump.

Pump quit on mine once before as well.
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:27 PM   #6
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Re: Septic Tank Blues


The pump may have looked fine but the turbulence suggests that either the discharge line may be clogged or the impeller may be shot. If the level of the tank has any connection to rainfall or groundwater you have other problems.
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:08 AM   #7
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Re: Septic Tank Blues


How do I check the discharge line for clogging. It empties into a pool on the back of my land. I was wondering if there could be a vapor lock. The pump is in the bottom of the tank, and the check valve on the discharge line is at the top of the tank.
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:25 AM   #8
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Re: Septic Tank Blues


I've about come to the conclusion just to replace the pump. I have done searches for submersible sewage pumps, but the results are showing sump pumps. Now I'm paranoid since Joecaption's post above. What is a good, reasonably priced pump?
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:28 AM   #9
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Re: Septic Tank Blues


You may have a pumped system similar to my septic system. In my system, there is a main septic tank, and there is a separate pump chamber with a septic pump (not a sump pump). The pump in the pump chamber pumps the effluent to a distribution box up a small hill, then the effluent flows into a conventional leach field. You can check your plans to see what type of system you have, I am not familiar with a septic system that includes a pump in the main septic tank.

As for testing the pump, if you remove the pump from the tank, then place it in large bucket, you can start it to see if it pumps. The motor may be damaged, the impeller may be stuck, or their may be a problem with the starting system, all of which would cause the pump to make noise but not pump. As for the tank being 3/4 full, a septic tank is normally about 3/4 full, a pump chamber should pump down to about 10 or 15% full once the pump starts. The pump is typically on a float which starts the pump when the tank is about 80% full, then pumps it down to 10-15% full.
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Old 02-20-2017, 03:33 PM   #10
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Re: Septic Tank Blues


Quote:
Originally Posted by EZFrag View Post
How do I check the discharge line for clogging. It empties into a pool on the back of my land.
Your septic system empties into an open pool? Now I'm really confused.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:28 PM   #11
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Re: Septic Tank Blues


Quote:
Originally Posted by EZFrag View Post
How do I check the discharge line for clogging. It empties into a pool on the back of my land. I was wondering if there could be a vapor lock. The pump is in the bottom of the tank, and the check valve on the discharge line is at the top of the tank.

Stick with a Zoeller brand if you can. Even if cost a little more will be far cheaper the way they last.
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