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Old 02-24-2010, 04:32 PM   #1
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septic tank problems.

My girlfriends family live in spain, and are having problems with smells around their septic tank, I have looked at the system, and it doesn’t seem right. It should be noted the smell comes after a shower or bath, and it only comes outside around the septic tank, not in the house.
There is a septic tank, which has an overflow for water which goes into another tank and then in turn into a soak away. The water overflow comes out of the top of the septic tank, which seems right.
There is then another 2 pipes coming from the septic tank. One is a ventilation pipe that leads up and around the house (supposed to be for exit gases) the other is another pipe (I’m told it was installed to balance pressure), again this is an open pipe, but it goes down the hill.
The first problem seems to be, the proposed ventilation pipe (leading up and around house) is connected to the bottom of the septic tank, and the other pipe from below is connected into the top of the septic tank. This seems wrong, surely the vent pipe should come out of the top of the septic tank allowing gases to rise away??
Secondly this second pipe installed to ‘equalise pressure’, and allow gas to pass through the first seems wrong, especially how it is installed. Firstly is it even required? Secondly if so shouldn’t it be again an upward vent pipe, installed somewhere else?
I have read about AAV’s, to release pressure when a bath is un plugged, these seem logical, and i’m wondering if these are needed to stop vacuum build up and possible gurgling of toilets/sinks. Is this required, or will a vent direct from the septic be enough? There seems to be no ‘Main soil stack’ so putting a vent/AAV in the house could be hard
My initial thought to sort this problem is to install the change the vent pipe (up and around house) so it comes out of the top of the septic tank.
Do i then need to install a second vent or AAV around the house? Does this need to be above the water outlets.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:30 PM   #2
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Water is not supposed to overflow from the top of the septic tank. If it does then there is a blockage in the outlet pipe going down to the soak-away (drain field; leaching field; finger system) or the water is not soaking into the soil there fast enough due to a problem such as grease.

Rain water or ground water or gutter water is not supposed to get into the septic tank either via loose clean out covers in the lid or via outdoor pipes installed as extra drain pipes. If it does then there will be too much water in the system for the soak-away to handle.

About the second open pipe from the septic tank going down the hill, is that pipe exposed or buried? Do you know where it leads?

About the pipe that leads up and around the house, where does it end?

Odors will come out from any open pipe connected to the septic system. Odors will be least noticeable of the open end of the pipe is above roof level which is the way a main soil stack is installed.

Can you post some pictures?

(In the U.S. septic tanks do not have pipes coming up from the lid. You might want to see if a main soil stack could be installed on the outside wall. The most modern systems have a vent pipe at the far end of the soak-away, sticking about 3 feet (1m) out of the ground.)
Stick to your lawn watering schedule until it really pours. Otherwise the storm might miss and the part that gets watered last (3 days away?) will dry up.

Last edited by AllanJ; 02-24-2010 at 09:51 PM.
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