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Old 06-17-2015, 11:40 AM   #1
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What do I do with a septic that's been sitting for a little over 2 years?


I bought some land and lucky for me it has a 1000 gallon septic on site. I have the drawing, but no idea where the tank it is. I mean I have a general idea but no exact idea.

What do I need to do to insepct / maintain this things until I build next year? What do i need to do to get it in working order? Do I need to dig up dirt around it and look for cracks?

What do I need to do / check for the drainfield?

I'm going to build a shop with a room to live in for now, but maybe a house a few years from now. What do I need to do to ensure the drain field isn't in my way if I do decide to build a house?

Should I get it pumped and what if the sediment is dry? How do I even find the cap or whatever you call it to the tank? On the front of the property is the water main under a plastic man hole type cover with a padlock on the pipe. But no sign of where the septic would be.

Also, I'm going to be adding a fair amount of fill dirt. What do I need to be mindful of regarding the septic when doing this?

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-17-2015 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:20 PM   #2
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Call a local septic company for an inspection and evaluation. They will be able to tell you the type of system you have, its condition, and the dos and don'ts
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:20 PM   #3
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If your lucky the county heath dept. may have a record and a site plan.
Really should have been right in you deed when you bought the place.
I for sure would get it pumped out, the septic company should be able to bust up the sediment and inspect it.
Never should drive over the lateral lines or the tank.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
If your lucky the county heath dept. may have a record and a site plan.
Really should have been right in you deed when you bought the place.
I for sure would get it pumped out, the septic company should be able to bust up the sediment and inspect it.
Never should drive over the lateral lines or the tank.
Thanks, I do have the "site plan" for the septic. Kind of. It's really rough.

How much would pumping and inspecting it cost? Will they tell me where the lines and everything is? What about the drain field? What should I know about it?
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Old 06-17-2015, 01:08 PM   #5
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The pumping company typically only pumps the tank. You can find the tank if there is a manhole cover at grade, else you may need to locate the manhole cover using a metal detector. If the county has plans for the system, that should show where each component is (tank, pump chamber if you have one, distribution box, leach field). If your county does not have a plan, you will need to hire someone to find the components for you, and put them on a plan. A rough plan is not gonna cut it, you really need to know where the components are.

Generally you are not permitted to do much over the leach field, maybe grow grass or possibly have a garden, but no trees, no placement of soil, no driving over it etc., hence you need to know where it is so you can avoid it. the pumping company may be willing to locate components for an extra fee, never hurts to ask.

As for restarting the field and tank, once you start using it, it should come back to life pretty quickly, the bacteria you need will naturally feed into the tank once you begin using it. Good luck with the project.
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Old 06-17-2015, 01:38 PM   #6
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I can guarantee the county won't have a plan. Around here it's a "figure it out yourself" mentality sadly. What do you mean by can't add dirt over it?

You can see what I mean by rough here http://imgur.com/7r6T5Vz

There is another sheet with other information, but I don't want to post it.I can't read what it says on the bottom left corner. Something holes. Can anyone explain what each piece is in this drawing so I have an idea please?

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-17-2015 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:59 PM   #7
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I'm not sure where you live but in my neck of the woods the building inspector will require a lot plan showing the location and specs of your septic system along with as-built drawings of the actual system. The square footage of the house along with the number of bathrooms will determine if the current system is properly sized.
If it is properly sized you will need to locate the tank lid as well as the distribution box so they can be inspected. If you don't have drawings you may need to get a metal detector and a shovel and start hunting.

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Old 06-17-2015, 06:06 PM   #8
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The perc hole on your drawing is where a hole was dug with a backhoe. The hole is filled with water and timed as it "percolates" through the soil. That along with a "deep hole " test will give the septic engineer an idea of your soil conditions, and your system would have been desiged acordingly.
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Old 06-17-2015, 06:16 PM   #9
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That is a really rough "plan", certainly very different than what is required in my area, where the plan has to be to scale, show all the components with offset distances to physical features, show all the deep holes and perc test results, show calculations for field size on the plans. Maybe since the plan is so rough the county has no requirements about maintaining the system, but where I live you cannot add fill over the septic field once it is built. You might be in a rural area with limited regulations.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:06 AM   #10
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That is a really rough "plan", certainly very different than what is required in my area, where the plan has to be to scale, show all the components with offset distances to physical features, show all the deep holes and perc test results, show calculations for field size on the plans. Maybe since the plan is so rough the county has no requirements about maintaining the system, but where I live you cannot add fill over the septic field once it is built. You might be in a rural area with limited regulations.
Sadly this is how things work in my area. They call things like this drawing good because it only affects the owner. I'll investigate and see if there is a better drawing from when it was put in place.

When I bought this land I was under the impression there were guidelines like you speak of. Certainly would make life easier. Then again I haven't gotten the deed and survey from the title company. Maybe they'll send something. I'm expecting that any day.

I'm guessing the lid would be close to where the actual septic tank is on the drawing. If that's the case I have an idea of where to look.

The whole not being able to add fill dirt may be a problem. My land slopes and where I plan to build is the high point, but it is just a cleared rectangular section. Using this drawing as a kind of guide the tank is on the south west side toward the front of the rectangle. Luckily the west side is the higher side so I don't need to add much dirt over it. But depending on how far those lines come out I may not be able to add dirt to the low side. I'm going out there today after work. I'll measure 130 feet from the street to get an idea. The rectangle isn't very wide. So surely it wont be too hard.

To better explain, the rectangle is high on the left and low on the right when looking at it from the street.

Where would I start to look for a better drawing. Surely when this was put in they had to have a better drawing when designing it. But then again no one ever built on this property. Which means they probably never had a building inspector come out. Which means this rough drawing may have sufficed.


Also, where would the leach field be on this? And is it absolutely impossible to add dirt over the system? I mean isn't there some changes I could make to get it to be okay? When I say okay I mean allow the system work as it should and not see problems in the future.

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-18-2015 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:34 AM   #11
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Don't over look the chance of the your county health department having septic information. They were in charge when my tank was set. Tank location, leach field location, distance from water well, perk tests and number of lateral line feet.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:49 AM   #12
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Don't over look the chance of the your county health department having septic information. They were in charge when my tank was set. Tank location, leach field location, distance from water well, perk tests and number of lateral line feet.
Thanks, I've got a post-it on my desk wth a list of who might have the information. I'll continue adding to it as people post and make a round of calls during lunch.

EDIT:

I went back to read the documentation I got. It is from the Health Department and has the perc information and such. But it was tested in 92... I'll go ahead and post it. Some of the information is incorect regarding the lot details due to changing over the years. But that's kind of irrelevant.

http://imgur.com/yIwdY4q

But I still need to know where everything is.. I need to just start looking for someone to inspect. I haven't had a lot of time to dedicate to looking into this. I just started yesterday.

I guess I can ask them if it's be possible to make adjustments in order to add fill dirt and not harm the system's functionality. Because I'll need to add dirt at least a small amount.

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-18-2015 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 06-18-2015, 11:04 AM   #13
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Your diagram shows a rectangle as the proposed house location, a circle a minimum of 5 ft East of the house and centered 130 ft from the road, a solid distribution line heading straight east from the septic tank with 100 ft laterals heading stright north and straight south with an 8 to 10ft spacing between the laterals. These laterals are your leach field.

You can find the septic tank by marking a centerline 130 ft from the road across your property with flags. Then use a T rod and shove it into the ground every 4 ft along the line of flags till you hit the tank. If you don't find anything on the first pass then repeat on new line every 3 ft north and south of the flag line till you find it.

Once you find the tank you will know that you can't build east of the tank.
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Old 06-18-2015, 12:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Your diagram shows a rectangle as the proposed house location, a circle a minimum of 5 ft East of the house and centered 130 ft from the road, a solid distribution line heading straight east from the septic tank with 100 ft laterals heading stright north and straight south with an 8 to 10ft spacing between the laterals. These laterals are your leach field.

You can find the septic tank by marking a centerline 130 ft from the road across your property with flags. Then use a T rod and shove it into the ground every 4 ft along the line of flags till you hit the tank. If you don't find anything on the first pass then repeat on new line every 3 ft north and south of the flag line till you find it.

Once you find the tank you will know that you can't build east of the tank.
The second paragraph I understand perfectly. It's been raining all week and pretty good all day. But I'm still going out there after work. I'm just going to measure the 130 feet, mark it, and just give everything a pass over today.

Could you please better explain the first paragraph a bit simpler please?

And about the rectangle. I don't think it's really trustworthy on this drawing. That street on the drawing dead-ends in front of the rectangle. And the rectangle is facing the other way. As in the longest sides are east and west. If that makes sense. I'm assuming the rectangle you are referring to are the outlines of the grid.

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-18-2015 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:35 PM   #15
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I found this really informative page.

http://abccesspoolandsepticpumping.c...septic-system/

But it's got me nervous knowing how old this system is.

I'm researching problems with putting dirt over the drain field and system. Thanks everyone for all the help so far!

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-18-2015 at 01:45 PM.
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