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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All:
I recently moved into my home built in 1975. I am in the country and on well and septic. The septic field is slightly uphill and I understand I have a gravity pump.

I have spent $3000 on a new water treatment system (there was sulphur smell and iron in the water). But every few days when I go into the kitchen in the morning, I noticed there's a brown sediment in both the sinks (I have a white porcelain double sink). When I rub my finger on it, it looks and feels like a brownish powder.

I thought it might be some sediment coming out of the faucet but now I'm wondering if it's something that occurs while I'm sleeping. Could it be related to the gravity pump "backwashing" or something else that cycles itself at night? The house had been vacant for over a year with only intermittent visits from the owner.
 

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Do you run your dishwasher at night?

If both sinks show signs of a sewer backing up---you need to find out why---more info?
 

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The Septic Field is UP HILL ?????

1. Poop runs downhill.
2. Payday is on Thursday

What is a "Gravity Pump" it sounds like an oxymoron. Like, if you have gravity, why do you need a pump?
 

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Lift pump----septic empties into a pit outside---then a lift pump moves the sewage to the septic tank/leach field.--Anti-gravity pump:laughing:
 

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first the humor, that would be an anti-gravity pump!!!!

pictures would help

real question, is the film level at the top? what i mean is, is the top line of the stain level? If you were to fill the sinks with water the top of the water would be level. that is called the water line.

If the water line is level and even in both sinks then I would think it is a backup. dish washer could cause it if the ejector pump is not working.

have you had a lot of rain?

is the elevation of the sink higher than the ground elevation at the septic system?

bernie
 

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Bernie is a smart fellow----I bet he's thinking that the back flow valve on the lift pump is not working properly---
 

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They couldnt have put the leach field down hill from the house???

I guess not. Bad situation. Bad check valve.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
first the humor, that would be an anti-gravity pump!!!!

pictures would help

real question, is the film level at the top? what i mean is, is the top line of the stain level? If you were to fill the sinks with water the top of the water would be level. that is called the water line.

If the water line is level and even in both sinks then I would think it is a backup. dish washer could cause it if the ejector pump is not working.

have you had a lot of rain?

is the elevation of the sink higher than the ground elevation at the septic system?

bernie
Good Morning, Bernie:
Thanks for your reply.

Yes, the elevation of the septic field is, I'm guessing, 20ft higher. I saw the sediment again this morning. There are no signs of the sink filling up. I only see the sediment on the bottom of the sink. It is dry when I go in around 3:30am (yes, I'm an early riser) and like a dry black powder. There's no smell to it. I'm wondering if it could be some kind of pipe sediment.

I have not had much rain here. Now here's something that may or may not figure in .... I am very close to the water (I'm on a 2 acre pond) - about 20ft.

I will keep a record of the back up days. Who should I call? Well and Septic pro? And, yes, thanks for correctly me about the gravity pump really being a "anti-gravity pump".
 

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Where does the water treatment system for iron and sulpher drain? The "dry black power" you describe sounds a lot like what a backwashing filter might leave if it drains into the sink or if the line it drains into is backing up into the sink. An additional reason to suspect the water treatment system, if it is a Filox or similar media filter, is that those filters require very high backwash rates to keep working over time.
 

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Does the septic pump operate just once a day at night, or every coupl'a hours all day?

Could it be minerals in your tap water left behind when the water evaporates? Was the sink clean and dry the night before?
 

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First of all, why not go down to HD, Lowes, or a PS and get two test plugs to plug off both sinks, and see if you have the sediment the next day. Maybe if you pull a test plug the next morning the back up will come into the sink.

Just for my edification. Dont you need a masticator to chop up anything that goes down the drain before it hits the lift pump? I dont see how a check valve is going to close unless detritus is chopped up small, (Im being nice here) and pumped up to your holding tank, then rinsed thoroughly before the check valve closes.

(Sounds like the head in a Type VII U-Boat) :thumbup:

This type of system is all new to me, just trying to learn, and add some comments based on logic. Maybe one of you professional Plumbers that deals with this sort of system can comment on how the whole system is supposed to work. I sounds like pushing chain to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Does the septic pump operate just once a day at night, or every coupl'a hours all day?

Could it be minerals in your tap water left behind when the water evaporates? Was the sink clean and dry the night before?
Hi AllanJ:
Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

I cannot stand to see my white sinks discolored so I always wash it clean each morning I find the sediment. The fact that it's not every night makes me suspicious it has something to do with a system "recycling". But both sinks experience the same sediment and same amount.

When I had the water treatment system installed, the water softener company told me the water had high iron content (as well as the sulphur smell). The water out of the spigot is clear and is just about as good as it gets.

I will keep on monitoring everything and report any updates.

In the meantime, if you have any thoughts, please pass 'em along.

Thanks again!
 

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I would look at what Bob is saying. Also as Jagans said, plug those drains as well. Both sinks are getting it then I would look first at the drains.
 

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Why would the backwash from the filter be draining into the septic system? Does code require that? There doesn't seem to be any point, and all it does is add to the burden on the leach field.
 

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See reply #10 above.

Does the sulphur and iron treatment system flush waste water down the drain every so often, entering at a point near the sink drain? Could there be a partial clog there so when the treatment system cycles, its outflow backs up into the sink because it can't go down the drain fast enough?

I would not expect this to be voluminous enough or often enough to overload a septic tank.
 

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I think Alan is the winner. the water conditioning equipment is back washing into the drain at a higher rate than the drain is capable of handling. then it backs up and exits the drain at the first available spot, the kitchen. plug both drains and watch it bubble up at another sink, unless it has enough pipe to hold it.

call back the water conditioning people for an inspection.

bernie
 

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To check if backup from the backwashing cycle of the water treatment equipment is causing the problem initiate a manual backwash of the equipment and watch the sink during the cycle. The backwash cycle will probably take 15-20 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Why would the backwash from the filter be draining into the septic system? Does code require that? There doesn't seem to be any point, and all it does is add to the burden on the leach field.
I don't know if this helps but my neighbor said she has the same thing in her bathtub periodically. It has something to do with the water table and sediment getting into the well. The well is higher than the house. She was told the sediment is so fine the water treatment system can't filter it.

Since I posted this query, on Friday and again on Tuesday at night the water came into the sink. I had filled a zero water pitcher the night before and left it in the sink but the water coming into the sink from the drain turned the pitcher over in the sink. (That's a fairly large pitcher). But why does it only happen at night?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
follow up on the sink sediment

Good Morning, Bernie:
Thanks for your reply.

Yes, the elevation of the septic field is, I'm guessing, 20ft higher. I saw the sediment again this morning. There are no signs of the sink filling up. I only see the sediment on the bottom of the sink. It is dry when I go in around 3:30am (yes, I'm an early riser) and like a dry black powder. There's no smell to it. I'm wondering if it could be some kind of pipe sediment.

I have not had much rain here. Now here's something that may or may not figure in .... I am very close to the water (I'm on a 2 acre pond) - about 20ft.

I will keep a record of the back up days. Who should I call? Well and Septic pro? And, yes, thanks for correctly me about the gravity pump really being a "anti-gravity pump".
Bernie:
It seems my mystery sediment is showing up every 3 days. My new water treatment system is in a separate room outside.

This morning (after 2 days of mild snow and light rain), the backup from the overflowed double sinks ran over my counter and puddled onto the floor.

I know I need to call someone but should I call the people who installed the new water treatment system or the person who installed the new anti-gravity pump? Or maybe just a plumber?

Thanks again.
 
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