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Septic system overrun

2256 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  LadybugGA
I am new to septic systems. Christmas eve i.had a problem with flushing not happening. We've had extremely heavy rains...6 inches in a day and many days. I called a septic company. They came out dug up my yard and took off the top of my tank. The water was to the top. They left it open and came back on the 26th and pumped it out. They put the top on and left.
Isn't there some way to relieve pressure on a septic system that doesn't require digging?
I paid a premium for an emergency dig and pump out. I've found information about clean out pipes. Why doesn't my system have it....and how much can I expect to pay to install one
The next issue is how can I keep this from reoccurring. Even with the pump out, my toilet is sluggish in the flush
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You are basically dealing with a system that has most likely never properly maintained.

If the tank was never drained and the leach field never inspected, you need to get it done.

If you have had alot of rain in a short period, yes the ground could be so saturated, that it will not take anymore.

Since the tank was just emptied. It is going to take a while to find out if the full tank was really the problem. You need to get the tank emptied per the schedule that the company that emptied it, gave you. Should be on the bill, along with aprox. gallons pumped out.

How long ago did you buy the place? Eas an inspection ever done on the tank and leach field? Also you should have been given record of when it was originally installed. If not. Your county should have it on file.
Here's a drawing showing a basic septic tank layout showing a riser (clean out) that can be added to most septic tanks.
If the soil is saturated with water the effluent had no place to go.
That backup may well have caused solids to back up into the main drain line.
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It is likely that there was nothing wrong with the septic system, other than saturation of the leach field with rain.

An overfull septic tank usually means that there is nothing wrong with the tank and upstream and a simple inability of the downstream (the leach field) to absorb the water.

Normally the septic tank stays about 85% full and operates pay-as-you-go. As each gallon of new waste water comes in, a gallon of effluent should exit for the leach field.

Pumping the septic tank alleviates the overrun problem for a short period of time to get you past a rainy period, provided that rain water is not backing out of the leach field into the septic tank. What this task does is change the role of the septic tank into a holding tank until the rain subsides and the leach field naturally drains itself. After that you can test the leach field for normal versus substandard performance.

After a septic tank is pumped, nothing will exit for the leach field until the incoming waste water accumulates to the 85% full level.

Try some "jumbo toilet flushes" i.e. emptying large buckets of water into the toilet just fast enough to avoid overflowing onto the floor, to see if solids settling in the drain lines just prior to the pumping will continue on their own to the septic tank. You will need another person monitoring drains on lower floors so you stop pouring water in before any overflowing can happen down there if the solid material does not move as fast as you would expect.

A caution about having the drain snaked; it is possible to break the septic tank inlet baffle which will lead to long term leach field problems since fine solid matter won't settle to the bottom of the septic tank as fast as it should.
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If you are going to install a clean out pipe I would also install a back flow preventer in the pipe between the house and the septic tank. This will allow the effluent to flow into the tank & prevent it from flowing back into the house. To minimize the surface and ground water getting into the leach field a french drain can be installed uphill of the leach field. The french drain trench must be deeper than the leach field trenches to be effective.

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there is another thread on the same problem, your leach field is filling up with rain water, and causing a so called main line stoppage to the house, just like if you were hooked into a public sewer and had roots or some other need to figure out if the rain water is coming down hill into the leach field and redirect the water, or do you have any pitch away from the leach field, you can dig a trench before the leach field to the depth of the gravel base and fill the new trench with drain pipe in a gravel bed and run this down hill somewhere to drain the rain water before it soaks into the leach field, I had the same problem upstate at a mobile home I rent out, over the years the swell of dirt that kept the rain out of the leach field flattened out, so I dug with a backhoe a trench that I put in drain pipe in a gravel bed up to grade level before the leach field and ran it downhill away from the leach field..problem solved..
Thanks everyone for your updates. It was several things. One was a poorly installed septic system that used a rubber boot to narrow a four inch pipe to a three inch pipe at the house. The rain did fill up the system from the leach field. And there three inch pipe was plugged.
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