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· Registered
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

So I have a problem that is pretty serious and I can't wrap my head around it. it a lot to read. i tried to explain as much as possible also im including a diagram. its not to scale.

A little info on my house with hope that it will paint a better picture.

I have a septic system at my house, the septic tank isn't full.

My house is built in 1964 in Indiana, it's a ranch style house.
I have a full basement which is where the problem is.

Around the parameter of the basement inside the house there was a drain system installed. This was done at some point in time before i bought this house someone had dug a parameter drain system and installed a sump pump.
I had this house for 2 years now and this is the first time such a problem occurred on such scale.

What i have noticed sometime after i bought the house that when i use the shower in the basement the water would not drain quick enough but it would not overfill. While this was happening the toilet would also not flush and would have standing water. When this would happen I would go into the utility room where the floor drain is and i would see water coming from out of the drain.

For the most part that water would go down eventually fairly quick, sometimes it would take a few hours. But this kind of situation was rare.

The first time i noticed this issue was during some heavy rains so I thought it might be in issue with rain water getting in somehow.

But then i'd notice the problem on days with no rains.

This last time the problem started was when we had rains almost all week long but the problem didnt start right away, it started like midweek.

i noticed the toilet not flushing and standing water, when that happens id check to see if shower was flushing and it wasnt. i waited for toilet water to go down and flushed again and i heard gurgling in the shower. i went to the utility room and saw water coming up. the problem is that water didnt stop coming up. it would keep on coming up and up. this was all during this heavy rain we had a week ago.

I messed with this whole thing for 3 days. basically leaving in middle of work to come and turn on a pump i bought to suk the water outside.

I've tried putting a snake through, the auto feed one. i went full length 75ft. it felt like places were clogged but i forced it and seemed to go through. water still stayed and would still come up

that evening i though i had a great idea to close the drain so no water would come up with a thing i found at Lowes. The next morning i saw that the bathroom had water in it and carpet was wet.

so after work i came back and I kept trying to snake through from the drain area since it had a special place for feeding the snake. then i started hearing some kind of loud scratching noise which confused me. turns out the noise was coming from the other room in the basement by the wall where the pipes for the parameter drain run. which was weird to me because I thought that the parameter drain was suppose to be its own deal connected to sump pump.
While running the snake here i felt a lot of resistance and after it finally went freely the water went away. So i thought i cleaned it.

I went to flush the toilet, and the water in the toilet didnt flush. i went to check the drain and water came up again but drained back quickly. this was all still during rain going on outside. which kinda tells me it cant be roots or broken pipe?
i tried to plunge the toilet and noticed water sipping out from under the toilet. I took the toilet off and found out that the toilet's seal was leaking. and that is how it got flooded in bathroom overnight. so i replaced the toilet's seal with the new (Fluidmaster better than wax) seal. but before i put the toilet back i tried to run snake through which went all 75 ft.

i put toilet back and tried to flush, but to my surprise water didnt flush right away, it came up and went down slowly. i tried again later and then it flushed just fine. i check the drain as well but water didnt come up there a single time. Now this now is during when rain stopped.

Right now it has been a week since i replaced the seal. I have been using the bathroom like this and it would sometimes flush just fine with no issue and sometime i get it were water comes up and go down right away quickly. Although it would make a weird sound like it was going down a whole. ( i know that sound stupid) but usually you dont hear that. you just hear the toilet flushing but this was after the flush you'd hear it going down the pipe initially which i never heard before even on good days.

anyways. i tried flushing bathroom now today again after use and water went down slow. it has also been raining heavy for 3-4 hours. also water in shower is also filling up and drain water is also coming up after the flush. When i water in the toilet finally went down, the water in the drain also went down.

Also I flushed the toilet a few more time and again noticed water coming from under the toilet. it is very subtle, not a lot but this tells me the seal is broken again i guess.

I'm confused guys please help me out understand.

I though the toilet and shower and the plumbing in the house shouldnt be connected the sump pump and how is it all effected.

Another bad thing in my house. the sump pump, pumps outside obviously but on the outside it is actually connected to the gutter drains. And i recently found out that the drains from all the way around the house are connected to the main drain that goes down to the septic tank.

I heard that in plumbing if something is blocking the vent stack then the water will not drain properly. since all my lines are connected. could that be the issue.

Thanks guys in advance

· Registered
9,077 Posts
You can rent sewer snake from homedepot or tool rental stores. I have 4" castiron and used manual 1/2" snake. 50' snake was $40 for one day. I would remove the toilet and start there. Use the one with wire coil at the end, not a claw type. Smaller 1/4" snake will not work. Clockwise turns forward and anti-wise for reverse. Motorized may be easier but this was first time using and I was having nightmares about the coil kinking in the pipe but probably that can't happen with half inch coil.
I saw a video about these snakes getting caught in the pipe because of the roots. You need to feel your way forward.

· Registered
10,401 Posts
Yesterday you ought to, er, had better, disconnect all connections between sump pump and septic tank and all connections between gutter downspouts and septic tank. Run it onto the grass or driveway away from the house if need be.

Outside water and ground water and rain water will overload the septic tank almost instantly and cause plumbing backups.

A floor drain is normally connected to the plumbing system, not the perimeter drain, so leave that alone for now.

Plunging a toilet too hard can break the wax seal underneath particularly if the clog is in the drain pipe under the floor or beyond.

I have a septic system at my house, the septic tank isn't full.
Did you dig up the septic tank hatch the other day and verify that the tank was not up full, i.e. up to the brim with liquid or grease/scum? (Normal resting level of liquid is roughly 85% full or a little less than a foot below the top. Persistently completely full is abnormal. But you cannot prove anything is wrong with the leach field until half a week after you eliminated the inflow of rain water and sump pump water.)

A common place for a main drain blockage to occur is at the entrance to the septic tank. Be careful not to break the baffle just inside.

· Usually Confused
10,871 Posts
Long post and I'm a tad confused. There should be no natural connection to your sanitary waste system and your perimeter drain system. Does your basement plumbing drain to the septic by gravity or via a lift (ejector) pump?
As mentioned, it is normal for the chambers in the septic tank to be mostly full. There could be a blockage in the main waste line between the house and tank or the leech field is saturated.

Up here, it is typical for the basement floor drain to be connected to the sump pump on septic-based systems.

· Registered
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
hey guys, I want to thank those who replied. sorry for not replying right away.

this weekend i rented a 1/2 100ft snake which im sure is enough length.

i removed the toilet and ran the snake straight down all 100ft. there was no resistance what so ever. i did this twice. On that day I had standing water in the pipe of the toilet almost to the top.
Please keep in mind 2 weeks before this we had 2 days of heavy rains and also a little under a week we had 1 night of heavy rain.

So after i ran the snake twice i didnt see the standing water in the pipe drop. after a few days i looked again and there was no water visible. So i bought one of those snakes with cameras on amazon and i ran it down the toilet pipe. about 10ft down i notices gradual increase of standing water.

What could this mean?

so i kept pushing the camera down thinking there is just a small puddle of water but it seems that the level of water increases.

My septic tank has been pumped two months ago.

Any ideas guys? thanks

· Registered
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
But that doesnt really explain why there is still water in the pipe?

it hasnt rained for over a week now, there shouldnt be any water in the pipe because it should have all went down to the septic.

Also speaking of all that other stuff, i actually cleaned out my gutters this weekend as well. they were full of leafs, there were those metal meshes in the pipe going down from gutters so i know that leafs didnt get down to the drain pipe.
But because the gutters were full of leaves this kind of tells me that there wasnt much water going down the gutters into the drain.

That is why this is all so confusing. i mean if the pipe was crushed somewhere or roots were heavy enough that they would restrict water flow than the snake wouldnt go through so easily.

Thank you

· Registered
16,382 Posts
There's more to a septic system than a tank and pipe from the house to the tank. It's seeming like to even have a temporary workable system you may as well get a truck to pump the tank empty and while he is there flush some water to determine if the pipe to the tank carries the water as it should. If that seems to work well then we can move on to possibly the field drain system.

· Super Moderator
24,974 Posts
Water from the tank needs to drain into the leach field where is seeps into the ground. If you overload the leach filed with water from the gutters and sump pump then the tank will have no where to drain and cause the issues you are having. Heavy rains saturating the ground will make the problem even worse.

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3,358 Posts
You apparently don't understand that you have two systems.

One is for the surface water drainage. That is the rain water that falls around your home and water in the earth that naturally moves from higher elevations toward the sea. How much underground water moment you have depends on the your location and type of soil around your home. The earth is made up of layers of sand, clay and rock. Rain water that falls in the mountains can find layers of sand and move toward the sea in those layers of sand. If your soil conditions and elevation dictate you must put in perforated piping both under basement floors and around the exterior basement walls to collect that surface water and allow it to drain to daylight. If it will not drain to daylight naturally, you install sump pumps and pump it up to a level which it will.

The other drainage system you have is your sewer system. That is where your toilets, sinks, showers and bath water drains. That system is either connected to a municipal sewer system or as in your case to a septic tank. The two systems must never meet.

Your septic tank is simply a holding tank. It is a place for the solids to dissolve and liquefy. Sewer water flows into the tank at one level and out the distribution lines at a slightly lower level. The distribution lines are perforated lines buried in trenches filled with gravel, rock or other aggregate. The gravel, rock and aggregate distribute sewer water out into the soil to be soak up by the soil or dried up by the sun.

Your septic tank is always full. It doesn't work until it is full. You said you recently had it pumped out. That is good. But you had it pumped to remove any solids that had not dissolved and liquefied, not to empty it. As soon as you had it pumped it began to refill. This must periodically be done to remove the undissolved solids. We can argue about how often this should be done.

Sounds like you have two problems. Poor drainage around your home and under the basement floor. Or possibly a blocked surface water drainage system. You may need to install sump pumps to pump that water back up to a level such that it can run away from your home

The other problem is blocked or restricted distribution lines of the septic system. Fixing this is addition of more or new distribution lines (if space permits) or removing and rebuilding present lines. Solids of the sewer system can find their way to the gravel, rock and aggregate and restrict or prevent the distribution of sewer water back into the soil.

You should consult someone knowledgeable about septic systems and get out your check book.

You also need to consult with a plumber about your surface water run off system.

You won't solve these problems with a sewer snake. No water can flow into the septic tank unless an equal amount can flow out.

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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow guys I can't thank you all enough for all of your answers. I defiantly don't have detailed knowledge of how septic works. I try to approach most problems with common sense, that is why i was thinking that

1. If water from gutters was coming to my septic then it could have been overfilling it and the water from septic wasnt exiting fast enough.

2. after checking my gutters i saw that they were completely filled with leaves that the water would just flow out the side of the gutters. gutters weren't just loosely filled with leaves, it seems that they were never cleaned. This makes me think that there was not a lot of water going to septic from gutters.
3. it could be that gutters didnt have those mesh guards and leaves could have been going to septic and could have created a blockage in the pipes. But since i had mesh in the gutters preventing leaves from entering.

So checking all this I had to rule out the problem being due to gutter being connected to my main drain pipe. although i didn't completely rules this out since im no pro and could be wrong.

next thing I thought about was that I bought the house almost 3 years ago, i've had heavy rains before and there was no problem with backing up. So this makes me think that why is it backing up now? Even on dry days that I have now for 2 weeks it feels that its still backing up.

So i did some checking yesterday evening. I disconnected one of the gutters on the corner of my house and i put down my camera snake down there. i noticed in the pipe something that resembled roots but it looked weird it wasnt thick or anything. then i got to a part of the pipe that actually had thick roots/fur looking stuff. im kidding not i though it might have been a dead rat or something because it looked a lot like fur. But any ways I got as far as to were it connects to the main drain and couldnt push any longer because of 90 degree angle. couldnt make the snake turn. lol
So what i did is leave the camera snake in the pipe and i took my water hoes and put them down the gutter and turned the water on. I wanted to see what would happen. at first it seemed like the water was going down and draining just fine. after a few minutes it started filling up with water and just started coming up from the gutter pipe were i stuck the snake from.

i went to check in the basement to see if water came up form the drain in the basement and i didnt notice anything.

Would it be worth it to push a snake down the cutter pipes to try to clean out what ever roots or what ever is in there? or should i just dig it all up and replace it all and disconnect from main drain. I mean the lowest digging point, I'll have to dig as far as 8 feet. :/

to address the issue of drainage around the house. as far as i know and can see is from what i said earlier. there seems to be a french drain around the whole parameter of the inside of the basement with sub-pump pumping outside. Here is the pickle though, and you will get a laugh out of this one. onside it is cut into one of the gutters. so basically it goes down to the septic.

Oh and about the septic, so i have a sand filter trap and after it there is a lift pump going to plastic pipe and i check at the end of it and there was full force of water coming out so its pumping water out.

Also its is a 2 septic tank system 750+600 with distribution box and sand filter trap.

thanks again you guys

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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I disconnected the gutters and connected corrugated pipe to each of the gutter downspout. I did cover the holes to make sure no water was getting into the drain pipes.

Did this on Thursday. Prior to Thursday we had no rain for about a week. But Still had water in the pipes when i put camera down their and it seems that the water is still in the pipes that are in the house i pushed the camera as far as 50ft and still had water so it doesnt seem like a pipe sank somewhere.

So anyways this who weekend we had rain. So on thursday i disconnected the downspouts from going down to the main drain and connected currugated pipe and ran them about 50 ft from the house each.

What i noticed! the toilet was still disconnected and the toilet pipe was open. i notice the water level in the toilet pipe fill up full of water to the edges almost.

So right now i know i had no water from gutters going to my septic. so i can rule this theory out.


thanks guys

· Registered
143 Posts
If you snaked 100", then your tank has to be full of solids or the water would drain out of the toilet riser.
Br careful when snaking toward a septic tank. You could damage the baffle or get your snake tangled up in the tank. Its always good to measure off the distance so you don't run the snake into the tank.
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