septic entry found, what now?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by gobug, Jun 11, 2004.

  1. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I bought the property after the house burned down. I just finished removing all the fire debris from the house pit (former basement) this past weekend. I found the hole which I believe leads to the septic tank.

    The hole is on the floor against the wall and slopes away at about 30 degrees. It seems as though the sewage pipe must have run straight up to the first floor from this point providing drainage for the kitchen appliances and sink. Based on the location of the two tubs in the debris, I am guessing the bathrooms would have both been on the first floor and the sewage pipes ran across the basement ceiling to the vertical pipe to the septic.

    I don't expect to have the electricity turned on until the fall. This means I will not have water from the well until then. I am guessing this type of arrangement requires water flushing action to get the stuff to the tank and then out to the leach field. I am currently using the bucket and sawdust system that I learned about here. I would like to install a toilet as soon as I have water.

    The hole in the floor looks like cement, not pipe. The sewage pipe must have been plastic because I did not find any metal pipe remains. If I put in plastic, how do I connect it to the cement hole in the floor? How do I seal it?

    The county sanitation guy said that the system would not have been harmed by the fire and that sitting unused was a good thing. The house burned 1/2001. Is there something I should do before I start putting stuff down the septic again? Do I need to add something to the tank?
     
  2. Ann-NWIowa

    Ann-NWIowa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Call the local septic pumper guy and ask if he's familiar with your system. If he's serviced it before he might have good info for you. Be aware that basement drains could be (in fact probably are) connected to county tile not septic.
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I think the hole in the concrete is for a drain for the basement and not the septic. It is too deep in the ground. Look along the walls of the basement for a more horizontal line about 2 feet below grade level. The entrance to the septic will not be vertical nor deep. If you cannot locate the tank in this manner make a tee handled rod device that you can push into the ground. You should be able to find the top of the tank by attempting to insert a 1/2 inch rod into the soil from above and hitting an obstruction. Good Luck :)
     
  4. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ann- The septic system was installed in 1978. It is not connected to the county. I will try to locate companies that may have serviced it. Thanks.

    Ag- There are no holes in the wall that could be the septic. I'll post a picture, but it won't be available until later. The hole in the floor exits at an angle and direction that would take it directly to the septic tank. I located the tank vent and have a good idea where the leach field is located. The basement floor level is above the top of the tank. In the picture you will see the hole in the floor. I have pointed out where a floor drain sets, but it is not clear in the picture. Thanks
    Gary
     
  5. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It would seem your assumptions are right - that is how it looks to me.

    You are very fortunate if you can reuse the exsisting septic. Most locations have upgraded requirements several times over since 1978 & you would need a new one to new specs. You must have a good slope away from the house, as I don't believe any location allows leach fields deeper than a foot or 18". You don't have a lift pump in the tank, do you (if no slope)?

    I would pump your tank out. You have no history on when it was last pumped.

    For a toilet, you need 1.6 gallons of water per flush. About all you need. I think that was the only real question you had?

    --->Paul
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Hi gobug,
    I looked at the pics but looking at pic number P5220411
    and thru the opening to the left if appears to me that the opening you identified as the septic tank feed is too deep in the ground. Obviously it is hard to "see" from here. If you know where the septic tank is and from the cleanup effort I know you are energetic, dig down to the top of the septic tank itself and open the cleanout door on the house side. Once open, send something back into the house as a snake to ascertain it comes out at the opening you feel is the septic tank. If you are correct, the pvc should not be burned into very deep into soil and you should be able to insert a new feed line into the old pvc. You may have to burst the concrete out and install a hub to get a proper seal but you can do it.
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    gobug, a fleeting thought, if the hole you think is the septic feed, the the other hole is not a drain but it is the cleanout port for the plumbing to the tank.
     
  9. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Why? Not at all, if he lives on a hill.

    --->Paul
     
  10. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Great advice!

    The hill is steep. And the house was on top. I bet there is a 20 foot drop from the bottom of the window hole in the picture to the top of the ground above the tank.

    I'll dig down and open the tank and look for the line coming in from the house. Then I'll run a few gallons of water down the house hole to see if it comes out the opening.

    Meanwhile, I'll try to locate the service companies in the area to see if one of them has a record of service for the property. By looking into the tank, I'll be able to talk the service people to determine if I need to have it serviced before operation.

    Regarding the work, thanks for the compliment. Its just amazing how much work a person can do when all you have is a tractor, a great view, and a vision of the future!

    Gary
     
  11. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................gobug , that view looking back too the noth at the mountains really gets my blood moving. Are you going to teardown the outside tileblock walls and utilize the existing slab on which to build your new home???? What a gorgeous place to retire too. Hope your property taxes won't go up to much after you eventually get your home finished.........fordy....
     
  12. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    here is an idea... find the septic tanks lid, take it off, have it pumped dry. toss a few smoke boms in close the lid.. wait and see where the smoke comes out. if the llid be resonably tight the smoke has to find its way out the in hole.
    theory.... strictly off the record.
    open the tank lid and astart pumping water down whatever hole you think is the septic pipe, and see when the water starts flowing into the tank...

    now if you dunno where the tank is.... uummm cant help ya there.
     
  13. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Numb- A smoke bomb is another great idea. It would show where any holes were. I may need to tie it on a string so it won't go out. I wonder what it would mean if the leach field started smoking.

    Fordy - the view is to the south west. That means I can make a big window wall and get the solar benefit as well a great view. I got lucky and found 140 dual pane safety glass windows 2' x 5 1/2' for $4 each.

    I plan to save the basement walls and foundation. I hope to get inspector approval to reinforce the block walls with a layer of ferrocement.

    I often wonder about the house that burned down. I only have clues. There are several stupid things the former owner did. First, you'll notice the chimney is on the south side blocking the view!! The well is just off the corner of the house and he surrounded it with deck and hot tub gazebo (now gone). The pump man said if anything had ever gone wrong with the well, the deck and the gazebo would have had to come down or a new road built to get to the well.

    What should I do with the fireplace??