Septic lines clogged with goo

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. I have purchased an older home about a year ago. I have had a little septic water seepage near the tank (no slime, just smell and wet ground). When digging up the drain line near the tank to install cleanouts for the drain field lines, I discovered the gravel bed was fine and basically pretty dry. The pipes however are filled with goo plugging the holes in the pipe preventing the water from exiting the pipe.

    The simple answer for cleaning the lines is a jet wash, but that costs money. Is there a more cost effective solution? I used Roebic K57 down the toilet about a month ago without much improvement. I am planning on having my tank pumped, but want to see if there is anything I should try with the field before pumping since pumping will not solve any problem with the field, but I don't want to pump again in case I have to do something with the field.

    Is there anything I can pour directly into the drainfield (now I have added cleanouts) to help or could I run a throw-away garden hose with a sprayer down the line?

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    My bet is that there is a layer of sludge on the soil below the rock in the trench. So even if you get the sludge out of the distribution pipes, the soil is still going to be plugged. This is what happens when people do not have there tanks pumped every three to five years. There are no cheap, quick fixes.

    Sorry.
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    There is a means of addressing your problem but I am not very familiar with it. I saw it done at a mobile home park and it worked. It is a custom service with a device on wheels that penetrates the soil and injects compressed air into the leach field. The injections are make in a pattern to completely rework the entire drain field. When the compressed air was injected I could see the ground surface rise up a bit. There was a guarantee given to the park owner but there has been no reason for a followup as the salvage operation worked!
     
  4. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Agmantoo, funny you should mention that. It's called a "Terra-Lift" treatment. I did a soils evaluation of the system for our midwest distributor of the machine. The air pressure blasts from the machine will fracture and fissure the soil around drainfield lines allowing the soils to perc at a somewhat higher rate....but the results are temporary. The air pressure did help to flush some of the sludge in the lines back into the distribution box....so it's best to have a pumper sucking the distribution box as the treatment is being conducted.

    Typical cost of a Terra Lift treatment in Minn. is almost $1000 bucks....about half the price of a replacement trench-type drainfield.
     
  5. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    My drain field has an "alternate" field along side the original - it's required here. Is this time to switch to the "alternate"?
     
  6. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    I had a jet wash and peroxide treatment done when it was clear the leach field was failing. They stick the jet up into the pipe out to the field and the nozzle sprays backward and pulls the junk back into the tank. Then they stick a hose down the outlet pipe again and pump a 55 gallon drum of hydrogen peroxide into the pipe, which goes into the leach field and burns out the sludge. You could actually see and hear the ground fizzing while they were doing it.

    It worked great, cost $800, and I haven't had a problem since.
     
  7. What the others have said - someone didn't bother to pump the tank, and so the goo ran out into the drainfield. There will be no cheap answer that is long-term & doable. The goo makes the whole tile not perc very well, even if no very visible damage....

    If you wait & don't pump the tank, more & more goo is going to run out there so I'd want the tank pumped first to stop that from ruining whatever solution you can come up with.

    How bad are the building codes where you live? By me, the only answer would be a new drainfield to code, nothing else would be allowed once the old one goes bad. And they would look the tank over real close, likely would need a new one of those too as codes have been changing every 2 years 'here'. But then, we can't do any of our own septic work, not even as much as you did already....

    Not much to disolve the goo can be done when in the tile, as it likely is a high % of undigestable solids & grease - that's what typically runs out of an over-full tank. Anything that would be digestable either did digest, or would need to be back in the tank with the temp controlled & no oxygen - need that for any digestion to occur. No point trying to chase this - you will be pouring money away & not helping the problem.

    The terra lift thing can work, my sis had it done, it helped her for 4-5 years now in the sandy soils of northern suburbs of 'Cities, MN. Down here in the ag country of southern MN, clay soils & restrictive county government would need a new $8000 system........

    Good luck.

    --->Paul
     
  8. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    That's the point of the peroxide. It burns out what would not be digested. The rest that was clogging the pipes would go back into the tank and be taken out at the next pumping.
     
  9. Thanks for your replies, but I think the answers do not quite match my situation.

    Actually, the drainfield itself is fine. I dug up part of the field near the tank and the basic problem is that the holes in the pipe are plugged and there is goop in the pipe and so the problem is that the water can't easily leave the pipe. The gravel was fine, the dirt is fine and fairly dry, and where I knocked some of the holes open in the line, the system drained fine. I just need to clean out the pipe and holes.

    A jet wash (a high-pressure water jet scrub) costs about $235 here plus about $185 to pump the tank so the goop has somewhere to go (for a total of about $400 though I would pump anyway when I was ready). They called the goo lining in the pipe 'matting' and a good scrubbing followed by lots of 'bugs' is what the septic guy recommended. Of course, they want $50/gal for their 'bugs' and I can buy 'bugs' cheaper at the store.

    Mostly I was wondering if there was a product available to pour in the lines that would disolve the goop in the pipe organically rather than the mechanical scrubbing. (Something that really works and is not just hype and a waste of money.) If not, I will go for the scrubbing. They made no mention of using peroxide, but I'll ask.