Septic Problems

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Wendy, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    Or so we thought. Had a brand new septic put in 3 years ago. 1,000 gallon tank with 500 feet of leach lines. Hubby mowed the pasture off today & noticed water seeping out of the lid on the septic. :help: I assumed the tank needed pumped & thought we were in big trouble since Cabin Fever always says to pump your septic. I of course have my dad that says he has nevre had his pumped & there were 11 kids in the house when I grew up. Not sure how he got by with not having it done. We were going to wait another year or 2 thinking to do it every 5 years. Anyway, called the guy that does the pumping & he told us to take off the lid & feel for another handle where the outlet pipe comes in. Come to find out that there is a filter in the end of that pipe & the guy that installed it did not tell us that we needed to remove it at least twice a year & clean it out. Pulled out the filter & it was clogged bad. Took the hose & sprayed it out & cleaned it good & now the septic is back to working like it should. :dance: I am going to go ahead & have it pumped. How often should we get it pumped out? Is every 5 years enough? Too often? Not often enough? There are 9 people in the house. The water from the washing machine does not go into the septic, but all the other drains do. We only have 1 bathroom, don't know if that matters. Is it common for the filters to be put in now-a-days? I had no idea that it had one. Could have saved us a lot of worry if we had known.
     
  2. mtmama

    mtmama Well-Known Member

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    We have only a 500 gallon tank and had the drain field redone about two years ago. Now (at least around here) they have to put a filter on the out flo pipe. We were told to pull out the filter and hose it off once a year. The first time we did it, the septic would leak out the lid about once a month and we would have to rinse off the filter once a month. We bought some Rid-ex and put that in the tank about every month and a half, and have had no more overflow from the tank lid. We have two bathrooms and everything goes into the tank. I would think that once every five years pumping might work for a 1000 gallon tank. It is the solids that you would be wanting to pump out, the liquids should be going into the drain field. with nine people, you might want to pump every three years or so. Here, they determine the length of the drain field pipe by the amount of bedrooms the house has, not the bathrooms. I guess to determine how many people will be using it. So, we have three bedrooms and that equaled 210 feet of drain field pipe.
     

  3. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nine people & one bathroom? Oh my, you must be an even-tempered, plan-ahead family. :)

    With that many people, I'd think you would be on the 'sooner' schedule, typically 3-5 years is a good plan.

    --->Paul
     
  4. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I would love another bathroom! Maybe someday! We only have 3 bedrooms too. We are just a little cramped for space sometimes, but no one seems to mind. :)
     
  5. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    A septic tank with an effluent filter should ALWAYS have an alarm. An effluent filter is a great way of protecting your soil treatment area from fine praticles which can result in clogging the soil. But, and that's BIG BUTT, a clogged filter can result in the back up of wastewater into the home or out of the septic tank. It's too bad that your installer did not inform you of your effluent filter. These filters should be cleaned, at a minimum, of once per year.

    Ridex...Mtmama, do you hear that sound? It's the sound of me smacking my forehead. Please stop wasting your hard earned money on septic tank additives.

    And Wendy, to answer your question, you can NEVER pump your tank too often....pumping it too infrequently can result in problems. How often to pump can only be answered by measuring the sludge depth in your tank.
     
  6. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I am a bit mad that the guy didn't tell us about the filter. I didn't much like having it seeping up through the lid & hubby didn't care to go digging around through the water to find the filter. We figured we would clean it every spring & fall. Or if it doesn't seem too bad then do it once a year.

    So tell me, if pumping the septic is a good thing, why have none of my family members ever had trouble with theirs? Dad's has been 30+ years & all the rest of my brothers are 10 years or more on theirs. I keep telling them, but dad says if a septic is working properly you should not have to have it pumped. I am sure I will now be told we wasted our $170. Of course if we do it every 5 years then that's only $34 a year. Not bad for preventive maintenance. I sure don't wish septic problems on anyone, but sometimes I would like to be right for a change. :D
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Many old septic systems are run out to a field tile, or other drainage to the open waters. So once the tank fills up, all the raw stuff just floats on it's merry way out to open water or land. It isn't doing it's job any more, it's just putting the problem out of sight - for now.

    Some folks live very frugally, including what they put down the drain. The folks raised a family of 4, tank wasn't pumped for well over 20 years. When it was pumped, fellow said it would have been good for a while yet.....

    What will build up on the bottom is dirt from your fingernails; laundry; etc. And bits of things that do not decompose. A septic tank is like a brush pile - light it every once in a while, & there is only very little ash pile left over. But depending what you actually put on the pile, and how well it burns, and how much you put on the pile, there is a slow buildup of ash that will not burn away.

    Every household is different, just as every burn pile is different.

    --->Paul
     
  8. mike3367

    mike3367 lost in my own mind

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    i pump my tank once a year. and was told never to put anything in the tank beacuse it ussally to cold for anything to work right
     
  9. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    The purpose of the septic tank is to filter out solids (organic mterial from toliets and garbage disposals) and scum (fats. oils. etc). It cannot do this function forever....like your relatives might suggest! If it could, every city would simply have it's sewers hooked into a large septic tank!!

    The reason your relatives have gotten by without pumping their septic tanks could probably be due to two reasons. One, their septic tanks discharge to a ditch or tile line (ie, an outlet that never plugs up) or two, their drainfields are now filling with sludge and scum and the drainfield will soon plug up. When a drainfield plugs up, they will have to have a new one installed. The cost of a new drainfield will be much more than the total cost of having a septic tank pumped every five years.

    It's kinda like changing the oil in a car. Sure the car will run for maybe 50.000 miles or more without ever changing the oil. But eventually, the engine will fail. The total cost of changing oil will be much less than the cost of having the engine replaced.
     
  10. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    I know dad just had the drain that went out with no leach lines. He did have leach lines installed last year, of course it's only him & mom there now. All of my brothers have the leach lines & system like we do. I guess if they won't listen to me now, I will listen to them cry later when their system backs up.
     
  11. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    too many chemicals used in clean-up, laundry and dishwashing may have an effect. it may kill or slow down the beneficial bacteria. i imagine use of drain cleaners could do it too. you have a high volume of effluent due to a large happy family and the added volume could mean more bad things going in.