Septic Tank/Plumbing Troubles...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by organicfarmer, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. organicfarmer

    organicfarmer Well-Known Member

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    My DH and I need some advice on our septic tank/plumbing problems. We have searched the net to no avail for information pertaining to our problem. Most people seem to hire someone to deal with these problems.

    Our toilets were not flushing properly and the septic tank was backing up into the downstairs bathtub. We got a snake and cleared out the blockage or so we thought. A few days later it happened again and the toilets began to flush poorly again. We then replaced the corroded section of the vent pipe and had the septic tank pumped out. We snaked the system again and it seemed to be working again. Within a few days it was worse again. Today, we got a snake again and were able to snake the system to the point where the snake came into the septic tank. The toilets seem to be working again and flowing into the septic tank well. We don't know what else to do if it happens again. We want to handle this problem ourselves.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sounds to me like your leech (drain) field is saturated and not working properly. Since you have had the tank pumped you will probably not have a problem until the tank gets filled again and is not able to drain into the leech field so it backs up. Unless you really know what you are doing you will probably have to have a whole new system installed one of these days cause I don't think you can just install a new leech field to work with an old tank.
     

  3. If the tank is not emptying it is a drainfield problem if the line is clogging to the tank then that is the problem some things to consider do you know what type of pipe runs from the house to the septic? are you getting roots with the snake? how long have you used the system is this something new or is it an ongoing problem? do you use a garbage disposer those are just for looks you know? do you dump cooking greese or coffe grounds that is another big no-no. some micro-biotic products for septics are on the market such as rid-x if you have killed the bacteria with lye acid or other harsh drain openers.What type of drain and vent system is in the house is it cast iron plastic galvanized? vents must work to get flow you may need a house repipe you may need new pipe to the septic you may need a new tile field you may need all three.
     
  4. I agree. I suspect that the snaking work you did didn't clear a blockage, but just that the system wasn't used as much for a little while and gave the leach field a chance to drain.

    Goatlady is right, it may back-up again after the septic tank fills. If that happens you will need to have your leach field inspected. The rocks in your leach field may have become matted with something, commonly lint. If so, the rocks may need to be replaced.

    This isn't usually the kind of thing you can do yourself, unless you operate a backhoe.
     
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    When you had the tank pumped after getting the snake into it, did you flush each toilet to see if there was a good flow into the tank. Basically several gallons of water should have come out of the intake pipe at once. It is just dripped out, you still have a problem between the toilets and tank. If you did get a good flushing pour into the tank, then I agree with the others it is likely your drain field which has become saturated or clogged. Probably time to call in a pro and have them give you an opinion. You may have to have a new drainfield put in either direct from the tank or the ends of the lines found and extended.

    What sometimes happens in the original tank was sized to the house when constructed. If it has been added onto with additional bathrooms, or more usage through more people living there, the drainlines may now be undersized. The only real purpose of the tank itself is to allow bacterial to work on waste so it settles to the bottom as sludge.

    If you have been putting grease into the tank (and there was no grease trap originally installed, it may have coated the insides of the drainfield lines to where they no longer perk thorugh.

    Lots of possibilities.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  6. ed/IL

    ed/IL Well-Known Member

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    You could put a garden hose in the tank and see if it drains or backs up in the house,fills up tank etc. Worth a try. Sometimes a water jet that whips around inside the pipe works better then snake.
     
  7. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    One other thought... I read that you replaced the corroded vent pipe, are you talking about the pipe through the roof for the vent? If a squirrel or bird has gotten in there it will keep things from draining therefore being perceived as a back-up. We get that in the middle of cold snaps here in VT too where ice or snow blocks the pipe.

    If that is all well it does look like we would be looking into the pipes first that they were clear and then to the leach. As was said if it is the leach you won't have problems until the tank fills again.
     
  8. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your problem sounds like the one we just had with one of our rentals.
    It was doing just as you said yours was.
    We had the tank pumped and then put a starter in it. Within a week we had the same problem as before.

    Since DH has a backhoe, he started digging. Water was standing in the rocks in the field line. The dirt surrounding it was not absorbing the water. He had to put in more field lines to take care of the problem. Right now it is still ok.

    During this time he also snaked the pipes to make sure that they were not stopped up.

    Septics are a messy situation. :haha:
     
  9. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

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    Have you had more rain lately? If so, fields might be water logged and will work fine again as the water drains from the fields.
     
  10. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I have the condition Boxwood describes. I am over a very high water table and have just learned to live with it.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  11. stonerebel

    stonerebel Well-Known Member

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    If you know there the end of the drain field pipe is try to run the snake thru it. It could have roots or sand in it. You may want to add on to the drain field it may not be long enough anymore. If you dig the end up and it flooded with water you need to add on.
     
  12. Another possibility would be the pipe from the house to the tank. If there are rough edges where the pipes connect, the lint, tissue paper, etc. will snag, gradually causing a blockage.