Septic thoughts ;0)

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by wyld thang, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

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    We are having our tank pumped tommorrow. We're getting it done because it's been 5 years since we moved in, and also the kitchen drain gurgles and the downstairs laundry room toilet bubble when the washer empties. Since starting this project, and after digging out the hatch, we realized the tank may not have EVER been properly emptied. Pumping(as in "completely emptying the tank") was a condition of sale, and since we remembered no digging activity moving in(we made quite a hole ourselves--it's 3' down, but lucked out in finding it right off), found out the tank was only sucked of fluids out the little "clean-out" hole(?). The drain field is on a slope in clay soil(no standing ground water issues).

    I was just wondering if y'all had any thoughts on the gurgling. Is the septic "system" screwed? Also, anybody had their drain field aerated?

    We are very rural. THe system is 30 years old. The good thing is that it was not hooked up/used for 7-8 of those years as a vacation cabin(no electricity, outhouse used), and then until we bought it was used by one woman who was very persnickety(um, can I say "anal" and get away with it?:0) in what she put down the septic;0)(she gave us a stack of lit on the care and feeding of septic;0). The system hasn't had any problems before, and even though we have 4 people, we're not all taking showers everyday(um, once or twice a week;0). I don't have a garbage disposal, and don't let grease go down the drain. The tank is 750 gallons with 3 lines of 110' line. My hubby has gone over it with a bulldozera few times(going to other areas) even though I said "wouldn't you be packing the drain field by going over it with the bulldozer?"--although maybe not, this was in summer when the ground is hard.

    We are pondering "how grey water travels", but I see this is something not to publicly ponder;0)

    Would appreciate any thoughts ;0)
     
  2. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    1. Stop using ;0), it's annoying.
    2. I always heard you should pump every 6 years, unless you are "anal" about what goes down it. We lived in the country for 15 years, never pumped our tank.
    3. I made dh drive around the leach field when he was driving the loader around, better safe than sorry.
    I don't have that much to add, I really just wanted to say #1.
     

  3. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

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    gee, I'm sorry I misspelled ;)

    my "0" makes a nose

    I will retrain myself to use little pictures :eek: :sing: :)



    :(

    thanks for your thoughts anyways :goodjob:
     
  4. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    I laughed as soon as I read #1. Those little ;0) were driving me crazy because it made it hard to read the posts.

    I'm glad you were good-natured about it, Wyld Thang!

    You shouls never drive over the leach field. And the tank should be pumped every 2 years, minimum. You may think all is well, but the leach field is slowly getting clogged until there is no drainage, even when you pump the tank.

    When we bought this house, we got an education for sure. Nobody had pumped the tank for at LEAST 10 to 12 years. Leach field failed. Now we have to pay for a new leach field. Had a lot of back up problems. The contractor installed one pipe that drains the water into a ditch to hold us til Spring.

    I really can't wait until it gets done.
     
  5. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

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    In WI. it is maw to have the tank pumped every 3 years. Keeps things moving and flowing just fine that way
     
  6. frugalville

    frugalville Well-Known Member

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    Not an expert, so DYODD

    Sounds like Kitchen sink has grease issues. Grease narrowed pipe and/or vent issues. Take the trap out, clean and snake'em.

    Downstairs bubble... do you have a sewage ejection pit ? The bubble is probable a vaccum on the system from improper venting. I want to say most sewage ejection is 3 inch... If in fact you do have sewage ejection could be sump motor suction from inadequate vent. If not, maybe just a vent issue- water upstairs running past a tee causing suction.. and then bubbles.

    " Also, anybody had their drain field aerated? "
    Couldn't see how it would hurt. It will help your grass, but it probably won't help your septic system. Leach fields die of effluent blockage in the leach lines. Ever see what dishwasher powder does to a septic field? (can you say concrete like) The field perks straight down, so I don't see any value to the field unless you want a manicured looking septic field.

    I wouldn't put anyting heavier than a garden tractor, or maybe a bobcat on the field. Depends on how your soil perked, how far your lines are down and if they were set in gravel.

    As far as a grey water system.. Unless you plan to re-route some of the plumbing in your house, the best you could do to take some pressure off your septic is a laundry line. If you put it on it's own leach line, you will need a filter for lint, as it is just as bad as dishwashing powder. Use liquid detergent as well if you don't want to dig all your powder up at a later date.

    If you are thinking of the old let'er run out and leave it... you will have sanitary issues.

    Again DYODD, sounds like you are putting things right again. Good luck
     
  7. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Do not put toilet paper in the toilet. Line a small trash can with Wal-Mart bags and dispose of TP there. Carry it out to the burn barrel daily.

    This is the best use of Wal-Mart bags that I know! :bouncy:
     
  8. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yuk! That's a little more "involved" in the process than I want to be. Recommendation here is for every five years. Don't put anything but human waste and TP into the system, no grease, diapers, excessive amounts of household cleansers, etc. And don't drive over it, that compacts the field and may even collapse the drainage pipes. Our system is fifty years old and doing just fine.
     
  9. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    If a septic tank is never pumped, it will eventually fill with sludge right up to the outlet baffle. Once this happens, the sludge will flow into your drainfield and plug it. You can determine if this has happened by digging up your distribution box or drop boxes and looking inside. Since your drainfield is on a slope, you probably have a drop box at the beginning of each drainfield line. If the box is full of black tarry-looking stuff, you better start calling around for someone to install a new drainfield. Once your drainfield is plugged with sludge there is no way of “fixing” it. (there have been some tests done by the University where they poured gallons and gallons of high strength hydrogen peroxide into a sludge plugged drainfield that did have some minor positive effect…put is was very costly and the drainfield did not recover 100%)

    If you believe that the drainfield is not accepting effluent because of the soil compaction by the bulldozer, then a TerraLift treatment might be effective in restoring the porosity of the soil around the drainfield trenches. I assume your were inquiring about a TerraLift treatment when you mentioned “aerating the drainfield.”
     
  10. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We just installed a new septic- we are doing everything right according to the posters, but were having to pump every 4 months. I think a truck drove over the tank and broke some of the outflows about a decade or so ago. Not an issue till we went to more-than-weekend stays.
     
  11. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

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    Hi! First thanks again for a lot of great advice, I sure appreciate the time taken to reply.

    We lucked out and got the guy who pumped it before(small town luck:) and he said he pumped it for the previous owner, and at that point it had been plugged tween house and tank, which he fixed then. He checked the pipe(pvc) to the drain field(we had to cut away a big tree root on top of it, and will cut the fir that is about 3' from the tank--of course this tree leans TOWARD the house!) and said it was clear(in his opinion). He snaked it back toward the tank to get out some stuff around the opening(so it was plugged a bit on the outgoing pipe). We roughly traced the drainfield by the original county permit plan and figured the bulldozer may have gone over the ends of the lines. We'll ask the guy who built the house what the lines are made of(he's still our next"door" neighbor!).

    In his opinion we pumped the tank before it became a problem by getting too full and clogging the drain lines. The trenches are 30” deep, with 12” gravel, on a 30-40’ slope—covered with berry vines and ferns(basically it was going back to forest). The guy said the tank was a 1000 gal tank(it’s cement). We’re going to build a box around the lid for better access.

    So that’s how it ended up, for now. Now that we know where the field is, we can keep the trees down on top of it.

    Hubby said the septic guy snickered when they saw a few floating “white balloons”—and I TOLD him not to flush those!!!

    The roof vent pipes seem to be alright, we’ll put mesh on them.

    Thanks again!!
    (yes we do use liquid soap and no drano/etc)
    Aside from it being a big tub o' poo, the system is interesting...