sick of septic system break downs. HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by TexasArtist, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. TexasArtist

    TexasArtist Well-Known Member

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    Our septic system keeps getting clogged up and we just can't get it to run the way it should. I'm thinking of going towards a composting tiolet. Can one be made at home until I can afford one of the pro made models?
     
  2. dlangland

    dlangland dlangland

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    Have you had it pumped recently? Deb
     

  3. TexasArtist

    TexasArtist Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes we have had it pumped. This isn't the first septic system we've had so we know to do that one. The septic company guys have told us that because of the rocky soil around here it's real hard ot get the systems to work right so that's why I'm asking about the compoting toilet deal.
     
  4. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    There's an old farm trick that you might try in the meantime on your septic system. If your soils are the problem this may not cure the situation although I think it will help.
    For the first 30 days flush 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast down every toilet in your house every day. After 30 days, reduce frequency to once a week. (always 1 teaspoon per toilet - that never changes). Stay on that routine for 3 months then reduce frequency to once a month. Once a month is the lifetime routine.
    Every old farmer I know (including my grandparents) did and does this - and I swear by it too. (And everyone I know who does this never has had to have a septic system pumped because it was clogged).
    A pound of active dry yeast is pretty cheap compared to pumping. Hope this helps. There aren't too many things worse than a backed up septic system - my heart go out to you!
    BW
     
  5. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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  6. Jack Parr

    Jack Parr Well-Known Member

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    Tex Art, a septic tank is the simplest of the simple waste handling systems. Gravity at work.
    First answer a few questions.
    Where do you live? Actually not all soils are amendable to septic systems. The soil should be pourous, meaning that it should accept water readily. Usually a soil test is required by your area health department or building code enforcement if there is such a thing in your area. The test consist of shovel digging some holes to a certain depth, pouring a certain amount of water into the holes and noting that the water readily drains away in a certain amount of time. The test is called a " soil percolation test " and your local government can advise you about all this, if, you live where there are building codes of some sort.

    Actually most counties/local governments do have some sort of septic tank regulation but if you live in a remote area the rules might not be strictly enforced.

    I have installed septic systems in the past here in south Louisiana and there are some clay soils down here that do not accept water readily, and I would think that the areas of Texas flatlands in the southeast might have those types of soils. If you have your setup on those type of soils, that might be the problem. Septic tanks or cess pools do not work well in clay type soils.

    During dry and hot weather the moisture/water flushed into the tank, set in clay soils, seeps up to the surface and evaporation usually is what takes the water away. Of course whenever it rains the leaching is impaired but if the house is built up, and not on a concrete slab, gravity should at least force the water up and disperse it above ground causing a soggy and possibly smelly situation, but you can at least continue to function.

    I have encountered some situations in the past, where the soil is not amenable not amenable to septic systems but alternative systems can be designed to cope with the houshold waste. However, they are usually expensive. I note that you indicated that money is a concern for you?

    I would need more info on your location, the elevation of the house, the current system you have installed, the location and size of the leech, or drain field etc.

    You can e-mail me at my address and I will try to help you.

    JP
     
  7. albionjessica

    albionjessica Hiccoughs after eating

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    Do you have proper filters? We had a problem with lint from the clothes washer clogging our system up. There is a rather cheap filter you can get to separate the small lint particles from the wash water before it goes into your pipes. We never knew so much lint could clog up the soil so badly until one of our old neighbors gave us that solution.
     
  8. TexasArtist

    TexasArtist Well-Known Member

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    To BooBoo
    Thanks for the web site. It's quite a bit of info so I'll look it all over when I get back to the house

    To Jack
    we have rocky soil. No clay. The dirt that is there is good deep black soil. The perc test was done by the professional company that put it in. They have been doing the system for 20 some years. The house is up above the system so everything kind flows down hill. It seems to clog if someone gets sick in the house for some reason. It's like if the tiolet is flushed more then 15 times a day or whatever it is the thing has problems. The are of texas I'm in is the hill country about 40 miles before it becomes desert. Also there no trees in the area so we know it's not roots getting in there.

    To Albionjessica
    The tiolets are the only thing going into the tank. The sink, showers, washer and such are all directed out to the trees and the pipes is added to and the direction changed every once in awhile so that water doesn't collect in one area to much.

    Thanks to everybody for the ideas and such. Anybody else have anything just fire away.
     
  9. mamajohnson

    mamajohnson Knitting Rocks! Supporter

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    I was told long ago to put the yeast in the septic, and a little bit of yogurt. The live cultures and the yeast go a long way to "eat up" your waste. Perhaps you need one sink going into the septic, you need some fresh water in there also... If you dont flush at every "pee" session, you may not have enough fresh water... But, then if you have 5 daughters, you may have too much! lol!! Good luck!
     
  10. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not answering your question exactly, but wonder what is clocgging up exactly? The line to the septic tank, the tank itself, or the line out to the drain field?

    You might have a rather small setup if it is designed for the toilet only.

    Nothing extra should be flushed down the toilet, that has been covered in other threads. Will plug them up right quick.

    --->Paul
     
  11. TexasArtist

    TexasArtist Well-Known Member

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    We know about the yeast deal but the yogurt thing is a new one.............unless my mom has been throwing that down. and yes the potty gets flushed with each use. :eek:

    The part that seems to be clogging is the pipe from the house to the tank. We don't use the normal t.p. like the septic guys said not to. We use the kind that breaks down real quick in water.

    Spit it out Cabin need as many suggestions as possible. :rolleyes:
     
  12. mamajohnson

    mamajohnson Knitting Rocks! Supporter

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    come on cabin! I like hearin' your stuff!! (I listen, just dont say much!)

    Maybe you need to replace the pipe to the tank? May be a pain, but depending on how old it is, it may just need to be replaced....
    ok, the yogurt/yeast thing was told to me about 20 years ago by a guy that was about 90 years old then.... he told me that first thing about living in the country!!
    and the flush deal,,, well,,,, I have a house fullll of boys... they never flush... even if they do go inside (not usual).... ya know how it goes. :eek:
     
  13. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    he says.. rightly so... voodoo in the tank doesnt work. a tak can become sterile, and need a booster shot of bacteria, but you need to get good stuff.

    you have a clog... so snake it and unclog it.
    unless, your pipe has collapsed somewhere to the tank, as mine did a long long time ago and well you dig it up and replace it.

    if the tanks normal, and the inside pipes are normal and clear, then you need to clear the line to the tank.

    septic guys now have nifty poop tube cams they snake in the pip to see where a break is, you might need to spend some bucks.

    you might just have a rat nest in a vent pipe.

    dont flush the TP... any kind.
     
  14. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    See what happens when you don't check back often?!?! now i want to know what Cabin Fever had to say.....its not fare i tell you....
     
  15. anojones

    anojones Member

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    The only real reason following this thread is to learn something from Cabin Fever. Funny retracted post all the same. Oh, and by the way- my parents septic tank wasn't pumped for thirty years and it did just fine- that is until it finally filled up and turned the backyard into a cess pool (this was not a cheap fix with ridx or yeast).
     
  16. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    There are excellent plans for home made compost toilets in 'The Toilet Papers' by Sim van der Ryn. Book is not expensive and is in print.
     
  17. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    Don't flush Kotex, Tampons, cigarette butts, grease...disconnect the garbage disposal. LOL... Yeah, I know you've been through that already.


    The BS about adding yeast, etc, is just that, BS! Your own waste products have EXACTLY what is needed for decomposition. We operated a 50 gallon septic tank with a 30 foot lateral line for a dozen years without a single day's failure! What is critical is not flushing or washing down the sink chemicals that HINDER, or STOP anerobic decay/decompositon.

    The only thing we ever added to our simplistic system was Basic H (a save surfactant), which allows water to run into and through smaller pores within the soild.

    Generally, the Hill Country has LOUSY percolation rates in comparison to other areas of the state! But Basic H (a Shakley product), allows water to run through tight soils better than pure sand.

    Having to pump out a septic tank is merely evidence that SOMEONE is washing dirt and junk down into the system!!!!!

    Last year, I installed a conventional septic system for our barn. It had to contend with 50-75 users at a time. It did NOT fail! Our poorly designed house system (I didn't install it!), works perfectly...without yeast, etc.