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Old 09-15-2013, 05:52 AM   #1
Eddings99
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Default Septic issues

Okay, I inherited the home after a prolonged period of watching my parents (Stroke and Dementia for the horribly depressing win). Because I was unable to work during this period, a lot of maintenance slipped.

Now, our septic system started to back up-- the water is flowing very slowly in the toilets, unable to remove solids down the pipe. I had a septic service come in and pump the tank-- I didn't have the money to have them dig down, and they gave me a discount for using the two access points (six inch pipes) to get to the tank. In passing, I want to mention that the pumper was up front that this wasn't as good as taking the lid off, but at the time we honestly didn't have the money to pay the extra. Right now, I'm slowly workging to uncover the entire tank.

It worked for about two days, but then same result-- and I found a bad valve that was dumping water into the tank from my toilet. Replaced it. I've been tossing bacterial additives into it, mainly because a few neighbors have had good results, and at this point mos of the soild waste should be out of it due to the pump. BUT, this still leaves me with annoyed family members who want their toilets working, and a freind who works over at UCR said that presuming the stuff works at all (you know biologists and professors, they don't really like to say: it will, or it won't, unless they KNOW), it's likely to be several weeks, because well, in his words, "bacteria isn't Alien acid."

So, on to my thoughts. I'm thinking that we could have several problems and I want to try and narrow it down so that if I do call a plumber, I can at least rule some things out to start.

1. Blockage in the pipe running to the tank. We're digging it up closely (did I mention that dad hd the pipe installed by non-contractor labor recommended by a friend?) and it looks like in places it's bowed downward. Combined with the fact that while the tank levels look high, it's not overflowed at all and there are no wet spots in the yard, we could just have roots or a blockage and if it's bowed, allthe additives and augering in the wrold isn't going to beat gravity.

2. Blockage going out to the drainfield. Second possibility: the drain field box has roots, is tilted or is blocked. Again, since we're getting some outglow it isn't total, but that's the thought especially since I can't see and didn't see when the tank was pumped, any roots in the tank itself.

3. Dead or dying leachfield. Apparently something called biomat could be causing a problem, especially since the tank wasn't pumped for at least 15 years. Lot's of additives claim to fix it, but I don't know-- I do know we can't afford to have it dug up but evidently there are treatments that don't require it to be dug up.

Anyon ehave any other suggestions or thoughts? I'd love to be able to get a plumber in to just "fix it" but we're short of money have been since the Great Recession started and that doesn't look to be changing anytime soon-- so while I may have to call a plumber, I'd like to ensure that I've done everything possible to narrow it down first, before going that route.

Thanks for your time!



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Old 09-15-2013, 01:25 PM   #2
phishfood
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Since you mention that your plumbing fixtures drained properly for a couple of days after having the tank pumped, it is not likely to be a blockage between the house and the tank. While the pipe should have consistent fall on it toward the tank, and any bellies should be fixed, it doesn't sound like that is causing your immediate problem.

Going strictly from what you have told us, drainfield problems are the most likely culprit. Not having had the tank pumped out in 15 years is bad for a drainfield, as the solids will build up in the tank to the point that they overflow into the drainfield and clog up the pores in the soil.

Try to fix the bellies in the pipe, and use a torpedo level to make sure it has consistent fall to the tank. Then expose the top of the tank and the the distribution box, if it has one. Dig down a little bit around the edge of both the tank and the box to make sure that roots are not growing in around the lids or the piping. Then call a reputable septic company out to evaluate the drainfield. At that time, have them do a proper pump out of the tank through both access lids, pressure cleaning all of the solids off of the tank surfaces. Even if you do end up needing a new drainfield, all of the above does need to be done anyway.



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Old 09-17-2013, 04:12 AM   #3
Eddings99
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Yeah, I'm going to have that-- but its unfortunatley going to take a while due to our money situation. This house is a slow motion disaster, and honestly, if we had somewhere else to go or could afford another home, I'd seriously consider just walking away from the mortgage (dad took out a BIG mortgage, which went into... well, a lot of new tools that were bought and forgotten). His money of course, but if I had known how bad off the house was, I probably would have just sold it in the beginning.

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Old 09-23-2013, 06:39 PM   #4
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Locate the D-box & see if you have water flowing into.

You may just have clogged pipe from septic tank to the D-box.

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Old 09-23-2013, 11:44 PM   #5
Eddings99
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Any suggestions on how to find it? I fear that while I have fond memories of being able to dig all day...

Recent events prove that those memories are no longer true

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Old 09-24-2013, 12:50 AM   #6
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Locate where the outlet pipe comes out of the & the D-box is usually 5 - 20 ft. from the tank. Also if you have cast iron pipe it is a really good chance you have a clogged pipe.

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Old 09-24-2013, 08:50 AM   #7
Eddings99
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Thanks-- I'll have to find the outlet when I drain it-- time for a mirror and flashlight down the access pipe.

I am, really, REALLY hoping it's 5 feet-- any more and it's likely under some asphalt dad had poured a while back...and that would be, as Egon says, Bad.



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