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Old 06-20-2014, 10:29 PM   #1
RohanG
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Default Drain field problem

I just had my tank pumped as it was full and my house had backed up due to a plug of tp. It has been 7 years since the last pump and we have had no problems at all. It's just two of us in the house. After pumping the tank the drain field water proceeded to run back into the tank and fill it almost half full. The drain field consists of 6 pipes 25' long over a bed of gravel 28'' deep covered by about 30" of fill dirt. There are no wet spots over the entire drain field.

My septic guy has recommended a full drain field replacement

My question is two fold. Where did all that water come from?

Is a drain field replacement needed in this situation

Thanks for any insight



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Old 06-21-2014, 12:16 AM   #2
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The water was in the drainfield, and was not percolating out into the soil because the drainfield is having problems.

Sometimes drainfields can be brought back by jetting each pipe in the drainfield. Call around to the local plumbing/septic companies, and see if any of them offer this service.

Don't wait 7 years between tank pump outs. This puts your drainfield at risk of clogging up with solids.



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Old 06-21-2014, 12:50 PM   #3
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RohanG, sometimes if you wait too long between pumping, the crud from the septic tank gets in and clogs the drainfield up. When it backs up in to your house it can break the wax seals on the toilets and cause them to leak underneath and can damage your floor.

It might help you in the future to find out the size/capacity of your tank and the recommended time between having it pumped. Personally, I would say it should be pumped at least every 5 years-- possibly more.

Hopefully the drainfield can be cleaned rather than replaced. Depending on where you live, having that replaced can be very expensive. If you end up having to get it replaced, you might want to look in to Infiltrator Systems for the field lines. They reduce the amount of length required for the lines.

Good luck!

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Old 06-22-2014, 04:42 PM   #4
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Default Thanks and a followup question

Thank you for the response.

The tank is a twin chamber. Only one chamber got pumped. Is this normal practice?

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Old 06-23-2014, 04:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RohanG View Post
Thank you for the response.

The tank is a twin chamber. Only one chamber got pumped. Is this normal practice?
I'm not certain. Until recently, I had a 500 gallon single chamber fiberglass tank. It was insufficient for the load for the house (it was installed back when the house was only one bedroom and now it is has three bedrooms). My new tank has two chambers, but it doesn't need to be drained for another couple years yet. I *think* that only the first chamber needs to be drained because it is designed to be the catcher for the solid wastes and floating muck. In my new tank there are baffles to block the crud at the bottom and the crud at the top from moving in to the second part of the tank. Its a filter of sorts. They are connected so draining the water from one will likely drain the water from the other chamber, but the hose should probably only need to be put down into one chamber. I could be wrong on this.

Btw, I'm hoping you won't need to have it replaced, but if you do, I created a thread on the process of getting a septic tank/field line installed based on my own experience: http://www.plumbingforums.com/forum/...e-system-5653/

Hopefully that is something you won't have to do anytime soon though.

Edit to add: Whenever you have your tank drained, I do recommend that you stand by and supervise to make sure they drain it completely and don't leave any solid waste. I had a guy who didn't drain it all the way and we were having to get it pumped every year but he wasn't taking the solids out. They backed up and clogged the system which broke the wax seals on the toilets and caused leaks that destroyed the floors. The floor in one bathroom collapsed underneath the toilet while someone was sitting on it. Fortunately a joist blocked it from dropping straight down, but it fell over and the floor was just destroyed. I'm still trying to repair the floor in another bathroom from the sewage backing up and flowing in to the house. It's not pretty at all.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:03 PM   #6
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You should always get all chambers pumped. You could have sludge in multiple chambers

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Old 06-24-2014, 04:21 PM   #7
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Ah. Ok. That's good to know. So the next guy I hire to drain the tank needs to drain both chambers. I'll make sure that is done.



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