Please Diagnose - Rainfall Causes Backup - See Video

Discussion in 'Septic Tanks' started by Jonathan Zaremba, Jan 12, 2019.

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  1. Jan 12, 2019 #1

    Jonathan Zaremba

    Jonathan Zaremba

    Jonathan Zaremba

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    Link to video explaining the issue:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jZnq8Gqi5cyuK6h8bwLAvj8LHxvXSjNB/view?usp=drivesdk

    Description:

    No issues with my septic except when it rains hard for extended periods. When that happens, water backs up through the tank and house drain making it impossible to flush toilet etc... When rain stops, issue resolves itself after about 10 or 12 hours.

    110 feet of conventional and 110 feet of ez flow (peanuts) stuff. Installed 2005. Got copy of map from county to see where everything is. Tank pumped a year ago.

    I live far from everything and have had difficulties getting a pro out here to diagnose the problem. Talked to a few on the phone...some said that I ought to just live with it because soil here doesn't drain well. Some said that a series of French drains may be needed. Others said that the type of septic installed here is cheap and prone to failure.

    Dug up the tight line to see the condition of each T fitting and connection. My gut tells me that the fittings after the tight line are the source of my trouble but want the opinion of someone with more experience. So I filmed a quick video to show what I have.

    Can you take a look and let me know what you think is the issue and the least expensive way to fix it properly?

    Here is the video:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jZnq8Gqi5cyuK6h8bwLAvj8LHxvXSjNB/view?usp=drivesdk
     
  2. Jan 13, 2019 #2

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Diehard

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    Well I am no expert nor have any ongoing experience with septic systems, besides my own. But it would seem to me that it's a ground water level problem, which of course changes with weather conditions.

    I expect that a percolation test was made back when the system was designed and installed. Not sure what the detail requirements are for what time of year the percolation tests are made, etc. The system should be designed based on results of percolation tests and ideally during the wet weather season.(In my mind.)

    I have been noticing a lot more system, when being redone or new, are being designed and installed using the "Mound System". Which effectively raises the leaching field higher and requires the wastewater be pumped from the septic tank or an intermediate tank, up to the leaching field elevation. In other words higher above the average ground water level.

    I'm sorry I don't have the knowledge to have a suggested fix for you situation.

    I may be all wet(pun intended) but it would seem to me that if there were some way possible to reduce the amount of rainwater entering that general area of the leaching field, like some type of channeling of the surface water. Or some type of storm water collection to divert it elsewhere, would be a big help. But that's probably not the best of ideas, just the first thing that comes to mind.

    Or maybe a small 2nd septic tank set up in such a way as to only be allowed to take wastewater when your current system is temporarily unusable. Ask your local septic companies about the feasibility of installing a back water valve on the outlet line of your existing to prevent that from backflow/surcharging you present septic tank. That would allow you to pump or divert the contents of the existing tank to the emergency smaller tank, sized for the typical downtime needs.

    In other words, in the absence of a fix maybe a work around to take care of your immediate needs for a day or two.
     
  3. Jan 13, 2019 #3

    Jonathan Zaremba

    Jonathan Zaremba

    Jonathan Zaremba

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    Thanks for the response. I haven't considered the 2nd tank like you mentioned. That's an interesting idea. The trouble is that there aren't any local septic companies here. Strange, but true. And those that are somewhat nearby (30-45 mins away) have not been interested in taking my money. But i'll keep trying and if i can get someone to actually come out here, i'll talk to them about a 2nd tank.

    There are 2 people on my street and neither of then needed a 2nd tank. They both have conventional PVC/gravel systems installed, one of which has a curtain drain that runs parallel to it.
     
  4. Jan 13, 2019 #4

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Diehard

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    Ask that person for their experience with that curtain drain. e.g.-Purpose and before and after results, or whatever.
     
  5. Jan 16, 2019 at 1:18 PM #5

    SHEPLMBR

    SHEPLMBR

    SHEPLMBR

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    I can't see the video (drone computers at work). Are your lids above ground? Are your risers sealed?
     
  6. Jan 16, 2019 at 1:41 PM #6

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Diehard

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    The video shows sections of the leaching field piping and a lot of standing water, at a few feet below grade. Appears that it can't leave the tank by gravity due to leaching being in the water table.
     
  7. Jan 20, 2019 at 1:49 AM #7

    Jonathan Zaremba

    Jonathan Zaremba

    Jonathan Zaremba

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    Thanks for all of your responses. Sorry for my delay in replying. To answer some of the questions that were raised:
    • Don't want to do a mound system because i'll never have that much money and nobody else around here seems to need them.
    • The guy down the road who just put in the french drain did it when he built his house. So we don't have a before/after scenario to compare. But he hasn't had any issues with his septic and he's actually lower than me in elevation.
    • Installing a 2nd tank is an idea i didn't really think of. Having it as a reserve would be good. I'm going to consider that if nothing else becomes viable.
    Soooo....we had almost 24 hours of rain and the whole yard is a mess again. I recorded a video update showing the condition of the septic system when i'm unable to flush inside. Please take a look by clicking here (on youtube now):



    I think my ultimate question is this:
    • Will adding onto the drainage lines with another 100' help? Or does my yard become so saturated with rainwater that no amount of lines will make a difference?
    • Or, is the solution to add a curtain or french drain parallel to each leach line to divert the water before it backs up into the system?
    And if you were unable to see the original video (showing the yard when dry), here it is:


    Sorry for the long response, but thanks again for your help and insight!!!

    - Jon Z.
     

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