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 07-06-2004, 13:39 Post: 90208
bmlekki



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 Septic System-Problem

Over the weekend the misses was doing laundry and I was out in the front of the house, when I noticed for the first time a lot of funky smelling water coming out of the ground where I figured the tank was. So I started digging. I hit the cover about 1' 1/2, down, and it was a large circular metal lid that was sitting on top of 1x6 lumber.
There was very little scum on top maybe 2 inches worth. I took enough water from the top to see the bottom of the exit pipe the leach field. As I was doing this I saw the water flowing back into the tank. Soon as I had the level down low enough I could tell the baffle was rotted away, rendering it useless. SO I hopped that the plug up was at the distribution box. I started digging up the pipe coming out the tank. The white PVC pipe comes out about 3 feet and makes a right hand turn and after the turn as Im digging I notice some of the unmistakable black dirt so figured the was a crack in the pipe... Nope its the perforated stuff! So far I only have about 6 feet of it dug up. Note that when I dug out around one of those holes, water came right out. Also I can't believe that they just buried this in clay dirt, with no gravel.

I purchased this place in April of 2004, and it's just my wife and I, with a cloths machine, and a dish washer that runs a couple of times a week.

I plan to build my house in the back in hopefully 10 years, and move the modular out of here. So I would like to do a cheap fix that will work for the mean time.

I was thinking that I should continue digging it up to see where it goes. If I could get some gravel and place it around the pipe and make/fix the baffle to get me by for a while.

Please let me know if, (a)you have an idea how old this is,(b)if it is fixable with maybe a couple more runs with gravel around the runs. Remember Id rather not start from scratch as I would have to build another one up the hill.
Thanks for your input!






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 07-06-2004, 15:51 Post: 90225
kwschumm



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 Septic System-Problem

Do you have a water softener that drains into the septic system? I have heard that sodium and clay soil can combine into a sort of impermeable barrier that will render the leach field useless. Since you just bought the place, did the seller disclose any septic problems? If they did not then you may have recourse there.






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 07-06-2004, 16:26 Post: 90226
kwschumm



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By the way, here's a link to a product called septic protector that I'm a believer in. This is a simple filter assembly that goes on the discharge hose of washing machines. It filters out a lot of lint that would otherwise get flushed out to the leach field and could eventually plug it up. In our case it filters out a few handfulls of lint each week. Over a period of time it can really add up. If nothing else this site has a lot of information on septic systems.






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 07-06-2004, 20:25 Post: 90244
TomG

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 Septic System-Problem

It sounds like a job for a pro and very likely would turn into a new system. Regs here prevent most repairs to any system that's below current code. There are some things that can help leach fields but I wouldn't be too hopeful unless the outlet is blocked somewhere. Leach fields don't last forever.

These things can turn into very expensive problems since new conventional systems can't be approved for some properties. Of course, operation of an inadequate system can get expensive too. However, irrespective of rules you really don't want to contaminate yours or anybody's well. Maybe hope for an intact tank, too much paper, a blocked outlet and a fairly decent leach field.

If you're not ready for a new system, a possibility is that existing system wasn't intended for modern family use. Reducing the flow through it might get you by. One way to reduce flow is to try for approval for a gray water leach pit and run the laundry and bath water into the pit.






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 07-07-2004, 05:55 Post: 90254
Oliver



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 Septic System-Problem

A few years back I faced a similar problem on a vacation property. The house is on an island, set about 10 feet from the water; the house and septic were put in in 1932. Wd ended up digging out (by hand) the perforated pipe that led to the "leech field" (using the term very loosely) and replacing it. After having the tank pumped out, this fix lasted for about two years until we put in a very elaborate, up to modern code (and not in espensive!) system that linked the two houses and two outbuilding together onto the same system.

It was a dirty job, but not too difficult.






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 07-07-2004, 06:25 Post: 90255
hardwood

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 Septic System-Problem

When you speak of finding a metal cover on top of some 1X6 lumber I'm afaid ypu've got a system that will be real tough to bring up to code. We found a similar system on a farm we bought several years ago and had to replace the whole system to sastify county codes. I'm sure that different parts of the country have different codes, but I'm doubting many codes would allow any wooden tank covers, that's exactly what we had and "NO Dice" with the county. I'm not wanting to bring bad news, but I'm real afraid it going to mean a new system. Good luck. Frank.






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 07-07-2004, 07:06 Post: 90259
TomG

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We're waiting for the contractor to get around to installing a new system right now. The old system works OK but I knew the cedar logs covering the top of two cement block tanks were rotted after I had it pumped several years ago. We had a sinkhole over part of the secondary tank this spring after the snow melted. I stuck a shovel in just to verify that a log had given away. Word from the officials was 'no dice no repairs' even though it's working just fine. We went with a gray water pit and composting toilet at our camp to avoid codes that otherwise require a full residential system.

Good luck, and just hope for adequate perc tests and adequate property size and well location should the need arise. Till it's sorted out it might be good to do laundry and baths someplace else, avoid flushing and maybe have any well water used for drinking tested. Of course, in some places a failed water test invites more official problems. Better to have official than health problems though for both you and your neighbours.






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 07-07-2004, 08:44 Post: 90263
bmlekki



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What is the diffrence between taking the honey wagon out across the field and spreding it on top as to all the codes for a septic? We've only got fields around us...

Is it possable that i dont even have a leech field and just this perf. pipe set in the dirt??

No water softener...
So let say that i need a whole new system, all options are default.. codes,plenty of space..blabla.. Whats this project going to cost me for a new system...

Thanks.. ugh






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 07-07-2004, 09:07 Post: 90266
TomG

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In Texas there were no codes for rural properties over 10 acres. Might still be true but at least requirements would vary widely so costs would be hard to say.

Some old systems are nothing but a 55-gallon drum and a length of leach line. It works OK for low flows in sandy soil. In clay there's a good chance that stone would have been used in the field itself but maybe not around the feed from the tank to the field.

Nothing wrong with a dedicated field for spreading and there's one in use near here that's in a municipality and fairly close to residential areas. Our government here in Ontario has a bill to ban all spreading of human waste but they haven't quite found a solution yet. Ours will be pumped and spread for $150 compared to $600 - $800 if the government ever bullies municipalities into taking waste from rural areas.

The system approved for our small house and sandy soil is an 800-gallon tank and 200' of leach line in 4 50' runs. It will cost around $3,000CN.






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 07-07-2004, 10:40 Post: 90270
yooperpete



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 Septic System-Problem

In my area of Michigan with clay soil, a 3 bedroom ranch (1400 sq.ft.) with single bath needed a 2000 gallon tank with 800 feet of field filled in with sand and then stone to have it to code. Cost was about $6,000.00 two years ago.

It had a 600 gallon tank with two people with about 600 feet of field backfilled with stone that lasted about 30 years.

If you don't need to meet code, you definitely can get by with lots less. The concept of a 55 gallon drum and leach lines for your washer and sink water really reduces the strain on the septic system. I have that setup on one of my farm houses. That has been in place for over 20 years without a hitch. The inspector is not aware of this, however.






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