Old Septic Tank Caved in

Page 1 of 2  

I recently discovered a small hole in my back yard filled with water, I pushed a long stick into the hole and found that the hole was 4' deep! My house is 60 years old and was hooked up to town sewerage I'm guessing about 50 years ago. I have lived here for 30 years and had no clue a to where the old septic tank was. I know were it is now! The small hole ended up yo be a 5 foot diameter hole with muddy water about 4ft deep. Good thing I found it before some kid fell in. This past weekend I filled the hole with rocks and bolders. The hole is now about 6" deep. Shoud I add crushed stone before I add top soil? Seems like if I add top soil over bolders it will seep down.
The people that were the previous owners weren't too bright. They should have doen something about the old septic tank after they disconnected it from the house.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Bury it and be done with it.

What should have they done with it? Why don't you do it then? Should they have dug it up? My house also has an abandoned septic tank in the yard. I've done with it the same thing that you're previous owners did with yours - *nothing*.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Then you should do something. Some town have codes and procedures as does the Uniform Plumbing Code
Also, read this http://www.septicprotector.com/deathpools.htm
Ignorance is not an excuse so it would be wise to remedy the bad situation.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

big bopulders and rocks BAD IDEA! the dirt that musat o on top will forever be leaking between boulders and sinking.
you shoulds of filled with gravel little sink with that, or filled with plain dirt sprayed with water and compacted.
what you added was the worst choice you could of made.....
sorry to give you bad news......
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Looks like I built my self a nice rock garden! Kidding Aside, I had to do somethng quick. Ther are kids running around in my yard all the time and the last thing I want is for someone to fall into the hole.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Maybe it's not too late to fill with gravel small enough to get past the boulders, and dirt.
Is there a bottom to the hole? Does the water run out the bottom or not. If it seems out the bottom, maybe you can wash the gravel in with a garden hose, and use the hose lightly to fill up the rest of the niches with dirt. So the process doesn't take years but days. But I don't know.
You'll use less of anything you add now because the boulders will take up so much space.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
There is a hard bottom. I used a crow bar and the bottom seems to be somewhat solid. The water seemed to dry up over the weekend, more like mud now. I will go to Home depot (or equivalent) and get bags of sand. I can't get a truck in back of my house so I'll have to bring in bags one at a time.
Got some real exercise this weekend.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

that volume will cost a fortune.
aem sends....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The other guy was right. Use sand. It won't matter what the bottom is like.

I'll bet.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You can get a wheelbarrow fairly cheap. Easier on the back.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Same thing happened to me ... I saw a hole and stuck a big stick down to see how deep it was. Scared me half to death when I found out how deep it was. I had no idea there was anything like it there.
I filled it with a bunch of wall stone I had lying around. There is a shallow depression over it but it's no hassle at all.
nancy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Actually... the volume between rocks is based on the variety of size.... In other words, "poorly graded" - i.e. all the same size - rocks have a voids ratio of 0.4, meaning there is 40% air/water/whatever between them. The size of the rocks doesn't matter. Boulders are just as good/bad as pea gravel.
So... If you want to fill in, make sure you get "well graded" gravel, meaning a little of every size. or just throw whatever you have in, then, if your soil allows it, hose in dirt....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

This septic is a solid concrete vault type, less than 30 years old. I'm not about to go digging up a non-problem.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It's a non-problem until the thing deteriorates & caves in.
cheers Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Evidently, many others thought it was a non-problem also. Does this mean you'll just leave it for the next owner to discover it with disastrous results? Or your grandkids? If it is a violation of you local does, you can even get sued by the next owner even if nothing happens.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

weather the thing is in use or not, it's there. The thing would be just as prone to cave in if it were in use right? Does the fact that it's not in use make it not safer than inuse? So what's the difference? Like I said, it's not a problem for me. I'm not getting out the backhoe to go digging for problems. Yes, I will leave it for the next owner, as it was left by a previous owner for me. I will inform the next owner about it, not hiding nothing. The previous owners did not bother to tell me about it......
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 23 Apr 2007 16:51:51 -0500, "J.A. Michel"

It's that it is older.
I think it is that these things go from being in use to being out of use, and very rarely go from out of use to in use. So things that are out of use are on average much older than the ones that are in use.
Say that septic tanks are used on average for 30 years. So assume the average age of an in-use septic tank is 15 years.
But the average starting-age of a non-used septic tank would then be 30 years, and the the average age could easily be more than 45 years. More than 3 times the average age of an in-use tank. And getting older all the time.

If the next owner were in full control of everything that happened because of it that would be fine, but he doesn't and can't control everyone who walks on his lawn. Nor can you.

What has that got to do with it?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Pressure. If the tank is empty, the outside pressure on the walls is greater than if the tank is filled. Greater pressure, greater chance of cracking and collapsing. Depending on soil conditions, the empty tank can even try to float if the ground was very wet after a long series of rainy days.
Then there is methane. Empty tansk with some rotting stuff on the bottom are prone to it. If you fell into a large tanks of crappy water, you may be dusgustingly filthy but can get to the top and get out. If the empty tank is filled with some quanity of methane, you can pass out, eventually die, before you could get help. People have died going into abandoned tanks and wells trying to help someone that has already passed out. About 10 years ago, three brothers did exactly then. First one dropped, then the other two went in to help and never came up.

For the sake of you and your family, I hope it never is a problem. There is sound reasoning behind the regulations to fill them in.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The tank has been abandoned for at least 50 years (ie) no raw sewage for 50 years The steel cover rotted. That's why it collapsed. I will fill with sand and keep adding sand until it doesn't ettle anymore. Then I will use topsoil. The lawn in that part of my yrd isn't the greatest so I'm not concerned about how it will look. Only concerned about safety. M
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

i THINK on Leno tonight it was, he gave the bare bones about a 75 year old woman who was trying to put flowers on a grave, when the grave collapsed and she fell in.
Of course that is a well-known issue, and I don't think the depth can be as much.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.