Septic failure? stinky house!

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mm wrote: ...

Depends on how deep the drainfield is mostly... :)
Ours owing to location in order to get the necessary slope in the drain line is 5-6ft to the top--grass doesn't have a chance.
As I read OP's problem description he's actually got breakthru of the surface w/ standing water not just some telltale signs (that are pretty typical, yes). It would seem that would be mandatory to have the odor problem.
--
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YES!
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

The (probably late by now) humorist Erma Bombeck (I think) even had a book by that title- 'The grass is always greener over the septic tank'. -- aem sends...
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wrote:

LOL. I forgot about that. The prior owner of our house had built a patio over the septic tank, a dark pink one. With a hole where the lid was, and flowers planted there. At least in the 8 years we were there, we didn't have to dig up the tank. I was there 40 years later, and no one was ever home so I went around back to look, but the thick snow on the ground prevented me from seeing if the pink patio and the cement pont were still there. (The pond was 3 feet by 18 inches by 8 inches deep.)
I left an antique lightbulb in the bedroom closet fixture when I went off to college, and I forgot to tell my mother to take it before she moved, so I was going to see if they still had it and would give it to me, 40 years later. I'm usually an optimist, and we went 8 years without using the light in the shallow closet. Maybe other owners went 40 years. Stopped by 9 times in 3 days but they were never home.
I can't call them because I haven't been able to find out their name.
It was my grandmother's lightbulb, from her pantry, and it had a point at the end. Must have been from the 30's at least??
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MM! check out 411.com - you can do a reverse address search to get their name and #
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On Fri, 20 Nov 2009 06:48:37 -0800 (PST), "mike_0 snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com"

Oh, gosh. I'm supposed to keep track of such things. I use that site and missed that it had this. Thanks a lot.
Posted & mailed iiuc.
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I can tell exactly what is wrong with the system--- it's all tore up! Larry
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On Nov 19, 10:39am, tehaleks_at_gmail_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (tehaleks) wrote:

The seller knew of the problem, having proof he knew is what you will need to get him to foot the bill if it is legaly possible. How many septic repair people are in your area, in mine not many. You should contact them to see who came out and told the seller he had the problem he has hidden from you.
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ransley wrote:

to get it pumped.... Cost me $250!
It solves the problem but then I also have to put sand around the rim of the iron spetic lid or the smell continues to 'flow' out in the driveway from around the lid
think - pump out is always step one....
paul
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tehaleks_at_gmail_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (tehaleks) wrote in

No, not normal, period.
Assume this is not a new home.
Is it a foreclosure?
I hope you did not buy it "as-is" without warranty?
Wonder if it was pumped just prior to sale to cove-up issue, 1000 gal tank filled and problem revealed itself.
Document everything. I hope it's a minor issue but has the potential to run into thousands.
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On Thu, 19 Nov 2009 14:43:06 -0600, Red Green wrote:

It'd have to be a pretty major plumbing leak, though - they've only been there a week. OK, 1000 gallons is probably a matter of hours, not days, but I'd expect a leak like that to be audible at least...
(If the OP has a water meter or well pump I suppose they'll be able to easily tell if the system's losing water at a chronic rate)
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Jules wrote:

No leak necessary; OP didn't say anything about size of family and if the field was already saturated there very well is already a direct path formed such that the effluent simply runs out on the surface at the lower level. He indicated the lot slopes significantly.
--
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On Thu, 19 Nov 2009 15:08:53 -0600, dpb wrote:

Yes, sorry - I thought they'd said that this was a new problem, but it seems like the new problem's just the smell and the system could have been saturated even before they moved in...
Needs the OP to get back with more info now that there are a few posts to reply to, I guess.
cheers
Jules
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How many resale homes have you seen where the seller actually gives a warranty? In my experience I've never received one and never given one, nor would I. A small number of sellers offer a very limited warranty on some basic things like appliances, hvac, etc through one of the ripoff plans, but never heard of one that would cover a septic system. The only place I've seen warranties are for new homes, in which case some states require them.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote in

There are implied warranties to the extent that things are functioning properly at the time to the best of the sellers knowledge...not hacked and patched to evidently hide. And it's understood that certain things can be working fine today and a week later go kaput like an appliance. Things like a roof leaking first rain, septic system failing in a week, basement leaking or something else in an "unreasonable time" can become issues. That's were legal hands get involved and the buyer has to show the seller had knowledge of the problem without stating it on the RE disclosure. Sometimes the buyer gets screwed and sometimes the seller. The lawyers alway$ win.
When say some foreclosed homes are sold, it's stated all over the paperwork it's sold "As-Is Wthout Warranty" implied or not. Besides them often being trashed, that's why you get it at a reduced price. And it often can say the seller "may or may not have knowledge" of issues. To try and recover after signing and buying under these conditions would be $rough$. To buy a home on a regular sale at market value under such warnings would be insane.
That's my unprofessional understanding.
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Perry525 had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Re-Septic-failure-stinky-house-407569-.htm :
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

A septic tank working properly does not smell! Except when the inspection cover is loose and rain or surface water is getting in and softening the floating crust. Solution make sure rain and surface water are diverted round the septic, make sure water does not form a pond on the septic. A drain field should be laid at an angle of one in two hundred! I would guess from your description that your drain field is laid in a direct line down the slope and the waste water is merely running straight to the bottom where the ground is overloaded and sodden. One solution is to relay the drain field in a series of zig zags so the each line is at the correct angle of one in two hundred. A cheaper option is to dig a series of diagonal French drains across the yard to move the surface water to the side and stop the ground from being overloaded.

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On Nov 20, 11:29am, Kitsell_at_dsl_dot_pipex_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (Perry525) wrote:

I take it that there are just the two of you living in the house.
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tehaleks wrote:

Sounds like it was improperly installed. Drainage is nil.
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tehaleks had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Septic-failure-stinky-house-407383-.htm : Hi again, thank you everyone for your replies so far. I wish I could answer all your questions but some things I honestly don't know and would have to ask my fiance - unfortunately he is not all that concerned with the septic tank, I guess he says as far as he knows his parents have never pumped theirs but maybe once in the past 25 years they've lived there so ours is "probably" fine... but he's not home during the day to smell what I smell, and he hasn't stepped in the goopy puddles at the end of our yard.
Some of you asked about the home inspections - we did get an inspection done but it was just a general inspection, nothing specialized, so I don't think he checked the septic, but IF he did, I know he did not say anything bad about it on the inspection (our home was a flip, we bought it just after it had been finished).
Some of you mentioned "fingers" in the yard you'd see in the grass, I guess perhaps the drain field is a lot closer than I thought. I will take photos later, but as you walk into our back yard, you go out the back door, cross the gravel driveway and pass the garage, go down about 15ft from the edge of the garage and there is only ONE lift-off top for the septic tank, I don't see another one anywhere. Then about 8-10ft down the yard past that is a flat area of our yard where some of the grass is dying in little blotchy spots (I also think there used to be a pool there, the first time we saw the home there was a perfect circle spot of dying grass). But there is also a young tree planted on the far end of that flat spot, which I thought was a no-no?
Continuing the tour of our yard, if you go down from the end of blotchy grass (which is about 30ft wide and 15ft deep), go about 20ft from the young tree there is a large well established old tree, beyond that the yard is bare down to the forest about 60ft beyond that, and just past the old tree is where the yard starts getting squishy, the old tree also marks the start of the dramatic slope.
OH, here is a big black corrugated plastic pipe somewhere between where the septic tank is and the flat splotchy grass field, that is kind of peeking out of the ground. I feel like this was probably supposed to be buried at some point, it kind of poses a danger if you're mowing your yard.
I don't know if this tour was necessary, just trying to help you help me, I've lived in an apartment all my life! :P
I have spoken to the neighbors a little bit, I have not asked them any specific questions but none of them have ever had anything bad to say about the state of the home, just that another young couple lived here previously and had a hard time paying their bills.
I think that answers most of the questions in this post so far, I will have to reread to make sure. I really appreciate all the thoughts in this issue so far!
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tehaleks wrote:

http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Septic-failure-stinky-house-407383-.htm
2 of you in the house and there is a problem so early, it will get far worse if you add more people - kids. If you hired a professional inspector before you bought the house, he may be liable.
If your septic becomes a neighborhood nuisance someone may call in authorities and you may be liable for fines until you get it fixed.
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