Septic Frozen?

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On Sun, 18 Dec 2005 14:23:30 -0700, James \\"Cubby\\" Culbertson wrote:

Yes, there should be some air space, don't recall the exact amount but a foot or so as you say. My bet would be drainfield problems, either a clog in the line, or clogged soil in the field - can't imagine a 12 year old system that has the field freeze with temps you mentioned earlier, municipality wouldn't pass inspection on such a field.

Bad timing sure enough - need to get someone out to figure out exactly what's going on.
You may have taken the best of care of the system since you've had it - doesn't mean the previous owners did...
Later, Mike (substitute strickland in the obvious location to reply directly) ----------------------------------- snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net
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On Sun, 18 Dec 2005 14:23:30 -0700, "James \\"Cubby\\" Culbertson"

You think you have trouble. There is no city sewage at the North Pole either. And when Santa had to replace his drain field, they had to dig through 32 feet of ice. Plus the shipping charges for the drain tiles are enormous. He tried to get the elves to make them, but they said they had toys to make and they called a wildcat strike. Then PETA objected to their striking the wildcat, and that caused further delays.
If you have children, they should be able to learn a lesson from this.

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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"So what do I do? I suppose I need to call someone out to confirm my diagnosis and I suppose it'll turn into digging up the yard to put in new drain lines. What a mess and only a week from Christmas..... Thx. cc "
Calling in some pros is the next step. After figuring out what needs to be done, if it turns out it's major and you need to put this off for awhile, you may be able to get by till spring if you have it pumped now and keep water usage to a minimum.
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Do you have a leach field or a leaching pit? If you have a field locate the distribution box. I have seen the covers cave in blocking flow. Regardless finding the box will tell you if the field is plugged (expensive fix) or if the line to the distribution box is plugged. All this should be less than 2' below grade.
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It's a field. And the box would be more than 2' deep. The septic is at around 3' down and the distribution lines angle down from there. I had it pumped today. The guy that came out seemed pretty knowledgeable and he seemed to think it was fine. We did use the washer a fair amount on Sat. and he thinks it was just overwhelmed for the few hours it started to back up. Otherwise, it's going to cost a fortune and all my landscaping will go to hell. I'm hoping he's right... Cheers, cc
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One of my favorite movie lines "....Never underestimate the power of denial..."
Recognize it? Know the movie?
Remember - the pumper guy gets paid for pumping.
Does he fix septic systems? Probabaly not. If you fix it, you won't need him every 6 months...
try to find the dist box. - do you have any idea where it is? Perhaps you should look after it warms a bit...
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Actually they do fix the systems. And install them. I'm gonna give this a go and see what happens. No point digging up the yard if it's alright after all. As for the dist. box, haven't a clue where it is other than I know which direction the drain lines run out at. Not even sure there is a dist. box.
He did recommend that I re-route the drain off the washer into a pit elsewhere. I will have to see what code says about that before doing anything although he did say the newer houses going up, had them installed this way. Interesting. Cheers, cc
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James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

Often the limiting factor of how much water can be wasted is the type the soil. Remember the water has to "pass through" the soil to be distributed evenly. I've also seen rock around the pipe crusted up and preventing the water to seep to the soil. If it were mine, I'd find the ends of the line, using a probing rod, to follow the gravel to the end. Dig up the end and see if water is coming through. If it is the lines are clear, if it isn't there is a blockage somewhere. Depending on the circumstances a high water bypass can be made, find the furthest low point in the line and dig a hole and fill it with sand and gravel, the water should surface in that area, obviously it would be best if this is not in the front yard by a kids bus stop, or the neighbor's greenhouse etc. Not a good deal according to most people but a lot better then having sewage back up in the house. Another thing to check is the outflow baffle in the septic tank, it must be in place and the water in the tank at the proper level for it to work properly, the purpose of the baffle is to keep solids out of the distribution lines. If you have high clay soil more distribution line may be needed or less water usage. When everything is working properly and properly sized for the incoming load a tank shouldn't need to be pumped.
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On 2005-12-18 16:23:30 -0500, "James \\"Cubby\\" Culbertson"

Could you or someone else have crushed/damaged any of the distribution lines, perhaps by driving a truck over them? (Ask me how I know...)
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