Septic Repair

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Ok, I have sewage leaking and a faint odor coming from my bathroom. The leak is at the end of my leach field so not a blockage. Probably going to have to replace leach field. My question is what are the requirements for installing a new leach field? My home is over 30 years old and a neighbor stated that code has changed and my .5 acre wasn't big enough to install a new leach field or even replace the existing field. If this is the case what am I supposed to do, pump out the damn tank every 2 months? And worse, I was planning on selling within a year to build on another plot of land I own. Who's going to buy a house with septic problem, it's probably illegal anyway. Any help is greatly appreciated!!!!!
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On Mar 29, 1:06 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

There is one additional procedure which I heard of, but it is not a permanent solution. It may not be accepted by the local inspector. Some of these septic building companies can aerate the field with a pipe and thereby extend its life. But they don't guarantee the results. The slang term for the procedure is something like an elephant trunk. I suppose that refers to the hose which blows the air into the field. Joe G
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On Mar 29, 1:06 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Another option that may apply is a raised sand bed. Depending upon your grade of course, it may also require a pump to move the effluent from the tank to the bed. There are some really good innovations in sewage treatment including some that actually use the final liquid to watergrass. I'm also assuming that you don't have access to a city sewer system and HAVE to be on a private septic treatment plant. It would be very interesting to hear that a municipality could refuse a permit for a new bed when they don't offer a sewage connection. I've been through this issue at my Parent's house... Feel free to e-mail me directly, a close friend installed septic systems for 30+ years and his advice is always bang-on.
Here's a link to a site that a friend of mine had installed when his bed blew out and couldn't be replaced due to a high water table. When the health inspector found out the company name they didn't even show up for the inspection.
http://www.waterloo-biofilter.com /
I don't know what state you're in but they have a few US dealers..
Good luck,
Gary
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If the water is making its way to the end of the leach field I would think that any bathroom odor is not related unless the water is not making its way down the pipe.
To find out what options are available, you will need to contact your local authorities. However, if you do, and they inspect your current system they may immediately condemn it and force a quick replacement at any cost. This is spring, often the ground gets saturated with water which fills the leach field preventing it from absorbing the effluent into the soil. This may self correct when the ground dries up. In the meantime, you need to seriously reduce the amount of water you dump into the septic tank. Analyse your water usage and cut back drastically. Do laundry at the laundry, don't flush for every single #1 that someone does. Take short showers. This will reduce the load on the leach field and aid in drying it out. I had a similar problem 25 years ago and I am still using the same septic system and leach field today.

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You really need to see your local enviromental health department. You could also call a local septic company. At least in this area, there have been substantial changes in the rules for septic systems, up to and including annual inspections by a licensed septic company.
In your situation, there may be options to waive some of the setback requirements. Depends on where your well is and where your neighbor's well and septic system are.
The alternative can also be some more modern engineered fields, including a mound type. These may require that you replace the classic dual chamber tank with a three chamber one and also may involve lift pumps. If you have to go this way it won't be cheap...
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Really like to visit your Cafe and meet Ilsa,Laslo, Sam, Ferrari and kick major Strasser. Joe G
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On 29 Mar 2007 10:06:04 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It sounds like your field is not perking anymore. The waste water is just laying there. I would start by calling several septic companies for opinions/estimates and they will know what the government will make you do without kicking that tar baby. Usually this involves digging out the whole field, trucking it away to a dump site and rebuilding it with new gravel, leach cloth and piping. There may also be some less drastic remedial actions they can do but these are local choices based on what the soil and the law will allow. We can only guess what your situation is. Make sure you get several opinions. There is a lot of scamming going on in the septic business.
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On Mar 29, 3:49 pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I agree with the above advice. And I disagree with the post that said you will likely be able to rebuild the system to the code standards of decades ago because it was grandfathered. Usually, grandfathering applies to what's there being OK to stay or for a sale ofthe property, etc., while it's working. I find it hard to believe they would allow you to replace a septic system and only require it to be up to the code of God only knows how many years ago. If you can't meet some portion of the current code for a valid reason, then you might be able to get a waiver, but I doubt they would just waive a grandfather wand over the whole thing.
That's why, per the above advice, I'd start with some private companies for advice.
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On 29 Mar 2007 12:58:36 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Yes, that was, I thought, his concern, that his half acre wasn't enough room. I'm sure that aspect would be grandfathered in.
And personally I find it hard to believe that there is any rule requiring more than a half acre. Tht would mean that anywhere with this rule that had no sewer connection could only have lots more than a half acre. That's real hard to believe. I think the neighbor has some sort of delusion that everyone has half acre lots.
We had a third of an acre and there was more than enough room for a septic tank and finger system.
Maybe what someone means is that there is no room to build a new one while retaining the old one. That's possible and then something extra will have to be done for the time that one is dug up and the new one is not in.

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If you are going to sell soon, then any repair will have to be reliable to some point into the future. That probably means that you are in for a significant outlay of cash. Ask around to locate local companies with lots of experience. They know more than most of us here because local codes vary.
A clogged drain field is often caused by detergents, by the way. Do all of your outlets cycle through your septic system?
What is the pumping history of your tank? If it has never been pumped, that could have clogged the drain field.
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This is obviously wrong. Leach fields are 30 or 40 feet square. You own about 500 x 500 ft.
This building permits question is answered (free) by the office that issues building permits where you live. Your taxes have already paid for this information.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
  Click to see the full signature.
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Fields used to be that small. Many areas have upgraded requirements where the field size required is between 4500-9000 sq feet. That's 3-5 times larger than the numbers you quoted.
http://www.inspect-ny.com/septic/fieldsize.htm
Furthermore, not all of the lot is usable for a field. You have to deal with minimium distances from lot lines, foundations, wells, neighbor's wells, limited slopes, etc. Then with what's left you have to find soil that will perc, or you get to build an artificial field.
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wrote:

What is he supposed to do, buy his two neighbor's houses and tear them down?
That's what grandfathering is for and that's why it applies here, I'll bet. But OP, call from a pay phone and don't tell them where you live. Or ask the contractors.
Although he shoudln't assume he needs a replacement. Stories about replacement and the reasons circulate with much more intensity than do stories about smaller problems. People remember them more, but that doesn't in itself mean there isn't a far cheaper remedy for a leak at the end of the field.

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Possibly. It's also possible that he'll be forced into replacing his existing dual chamber tank and standard field with one of the more high tech systems available today.
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Don:
Recheck your acre. One acre is 43560 sq. ft. A .5 acre lot is 21780 sq. ft. OR approximately 100 feet x 217.9 feet NOT 500 x 500 ft. My drainage field which is 35 years old is approximately 50 ft. x 50 ft. and way under today's standards unless I was using some modern technology septic system.

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On Thu, 29 Mar 2007 23:06:05 -0400, "EXT"

So do they have the new higher requirements where you are? What will you do when you need a new field? Deport your neighbors and use their land?

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Don:
Yes standards are "higher" now than when my system was first installed 37 years ago (I just checked how long), what did you expect. Snarky comments about taking over my neighbours is not a solution nor needed. While I could not rebuild a standard system because my drainage bed is trapped between the house, the street, my property line and the driveway, I could probably replace it with a high tech assisted, and expensive modern system. Although, I would probably just hook up to the new sewer system the town installed on my street once we resolve the dispute I and four other landowners are having over who pays for the lateral installation. They are trying to make us pay for full price while all other houses on the street were given laterals free. This is in Ontario, like you.

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I did expect higher standards but public sewer and water are not available and years from being so. Adding one of these high tech solutions would definatly cost and deture anyone from purchasing my home. Who wants to put up with that? There is absolutely no where else in my yard to install another leach field. My front yard in higher up than my backyard where the current leach field is and my side yard holds my well. So, I'm screwed I guess. I am glad I didn't call the inspector yet, they probabaly would have gone ahead and ordered a solution. Then again i'm sitll holding on to hope it's not as bad as I thought. Again, the liquid is gone from my backyard along with the smell. It's getting pumped Monday by an expert who can tell me EXACTLY what needs to be done, if anything.
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On Fri, 30 Mar 2007 10:55:42 -0400, "EXT"

I don't know what snarky means.
As to unneeded, I wanted you to see the problem from the OP's pov. See below**

You're lucky if that's an option, but a lot of people still have no sewer to hook up to. ....I see that's the OP's situation.

AIUI, no one gets all posts, but I don't see a post by the OP that says he's in Ontario. And does all of Ontario have the same rules?
**As to unneeded, there is a constant flow of people here on one issue or another who think they have to do major overhauls no matter how simple the problem.
The AC doesn't turn on. I think I need a new AC.
The refrigerator is too cold. Should I get a new refrigerator? Or even, I think I need a new refrigerator.
I need new mechanisms, even though it hasn't been oiled. (This last one was toller and he probably has oiled them before posting, but we get other posts from people who actually haven't.)
So I don't want the OP to be convinced he has to get a new system if he doesn't have to.
And there are the many who plainly are trying to save money, and there are cheaper alternatives, but they are told to do things the "right way". I prefer the right way too, but many times people have to do less than that. A long time ago, when I repaired applicances and tvs, mostly for students, it bothered me too when they were oonly willing to pay for one symptom to be fixed, and didn't want to do it the right way, by fixing the other problems (which were a lot easier and cheaper to do when I already had the tv open.) But I kept reminding myself that they didn't have much money.

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This is obviously wrong. Leach fields are 30 or 40 feet square. You own about 500 x 500 ft.
This building permits question is answered (free) by the office that issues building permits where you live. Your taxes have already paid for this information.
(Do not be misled by posters who say leach fields function by evaporation. They actually function by drainage underground. Advisers who get this wrong are unreliable.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
  Click to see the full signature.
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