Septic "restart"

I have just purchased a resale home. The home has a septic system which has had little use for about 3 years. Is there a start up process I should follow?
Thanks
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Al Schmidt wrote:

The leach field should be in great shape, having had 3 years for soil bacteria to clean it up.
As for the tank, have it pumped by a reputable firm. Make sure they back-flush to get rid of all the scum and sludge. If the tank is slightly porous or has a small leak, the liquid may have drained out, leaving the scum settled on top of the sludge in the bottom of the tank. You want to get this out before you start using the tank again. If you don't, some of that scum will get past the exit baffle as the water level rises, and may clog your exit pipe.
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Take a massive dump to replenish the bacteria, flush the toilet a few times and run some water to get some moisture in the box, but other than than you should be good to go.
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Yes. You have add a starter culture of fecal bacteria. Fortunately, that's what human excrement is.
Ok, seriously, what you probably should do is have the tank pumped and inspected, so you're starting with a clean tank. Then in one year, have it pumped and inspected again. The condition of the tank at that point should enable you to estimate how long you can go between pumpings. (Modulo local ordinances)
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On Thu, 21 Sep 2006 16:53:20 GMT, "Al Schmidt"

Absolutely nothing should be done. The system is likely in perfect shape, having had a chance to recover from the last owner that put too much bleach cleanser in his bowl.
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DK wrote:

Well, the leach field is likely in great shape, having had 3 years for soil bacteria to clean it up.
As for the tank, if you want to err on the side of caution and avoid problems, have it pumped by a reputable firm. Make sure they back-flush to get rid of all the scum and sludge. If the tank is slightly porous or has a small leak, the liquid may have drained out, leaving the scum settled on top of the sludge in the bottom of the tank. You want to get this out before you start using the tank again. If you don't, some of that scum will get past the exit baffle as the water level rises, and may clog your exit pipe.
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No, I would not flush.
The system works properly when there is scum and sludge. That is the byproducts of a properly functioning system. If you have no scum and sludge, then your system is not working.
Leave the scum and sludge alone untin the sludge approaches the field drain pipes and THEN you can have it pumped.
wrote:

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DK wrote:

Of course it does... when the tank is at the proper operating level. Nothing said earlier disputes this.
The problem is if the tank liquid has drained out (through a slow leak over a period of three years - see earlier post which explicitly stipulated this). Then, when the tank is put back into regular use, incoming sewage causes the layer of pre-existing scum to rise. In many tanks, the exit baffle is not well designed to handle this transition. Much scum gets on the "exit side" of the exit baffle and from there goes into the exit pipe. Will this necessarily cause a problem? No. Could it cause a problem? Yes. Better safe than sorry: pump the tank. Or, at least open it up and inspect it before putting it into service.

Of course. Nobody said otherwise.

If there's scum in there, and it's below the exit baffles because the tank liquid has drained out over the course of 3 years of not being used, then the scum WILL get into the exit pipe as soon as the liquid level rises again when the tank is put back into use.
If the tank has a downpipe on the exit instead of (or in addition to) an exit baffle, this transition issue is not a problem and there's no need for pumping.

You should make it clear to the OP that what you are saying here is that he needs to have the tank opened up and inspected every year. Some would argue this is more expensive and inconvenient than simply pumping on a regular schedule.
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wrote:

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! First, This is a DIY group and most of us are not going to be paying someone to come on our property and inspect anything - ever. Here in Texas, if an inspector comes on our property to inspect our septic tank, we kill him.
Second. If you take care of your septic system, you only open it up once every 10 years. And you do that because you are inviting the members of your gun club to your house this year and you are not sure if the system can take 200 flushes an hour.
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You said in your previous post, and I quote, "Leave the scum and sludge alone untin (sic) the sludge approaches the field drain pipes and THEN you can have it pumped."
Unless you want to wait until raw sewage is bubbling up out of the ground, you have to inspect the tank to know if "the sludge approaches the field drain pipes" .
It's not just the sludge you need to be concerned about, either. Both the sludge AND the scum must be measured to determine if either is about to enter the drain field.
Unless, of course, you have the tank pumped out periodically on a reasonable schedule. Then you don't have to play chicken with the septic system.
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