Septic tank troubleshooting help requested

Page 1 of 2  
This from a friend of mine: (I'll forward any replies to him.) ===================
Trying to trouble shoot my drain problem. At first, I thought the stack vent was clogged. When I run a drain in my trailer, it comes backup some other drain. My trailer is on my old family property. Used to be a house here, but that fell down twenty or so year sago.
It burned down. there was a couple of trailers here before that, last opne was about 10 Years ago.
The trailer is maybe twenty feet from the septic tank. It is connected with four inch ABS, and we snaked it before I moved in, and set up my trailer,.
So, the drain is getting worse. I finally found the clean out plug, which is right before the septic tank. Pulled the plug out, and a lot of dirty water came out.
The cleanout is right next to my trailer, as per county code. The sewer line is only about 3 to 6 inches deep. when I unscrewed the cap from the clean out, I had a shit geyer for a few seconds. the clean out is roughly 20 feet from the Septic tank. it is an old Cement Block septic tank. My uncle built it in 1957. Before that the house had an outhouse.
As for now, I'm trying to figure out what might be holding the system back. Wonder if the tank is clogged, or maybe the leach field?
Since the septic tank is made of 4" Cinder Block, if worse comes to worse, I would think there would be SOME leaching action as the water seeps through the somewhat porous block.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Saturday, October 25, 2014 7:08:58 PM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:

It sounds more like a cesspool with a leach field. It's not really a septic tank. Presumably it has a cover that you can remove and see if it's full, higher than normal? If so, then I'd get it pumped out.
Typically they are made of cement blocks, no bottom, so as you say, there will be leaching. But they get plugged up over time and eventually fail. The rate it was leaching 30+ years ago and the rate it's leaching now, can be very different.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/25/2014 7:26 PM, trader_4 wrote:

The one time I was there, LOT of clay in the soil. There may be a cover, I'd expect so. Will ask and let you know what I hear. Thank you.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/25/2014 7:54 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Could well be a cesspool. I'd have a septic guy out to pump it and assess the problem. Back in the 50's around here, you could get away with anything. Been costing people a lot of money to upgrade to current standards.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/25/2014 8:03 PM, Frank wrote:

I suspect it was a "get away with any thing" system that has ran into trouble.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/25/2014 8:05 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Depends on where you live I guess. People here have been having trouble selling houses with antiquated systems and I think the county makes them upgrade to current standard which includes an alternate drain field. Might be best to solve the problem yourself rather than risk a professional coming in, getting turned in, and having to pay a fortune for an upgrade.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stormin Mormon wrote:
...
is anything actually getting to the septic tank at all?
songbird
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/25/2014 7:52 PM, songbird wrote:

I'm not sure, from here. They have three persons living there, as I understand it. Man, wife, teen daughter. If that's the case, must be some.
- . Christopher A. Young Learn about Jesus www.lds.org .
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/26/2014 7:08 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Teen daughter is probably taking hour long showers too.
I'm in agreement with the people that said to pump out to find the problems. Given the age of the system,k it may be time for a new one.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/26/2014 8:13 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

With any luck. Trying to do this on the frugal.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stormin Mormon wrote:

Heavy clay soil generally means an aerobic system these days.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/25/2014 8:50 PM, Pete C. wrote:

What's that mean? Yes, it is clay soil in South Carolina.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/26/14, 7:10 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

In the 1980s, the EPA said most Americans needed sewers because septic systems wouldn't percolate in clay. In the 1990s, they changed their mind. Sewer systems were terribly expensive, and it was expensive to dispose of the water within guidelines set for the EPA.
They'd also discovered that clay soils would percolate fine. You have to keep stuff like laundry lint out of the leach field, and you need air. Sometimes this means building a mound for the leach field. If the soil stays waterlogged, bacteria won't break down the solids in the effluent, and the clay will get clogged.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/26/2014 8:10 AM, J Burns wrote:

Makes me wonder if the leach field is clogged?
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/26/14, 2:02 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Maybe you don't have one. I've read that after WWII, when there was an exodus to suburbs, civil engineers recommended cesspools, where water was supposed to percolate from the bottom.
In 1965, my family of 8 moved to a 19th Century suburban house. My parents were there until 1978. I never saw evidence of a drain field (... the grass is greener). It may have been pumped once.
About 1900, epidemics affecting well water routinely killed a lot of people around here. In 1925, my grandparents bought a 19th Century farmhouse with a septic tank and drain field. Laundry water and kitchen water can wreck a drain field; so my grandfather piped them to their own drain fields and not the septic tank. I don't know about bath water.
If it's legal, running your laundry water elsewhere could help the toilet tank work better. Piping that greasy kitchen water elsewhere would also help.
When a drain field can't handle all the water, you get a stinky puddle on the lawn. Dogs love it! I've read that a university scientist, I think in Florida, studied those puddles and found them free of human pathogens. Apparently spending 48 hours in a septic tank kills them.
I've read that in some California counties, if your drain field fails, the law may require a construction process involving heavy equipment and costing $25,000. If the resident can get a waiver, a crew working with hand tools can build a better drain field for $900.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/26/2014 4:58 PM, J Burns wrote:

You know, that sounds totally correct. I'm not there to see, but it sounds reasonable. Thank you.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, October 26, 2014 4:58:50 PM UTC-4, J Burns wrote:

Agree. Cesspools were common in that era and didn't include a leach field. I know of some where leach fields were added decades later, when the cesspools became clogged and would no longer percolate sufficiently.

I think that $25K price isn't unusual today in many parts of the coutry. Around here, in some cases, folks have to build raised leach fields on trucked in dirt mounds, to get the required percolation.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/27/14, 2:32 AM, trader_4 wrote:

I think a good septic tank has two chambers. The holes in the partition are at midlevel so neither the sediment nor the scum enters the second chamber. The second chamber drains at midlevel, to avoid sediment and scum.
That minimizes solids in the drain field, and there's evidence that it keeps waste in the tank long enough to kill pathogens. I'm waiting for some town to make drain fields obsolete. Just use a perforated pipe to distribute the purified waste water on the lawn. The town will become famous for the absence of sewer bills, the green grass, and the sweet smell of success!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, October 26, 2014 7:10:03 AM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:

It's the type of system where fresh air is pumped into the tank. Different bacteria from what you would have with a regular septic system then thrive. IDK much beyond that, except that they are more expensive and used for some applications.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/26/2014 8:12 AM, trader_4 wrote:

OK, that makes sense. Air pumped in to encourage different bacteria.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
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.