Septic tank troubleshooting help requested

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On Sat, 25 Oct 2014 19:08:56 -0400, Stormin Mormon

I would just call a septic company for a pump out. If you don't need a certification letter they will also give you a free inspection. One indication of a plugged leach field, is water running back into the tank from the field lead wile the tank is being pumped down. Most of these septic guys are pretty good at what they do.
This is really something that should be done every few years anyway.
It might make your problems go away and it will at least buy you a week or two to figure out what to do next if it doesn't.
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On 10/25/2014 9:20 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Makes total sense, to me. A septic company most likely has guys who do this often enough, and who can help with the troubleshooting.
- . Christopher A. Young Learn about Jesus www.lds.org .
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Something else to look for: We were having repeated backups at our camp, which would be cured only for a day or two by snaking. We dug down and ended up cutting an access into the tank. There's a curved baffle at the inlet. We found it was packed with solids, even though the liquid level was lower than it. We (my husband) used a stick to dislodge everything so it fell into the tank and the problem was solved. Snaking would make a hole, and the next big load would plug it. Liz
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On 10/26/2014 8:17 AM, Liz Megerle wrote:

You did not have to snake it, just increase your use of prune juice so change the solids to a liquid.
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On 10/26/2014 8:17 AM, Liz Megerle wrote:

And, that's a very real possible. Thank you.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
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Sunday Oct 26, 2014 Just heard back. The tank is, again, totally full. He's done a little digging around. No sign of any kind of leach field. As such, it may be an open bottom old style cistern thing.
Plan for the moment is to get the tank pumped. Have the guy power wash the sides and bottom, might open up the percolation a bit.
Plans to divert the grey water, and use the tank only for toilet.
I'll report here, if I hear any thing more.
- . Christopher A. Young Learn about Jesus www.lds.org .
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I've had one for 8 years - requirement of building a new house at a location where there's very little top soil before you hit fractured limestome.
Advanced Treament Systems use a 3 chambered tank. First tank, known as the waste tank collects any non-degradable stuff an acts like a traditional septic tank (anaerobic - no air). That feeds into a second tank which has a compressor feeding a bubbler (aerobic). Third tank is a stanging tank for the field pump, which uses spider pipe spread out over a mounded field. All of it's controlled by a computer which monitors the compressor, effuent levels and switching valves.
It's a rather expensive miniature municipal treatment plant. Also, by regulation requires twice a year inspection and a service contract with a licensed service company.
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Arthur Conan Doyle wrote:

Around here mound setups are uncommon. Normally the last chamber has a chlorine drip feed setup for final sanitation of the waste water before it is pumped and sprayed onto the lawn. Not an expensive system really, only the air and spray pumps and a controller really beyond basic tanks which are cheap. Since they work without the need for a lot of soil work, trucking in sand or the like to get a conventional septic system to work, they are actually cheaper in many cases. Also around here, while the system requires annual inspection, you can do that yourself if you take a class in it (a day and $100), it's not rocket science.
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It's only needed here if there isn't enough soil for a traditional buried field. My system has a chorinator in the third chamber that I didn't mention. Uses tablets and neededs refilling a every few months. The service tech joked that the output was drinkable. Not sure I'd go that far!

I can't recall what the delta over a standard septic system was - but $10K or so more installed would be in the neighborhood.

The biggest problem I have the the running cost. The air compressor runs continuously and uses about $40 work of electricity a month.

Not here. Not only does it have to be a licensed contractor registered with the county, that contractor has to be qualified for the specific manufacturer. Since our system manufacturer (Southern Aerobic) went defunct a few years ago, that will be an issue when the currect service company stops being an option.
I've watched them do the service - cleaning the filters, checking sludge levels and checking the system pressure isn't a big deal.
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Arthur Conan Doyle wrote:

The output water quality is really surprisingly good. The aerobic bacteria do a good job. Many systems use/used a tablet chlorinator, but people tend to change them over to a liquid drip system as it's cheaper and easier to deal with. Mounds just aren't common since a couple standard sprinkler heads are cheaper and easier to install.

Well, installed cost vs. actual cost are two different things and the real cost of either type of system is only perhaps $1k different. The problem is with the businesses doing the work and their typical collusion and monopolistic practices. Fortunately here there are also exemptions that allow you to do your own installation and bypass the less scrupulous businesses.

That is an issue, and there are some ways around it though they have some upfront costs. I don't have an aerobic system currently, but my next place I build will most likely have one at which point I'll experiment with some of my alternate ideas such as a simple windmill driven compressor as primary with check valves and pressure switch to let the regular air pump operate as backup if the windmill setup runs out of air.

Get involved with your government and push through suitable regulations for DIY maintenance with training.
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If it is an actual tank - four sides, top and bottom - and it spews dirty water then that means the tank isn't draining. If the tank isn't draining, it means that either there is an obstruction in the outlet to the drain field - OR - that the drain lines themselves are clogged - OR - that the soil around the drain pipes is clogged. Or any combination of the preceding.
In any case, you need someone who does that stuff for a living to come look/diagnose.
--

dadiOH
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On 10/27/2014 7:50 AM, dadiOH wrote:

Last I heard, he's got a pumper coming out. And they plan to pressure wash the inside walls of the tank.
The history of usage of the tank is uncertain, so it's wise to get someone out who knows this kind of thing. Thank you.
- . Christopher A. Young Learn about Jesus www.lds.org .
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On Monday, October 27, 2014 8:11:11 AM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:

That sounds like a wonderful job......

As I and others have said, from your description it sounds like a cesspool. Made out of cement blocks, it's not a tank and it's designed to let water leach out.
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On 10/27/2014 9:13 AM, trader_4 wrote:

The job is still in the early stages. We'll see how it pumps out. Thanks for your wisdom. - . Christopher A. Young Learn about Jesus www.lds.org .
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J Burns posted for all of us...

No chambers, baffles at different levels for incoming and outgoing.
--
Tekkie

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On 10/29/14, 4:42 PM, Tekkie® wrote:

http://www.aoseptic.com/septictank2.jpg
http://www.realtyresourceguide.com/septics/septic-tank-3.gif
http://a1ablerooter.com/img/septictank.jpg
http://www.sswm.info/sites/default/files/toolbox/TILLEY.jpg
I believe I became aware of this type from my own, which was installed before 1925. Seems worthwhile: less solids in the drain field, and less chance of pathogens making it through.
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On Wednesday, October 29, 2014 4:42:24 PM UTC-4, Tekkie® wrote:

n


scum.






Around here I've seen them as J Burns described, two seperate halves, built out of concrete blocks, no bottom. IDK exactly how the water moves from one half to the other, but would suspect it may just be that the cement blocks are not completely cemented together, continously, etc. The heavier waste was in the first section, mostly liquid in the second.
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