I recently discovered a small hole in my back yard filled with water,
I pushed a long stick into the hole and found that the hole was 4'
deep! My house is 60 years old and was hooked up to town sewerage I'm
guessing about 50 years ago. I have lived here for 30 years and had no
clue a to where the old septic tank was.
I know were it is now! The small hole ended up yo be a 5 foot diameter
hole with muddy water about 4ft deep. Good thing I found it before
some kid fell in.
This past weekend I filled the hole with rocks and bolders. The hole
is now about 6" deep. Shoud I add crushed stone before I add top soil?
Seems like if I add top soil over bolders it will seep down.
The people that were the previous owners weren't too bright. They
should have doen something about the old septic tank after they
disconnected it from the house.
What should have they done with it? Why don't you do it then? Should they
have dug it up?
My house also has an abandoned septic tank in the yard. I've done with it
the same thing that
you're previous owners did with yours - *nothing*.
Then you should do something. Some town have codes and procedures as does
the Uniform Plumbing Code
Also, read this http://www.septicprotector.com/deathpools.htm
Ignorance is not an excuse so it would be wise to remedy the bad situation.
big bopulders and rocks BAD IDEA! the dirt that musat o on top will
forever be leaking between boulders and sinking.
you shoulds of filled with gravel little sink with that, or filled
with plain dirt sprayed with water and compacted.
what you added was the worst choice you could of made.....
sorry to give you bad news......
Looks like I built my self a nice rock garden! Kidding Aside, I had
to do somethng quick. Ther are kids running around in my yard all the
time and the last thing I want is for someone to fall into the hole.
Maybe it's not too late to fill with gravel small enough to get past
the boulders, and dirt.
Is there a bottom to the hole? Does the water run out the bottom or
not. If it seems out the bottom, maybe you can wash the gravel in
with a garden hose, and use the hose lightly to fill up the rest of
the niches with dirt. So the process doesn't take years but days.
But I don't know.
You'll use less of anything you add now because the boulders will take
up so much space.
There is a hard bottom. I used a crow bar and the bottom seems to be
somewhat solid. The water seemed to dry up over the weekend, more like
mud now. I will go to Home depot (or equivalent) and get bags of
sand. I can't get a truck in back of my house so I'll have to bring in
bags one at a time.
Got some real exercise this weekend.
Same thing happened to me ... I saw a hole and stuck a big stick
down to see how deep it was. Scared me half to death when I
found out how deep it was. I had no idea there was anything
like it there.
I filled it with a bunch of wall stone I had lying around. There is
a shallow depression over it but it's no hassle at all.
Actually... the volume between rocks is based on the variety of size....
In other words, "poorly graded" - i.e. all the same size - rocks have
a voids ratio of 0.4, meaning there is 40% air/water/whatever between
them. The size of the rocks doesn't matter. Boulders are just as
good/bad as pea gravel.
So... If you want to fill in, make sure you get "well graded" gravel,
meaning a little of every size. or just throw whatever you have in,
then, if your soil allows it, hose in dirt....
Evidently, many others thought it was a non-problem also. Does this mean
you'll just leave it for the next owner to discover it with disastrous
results? Or your grandkids? If it is a violation of you local does, you
can even get sued by the next owner even if nothing happens.
I appreciate what you're saying, Ed. I don't really see any difference
weather the thing is in use or not, it's there.
The thing would be just as prone to cave in if it were in use right? Does
the fact that it's not in use
make it not safer than inuse? So what's the difference? Like I said, it's
not a problem for me. I'm not
getting out the backhoe to go digging for problems. Yes, I will leave it
for the next owner, as it was left by a previous
owner for me. I will inform the next owner about it, not hiding nothing.
The previous owners did not bother to tell me about it......
It's that it is older.
I think it is that these things go from being in use to being out of
use, and very rarely go from out of use to in use. So things that are
out of use are on average much older than the ones that are in use.
Say that septic tanks are used on average for 30 years. So assume the
average age of an in-use septic tank is 15 years.
But the average starting-age of a non-used septic tank would then be
30 years, and the the average age could easily be more than 45 years.
More than 3 times the average age of an in-use tank. And getting
older all the time.
If the next owner were in full control of everything that happened
because of it that would be fine, but he doesn't and can't control
everyone who walks on his lawn. Nor can you.
Pressure. If the tank is empty, the outside pressure on the walls is
greater than if the tank is filled. Greater pressure, greater chance of
cracking and collapsing. Depending on soil conditions, the empty tank can
even try to float if the ground was very wet after a long series of rainy
Then there is methane. Empty tansk with some rotting stuff on the bottom
are prone to it. If you fell into a large tanks of crappy water, you may be
dusgustingly filthy but can get to the top and get out. If the empty tank
is filled with some quanity of methane, you can pass out, eventually die,
before you could get help. People have died going into abandoned tanks and
wells trying to help someone that has already passed out. About 10 years
ago, three brothers did exactly then. First one dropped, then the other
two went in to help and never came up.
For the sake of you and your family, I hope it never is a problem. There is
sound reasoning behind the regulations to fill them in.
The tank has been abandoned for at least 50 years (ie) no raw sewage
for 50 years The steel cover rotted. That's why it collapsed. I will
fill with sand and keep adding sand until it doesn't ettle anymore.
Then I will use topsoil. The lawn in that part of my yrd isn't the
greatest so I'm not concerned about how it will look. Only concerned
i THINK on Leno tonight it was, he gave the bare bones about a 75 year
old woman who was trying to put flowers on a grave, when the grave
collapsed and she fell in.
Of course that is a well-known issue, and I don't think the depth can
be as much.
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