Before I tell my husband ( septic tank)

We have had a lot of problems this year - central heating, electric meter, cost of bills etc.
Now it seems we might have another problem. I noticed because I do the garden , that the drain cover from our main waste system is over flowing. It must be because the top was covered with water ( it was a bit stagnant but only water) . I haven't lifted it up. I noticed the ground around the drain cover was also very soggy but since its rained all summer I am not sure how much is rain and how much water leakage.
This isn't the main inspection cover for the septic tank - thats about five feet further on. Thats perfectly dry and there is nothing coming out the top of that at all.
As a temporary fix I have dug up the garden around the drain cover and made it act as a soak away for the water that seems to come out and land there. It was all grass but I dug under the trees and around and made a sort of gutter to run the excess water off into the ground.
Before I tell my husband and he goes off down the septic tank to take a look or digs up the pipe or whatever, what do you think the problem might be? is it the septic tank or is it just some sort of blockage in the drain going into it? Do you think I need to just get someone in or could he deal with it with drain rods?
I don't want to start him off without having some idea what he could be up against. Its winter, its cold, we have had a couple of frosts and he has to work and then look at this problem. Also I have been ill with pneumonia, and I don't want to have to stand outside in the cold watching him whilst he messes and I don't want to leave him alone in case he has an accident/ gets stuck/ needs my help.
Anyone any ideas whether this could be an easily fixed problem or a real disaster?
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When was the tank last pumped out? Just maybe it's full.
AWEM
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On 30 Nov, 17:52, "Andrew Mawson"

Hi, When ours does this it is a blockage in the pipe between drain access cover and the septic.
Probably worth using rods as they are so close together.
You can buy rods without buying a set so not expensive .
Might be worth getting a corkscrew type attachment for the end as well, but I would use only the normal end of the rod first in case there are roots.
If you get the attachment caught in the roots you will not be able to get it out as you can only turn the rods clockwise else they will unscrew and you will lose them down the drain creating a real problem.
You won't need many rods
Presume access to drain easier from the drain cover than from the septic end, but not necessarily.
As previous person said, check the septic first.
It may be full or the outlet blocked with solids and not draining liquids properly.
My outlet was installed upside down and collects solids where it should not. I hope you will be luckier. Best wishes. David G
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My tank has a breather just at the entry point and if there is a blockage on my system it will be in the access point trap and hence everything flows up the breather - nasty. Bu this is an old brick double tank system, not one of the modern polythene bottle thingies.
When the outlet blocked both tanks filled up and overflowed **obviously**.
Rob
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My tank has a breather just at the entry point and if there is a blockage on my system it will be in the access point trap and hence everything flows up the breather - nasty. Bu this is an old brick double tank system, not one of the modern polythene bottle thingies.
When the outlet blocked both tanks filled up and overflowed **obviously**.
Rob
Ours is an old brick double tank system , not a bottle type ( built 1958) . I'll tell my husband and hope its just the inlet pipe that is blocked. The septic itself isn't showing signs of overflow, just this drain cover. I know from many years ago that there is a clay/ pottery pipe from here to the septic tank inlet/ inspection. We have some drain rods somewhere in the sheds.
Thank you for replying. Thanks to all who replied.
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Hi Endymion Just to add to the story - now 29+ years ago; the last time I remember (perhaps this is not the only time but it sticks in memory!!) the inlet blocking was at the christening party of daughter No 2, now a month off 30.
A considerable number of small children and they all came up from the bottom of the garden, with everyone in their finery, to announce with loud children's voices that there were "jobbies all over the ground down there". Cause - a nappy liner !! Thanks Jan !
Rob
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On Sun, 30 Nov 2008 17:48:09 -0000, endymion wrote:

Is the tank cover lower or higher than the one that is leaking? If higher it's not likely to leak ever as the water will never get to it...
I'd go for a blocked inlet pipe to the septic tank, if you can rod up from the tank end to the leaky inspection cover that is the prefered way. The water pressure will be pushing the blockage into the pipe, going in the same direction could just push it harder into the pipe.
Where is this overflow going to go form your temporary moat/trench? Will it end up on neighbours land? or will it have soaked in by then? As you say this is not a good time of year to be up to your armpits in waste water... I'd be tempted to leave the rodding for better weather/conditions but keep and eye on the temporary soak away.
--
Cheers
Dave.




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Its lower than the one leaking.

My little dug out gutter is going into the garden soil. We dont have a neighbour nearby ( our house is in a two acre field if you see what I mean and we own the six acres at the back where the land drains go) I dont think there is much danger of it ending up in anyone elses garden.
As you

I was wondering about that. I checked it this morning and now there is no water on the drain cover. The soil is dampish in my soak away but not muddy or soggy . The grass is still soggy between the drain and the tank cover but I would expect that would be the case.
My husband cant look at it before the weekend now anyway. He has to work and goes out before light and its dark when he gets in. Its not smelly or anything.

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The most likely cause is a blockage at the vertical tee where the drain enters the tank. Before doing anything else lift the cover at the end of the tank where the main drain enters the tank.
Is something stuck there? If it's not totally clear there then rod vertically straight down through the tee.
That will also reveal depth at which you strike the solids at the bottom of the tank -- i.e. whether the tank needs pumping. If you're hitting solids just at the bottom of the tee, then it's full. However, ifthat were the cause of the overflowing manhole I would expect the muck to be coming into the tank still and spilling over the top of the tee.
If that doesn't clear the overflowing manhole, then it's time for the messy job -- lift the cover on the said manhole and rod through, preferably with a screw on the end of the leading rod.
Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt more times than I can count.
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I have successfully cleared blocked drains on more than one occasion by putting a hose pipe up the pipe from below and flushing out the blockage.
Jonathan
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Take care: I once lived in a house with cess pit. the man next door had one also. After havign the ipt pumped empty he found that nothing was draining into it and the pipes were all backed up. Foolishly, he climbed into the pit and ridded from inside. he cleared the blockage but wished he hadn't.
The standard deal back then, apparently, was to build your pit, have it insected by building control, and then crack the sides with a big hammer. Wouldn't do these days.
R
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Well I didn't climb in - did from a man-hole
Jonathan
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Err, well, I just got round to telling my husband about this one. He has shouted at me for my " Victorian fix" over the last three months.
But I am still not sure whats wrong. My husband has said he thinks our land drains have packed up . How could you tell if this is the case?
he got the drain up and the inspection hatch. He rodded from the drain to the inspection hatch and cleared it, but its blocked again.
He says the septic tank isnt clearing to allow more water in but the septic tank is only about half full. How far full do they have to be. I think its about 8ft deep and the water is four feet off the top. Its above the intake from the drain though - you cant see the hole that comes in from the drain to the septic.
Is it the land drains? How do I find out? I cant see any water anywhere except in the drain where it backs up ( and in the septic tank , whci doesnt seem to move one way or the other.)
How much will it cost to have the land drains sorted?

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On Wed, 18 Feb 2009 11:18:20 -0000 someone who may be "endymion"

They are normally fairly full. However you should be able to see the dip-pipe which is the inlet and this should be at the water level in the chamber.
You should also be able to see, normally via a second inspection hatch, the dip-pipe at the outlet. There should also be a baffle board (or boards) or a dip-pipe joining the two sections.
In the earlier discussion there seemed to be some question about whether you actually have a septic tank or a cesspool, or indeed a septic tank which has been so badly looked after that it is little more than a leaky cesspool. May I suggest borrowing a copy of a suitable reference book which covers septic tanks, I have the David & Charles Manual of Home Plumbing, to make sure of what you have.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
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wrote this:-

Its definately a septic tank. Its pretty big though as septic tanks go or so my husband tells me. He was originally put off when he looked at it because he had never seen a brick built one and we didnt have plans for it and couldnt find any. The plans for the house though state " septic tank"
The bafle is there and the two chambers - when he got his head in and looked with a torch and everything. Actually I have never seen it so low on water in the intake. I know there should be a second inspection lid but we have never been able to find that. If fact he is cursing me now because he cant find that ( I cant see how I can do anything about that can I?) He has been prodding and digging half the garden for this four feet all directions around the first chamber inspection lid.
He has wondered if someone in the past has had this capped or if its just under the grass. My mother has one which is just covered totally in grass, if she had to get it up she would struggle to find it.
He has left the drain covers off and I have just been out to look because I had to flush the lo and put water down the drain. It isnt getting any higher or lower even after the flush and dishwasher this morning either in the drain or the tank.
Other than that I dont know what to say. I'll try and get the book you suggest.

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On Wed, 18 Feb 2009 12:30:59 -0000 someone who may be "endymion"

It is usually men who are blamed for something they can't do anything about and wonder (often to themselves) why they are being blamed:-)

It might provide some useful background, but it may not be too much help with your particular problem. I would want to peer at it if I was helping someone.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
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On Thu, 19 Feb 2009 07:26:53 +0000, David Hansen

Probably some woman has tidied the second inspection cover away. Probably stuck it in his sock drawer :)

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