Reply To: Grey Water System Clogged

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Avatar photoJohn Aldrich1

    Poppajp, PLEASE TAKE KEN’S ADVICE REGARDING NOT ENTERING THE SEPTIC TANK!!! The hydrogen sulfide gas, methane and other dangerous sewer gasses are produced in a septic tank, even if it is treating only greywater.

    Removing the sludge from the distribution pipes in the leach field that has escaped the septic tank may offer some immediate relief of your problem, or it may not. The thickness of the clogging mat that is formed at the gravel/soil interface, usually 8 inches below the distribution pipes, is what ultimately controls the percolation rate of the water into the soil. However, the escaped sewage sludge may be clogging the perforations in the distribution pipes. If this is the case, then jetting and vacuuming the pipes may solve the problem on a temporary basis, but eventually the clogged pipe perforation condition will occur again.

    To prolong the life of the existing leach field, I recommend the installation of a septic tank effluent filter, such as the excellent filter manufactured by the Zoeller Pump Company.


    The filter reduces the suspended solids concentration of the septic tank effluent, thereby reducing the organic loading on the leach field.

    A long term solution to the problem is to have an additional leach field installed, using plastic chamber leach field units such as ADS Bio-Diffusers or Infiltrators, and installing a NDS diversion valve (avoid the use of a Bull Run Valve) in the septic tank effluent pipeline so that alternation of flow can be practiced. Alternate the flow from the “in-use” field to the “resting field” on an annual basis. An appropriate day to accomplish this maintenance duty is July 4th, SEWAGE INDEPENDENCE DAY. Celebrate your independence of the centralized sewer grid, but recognize that with this independence comes the responsibility of a septic system operator.

    With all due respect for Retired Plbg’s opinion, I think that the use of septic tank additives, such as Ridex, is a waste of money.

    John Aldrich (Septic Tank Yank)
    Septic System Consultant
    Timnath, Colorado
    [email protected]

    » This message has been edited by John Aldrich on 18 December 2002

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