Farmer’s old drain pipes

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  • This topic has 2 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 21 years ago by John Aldrich1.
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    • #278522
      MasterPlumbers
      Keymaster

      My house is only 7 years old as is my septic system. We increased the size of our back yard last year and the trouble began. We noticed a foul smelling water coming to the surface way down in our back yard. We dug down at the source and found some very old drainage pipe as well as an old distribution box for this ceramic pipe. This land was vacant when we bought it – filled with trees so this pipe must be ancient! Well, we think that our leach field is leaching to this pipe so we blocked the opening of this pipe with concrete. Since this has happened, we found another place where the water was coming up and located another length of pipe. We think that this pipe is just laying end to end with no connections to each other in 5 or 6 fool lengths. Any suggestions? I might also add that when we put our pool in a couple of years ago (way on the other side of the yard), The installers also found some of this pipe. At the time, we thought nothing of it. HELP! We don’t want this water popping up every time we block another outlet. What can we do? Until the yard was enlarged we didn’t have this problem. (Be assured that the bulldozer did NOT drive over our leach field.)

    • #298682
      hj

      It wws an old farmer’s trick to keep fields dry. They would install runs of pipe from one end of the field to the other to control drainage. You are correct that they are just laid without sealed joints. That was to allow water to enter the pipe all along its length. In your case, it is now exiting the pipes at those same joints. Unfortunately, there is not a lot that can be done unless the outlets of the pipes can be located and unplugged, but then the effluent will accumulate there and just move your problem to a new location. The only other solution, other than pumping them full of cement is to dig them up. Not a fun job.

    • #298683
      John Aldrich1

      JT, it will be difficult to locate all of the clay drain tiles on your property, and as hj pointed out, the poorly treated leach field effluent is just being transported to another location, perhaps your neighbor’s property.

      To answer your question, “What can we do?”, well I think that you should consider treating the septic tank effluent to a much higher quality in a system that will allow for re-use of this valuable resource. A soil absorption system (leach field) will not adequately treat the septic tank effluent being generated on this site. Many new on-site system technologies can be used to solve the real problem, polluted water. Instead of trying to “dispose” of it, perhaps your efforts, and funds would be better spent by installing a “Resource Recovery System.”

      I am particularly partial to using Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetland Filters in conjunction with sand filters. In addition to effective sewage treatment, this system provides several ancillary benefits including, a beautiful wetland landscape amenity, additional wildlife habitat, an underground fire suppression reservoir, and a method to recover the valuable nutrients contained in the sewage. The quality of the effluent from the combined system is suitable for use as irrigation water, as a wildlife water source, and as a supply for small water features in your landscape.

      You did not happen to mention in which part of the world you reside, but no worries, this technology is effective in virtually any climate, or elevation where natural wetlands thrive.

      If you have a desire to learn more about this alternative to the traditional paradigm in handling sewage treatment, send me an e-mail message. JWA

      lmajwa@aol.com

      John W. Aldrich
      Septic System Consultant
      P.O. Box 205
      Timnath, Colorado 80547
      (970) 482 7460

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