drainage overflow problem

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    • #278634
      Anonymous

      I’m having a problem with effluent drainage. I have an sump pump in the main tank that pumps the effluent up the yard into a collection tank. The collection tank than gravity drains the effluent out into the drain fields. The problem I have been experiencing lately is, the effluent is pumped into the collection tank faster than it drains. The excess then runs over the tank and into my front yard. When the pump stops, the excess fluid in collection tank drops down to below the outlet pipe to the drain fields. Is this the start of an even bigger problem? Can I slow down the flow from the pump? Any ideas would be great. Thanks

    • #298938
      Ken Zoeller

      There are 2 things you could do. 1.)Add a ball valve or a gate valve to the discharge line on the pump. Then close the valve to a point that would be slow enough for the effluent to flow to the drain field with out backing up and out into your yard.
      2.) You could shorten he switch setting to a point that only fills the “collection tank” to the top and hope that the pump does not turn on again until the “collection tank” is empty.
      To answer your question ” Is this the start of an even bigger problem?” In a word yes but…
      Has it been very wet with lots of rain?. If yes, maybe not. If no rain more than likely your drain field may be going south! How long have you been on the system? Start now to limit you water usage. This will lessen the water the system has to handle. How long has it been sense you had your septic tank pumped? If over 3 to 5 years, you may have brought this on your self by pumping a lot of the solids to your drain field(plugging same). Do you have an outlet baffle septic tank filter? One would help keep the solids in the tank before they can get to the pump tank.

    • #298939
      mikeazz

      I have been in this house for only a year now. It was built in 1987. From what I was told at closing the Septic Tank was pumped in July 99. The previous owners (of course) said they had know problems, but I don’t know if they had pumped it out before. The septic tank has an alarm system that is supposed to let me know of a backup or when its is full (not sure). The drain fields dont show signs of failing in that the grass is not growing like mad in these areas. We try and practice some water conservation, and I’m also thinking of draining the washing machine into a seperate area. I also put Septic HElper 2000 in the system once a month. The ground in VA has a lot of glay in it, and it does seem to rain a lot here. I really need to get this problem taken care of. Thanks in advance

    • #298940
      Ken Zoeller

      Mike
      1987 is 13+ year ago and it was pumped in mid 1999. What about the times in between? Was the pump chamber pumped as well in 1999(removing all the muck that had gotten in there)? The alarm will only tell you that the pump has failed to empty the pump chamber assuming the alarm is in the pump chamber.(power failure, pump failure, blown fuse or circuit breaker, etc.) From what I have read and heard no additive helps. Some do harm. If “septic helper” is removing the grease from your septic tank and putting it in the drain field it may be hurting you not helping. It may change the fat, oils, and greases so that they will pass out of the septic tank but once they are in the field they will plug the soils and clay more than others. Putting your washer water some place else will only help you not hurt in any way. It will reduce the hydraulic load. You could have your 4” drain lines jetted and vacuumed out by a pumper service that uses a vacuum truck. This MAY help but may not if the soils are too far gone. The vacuuming of the drain line is not commonly done because it does not work some times and no one wants to pay when it does not work but the work to do it was done. I have no idea the odds of it working before you ask. You can slow the pump down as described in the above posting.

    • #298941
      SylvanLMP

      Wow Ken I am appalled at this advice you gave below.

      “Ken Zoeller wrote on 14 August 2000 at 08:32 PM:
      There are 2 things you could do. 1.)Add a ball valve or a gate valve to the discharge line on the pump. Then close the valve to a point that would be slow enough for the effluent to flow to the drain field with out backing up and out into your yard.”

      When I gave lectures to Navy and other employees I could never stress enough the fact NEVER use a gate valve OR Ball valve for throttling.

      Lowering the gate will shorten the life expediency of the valves PLUS causing an unwanted clattering sound and weaking the spindle being hammered by the water hitting this gate.

      Globe valves are designed for “throttling” and Gate valves are for positive shut off FULLY OPEN or fully closed NEVER, EVER for ANY REASON partially open/closed

      Also by suggesting the use of the ball or gate valve operator is only guessing how much is passing through hit and miss is not very practical in plumbing applications.

      According to good plumbing practices (Williams and Hazen flow characteristics) your creating turbulent flow by this restriction thus taking a very good chance of causing erosion of the piping and valve gate/ball.

      Also as one time stationary engineer I found excessive head pressure (restrictions) was one of the biggest killer of pumps. Plus it uses more energy by drawing excessive amps to over come these friction losses.

      I would have also suggested an ejector with less horse power OR less of a discharge opening so this alone would have cut the volume being handled.

      Since I am not an “engineer” I would install either an eccentric reducing coupling OR just a regular reducer thus reducing the volume and only slightly increasing the velocity.

      If I knew for a fact the pumps discharge in GPM I could size this restriction properly rather then a hit and miss approach of using a valve for which it was never intended.

      Ken have you ever considered the following. Use a reducing coupling to slow down the discharge (volume) without the need of a mechanical device like a valve AND if you have to you can increase the discharge piping BACK to the original size right after the reducer? This of course would not create any real loss in pump efficiency or velocity ONLY slightly less volume which sall this person needed.

      By doing it this way you are avoiding the erosion factor and much less of a possibility of someone tampering with the valve you had suggested for throttling.

      Besides valves cost a heck of a lot more money then a coupling THAT is not subjected to accidental closing or opening or failure.

      Just another option available. Have a great one.

      Isnt plumbing intreasting at times?

    • #298942
      hj

      And since there is an alarm in the receiver tank, that means there are wires to it. Therefore, a normally closed float switch can be wired in line to shut off the pump until the effluent level drops.

    • #298943
      Ken Zoeller

      SylvanLMP you wrote:
      “When I gave lectures to Navy and other employees I could never stress enough the fact NEVER use a gate valve OR Ball valve for throttling.
      Lowering the gate will shorten the life expediency of the valves PLUS causing an unwanted clattering sound and weaking the spindle being hammered by the water hitting this gate.
      Globe valves are designed for “throttling” and Gate valves are for positive shut off FULLY OPEN or fully closed NEVER, EVER for ANY REASON partially open/closed
      Also by suggesting the use of the ball or gate valve operator is only guessing how much is passing through hit and miss is not very practical in plumbing applications. “
      All that is stated here is correct to a point. At HIGH flows and HIGH pressure I agree. At less than 30 GPM and 30 FT of head it is not a problem. Gate valves and ball valves are used a lot in onsite system to balance the lateral line and for this type problem..

      “According to good plumbing practices (Williams and Hazen flow characteristics) your creating turbulent flow by this restriction thus taking a very good chance of causing erosion of the piping and valve gate/ball.”
      Again, At HIGH flows and HIGH pressure I agree with this statement.

      Also as one time stationary engineer I found excessive head pressure (restrictions) was one of the biggest killer of pumps.”
      Again, At HIGH flows and HIGH pressure I agree with this statement with positive displacement pumps and some stacked impeller pumps(HIGH flow and HIGH pressure). With small centrifugal like sump and sewage units that this question dealt with it is not a problem.

      “ Plus it uses more energy by drawing excessive amps to over come these friction losses. “
      With small sump, effluent and sewage pumps that are common for this type application the amps actually go down as the restriction goes up. In other type pumps the amps can go up but not normally in this type pump.

      “I would have also suggested an ejector with less horse power OR less of a discharge opening so this alone would have cut the volume being handled. “
      Unlike you this man does not have an unlimited budget. I was trying to work with what he had.

      “Since I am not an “engineer” I would install either an eccentric reducing coupling OR just a regular reducer thus reducing the volume and only slightly increasing the velocity.
      If I knew for a fact the pumps discharge in GPM I could size this restriction properly rather then a hit and miss approach of using a valve for which it was never intended. “
      If you knew the GPM required and the STATIC HEAD and the PIPE SIZE and the LENGTH OF PIPE and NUMBER AND KIND OF FITTINGS you could get close. The man would have to buy a new pump verse a $3 ball valve???

      “Ken have you ever considered the following. Use a reducing coupling to slow down the discharge (volume) without the need of a mechanical device like a valve AND if you have to you can increase the discharge piping BACK to the original size right after the reducer? This of course would not create any real loss in pump efficiency or velocity ONLY slightly less volume which sall this person needed.
      By doing it this way you are avoiding the erosion factor and much less of a possibility of someone tampering with the valve you had suggested for throttling. “
      What you have proposed would work. Now how many time do you think it would take to change out the “reducing coupling” to get the flow this man need to not over flow the tank he was pumping to??? Time is not free. HEAD is HEAD, whether it is with a ball valve or a reducer coupling. The pump sees the same head and flow either way once the flow that is needed is gotten. A ball valve would do it real quick and last along time and relative cheep. And if conditions changed, like the ground got worse and less water(GPM) needed to be pumped, he could change the ball valve setting again with out changing out to another “reducing coupling”

      Besides valves cost a heck of a lot more money then a coupling THAT is not subjected to accidental closing or opening or failure.
      Yes but how many coupling would the man have to get. Unlike you he does not have a truck load at his disposal. The pump and valve will be in a septic tank pump chamber below ground with a lid on it. Who is going to get in there and accidentally change it or close it???

      Another way came to me while addressing the concerns posted here. A “t” could be put in the pump discharge line with a ball valve in the branch with a line going back to the pump to chamber. The ball valve could be opened to reduce the water going to the tank up the hill. The problems with this approach are: the pump will run longer, burn more amps and keep the pump chamber more stirred up. This will work but may not be the easiest nor the best way. Keeping the “stuff” stirred up is not good. More of it will find it’s way to the drain field

    • #298944
      SylvanLMP

      Ken, seeing neither one of us knows if the pump discharge pipe is 2″ or 3″ I would still would imagine the reducing coupling is the sure way to go.

      However if you still like the use of valves for throttling may I recommend the following for future reference

      A ball valve may be used for throttling but he would be better off
      with a butterfly valve for this purpose on effluent. A normal globe will surely be easily obstructed by solids from the ejector.

      Another factor that is not menthioned in your posting is the velocity that can cause erosion in piping like cast Iron for example should be around 3FPS correct?

      Now lets just assume this is a CHEAP 1/2 HP ejector with a 2″ dischage with lets give it a head of 15′ @ 75 GPM.

      Do you realize the velocity flying through this pipe would exceed 71/2 FPS.
      Now I do not know what you consider high pressure or volume But according the CISPI the FPS should be controlled to around 3FPS and the CDA (copper) likes velocity under 8FPS

      Now if this head is even lower then
      the 15 feet of course the GPM and velocity would also increase.

      Sight unseen is really not a great way to just say install a ($3)valve?

      Ken please tell me where I can get a $3 ball valve?

      I must have missed something as 1/2″ Apollo ball
      valve cost me a hell of a lot more then $3.00

      Where do you get a larger sized ball valve like a 2″ or 3″ one that would be needed for this job for $3.00?
      I’LL buy 20 of them.
      Respectfully Sylvan

    • #298945
      Ken Zoeller

      SylvanLMP wrote on 16 August 2000
      Ken, seeing neither one of us knows if the pump discharge pipe is 2″ or 3″ I would still would imagine the reducing coupling is the sure way to go.
      IT IS THE SURE WAY TO GO AND IMPOSSIBLE TO GET THERE WITHOUT A LOT OF TRIAL AND ERROR WHICH EQUALS MEGA BUCKS MATERIALS AND TIME AND LOW FLEXIBILITY FOR LATER.
      However if you still like the use of valves for throttling may I recommend the following for future reference
      A ball valve may be used for throttling but he would be better off
      with a butterfly valve for this purpose on effluent. A normal globe will surely be easily obstructed by solids from the ejector.
      THIS IS EFFLUENT ON THE BACK SIDE OF A SEPTIC TANK. THE SOLIDS CONTENT SHOULD BE MINIMAL. THIS IS NOT AN EJECTOR IT IS AN EFFLUENT PUMP.

      Another factor that is not menthioned in your posting is the velocity that can cause erosion in piping like cast Iron for example should be around 3FPS correct?
      Now lets just assume this is a CHEAP 1/2 HP ejector with a 2″ dischage with lets give it a head of 15′ @ 75 GPM.
      Do you realize the velocity flying through this pipe would exceed 71/2 FPS.
      YES, AT YOUR GUESS OF 75 GPM. ACTUALLY IT WOULD BE 7.1 FPS AT 75 GPM IN 2 INCH PIPE. HOWEVER, THE FLOW IS NOT AS YOU IMAGINED. THE FLOW WILL BE DOWN IN THE LOW TEENS. THE PUMP WILL NEED TO PUMP 12 GPM IN 1-1/2 INCH PIPE TO HAVE A CLEANING VELOCITY OF 2 FPS(21 GPM IN 2 INCH PIPE).
      Now I do not know what you consider high pressure or volume But according the CISPI the FPS should be controlled to around 3FPS and the CDA (copper) likes velocity under 8FPS
      Now if this head is even lower then
      the 15 feet of course the GPM and velocity would also increase.
      THE HEAD WILL GO UP AND THE FLOW WILL GO DOWN. THE WHOLE IDEA IS TO ADD HEAD. THE VELOCITY AT THE VALVE(AND ONLY AT THE VALVE) WILL GO UP BUT THE VELOCITY BEFORE AND AFTER THE VALVE WILL BE THE SAME IF THE PIPES ARE THE SAME I.D.
      Sight unseen is really not a great way to just say install a ($3)valve?
      Ken please tell me where I can get a $3 ball valve?
      I must have missed something as 1/2″ Apollo ball
      valve cost me a hell of a lot more then $3.00
      Where do you get a larger sized ball valve like a 2″ or 3″ one that would be needed for this job for $3.00?
      I’LL buy 20 of them
      I LIED TO MAKE A POINT. SO IT COST $15. IT STILL LESS THAN A NEW PUMP AS YOU WANTED TO DO.

    • #298946
      SylvanLMP

      I LIED TO MAKE A POINT. SO IT COST $15. IT STILL LESS THAN A NEW PUMP AS YOU WANTED TO DO.

      Ken AGAIN please tell me where I can get an 2″ or even an 11/2″ Apollo ball valve for $15 ILL take 20 of them.

      If you like increasing the head loss WHY not just raise the pipe above the discharge line make a loop and thus you can create as much friction losses as you deem necessary?

      Want to really increase the head against the pump why not install a bushing in the pump out let to say 11/4 inches? THEN increase it back to 2″?

      Or use a combination of materials with various friction losses due to friction (copper Vs Cast Iron) Ken please ask ANY valve manufacturer which type of valve they would recommend for THROTTLING effluent don’t take my word for it OK.

      Isn’t plumbing interesting HUH? What an education IM getting here all for FREE God Bless America. Have a great week end

    • #298947
      Guest

      Mike: Your post states that you have only been in residence a year or so. To live happily ever after with your type of disposal system requires that you understand how it works, and avoid those things that will give you poo poo in the infield.
      The solid portion of the effluent will be retained in the septic tank. The liquid portion will be allowed to drain into your leach field. The rate at which the ground in the drain field will allow this waste water to percolate will vary during the season. In the rainy part of the year it will be reduced because the rain will slow down the perk rate.
      This type of system takes a little getting used to. It is not at all like flushing waste water into a city sanitary drain. There is only so much that drain field can handle, and chokeing your pump down isn’t the answer.
      Tighten up on your water management and reduce the number of gallons that you dump everyday.
      Get your automatic washer off the system by installing a french drain…each wash load can add a 100 gallon burden for the leach to handle.
      Be very careful about what goes down the drain of your kitchen sink…grease and fat from cooking can drop the efficiency of the drain field dramatically.
      It’s much easier to reduce your water usage to a point that the system can handle than to fight with a cranky drainage system.
      Lotsa Luck…Bud

    • #298948
      Guest

      Mike: Your post states that you have only been in residence a year or so. To live happily ever after with your type of disposal system requires that you understand how it works, and avoid those things that will give you poo poo in the infield.
      The solid portion of the effluent will be retained in the septic tank. The liquid portion will be allowed to drain into your leach field. The rate at which the ground in the drain field will allow this waste water to percolate will vary during the season. In the rainy part of the year it will be reduced because the rain will slow down the perk rate.
      This type of system takes a little getting used to. It is not at all like flushing waste water into a city sanitary drain. There is only so much that drain field can handle, and chokeing your pump down isn’t the answer.
      Tighten up on your water management and reduce the number of gallons that you dump everyday.
      Get your automatic washer off the system by installing a french drain…each wash load can add a 100 gallon burden for the leach to handle.
      Be very careful about what goes down the drain of your kitchen sink…grease and fat from cooking can drop the efficiency of the drain field dramatically.
      It’s much easier to reduce your water usage to a point that the system can handle than to fight with a cranky drainage system.
      Lotsa Luck…Bud

    • #298949
      SylvanLMP

      Wow Bud your the MAN. Fantastic post and it is the best advice I have ever seen regarding these types of systems.

      Thank you

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