Sink-holes at ends of Lateral Lines

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    • #278679

      Our house is 30 years old and we have lived in it for 1 year. There are holes in the back yard in the vicinity of the ends of the laterals. What could be causing this? Is it normal? Can I peel back the sod and backfill with soil?

    • #299044
      John Aldrich1

      Rhonda, were the sinkholes present when you moved into the home, or is this a recent occurrence? JWA

    • #299045
      Rhonda Downey

      Yes, they were here when we moved in, but I think one of them is getting larger.

    • #299046

      Are the sink holes on the top of a retaining wall ?? if so the fill is settling

      Are you in an area when underground mining happens ?? could be you are falling into the mine

    • #299047
      Rhonda Downey

      No but I do have moles…

    • #299048

    • #299049
      John Aldrich1

      Rhonda, the sink holes that are at the ends of the leach field laterals may be caused by normal soil settling. The previous owner may have had the leach field effluent pumped out by a sewage pumper to relieve a ponded effluent situation. If the sink holes are relatively small, just lay back the sod, and fill the holes with soil back to grade, and relay the sod.

      The sink holes may be “previews of comming events” in regard to a failure of your soil absorption system. I recommend that the septic tank be pumped, and a septic tank effluent filter be installed in the outlet tee of the tank. This filter will improve the quality of the effluent being applied to the leach field. Install risers to the ground surface on both the inlet and outlet manholes of the tank so that required maintenance can be easily accomplished. These improvements to your system may not prevent leach field failure, but they will increase the service life of the system. JWA

    • #299050
      Rhonda Downey

      Thank you John.

      I think I will start with removing the sod and backfilling first since we just had our system pumped out last year.

      I do have another question if you don’t mind. I notice an odor outside sometimes…I think it’s coming from the roof vents. It’s rather unpleasant and I don’t know what to do about it. We had the system pumped out and inspected prior to purchasing the house, and some work was done to it. I’m wondering if this, in conjuction with the holes in the yard are indicative of a larger problem?

      I have printed out your advise for future reference but I have some good topsoil that needs a home anyway, so off I go…



    • #299051
      John Aldrich1

      Rhonda,the sewer gas odors that you detect may be comming from the roof vents. The system is designed to vent the gasses created in the anaerobic digestion process in the septic tank through the house plumbing/vent system. Occasionally down drafts will bring these odorous gasses down into the yard. I have had 100% success in eliminating these odors with the use of “Sweet Air” Activated Carbon Roof Vent Filters for several clients who have experienced this problem. You can view, and obtain these filters on the web page provided by Richard Septic Systems, Inc. of Torrington, Connecticut. The web page address is;

      The filters are very effective, easy to install, and reasonably priced. Call Jim Richard to discuss the size, and quantity of filters required for your home. Good luck, and report back to the Bulletin Board whether or not this solves the odor problem. JWA

    • #299052
      Rhonda Downey

      Hey Thanks John! You’re alright!!! Great idea, and we are going to look into this and I’ll let you know how things work out. I got the holes filled in and the sod placed back just in time for (it looks like) a weeks worth of gentle rain. perfect

    • #299053
      John Aldrich1

      Hey Rhonda, just alright? My wife tells me that I am GREAT!!! Glad everything worked out OK. I wish that you could send some of that rain to Colorado. I have never seen it so dry. JWA

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