1 Jan 2001 at 5:51 pm #278831MasterPlumbersKeymaster
We have a 2-1/2 month old home with 2 new septic tanks. The lines backed up allowing backflow to enter the shower drains. I believe this is from excessive toilet paper and many, many loads of laundry in a short period of time (two small kids generate a ton of laundry). I have relieved the pressure and snaked to the tank with a small hand held snake, no clogs were found. What are my options for fixing this.
1 Jan 2001 at 7:26 pm #299397
jmcguire, if there were no clogs found in the sewage pipe between the house and the septic tank, then what caused the sewage to back up into the shower drains? Exactly what do you mean by “relieved the pressure?” Please describe your entire septic system in more detail.
Are there risers from the septic tank access holes to the ground surface?
Does your system have a septic tank effluent filter in the outlet tee of either tank?
Does your system have a conventional leach field for final dispersal of the septic tank effluent?
Does your system depend upon a septic tank effluent pump?
What is the volume of the 2 septic tanks, and what is the size in area of the leach field?
What is the estimated maximum daily design flow of the system, and what is the volume of sewage being applied?
Considering that this is a new system, I don’t think that the leach field is failing. There may be a broken pipe either entering, or exiting one of the septic tanks caused by settling of the backfilled soil. This condition will cause the sewage to back up into the house because the septic tank effluent cannot flow into the leach field. I have seen the 4 inch pipes that connect 2 tanks in series shear off completely because of inadequate, or improper compaction of the soil around the septic tanks, or under the pipes during the backfill operation. This sometimes occurs on inlet and outlet pipes when there is only one tank in the system, also caused by improper compaction of the soil.
I recognize that I have asked many questions, but I cannot analyze the problem until I know more about the situation. JWA
1 Jan 2001 at 8:54 pm #299398
Well I don’t have some of these answers. I believe we have 2 ea 500 gallon tanks. We have three full baths and everything was supposed to be sized accordingly. We have a leach pipe system, but I can’t tell you the size. They graded the yard right after installing the system, so I can’t give an accurate estimate. We don’t have the aerator system or a pump. I don’t know about a filter. I opened the cleanouts and that let the water flow out on the ground. Thus relieved the water that came up in the shower drains. My 25 ft snake found no clogs. The snake would have been in the tank.
I wish I could have been out here on the days they installed it. Our builder is not available today and as slow as he has been I doubt if I can get a response quickly.
My initial thoughts were that there was to much paper in the tank. I thought about it some more and I thought the bleach we use to clean and do laundry with may have killed the paper dissolving enzymes in the tank. I bought 3 cans of enzymes at home depot this morning and ran those into the tank from the cleanout. By the way water is standing about 1 foot below the cap under the cleanout.
Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
2 Jan 2001 at 12:10 am #299399
jmcguire, well, unfortunately you have a septic system that, in my opinion, is designed to fail. Most regulatory agencies permit this type of system for construction on a daily basis. The permitting agency makes a big deal about requiring that homeowners perform required maintenance, but then permit, and allow systems that resist easy maintenance. It appears that you do not even have an as-built plan of your system. It is impossible to properly maintain a septic system unless one knows where the septic tank is located, and has easy access to the tank so that it can be inspected. These same regulators are then perplexed as to why a homeowner would neglect the septic system maintenance responsibilities.
I recommend that you contact the septic system regulatory agency in your jurisdiction to report this problem, and do it tomorrow. I think that the failure of the system to function properly, after only 2 months of service, is caused by improper installation procedures. The installer, if he is a reputable, and responsible contractor, should respond immediately to your complaint, because allowing raw sewage to be discharged onto the surface of your yard constitutes a public health, and environmental threat.
The processes of sewage treatment occurring in the septic tank system are sedimentation, filtration, microbial digestion and liquifaction of the organic matter in the sewage, and a couple other minor processes. There is some enzymatic action taking place, but this enzymatic action, in my opinion, is minimal compared to the other processes. If you follow the label directions on the cleaning products that end up in the septic tank, the system should be able to handle the chemical loading. Purchasing “Septic Tank Enzymes”, or other additives, in my opinion, is a waste of money.
I truly think that the problem with your system is construction related.
If you would like to have some specific recommendations for modifying your system so that you can avoid the inevitable failure caused by inadequate design, send me an e-mail message. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Where exactly in the world is this system located? Please respond to this question on this forum. JWA
3 Jan 2001 at 12:50 am #299400
Never ask a helper about a techinical job as they will ask you questions to death.
Here contact this REAL PROFESSIONAL about these systems.
This site may be able to answer your questions ..
Have a great New year. http://www.apalacheeseptic.com/septic-info.htm
You can always tell the “experts” by the materials they use,
3 Jan 2001 at 9:11 pm #299401
jmcguire, I don’t mind being called a “helper”, for I define a helper as a person that provides “help” to those that have serious septic system problems, and as a person that provides assistence, and advice, voluntarily, in solving those problems. The answers to the many questions that I posed, helped to define exactly the potential cause of your system failure.
I disagree with Sylvan’s last comment. In my view, “you can always tell the ‘experts’ by the quality of the” responses to your inquiry on this forum. Anthony Gaudio of Apalachee Backhoe and Septic Tank, Inc. could probably lend valuable advice, but I think he would have to know the answers to the same questions that I asked, and Mr. Gaudio did not voluntarily respond to your inquiry.
Now you decide, which “expert” provided the most value, help, and assistance in giving you direction to solve your serious septic system problem? JWA
3 Jan 2001 at 11:03 pm #299402
John, Johhny I would NEVER consider YOU as Qualified as a “Helper” please dont get the wrong impression I think in a FEW years you may be a half way decent helper.
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