- This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 17 years, 10 months ago by John Aldrich1.
20 Jun 2003 at 5:23 pm #279256richard coakley
My home is a year and a half old and the septic system installer used EZ Lay septic lines. My washing machine, one shower, and a rarely used garden tub feed directly into a line without going through the septic tank. When 3 or 4 loads of clothes are washed I hear a gurgling sound coming from the shower and tub drains and occassionally get some backup. Should I expect this because the drain line doesn’t go through the septic tank, or does this mean I need to add more field lines? Since the system is still under warranty should I go back to the installer?
Second question: My wife wants me to put in a crepe myrtle in the field area that does come from the septic tank. Are the roots from this tree going to interfere with the function of the field lines?
Thanks for any help you could give me.
22 Jun 2003 at 2:09 pm #300379John Aldrich1
jcw82, the laundry wastewater, and actually all of the wastewater generated from your home, should be treated in the septic tank before it is applied to the leach field. The synthetic fibers in modern clothing do not decompose readily. If the laundry wastewater is applied directly to the EZ Lay leach field, the fibers will accumulate in the distribution pipes and will clog the perforations. Most of these fibers can be retained in the septic tank with the use of a septic tank effluent filter, and can then be removed when the sludge is pumped.
>Should I expect this because the drain line doesn’t go through the septic tank, or does this mean I need to add more field lines?<
Probably “yes” to both questions. I recommend that if additional leach field capacity is required, install a 4-inch, NDS brand diversion valve in the septic tank effluent pipeline. Cover the valve riser with a 10-inch round irrigation valve box to allow for easy access. The top of the box is set at the final grade elevation. The valve will allow the alternation of flow to the 2 fields. Use half the field for 1-year while the other half rests. Turn the valve annually on the 4th of July, SEWAGE INDEPENDENCE DAY. Celebrate your independence of the sewer grid, and remember that with this independence comes the responsibility of a sewage treatment system operator.
I recommend the use of plastic leach field chambers such as the ADS Bio-Diffuser, or Infiltrator brand. I have not used the EZ Lay material as it is not marketed here in Colorado. Cover each chamber leach field with a 4-foot wide sheet of geotextile fabric (landscaping fabric). The geotextile will prevent the migration of silt into the void under the chambers. The fabric also acts as a wick, wicking by capillary attraction, the effluent up over the chamber units, and then into the soil.
Install 4-inch monitoring and ventilation ports to the ground surface on each end of each field. The 4-PVC risers are covered with plastic 6-inch round irrigation valve boxes. The tops of the irrigation valve boxes are set at the final grade elevation. The boxes will allow easy location, easy access, and you can run the lawn mower right over them. Typically the covers of the boxes are green.
The tops of the in-use field monitoring ports are fitted with 4-inch female threaded adapters, and threaded plugs to prevent sewer gas odors from emanating into the yard. The tops of the resting field ventilation ports are fitted with a 4-inch female adapters, and plastic drain grates.
The ventilation ports will allow atmospheric oxygen to enter the leach field, and this will create an aerobic condition in the resting leach field. The oxygen will oxidize the Ferric sulfide (that black slimy crap), a major component of the clogging mat. Also, the aerobic condition will allow the aerobic microbes, present in the surrounding soil, to migrate to the clogging mat and consume the organic matter constituent of the clogging mat, and consume the dead bodies of all their anaerobic microbial cousins. Exchange the solid threaded plugs with the drain grates when the valve is turned on SEWAGE INDEPENDENCE DAY.
While you are involved with the major renovation of your septic system, I recommend that 20-inch plastic risers be installed over the inlet manhole, and the outlet manhole of the septic tank. The covers of the risers should be at the final grade elevation to allow easy access to the tank. Let’s face it, if you must excavate the soil over the septic tank manhole with a shovel, chances are that this chore will be avoided. I use Tuf-Tite brand risers.
I also recommend that the outlet tee of the tank be fitted with a septic tank effluent filter. The brand that I use is manufactured by the Tuf-Tite company, although there are several other high quality filters on the market. The filter will reduce the organic matter (suspended solids), and the synthetic fibers from the laundry in the effluent from flowing into the leach field. Clean the filter annually on SEWAGE INDEPENDENCE DAY.
Another chore that should be performed annually is the measurement of the sludge accumulation in the primary chamber of the septic tank. The sludge can be measured with a “SLUDGE JUDGE.” Do an Internet search to obtain this neat device. I recommend the implementation of the “1/3 RULE” of sludge removal. When the level of the sludge is 1/3 the total liquid depth of the septic tank, it is time to remove it.
The final chore to be performed on SEWAGE INDEPENDENCE DAY is to record all of the maintenance performed on the system in a maintenance log. I prepare a SEWERS CAN BE BEAUTIFUL operation manual for each of the septic systems that I install for my clients. The manual contains a description of the system design, photos of the system components, an as-built plan, a description of the required maintenance procedures, a copy of the permit, and the maintenance log. The manual becomes an excellent sales tool when the time comes to sell the home. The manual answers all questions a potential buyer may have regarding the performance of the septic system, and will allay the fears typically encountered when purchasing a home served by a septic system.
>Second question: My wife wants me to put in a crepe myrtle in the field area that does come from the septic tank. Are the roots from this tree going to interfere with the function of the field lines?<
I suggest another location for the Crepe Myrtle tree. A GOOGLE search reveals that Crepe Myrtle prefers well drained soil. It may be that the saturated soil under the leach field will have a negative impact on the growth of the tree. I don’t believe the roots of the Crepe Myrtle would interfere with the function of the field lines.
Well, I had better end this lengthy diatribe. If all soil absorption type septic systems were designed and constructed to the above standards, then there would be far fewer failed septic systems. Maintenance is the key to successful septic systems. However, if the required maintenance is difficult, or impossible, then chances are it will not be performed. If you would like photos of my typical standard system, send me your e-mail address. My address is email@example.com
John Aldrich (Septic Tank Yank)
Septic System Consultant
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