Cesspool is filled up

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  • This topic has 2 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 17 years ago by John Aldrich1.
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    • #279385

      We have a cesspool problem. It started with a slow tiolet
      flush and then the main line seemed to be clogged.

      I went to the cesspool and saw it was pretty filled. We
      had the guy put down 15 gallons of sulfuric acid. It went down some but not very much.

      I later found out that one of my kids was flushing down the toilet his baby wipes. After the surfuric acid was poured in i figured that it would disolve almost everything.

      One of my neighbors said that it may need to be airated and pumped. Another said to put down more acid.

      Any suggestions?

    • #300724
      Robert Stephen Morton

      Barry. Does the “Guy” have insurance? You obviously had a problem with the Septic Tank for which I assume you contracted a proffessional.
      Acid in a Septic system is a double negative, but 15 gallons is downright irrisponsible.
      I would contact another proffessional & have an assessment carried out to remedy your “Health Problem”

    • #300725
      John Aldrich1

      Barry, where in the world do you live? Are cesspools the common technology for onsite systems in your vicinity? In many jurisdictions in the world septic system regulations disallow the use of cesspools for onsite sewage disposal. The reason? Cesspools typically have a very short service life before failure occurs. Also, in some soil types, cesspools are not effective devices to protect the groundwater from contamination. I suggest that you consider abandoning the cesspool and installing a septic tank/soil absorption system.

      If you decide to have the cesspool replaced with a septic tank and leach field system, consider installing 2-half sized leach fields equipped with a 4-inch, NDS brand diversion valve. 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 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 in the USA. 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. 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 in the leach field), 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 new 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 SIM/TECH Company, although there are several other high quality filters on the market. The filter will reduce the organic matter 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.

      Well Barry, 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 lmajwa@aol.com

      John Aldrich (Septic Tank Yank)
      Septic System Consultant
      Timnath, Colorado

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