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Erin, exercise caution. Some jurisdictions prohibit the installation of whole house traps in the sewer pipelines.
To eliminate the possibility of a leak in the plumbing system, I recommend that you perform the Oil of Peppermint test. It is required that two people perform this test. One person is on the roof and pours about 2 ounces of Oil of Peppermint into the roof vent. The oil is followed by a gallon of hot water. The second person is in the house going from fixture to fixture to smell for the odor of peppermint. If that distinctive odor is detected then there is a leak at that fixture. It could be a dry trap at a little used floor drain or some other fixture that is seldom used. If you do find a dry trap in a floor drain, fill it with mineral oil.
I recommend that you pose that question to the local regulatory agency responsible for plumbing issues or for sewage system issues. In Colorado this type of system would be considered as a commercial system and the regulations require that the repair be performed by a licensed system installer or licensed plumber.
Only if the Plumbers bid included restoration of the Landscaping. He probably considers himself a Plumber, not a Landscaper. In order to clean up the mess, do it yourself or hire a Landscaper. The Plumber should state on his bid exactly the tasks for which he is responsible.
I suggest that you obtain a copy of the septic system permit and an as-built drawing of the original system from the local regulatory agency. You are in luck if they have these documents. If the as-built drawing is accurate, you will be able to determine which part of the system is clogged. Do this before you call in a professional so that he or she can determine a course of action. You can also save a few bucks (in many cases a large amount of money) if you uncover the septic tank access hole before the septic tank pumper arrives.
Before backfilling, 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 SIM/TECH (the big bottlebrush type), 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.
What on earth is SEWAGE INDEPENDENCE DAY? Well, if you are an American, this is July 4th of every year. Celebrate your independence of the sewer grid, and accomplish the annual septic system maintenance duties. With this independence comes the responsibilities of a septic system operator.
Mike, I do not believe that such a fitting is available. PLUMBILL’s suggestion may be possible, but I think that it will leak during rough water conditions, and this Rube Goldberg approach will allow sewer gasses into the cabin.
I think that a flexible connection should be made outside of the cabin and under the water. Reduce the outlet pipe to 3-inch and connect a section of flexible RV plastic sewer hose. You can purchase the various fittings to complete the connection at a RV supply store.
» This message has been edited by John Aldrich on 16 May 2006
» This message has been edited by John Aldrich on 16 May 2006
Mike, which mysterious force causes the cabin to raise and lower 2 feet?
Sonneckshock, Try putting a cup of mineral oil in the sauna drain after each use. The mineral oil will not evaporate as quickly as water.
tom from the gap.
There are several very good grinder pump manufacturers here in the USA. It appears from your post that you are from another country, so I suggest that you perform an internet search for “Sewage Grinder Pumps”. A very excellent American pump company is Zoeller Pump Company. I always specify Zoeller Pumps on my projects, and have never been disappointed. The quality of the pumps is very high and the prices are competitive. I recommend the use of a duplex pump system with a high level alarm.
Check out this Web site:
Another approach is to install a septic tank, fitted with a septic tank effluent filter, ahead of the existing pump pit to settle out the indigestible solids that are creating pump failures. The effluent can then be pumped to its final destination with sewage effluent pumps, which are less expensive and less problematic from the standpoint of maintenance. If the sewage flows to a centralized sewage collection system, check with your service provider to determine if they will approve of receiving the anaerobic effluent. This design also should have a duplex pump system and high level alarm.
» This message has been edited by John Aldrich on 18 April 2006
Bob, I tried to send an e-mail message to the address listed in your profile but it was returned by the Mailer Daemon. My new alternate e-mail address is:
Please resend your e-mail message.
Bob, I certainly can deal with it, but as yet, I have not received your personal e-mail message.
Septic Tank Yank
William Robert :>), I have installed several Activated Carbon Roof Vent Filters to eliminate the sewer gas odors emanating from roof vents and being carried by downdrafts into the yards of homes at which I have installed septic systems. The activated carbon adsorbs the hydrogen sulfide gas, which is a product of microbial digestion in the septic tank. When all of the sorption sites are occupied, the activated carbon must be replaced. The frequency of replacement varies greatly depending upon the volume of hydrogen sulfide produced in the system. I have had to replace the activated carbon on only one of eight installations. The initial charge lasted seven years on that particular system. The replacement procedure is very easy.
It is possible to recycle the Activated Carbon load, but the volume of activated carbon in the filter is quite small. It hardly seemed worth the effort to ship it back to the supplier for regeneration. I just added the spent carbon to my compost pile and ordered a new activated carbon load.
There have been reports of freezing water vapor, hoarfrost, clogging the roof vent filters in northern climates. I have not experienced this problem in Colorado and all of the filters that I have installed have been on systems located in the Rocky Mountains at very high elevations where extended periods of sub-zero temperatures are common.
I have used the “Sweet Air” brand, but there are other brands on the market. You can see the Sweet Air Filters, and purchase them on-line at the following web site:
John Aldrich (Septic Tank Yank)
Art, I am thankful to Australia for coming to the aid of America. Australia has always been willing to help us during our times of need whether in war or peace. Perhaps other nations will follow their lead. As for Canada and England, well historically they have not offered to help in times of need that America has faced. In 1973, Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian journalist, wrote a famous commentary titled “The Americans” to point out the lack of compassion exhibited by Canada and other countries in the world. The full text of his commentary is printed below.
The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French and British exchanges this morning, hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany.
It has declined there by 41% since 1971 and this Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least-appreciated people in all the earth.
As long as sixty years ago, when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtse. Who rushed in with men and money to help?
The Americans did.
They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges and the Niger. Today, the rich bottom land of the Misssissippi is under water and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help.
Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.
When distant cities are hit by earthquakes, it is the United States that hurries into help… Managua Nicaragua is one of the most recent examples. So far this spring, 59 American communities have been flattened by tornadoes. Nobody has helped. The Marshall Plan .. the Truman Policy .. all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now, newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent war-mongering Americans. I’d like to see one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplanes. Come on… let’s hear it!
Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar or the Douglas 107? If so, why don’t they fly them? Why do all international lines except Russia fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or women on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times … and safely home again. You talk about scandals and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everyone to look at. Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, most of them … unless they are breaking Canadian laws..are getting American dollars from Ma and Pa at home to spend here. When the Americans get out of this bind … as they will… who could blame them if they said ‘the hell with the rest of the world’. Let someone else buy the Israel bonds, Let someone else build or repair foreign dams or design foreign buildings that won’t shake apart in earthquakes.
When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke. I can name to you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble?
I don’t think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake. Our neighbours have faced it alone and I am one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of these. But there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians.
And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th Annual meeting in New Orleans this morning that it was broke. This year’s disasters .. with the year less than half-over… has taken it all and nobody…but nobody… has helped.
Dunbar, thank you for doing a such a good job as moderator of the MasterPlumbers.com Bulletin Boards. I know that it is a thankless job and requires a great deal of time to read every post to the various boards. The jerks that decide to disobey the rules of the forum are few, but they do make your work necessary. Again, thank you and keep up the good work.
John W. Aldrich
Septic Tank Yank
Septic System Consultant
Kest, The link that Art provided has good information, but it did not mention a plastic cistern option. I recommend that you puchase a 1200 gallon tank or perhaps a 1700 gallon tank to extend as much a possible the water hauling frequency. It is not necessary to bury the tanks even if they are rated for underground use (UG). The tanks are rotationally molded so there are no seams to leak, and the resin used in their manufacture produces “Food Grade Plastic.” http://www.chemtainer.com/watertanks/water.aspx
Another option is to use a bladder type reservoir. The flexible plastic fabric bladders can be obtained in capacities of 500 gallons to 250,000 gallons. http://www.interstateproducts.com/pillow_tanks.htm
Most of the water hauling services in this area of Colorado will deliver up to 2000 gallons per trip. If you plan to have water delivered then I recommend 2000 gallons of reservoir capacity. If you plan to haul water in a small plastic “Pick up” tank then the gallons per trip will be controlled by the weight capacity of your truck. Caution: The shifing water in an unbaffled water tank can cause your truck to lay over its side when going around a curve. The weight of the load will shift quickly resulting in irrigating the roadway.
» This message has been edited by John Aldrich on 12 February 2005