PDA

View Full Version : Cesspool is browning the grass


JJLandscapes
05-23-2005, 04:19 PM
New customer has had the same part of her lawn get brown from her cesspool over the poast few years and she said she couldnt get it to stay green

Anyone ever deal with a problem like this and is there is anyway of treating the spot so it can stay green. I dont want to suggest her anything like Sod or top soil and seed if its not going to help

GripB
05-23-2005, 04:56 PM
New customer has had the same part of her lawn get brown from her cesspool over the poast few years and she said she couldnt get it to stay green

Anyone ever deal with a problem like this and is there is anyway of treating the spot so it can stay green. I dont want to suggest her anything like Sod or top soil and seed if its not going to help

I have a 2 tank system: 1st tank(1000 gal.) is solids and the 2nd tank(500 gal.) is liquids. I have the same problem, but around the 1st tank only ;)
I planted seed; that eventually browned. I then did sod; that eventually browned also. So, I'd like to know wasup.

freddyc
05-23-2005, 05:24 PM
Its possible that the methane is coming up from the solids tank.

the other possible answer is that the soil is too acidic from the effluent gases.

Soil test and then maybe a curtain vent over the tank if necessary???

You said her system has been doing this for a few years....how old is the system and any idea what kind of soil was put over it?? When they dig for a tank they don't always be that careful and sometime its sandy in the top layer.
Any idea if the brown spots are near the cleanout riser or if it covers the whole tank area??

GripB
05-23-2005, 05:32 PM
...and then maybe a curtain vent over the tank if necessary???

What's a curtain vent? My system is 3 years old and it's been this way since new...methane makes sense. Thanks!

freddyc
05-23-2005, 05:53 PM
A curtain vent is something you'd have to make up on your own. :p

Essentially, what I'm saying is that you might have to capture and vent the gas instead of letting it filter up through the ground. Thats also why I was asking if its a local browning or over the whole tank area. If its very local, a pipe in the ground might do the trick... if its widespread, then you probably have to somehow sheet over the area and direct the gas away. Then if its directed into a certain area, you could install a piping system much like a curtain drain leading to a standpipe.

In my memory, a cesspool as first described could just be a hole in the ground with some stone. No good way to separate the liquid/solids. It could be a 55 gallon drum with a few holes in it with stone around it which allows the liquids to disperse. In either case, its usually smaller than a newer 2 tank septic system and can be a lot less controlled.

One other question is: is it possible that the moisture is draining away from the surface and into the tank???

GripB
05-23-2005, 06:15 PM
A curtain vent is something you'd have to make up on your own. :p
Sounds like a shi**y job :p But seriously, in my case it's not a cesspool, it's a round concrete tank and the browning area is the same diameter as the tank itself.

rokinrandy
05-25-2005, 08:51 PM
hello everybody,i am glad i found a place on here where i can contribute..i have been plumbing for 15 years..i am not a turd chaser any longer i am a builder now but i will start by saying that this type of venting system you refering to as a curtain drain or venting a typical residential septic system in this manner is against b.o.c.a. and s.b.c.c.i. codes and could potentially cause problems.not only health and structure problems but including a potential law suit. .Brown or burnt looking areas in the grass over the leaching bed. This may indicate that the system is too full. Have the levels in the septic tank and the leaching bed checked by a septic contractor ..and yes their is methane and propane and all that icky stuff that will make you sick that is why those little pipes are on your roof..way up there so you don't breath that stuff and this stuff is combustable if not released from a plumbing system..i know what i said might sound crazy but i have seen a lot of crazy things since i have been plumbing..i hope this helps,randy

rokinrandy
05-25-2005, 09:10 PM
http://www.eco-nomic.com/indexsdd.htm http://www.plumbingworld.com/historyplague.html http://www.laundry-alternative.com/septic_system_maintenance.html ok i need landscaping help ..lol

GripB
05-26-2005, 06:30 AM
Brown or burnt looking areas in the grass over the leaching bed. This may indicate that the system is too full.
Randy,
In my case, the grass over the drain field is fine and matches the rest of my lawn; it's the grass above my 1st tank (solids) which is brown. The brown grass is the same diameter as the tank. The grass above the 2nd tank (liquids) is fine :dizzy:

freddyc
05-26-2005, 05:31 PM
hello everybody,i am glad i found a place on here where i can contribute..i have been plumbing for 15 years..i am not a turd chaser any longer i am a builder now but i will start by saying that this type of venting system you refering to as a curtain drain or venting a typical residential septic system in this manner is against b.o.c.a. and s.b.c.c.i. codes and could potentially cause problems.not only health and structure problems but including a potential law suit. .Brown or burnt looking areas in the grass over the leaching bed. This may indicate that the system is too full. Have the levels in the septic tank and the leaching bed checked by a septic contractor ..and yes their is methane and propane and all that icky stuff that will make you sick that is why those little pipes are on your roof..way up there so you don't breath that stuff and this stuff is combustable if not released from a plumbing system..i know what i said might sound crazy but i have seen a lot of crazy things since i have been plumbing..i hope this helps,randy





The indication is that is over the tank, not the leaching field.
If the tank is structurally sound, having a full tank should not really matter.

I don't know the local rules or regs in their area, but if it is indeed a methane issue (don't know if it is either) then venting it is probably the only option. I have no idea what you're talking about when you say structural problems??????

Also, health issues..... I'm not sure about your area, but septic venting is common in Massachusetts---residential or not. This seems to be especially true in newer, above ground (mounded) systems.
Even the landfills are vented.

Unless you're sucking on the vent stack I don't really see the issue... its just venting the ground area not directly to the tank. The vent through your roof is the path of least resistance (unless you have a poorly designed/installed system), and it should take care of any major fumes.

The person needs a soil test to start. If its methane, its probably displacing some of the oxygen in the soil. If the moisture is draining from the surface, then I think these people would have tried a load of watering already.

FYI, my neighbor had an improperly installed septic system... essentially, a home plumber installed perforated pipe between the house and tank. They snaked it out once a month or so but had the greenest lawn on the street.

I assume the people here know that their system is full or not. Also, theres two system types.... either or both could have a failed leaching field. This is an interesting subject though.

freddyc
05-26-2005, 07:15 PM
I think the browning of the lawns probably has more to do with inadequate moisture or nutrients being leached from a specific area. The amount of fill over a tank is important to maintain a moisture buffer and reduce contamination of nutrients.

Heres a venting 101 article. It really pertains to mounded systems or pressurized systems. There was also an article I saw about the increased pressure of the new low volume toilets --in short they produce a lot more pressure than older units.






Vents and Venting - There are two types of vents that you will see referenced when speaking about septic systems. The first type is common to all septic systems and is the vent that runs back through the house plumbing and to the roof. This vent is simply to allow the water fixtures in the house to drain, and to allow gasses from the septic system to escape.

The second type of vent is specifically designed to allow aeration of the leaching components of the system. Venting must be used to compensate for the natural movement of air to the leaching system, when the leaching area is to be located in whole or in part under "driveways, parking or turning areas or other areas of impervious material" (Section 15.241 System Venting). Venting should also be required when a Board of Health grants a variance to the requirements of Section 15.221(7), and allows more than 3 ft of soil cover on top of a leachfield. When trenches, beds or fields are used in these situations, the end of each distribution lateral must be connected to one or more vents. Under what other conditions should vents be used, and how many vents are enough? The code is not entirely specific in this regard and pretty much leaves it up to the engineer or designer to decide what is adequate. Certainly it makes sense to vent systems being dosed by pump in order to allow the displaced air in the distribution lines to rapidly escape. Another somewhat rare case is when distribution lines in trenches exceed 50 ft in length (Section 15.251:(11)). A curious omission of the code is that this 50-ft rule is not included for bed distribution lines.

Other requirements relative to vents are common sense; make allowances to keep the animals from crawling in, make sure vents and supporting structure are made of durable resistant material, position the open ends away from traffic areas, backfill around the vents so that water doesn't drain down into the system, etc.

rokinrandy
05-26-2005, 11:58 PM
i'm sorry if i did not make my self clear enough on that i tried to keep it to short and was thinking of all the bad bootleg plumbing jobs i have seen and the after math of them when i mentioned structure and etc. so it was not very descriptive.now i will be some help and help you correct this...it sounds like you are describing a curtain drain with a vent riser and it is not common practice in my area and is against codes nation wide.The open top of the inlet tee is what allows venting of gases out of the tank through the inlet pipe and fresh air vents of the household is the correct way ..people do there own thing after the initial inspections are done however ..i am not a landscaper but all landscapers i talk to when i have problems myself always suggest soil and grass samples for diagnosis even on this site..the top of that tank is concrete but it is sealed so no water will get into it..i'm sure that sewer gas is not the culprate because the top of that tank is sealed..i have seen this problem before ,i bet if you stick a shovel down in this area it will not even be a foot deep..i suggested to the homeowners i worked for to add more soil and sod and it should correct the issue and if it does not work contact a lawn proffesional about using a grass that can live in shallow surfaces near tanks or just decorate with something in that area..well just adding more soil and a layer of sod is what they did and it worked..not enough soil was the problem every time and i can not see why this should be any different.you guys should know how deep the soil should be to properly retain moisture,i suggested 18'' and i do not know if they used 18''.as far as the plumber that messed up the septic tank,he should stick to the residential plumbing and stay away from installing septic systems..there is a difference between a liscensed plumber and a state certified septic contractor ..if he was a plumber he still should have done a better job though and had no business messing with a septic system unless he was certified..i really hope this helps this time and next time i will not be in such a hurry :waving:

rokinrandy
05-27-2005, 03:48 PM
If the tank is structurally sound, having a full tank should not really matter.
yes sir having a full tank is bad
I don't know the local rules or regs in their area, but if it is indeed a methane issue (don't know if it is either) sewer gas is not the the issue then venting it is probably the only option. venting is very important but i would not reccomend installing any venting system untill you are familiar with installing one by the book step by step all theway including soil type knowledge depth and etc. I have no idea what you're talking about when you say structural problems?????? then read up on the 2 septic tank links (exclude the plumbing history link for now) i left the links on page one of this thread about some of these proplems ..i have seen all of them most people are very uninformed and do not understand alot till it is to late there is also some good info on the mounded systems..

Also, health issues.....i have seen what can potentialy happen with similar venting methods, be carefull I'm not sure about your area, but septic venting is common in Massachusetts---residential or not.then be absolutely sure you follow all the guidelines from your county official and state codes strictly,it would not pass and would be frowned upon by others over here if installed in such a manner and i am positive on this.. This seems to be especially true in newer, above ground (mounded) systems.
Even the landfills are vented.

Unless you're sucking on the vent stack I don't really see the issue..most people don't see how which is why i left the links.. its just venting the ground area not directly to the tank. The vent through your roof is the path of least resistance (unless you have a poorly designed/installed system), and it should take care of any major fumes.

The person needs a soil test to start. If its methane, its probably displacing some of the oxygen in the soil. If the moisture is draining from the surface, then I think these people would have tried a load of watering already.what about another method that could help retain the water in the affected area better
FYI, my neighbor had an improperly installed septic system... essentially, a home plumber installed perforated pipe between the house and tank. They snaked it out once a month or so but had the greenest lawn on the street.yes, but this plumber needs a good law suit and a bunch of fines..sounds like a jack leg to me

I assume the people here know that their system is full or not. Also, theres two system types.there is more than 2 system types... either or both could have a failed leaching field. This is an interesting subject though. http://www.eco-nomic.com/indexsdd.htm http://www.laundry-alternative.com/...aintenance.html good luck

freddyc
05-27-2005, 05:31 PM
I don't want to turn this into a long drawn out septic design thread.


With regard to Venting, please re-read my previous post---it is VERY COMMON in certain situations. You must be thinking of something other than what I'm describing.

I posted the article clip just as a quick description, not as a bonefied solution.

I stand behind my statement that I think moisture (or lack of) or lack of soil depth or nutrient depletion is the leading
culprit for what is described originally. The Methane issue was just thrown out as a possible contributor to the problem.

I also say that a soil test needs to be done. In addition, septic system check, vent stack through the house and all soil conditions (depth-water absorption) should all be done.


What I'm trying to say is that I don't know the property, the condition of the septic system, the property elevation, the septic installation specifics or the integrity of the tank or leach field....and neither does anyone else. I also don't know if the house stack is partially plugged or if they are dumping 800 gallons a day in there.

The reasons for browning of grass are many--look at the other thread on here. The proper solution will only be found through testing the various systems.

One system described was a cesspool and another a recently installed (and believed to be approved septic).

I STILL say if the system was full they should know it and I BELEVE they have tried excessive watering. Good luck.

rokinrandy
05-27-2005, 08:19 PM
yes freddy ,you seem alot smarter than the average bear payup ..later