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Bill Eh
08-11-2006, 08:33 AM
Perhaps my question is being put in the wrong place but I figure some of the equipment folks on here work on septic systems so... My leaching bed is backing up (failing to drain):confused: :cry: Is there a preferred way to identify the problem? I have a small excavator and can dig the drain tiles up anywhere easily but I'd like to minimize the intitial test holes til I'm ready to fix whatever needs fixing(Don't want to dig up the whole leach line area if the problem is in one area.) The other question is do any of the chemicals (fast fix solutions) actually fix a clogged up leaching bed.

Electra_Glide
08-11-2006, 09:55 AM
Is there a preferred way to identify the problem? I have a small excavator and can dig the drain tiles up anywhere easily but I'd like to minimize the intitial test holes til I'm ready to fix whatever needs fixing.
Is there anyone in your area that offers video inspection? Around here, the local "Roto-Rooter" drain cleaning guys offer that service, and it's quite reasonable...less than $100.

Joe

qps
08-11-2006, 10:03 AM
Perhaps my question is being put in the wrong place but I figure some of the equipment folks on here work on septic systems so... My leaching bed is backing up (failing to drain):confused: :cry: Is there a preferred way to identify the problem? I have a small excavator and can dig the drain tiles up anywhere easily but I'd like to minimize the intitial test holes til I'm ready to fix whatever needs fixing(Don't want to dig up the whole leach line area if the problem is in one area.) The other question is do any of the chemicals (fast fix solutions) actually fix a clogged up leaching bed.


I would ask how old is your system??? it may be failing and you'll need to move your leach bed to a different area on your property....

mazurrj
08-11-2006, 11:10 AM
Perhaps my question is being put in the wrong place but I figure some of the equipment folks on here work on septic systems so... My leaching bed is backing up (failing to drain):confused: :cry: Is there a preferred way to identify the problem? I have a small excavator and can dig the drain tiles up anywhere easily but I'd like to minimize the intitial test holes til I'm ready to fix whatever needs fixing(Don't want to dig up the whole leach line area if the problem is in one area.) The other question is do any of the chemicals (fast fix solutions) actually fix a clogged up leaching bed.
Bill ,
Find you distrobution box and see if any of the legs are working or if one worse than other. If distrbution box is empty maybe you have block between tank and box. If you are only backed up after using a lot of water you're field probly is going bad. Like said above depends on how old it is.
My field was 20years old when it would backup, when washing lot of close.
I just ran to new legs from distrobution box to new area. 3' deep trench, gravel/pipe/gravel/dirt. You have and excavator you have it licked then.
I'd dig a few test pits to new area 3' deep and fill with water to see if water perks in few hours or so.

Dirty Water
08-11-2006, 11:20 AM
Out here the fines are a really steep for doing unlicensed septic work. This is something you need to get a professional out for.

Bob Horrell
08-11-2006, 01:19 PM
The two biggest causes of leach field failure are roots and grease & oil. It is easy to see if roots may be the problem. If you have fast growing type of trees near the field, this could be the problem. If there are trees nearby, dig a test hole between the trees and the field (without getting into the field) and see if there is an extensive root system headed toward the field. If this is the case, the only fix is a new field.
Grease and oil from the kitchen are another big problem. They tend to coat the field and prevent absorbtion. There are some additives on the market that specifically target this problem by breaking down the grease/oil to prevent the coating. If the system is too far gone, this might not work. It would sure be worth a try before replacing the field.
Soil type is also a limiting factor. If the soil is poor percolating soil, then the field has a limited life as it becomes saturated and no longer able to leach. A new field is then necessary (which will also have a shorter life).
Good luck with your "project".

Gravel Rat
08-12-2006, 12:21 AM
You have to watch what your doing you may end up with a expensive problem on your hands.

So what I assume happened you left the tank too long the crust on the top of the tank got into the outlet pipe. Now you are getting into a costly fix you will have to expose your septic tank and HAND DIG the outlet pipe to the D box. See if you have chunks of poo in the D box. If you find chunkies in the field runs then your SOL.

Now your looking at replacing your field if you have room if you don't have the room then you may have to excavate the old field out down to 2-3 feet and replace it with a pressurized system that uses C-33 Septic sand and Infiltrators. If the local regulations let you put a raised septic field over the current septic field it will save some major excavating but you will have to change your tank etc.

Good luck I hope you don't have too much problems but I have a feeling your going to be spending atleast 15,000 for a new septic system.

Bill Eh
08-12-2006, 08:44 AM
My field is 20 years old and the problem was at least in part caused by the failure of the skimmer in the tank. The solid matter got down into the distribution Bax and field. When I dug down to the distribution box and looked at one leach line the leach line is full of muck. Yes I have a tree that is sending roots out through the leach bed as well. Should have cut it down years ago but the shade was so nice. Sounds like there is no easy fix. A friend of mine suggested using a high pressure water hose to blow the lines out. I've also heard of a technique called fracturing. Fracturing is sort of like my friends idea except they blow high pressure into the system and the theory is it creates new fissures for the juice to seep out. The problem of grease etc. in the soil is a concern though. Any additional information would be appreciated.

murray83
08-12-2006, 09:27 AM
if he has to do a new field doesn't that mean he has to abandon the old system and start a new one?,depends on state laws i suppose.

mazurrj
08-12-2006, 09:23 PM
If you plan on stayiing there I'd just face up that you have to replace the field
20 years old and slug in pipes? I guess we do not know you're total situation as far as places to run a new field. As said above depends what law is in you're area and if you feel its worth doing it on you own. When mine went the law changed and even though ground would perk for conventional system, county had ne law that all new and redo septic systems had to be sand mound. $12k. I really did not have the money so just put field in myself and took the gamble. I was lucky the ground perked well.
Why don't you get a professional in at least to hear what he says, depending on you're situation it may not be too bad. If it is you'll have to make same decission as me.
I'm just a homeowner so my advice??? Even someone here does it for living, its hard without seeing the whole situation. Can't hurt to get couple esitmates. Good luck. At least its good time of year to do this.

murray83
08-12-2006, 09:53 PM
if you have to go the new install route he can save $$$

do your own digging,that mini you own is as good as you'll need.

in ontario are the infiltrator systems legal? i ask this since some provinces i think? haven't legalized them as of yet,but that was 2 years ago.... anyway,home hardware sells the chambers they're in the current catalogue others may sell them but this system can save you big bucks on the size of your field and the stone to be brought in.

in my area the law basically means that when u decommission a system you can't use the same imprint as before,so call the public health department and ask they'll answer any question you have and then some.

but before anything,have you already done a video inspection of your line? that could save you big bucks.

qps
08-12-2006, 11:47 PM
if he has to do a new field doesn't that mean he has to abandon the old system and start a new one?,depends on state laws i suppose.

Not really , you can add a dosing tank with a pump in it and a high water alarm, pump liquids to your new field while still using the old septic tank for the soilds...

Gravel Rat
08-13-2006, 12:29 AM
The cheapest option is install a T into your neighbours inlet pipe on their septic tank and run your line to their tank got to do it when they are on holidays :laugh:

I don't know what your area has for rules and regulations but here in B.C. the rules are you need to be a certified installer and you put your name on the paper work for the septic system your responsible for it. The gov't has nothing to do with it they are taking the blame off of them. Anyhow there are engineering companies that just do the design and install and put their stamp of approval on it. You hire a contractor to do the digging I can't remember but I think Bill has a mini so he could do all the digging and the engineering company does the pipe work.

I wouldn't try revive a old septic system once those pipes are plugged and the solids have gotten into the drain rock the system is done. Trying to power rod a field is a bad idea especially if its 20 years old.

ksss
08-13-2006, 03:32 PM
The biggest reason for failure we see here is the drain fields are underspeced for the usage. Some of the soil types out here also don't fair well. If you have solids in your leach field it is unsalvagable. Your system should have been designed with an alt. location for a drain field. From the tank I would abandon the old system and install a new drain field to the alt. location. Have the tank pumped just prior to work. Check the pipe inside the tank to be sure that it is still there. Sounds like it may have broke off allowing solids on the other side. Put in new D box and infiltrators if that is what your health dept. allows.

tylermckee
08-13-2006, 04:27 PM
The biggest reason for failure we see here is the drain fields are underspeced for the usage. Some of the soil types out here also don't fair well. If you have solids in your leach field it is unsalvagable. Your system should have been designed with an alt. location for a drain field. From the tank I would abandon the old system and install a new drain field to the alt. location. Have the tank pumped just prior to work. Check the pipe inside the tank to be sure that it is still there. Sounds like it may have broke off allowing solids on the other side. Put in new D box and infiltrators if that is what your health dept. allows.

I agree with ksss, your septic should have been designed with a septic reserve, pump the tank/s and and re build everything from the tanks on. you have all the machine you need to do the job so it shouldnt cost you 10's of thousands of dollars.

gammon landscaping
08-14-2006, 02:47 AM
ok i think we are jumping the gun here
1. he stated that it is backing up in to the house

so that means that the first thing he needs to do is take a shovel and dig up the tank lid and LOOK.
if the tank looks normal small amount of sludge not over flowing
the pipe between the house and the tank is blocked
if it is packed with sludge and is over full,
there is a problem down the line so
if you have a distrabution box(we don't here) dig to it and check it same as before
if it looks fine check the line between them
if it is full of water (over flowing grey water) then you probably have a pipe failure(ie colapsed pipe from d-box to drain field, second most common problem)
the way to test this is to go out towards the end of your drain field and dig down to it and see if there is any water in it, if you see the water pushing up from the hole as soon as you hit gravel then your system is exhusted and you need more lines
and if it is dry then you have a pipe falure
if it is full of solids, well then you have been a bad home owner and not had you tank pumped every few years as you should
this means that you drain field is full of solids the correct way to fix this is to tee off of the supply line and install a new drain field
do not discontinue the old field but put a valve in so that you can give old bed some relief and then in another 20 you can go back and get some use out of this bed instead of wasting it
im if you have any more questions i hope this helped
this is the way we always diagnose problems here
start at the top and work outward so you don't have to fix stuff that isn't broke

1stimer
08-15-2006, 03:55 PM
we are having the same problem, water backing up into the basement drain, we've checked for blockage all the way to the d-box, (none) and had the tank pumped. Our house, and drain field, is 27 yrs old. We are going to have roto-rooter come here on thurs, they will roto the drain pipes and replace d-box. Quite expensive though, quoted $1500.00 Ouch. Hoping it friggin' works! They say they have a 90% success rate though. They also put nitrogen through the field to break down any buildup in the gravol. If you want I will post results, although it may take a few days to see any...

qps
08-15-2006, 05:17 PM
If your leach field is saturated I think your wasting your time and money...a 27 year old system is probably one it's last leg...sorry

Bill Eh
08-16-2006, 08:35 AM
I'd like to hear more from 1stimer and anyone else who have tried to renovate an old bed.s

1stimer
08-16-2006, 05:35 PM
Hi Bill, tommorrow is the big day! I will post on here when we know if it has worked or not, probably won't know for a few days, as our septic tank is only 1/4 full now. Wish us luck....

qps
08-16-2006, 05:41 PM
I agree with ksss, your septic should have been designed with a septic reserve, pump the tank/s and and re build everything from the tanks on. you have all the machine you need to do the job so it shouldnt cost you 10's of thousands of dollars.

Don't quote me on this one but I think it 100 lf per bedroom in our area...but there really trying to get rid of all septic in our county...

Bill Eh
08-17-2006, 09:02 AM
To answer an earlier question... Yes infiltrator systems are used in Ontario. I'm trying to find out more on them. I looked them up on the net and to me they seem to make more sense than the leaching pipes.

1stimer
08-18-2006, 01:19 PM
Hi there, well, Roto-Rooter seems to have worked! They cleaned out all 4 lines, found that the first 10 ft (appr) were quite blocked with heavy black sludge. They tell us that they think that is from our water softener draining into the field. (we should drain it separetly) So, our tank was almost full, and now we have done 2 loads of laundry, dishes, toilet, 2 showers, etc...and no backup yet! They also put 4 bags of Nitrogen through the field to eat away any sludge in the drain rock. Cost: $1360 total, including the pump truck. MUCH better than replacing field - hopefully it keeps working....

qps
08-18-2006, 04:18 PM
Hi there, well, Roto-Rooter seems to have worked! They cleaned out all 4 lines, found that the first 10 ft (appr) were quite blocked with heavy black sludge. They tell us that they think that is from our water softener draining into the field. (we should drain it separetly) So, our tank was almost full, and now we have done 2 loads of laundry, dishes, toilet, 2 showers, etc...and no backup yet! They also put 4 bags of Nitrogen through the field to eat away any sludge in the drain rock. Cost: $1360 total, including the pump truck. MUCH better than replacing field - hopefully it keeps working....

it's going to be better if they drained the tank, give it a week or so then check back...good luck...

1stimer
08-18-2006, 05:26 PM
drain the tank about 3 days before we did this :)

Bill Eh
08-18-2006, 10:18 PM
The sludge in my lines were caused because the skimmer in the final tank at the outlet point had broken down. That allowed the solids and floating scum/grease layer to get out of the tank and into the leaching lines. You may want to check if that is what the cause of your problem. If it is you can fix it and stop a repeat of pipe plugging. We had also been negligent in not getting our tank pumped out regularly which meant when the overflow occurred it was a big one. What we couldn't see we just assumed was working OK.

You may want to keep the lid on your tank easily accessible to check on the heathly flow over the next little while. I'm watching mine. Better than what's on TV most days.

1stimer
08-19-2006, 03:17 AM
Well, a bit more interesting anyways! Our skimmer was broken off also, although I think we broke it off looking for blockage. We have replaced that now. We are also building some kind of 'housing' too, so that next time we won't have to dig so much. Thanks for the tips though....We won't be covering it anytime soon though, going to be watching ours for a bit yet too, the new spot for the lawn chairs...who ever thought sh!t could be so interesting :)

Bill Eh
08-19-2006, 09:23 AM
Interesting $hit for sure. I found out a friend of mine had a septic party when his broke down. Not sure how that worked but we've invited his family ove next weekend. I've also been scouring the net to learn more on the cutting edge of poop disposal. I've even contacted the government department that licenses installers. I'm thinking of getting a license because I know my system will not last too much longer. Good luck with your system.

murray83
08-19-2006, 12:59 PM
good money in septics actually depending on your market.with your mini excavator your already a step ahead.

Dirt Digger2
08-20-2006, 12:38 PM
good money in septics actually depending on your market.with your mini excavator your already a step ahead.

a mini-excavator?...your nuts if you want to install systems with just a mini-trackhoe...seeing as the company i work for installs hundreds of systems a year...ranging from simple gravity to a job we're working on now thats a double sand filter with an atgrade mound i think i know enough to say if you want to install systems you need atleast a backhoe...sure a mini-trackhoe will dig a trench, but what if you need to repostion a tank, or carry stone from one end of the job to another?...theres guys popping up everwhere that think installing systems is simple cake work, and thats why inspectors are coming down so hard on us now, even though we've been in business for 30 years.

Dirty Water
08-20-2006, 12:41 PM
a mini-excavator?...your nuts if you want to install systems with just a mini-trackhoe...seeing as the company i work for installs hundreds of systems a year...ranging from simple gravity to a job we're working on now thats a double sand filter with an atgrade mound i think i know enough to say if you want to install systems you need atleast a backhoe...sure a mini-trackhoe will dig a trench, but what if you need to repostion a tank, or carry stone from one end of the job to another?...theres guys popping up everwhere that think installing systems is simple cake work, and thats why inspectors are coming down so hard on us now, even though we've been in business for 30 years.

A mini will be fine to install ONE system. Not ideal, but it works.

The guys around here use a backhoe and a small d3 sized dozer to do septic installs.
and a 4' cleanup bucket.

To be honest, Backhoes frusterate me after running excavators, so I'd almost prefer jumping between a mini and the skidsteer over a backhoe.

tylermckee
08-20-2006, 01:21 PM
Ive always been told to NOT use a backhow for doing septic work, use a tracked machine, less ground pressure.

Dirty Water
08-20-2006, 01:27 PM
Not sure what happened to my post, but it originally said:

"You can chuck a lot of rock with a 75 size excavator and a 4' cleanup bucket"

murray83
08-20-2006, 03:44 PM
whats wrong with a mini? if your doing a repair i'd like to see you get a backhoe in some yards i've been in,not gonna happen.

septics are not easy,but they're not hard either,if you do what the inspector wants you'll have no problems what so ever.

ksss
08-20-2006, 03:55 PM
We do a fair amount of septics and get along just fine with a 12K excavator and a skid steer. On new construction the tanks are set with a truck, if a system redo requires the tank being replaced than I get a track hoe or back hoe for the day. Some of these 1500 gallon tanks need to be set with an excavator only. I did a system two years ago that required two 1500 gallon traffic rated tanks. I had to set them with a 322 excavator. So in short yes you can do the majority of work with a mini ex, realizing that you may need to rent a specific piece of equipment for certain jobs. You certainly are able to do a cleaner job with a mini ex on redo jobs. Your also able to do a better job backfilling with a skid steer over a hoe in a landscaped yard. Only in new construction does the install maybe favor using a larger machine. However even then it is not a big deal. Maybe it takes a little longer to dig with a mini but its is not to the point of not being feasible.

Gravel Rat
08-20-2006, 08:17 PM
A 12,000lb mini can do a cleaner job doing a septic system than a rubber tired backhoe ever could. Most of the time digging the trench for the main poop pipe is inbetween trees to the tank then the rest of the field is built.

The setic tank is set with a crane truck that delivers the tank a truck with a crane is more precise than a tank swinging around under a bucket.

Most homeowners want the septic field put in a area where your not clearing a acre to get a machine to work in.

Dirt Digger2
08-20-2006, 10:21 PM
A 12,000lb mini can do a cleaner job doing a septic system than a rubber tired backhoe ever could.

until it comes time to backfill

Gravel Rat
08-20-2006, 11:08 PM
All the backfilling is done with the mini no need for anything else. Usually where the setic field is a backhoe can't go because of the terrain. The dump truck dumps the material close enough then use the clean up bucket on the machine to move the material.

One job I was on one septic field used over 100 infiltrators the septic tank was custom built approx 10,000 imperial gallon tank. The whole field was done with a 12,000lb mini the ground was too steep for a rubber tired backhow to be on.

Our building lots are not level in my area the only way to do a septic field in most cases is with a excavator. Some jobs a 160 sized machine need to be brought in to chuck material down over a bank.

A job I didn't work on the contractor had to walk his machine through 3 back yards accross a beach up a bank to the front of a house dig the septic field.

Most places where you have to dump material with a dump truck you need a machine to yank the truck back out because it won't drive out of the hole you have to back it into.