Septic system leaching bed failure

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Bill Eh, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. Bill Eh

    Bill Eh LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    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.
  2. Electra_Glide

    Electra_Glide LawnSite Member
    Posts: 75

    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.

  3. qps

    qps LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Posts: 1,484

    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....
  4. mazurrj

    mazurrj LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    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.
  5. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    Out here the fines are a really steep for doing unlicensed septic work. This is something you need to get a professional out for.
  6. Bob Horrell

    Bob Horrell LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    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".
  7. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    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.
  8. Bill Eh

    Bill Eh LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    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.
  9. murray83

    murray83 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    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.
  10. mazurrj

    mazurrj LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    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.

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