septic tank filter- ok to remove??

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Old 08-20-15, 05:55 PM
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septic tank filter- ok to remove??

We built a new home a couple of years ago, and ran into an issue today where we had to have the tank serviced and it was found that there is a filter at the outlet that was clogged. The septic guy said it was part of new code and that they are supposed to be cleaned out annually to avoid issues like we had, where sludge had built up on it. The guy that installed the tank never advised of us of any filter or needing to clean it. In any case, the septic tech said we could remove it, its not really necessary, its more of a modern day "eco friendly" device that is a pain. And the fact that they need to be cleaned annually is really something I don't want to deal with every year. He said he was not allowed to remove the filter, but said "if you want to pull that out and throw it away after I leave, you can certainly do that and I encourage it". Whats the deal with these filters. After witnessing what it did today, it causes as much harm as whatever good to the environment its doing. And due to the outlet being clogged, it also caused a clog on the inlet, so they had to dig up that end of the tank. Turns out there is some type of hood looking thing bolted to the tank where the pipe enters the tank, and is supposed to prevent some type of splashing or whatever that could potentially affect the filter. Tissue had built up on that due to the clogged filter. Again, this hood device seems to be unnecessary, especially if I remove the filter. Seems like they are going overboard and trying to complicate the simplicity of a standard tank. Older houses with standard tanks don't have these filter and hoods, and I've never run into an issue like this until now, and my house is only 3 years old. Thoughts?
 
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Old 08-20-15, 06:05 PM
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I wouldn't pull the filter. It is there to prevent things like lint an other non-digestible items from plugging up the drain field. 1 hour of maintenance once a year vs. thousands to replace your drain field? You decide.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 05:57 AM
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You could pull the filter . . . . but instead of throwing it away, rinse it off with a garden hose and put it right back in, immediately.

Far better to intercept those inorganic materials right there than trying to deal with them after they've gone out to your Leach Field.

If it's something like a PolyLoK Filter, it's about 24" long, standing vertically at the outlet, with a handle for pulling it out and rinsing it off. Wear a vinyl glove.

Now's not the time to get squeamish; you are the Owner of a Septic System that you rely on and should want to have continue working with the least amount of maintenance.

The material clogging the filter today may give you telltale information about other problems in the way the system is functioning . . . . and especially if it's being asked to digest materials which should not have been allowed to enter it at all.

It doesn't sound like your "septic tech" was very helpful. Before building this house, had you ever lived with a Septic System, or become familiar with the usage patterns that must be adopted to have it operate problem free ?
 

Last edited by Vermont; 08-21-15 at 06:41 AM.
  #4  
Old 08-21-15, 06:30 AM
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DO NOT permanently remove your filter. After pumping you may pull the element out and clean it but is should be returned to proper working order.

The filter is there to help protect your leach field. That yours was clogged is not a good sign. And whatever clogged it would have ended up out in your leach field, potentially clogging it... which is a major expense to replace. I suggest reading up on septic systems and how to take care of them. Focus on what you can and cannot flush down the toilet or put down the drain. My filter has been in place for 12 years without clogging. If used properly they rarely cause trouble or need servicing.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 08:59 AM
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thanks for all the replies. to answer a question, all my other homes were older ones with the old style tanks, I never had to do anything to them other than have it pumped. there were no filters. I never had leach field issues. I don't mind cleaning it if its worth leaving in, strange that the guys that came out tell me otherwise. But it would be nice if the guy putting the tank in would at least advise the homeowner its in there and to keep an eye on it. as for what I'm flushing, I don't think it was clogged with anything other than sludge, at least that is what the tech's said. he made it sound normal for sludge to form on the filter if it didn't get cleaned every year. also, anyone know what that "hood" thing I described is that sits at the inlet? seems to be its just a place for material to catch on instead of having an unobstructed drop into the tank.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 10:18 AM
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also, because the guys had to bust the cover to get it off the tank, they also damaged some of the concrete on the tapered part of the tank itself. so our new cover doesn't fit tightly in there. is there a recommended solution to sealing it so no gas comes up in the gaps it created? this has turned into a real mess. apparently its a common issue that the tapered covers don't remove well. I don't know why they moved away from the classic oversize cover that simply fit over the whole. in any case...my new cover doesn't sit snugly because of the concrete damage to the tank.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 05:05 PM
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So much wrong with this post I cringe when I read it...

they also damaged some of the concrete on the tapered part of the tank itself.
They should pay to fix it... whatever it costs. Thats not acceptable to me..

We built a new home a couple of years ago, and ran into an issue today where we had to have the tank serviced and it was found that there is a filter at the outlet that was clogged.
How many people in the home? How much laundry, water, etc you using..

Probably the scum layer in the tank got too thick it sounds like..

and my house is only 3 years old. Thoughts?
Pump the tank more frequently if the above is try on scum layer..

Did you watch them pump it?

What did you see..?

The septic guy said it was part of new code and that they are supposed to be cleaned out annually
I never clean mine, but I have a bristle type filter.. Clean it yearly then... Its takes 10 minutes...

the septic tech said we could remove it, its not really necessary, its more of a modern day "eco friendly" device that is a pain.
And that guy and company would never set foot on my property again. Thats the worst advice!!!

Probably told you that so in 6 months he can come back and replace your field for 10-30K $$$$

And due to the outlet being clogged, it also caused a clog on the inlet, so they had to dig up that end of the tank.
How do you know? Did you see it? Maybe they just told you that to add on to your bill$$

Possible as I said scum layer too thick from abusing the septic.. Pump it out more often if so..

Turns out there is some type of hood looking thing bolted to the tank where the pipe enters the tank, and is supposed to prevent some type of splashing or whatever that could potentially affect the filter. Tissue had built up on that due to the clogged filter. Again

Filter should be between the sludge and scum layer.. As I said if one of these ares get too think to reach the filter then you have many people in the home, or doing loads of laundry possibly..

Some septics with high use need pumping every year..

How many bathrooms?

Just saying I could be wrong...


is there a recommended solution to sealing it so no gas comes up in the gaps it created?
Yes have them fix it or take them to small claims court if they don't

this has turned into a real mess. apparently its a common issue that the tapered covers don't remove well.
I never had an issue getting a cover off a customers septic tank

I don't know why they moved away from the classic oversize cover that simply fit over the whole. in any case...my new cover doesn't sit snugly because of the concrete damage to the tank.
Remove the wedge cover and get an over-sized one.. Done..

But all in all... Take pics of what you have and we can guide you better..

Did you ever have a home on a septic before?

And as others stated that filter prevents solids from entering the field.

I have seen new septic fields water lock from solids in less then a year.. When you hit that point its new field time...

Last, old septics from the 50's 60's 70's were installed with massive fields often.. Or giant cesspools/ seepage pits.. Imaging how much longer many of the old systems would last if they had a filter.......
 
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Old 08-21-15, 06:15 PM
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How many people in the home? How much laundry, water, etc you using..
4 people in the house. Quite a bit amount of laundry and water use, I would say.

Did you watch them pump it?

What did you see..?


Yes, I watched them pump it. I saw them unable to remove the cover, they were both prying on it and it would not budge. They said they see it all the time and have to bang on it, sometimes it breaks the cover. I didn't see any other solution, what could I do?

How do you know? Did you see it? Maybe they just told you that to add on to your bill$$
No, I saw them. After they cleaned the filter, they had us go in the house and flush the toilets (4 bathrooms). The look on their faces said it all when no water was seen coming into the tank. So they had to locate and dig up on the inlet side. This is where tissue had built up on the hood looking thing (sorry I don't know the technical term, but looks like a splash guard of some sorts). So he simply removed the tissue, and everything that was built up in the pipes came pouring into the tanks.

I will follow the advice to keep the filter. I can deal with digging it up once a year or so. But I do NOT understand that splash guard thing at the inlet. to me it just proved its point as a possible trap for tissue to accumulate on. Why can't the inlet pipe just go straight into the tank without this foolish contraption?

I'm not sure we'd get anywhere filing a lawsuit. I think first I'd like to try and figure out how to get the new cover to sit down in there. does it have to be airtight? The replacement cover doesn't fit snug as I'd like, leaving some gaps. The concrete place (the company that the tank itself came from) that sold the covers don't carry the old fashioned oversize covers, so either I'd have to keep looking for one elsewhere or possibly forge one myself with some concrete mix and a few 2x4's formed for size. I'd have to find some handles to put into the mix if I go this route. Thoughts on this approach if I can't get that new cover to somehow fit tighter in there? I could throw some concrete mix around the gaps but I'd probably be making it very difficult for myself if that cover ever needed to come off for whatever reason (keep in mind the cover that does fit well is on the inlet end, not the outlet/filter end. lucky that cover fit back in nicely.


thanks for all the feedback.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 12:04 PM
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I've attempted to attach some pics. hopefully they come through. there is no way I can put a cover back into this without some type of repair. I called the septic company that pumped it and they blamed the tank manufacturer for a faulty tank, they said it should not break apart like that despite needing to smash the cover to get it off. whomever is at fault, the person that designed the tapered cover should be slapped. Some sort of lining should go in with them, the methane gas creates a seal making the covers all but impossible to remove.
assuming the pics came through, any opinions on the damage?
 
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Old 08-22-15, 01:49 PM
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I called the septic company that pumped it and they blamed the tank manufacturer for a faulty tank, they said it should not break apart like that despite needing to smash the cover to get it off.
Id be pissed off... Someone ( most likely the pumping company would be replacing that tank...)


That baffle does the same thing as tees..

After the tank fills you can see where the scum and sludge layer should be in this pic..

I have tees..

Quite a bit amount of laundry and water use, I would say.
Probably your issue.. Laundry can create a large scum layer in no time as well as kill the tank and make it do dormant..

Try pumping yearly..

First resolve your cracked tank issue..




[ATTACH=CONFIG]54975[/ATTACH]

Call the manufacturer of the tank and see what they have to say.. But IMHO its the pumping company who should be liable..

the methane gas creates a seal making the covers all but impossible to remove.
This is nonsense.. Who told you that line of BS?

So when my kids are playing over that septic tank and it gives way from that large crack here, and my child dies who then will be to blame...???






many stories on the web.. Kids playing in the yard and they simply dissappear..

Not trying to scare you but just talking what could happen. But I dont know the magnitude of that crack...

 
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Old 08-22-15, 03:37 PM
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the owner of the septic company that pumped the tank were the ones that told me that methane gas caused the tapered covers to seal. she indicated they are having all kinds of issues getting the covers off these new styles of tanks. she is supposed to put in a call on Monday to the owner of the concrete company that makes the tanks. I figure a finger pointing match is going to break out between the two and neither will want to claim responsibility. Unfortunately I am not sure if my homeowners covers this, I won't know until I check with them on Monday. Other than that my only option may be litigation and we all know how slow that moves and I can't afford to be bogged down with that, someone needs to fix this stupid tank. I should not be on the hook for it.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 04:57 PM
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What did they hit that tank with . . . . a sledge hammer ?

Generally, pulling "straight up" with a make shift block and tackle hooked to the imbedded rebar has worked me when they grow too attached to one-another . . . . and I'm just a Real Estate Broker.

I grew concerned when you used the word "prying" . . . . but your pictures show eviidence of much more than just prying.

My 1000 gallon tank, comprised of re-inforced concrete, is now 28 years old (with the same tapered lids), and looks to be in far better condition than yours . . . . those guys seem to have busted up and wrecked the upper half of your tank. And those were the same experts who were rendering the discontinuance and disposal "advice" on the outlet filter !

You're probably lucky that the concrete tank maker, and his/her forms are readily available for your to get a replacement tank top.

Who knows how many other HomeOwners now have damaged tanks ?
 

Last edited by Vermont; 08-22-15 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 08-22-15, 05:53 PM
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they tried prying, between the two of them, that didn't work. so they resorted to taking their pry bars and smashing down repeatedly on the cover. I cringed when I heard it, but they said it was ok they did it often as it was often the only way to free the cover. But in the back of my mind I was thinking "how can one pound on concrete, especially a cover that is tapered, and not damage the surrounding concrete". But I figured they were the experts. One of the guys you could tell was getting frustrated, he just wanted to get out of there. He was pouting that it wasn't going well, almost like a child. He showed no patience.

so they make replacement tank tops? that may be an option, still sounds expensive. I don't want to get stuck with the bill though. excavation, destroying the lawn. all because of a stuck cover. if these guys run into that issue often, they should be using some sort of device or winch, or whatever, and keep that on the truck to use for leverage rather than the smash the hell of it method. You'd think it would be common for them have such a tool.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by wags1970
". . . so they make replacement tank tops? . . ."
Only because in your instance, the tank was made only 3 years ago (or thereabouts) and the company is still in business . . . . and probably using the same design forms as they were a few years ago. I'm thinking that's a lucky situation.

If it's a 1000 gallon tank, there's a top 1/2 and a bottom 1/2; separated by a serious neoprene gasket, You'll probably need a new gasket and the top half replaced . . . . but maybe the powers that be will come up with a less expensive solution to their wacking away at it.

But that's just my opinion; and I'm just guessing at what your original tank was . . . . before these people started abusing it.
 

Last edited by Vermont; 08-22-15 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 08-30-15, 08:39 AM
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Interesting thread. I'm on a relatively new septic system (installed seven years ago). Code here no longer allows the concrete tanks - mine's some sort of plastic. Code also requires that the access remain exposed. It has never occurred to me that there might be a filter in there somewhere; nobody explained anything when it was put in. There's only two of us in the house (retired) and the tank's never been pumped out. Never had a problem either. But I guess I'd better look into this filter thing.
 
 

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