Septic pumps

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Old 03-28-08, 09:36 AM
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Septic pumps

Hello,

I posted this on the plumbing board but just realized that there was a septic board so here it goes!


We are purchasing a home where the sellers are putting in a new septic system. The fields will be on higher ground about feet in the front yard and the tank in the back yard with a pump. I am wondering how long do those pumps last? Is this a bad design with the fields up higher? It is drier up on the hill so that is why the dept of health wants the fields up there but I don't want to run into any problems. Anyone know anything about this? Thanks!
 
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Old 03-28-08, 09:59 AM
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If that is where the department wants it, Thats where it goes.

Likely there has been a building permit pulled, and it will be subject to a final inspection. Someone will be accountable for ensuring it works properly.
A bit of theory....
Everything that leaves your house goes into a Tank....Waste, water, Everything. The waste sinks to the bottom of the tank, While the water and Greasey non degradables accumulate above it. Since there is more water than waste, as the water level rises it reaches an outlet point , and only the water drains to a second tank. This tank is referred to as "GRAY WATER". as it accumulates in the gray tank , an electric pump sends this gray water out to the drain field, where the fluid is dissipated and absorbed into the earth.

Pumps depend on proper operation to ensure longevity. average is ten years, Some have lasted 15 to 20 years, and some have failed in 2. The key is to maintain the system. Dont be afraid to ask questions.

The home is new to you, so there are some things that you will need to do. Think like a boss, and do a background check on all of the equipment that will be working for you. Learn how it works and what it is supposed to do. This will make it much easier to identify problem areas when they arise. Most problems can be identified by "Who isnt doing their Job and Why not?".

You have likely been born and Bred into City living , and all this stuff is new to you and seems very intimidating.....
It isnt rocket science, or brain Surgery. Knowledge is the most valuable tool you can own. Spend some time searching the "NET", and learning about the stuff , and in a very short time it wont seem so overwhelming.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 10:12 AM
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Are you aware that this means you are on low land? Usually, there are other problems associated with being on low land.

Now that I have read Perry's post, he is right. Why is the field going to be up hill from the house? But Uncle is right, too. Usually the inspector tells the installer what will be approved.

The system you are describing is typical for houses on low land. I am not crazy about a septic system that needs a pump since I prefer no moving parts.

My Dad would look at a house and if he saw a mound for the septic tank or a pump in the sump in the basement, he would look elsewhere. "No need buying trouble," he would say.

But there are people here that don't seem to mind.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 10:14 AM
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Septic tank + pump

The traditional layout was always tank and pump below/downhill of home and preferably down wind.
If something goes wrong you and your home will suffer.
Avoid this setup.
There are a lot of problems with septic tanks and drain fields at the moment. Ireland has just passed a new bill trying to control them and they only have 35,000 not the 100's thousands in USA
 
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Old 03-28-08, 10:55 AM
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The current septic system is in the back yard on flat land. The dirt there is saturated (42 year old septic failed) and they are saying up on the hill is better because it is drier up there. If the sellers were to put it in the backyard again it they would have to bring in new fill and there will be a huge hump in the backyard. The area they want to put it is about 5-7 feet above the front yard, its not a huge hill. The inspector was very thorough and there is no sign of water in the basement at all. It is a very flat area, just one side of the land is up a few feet and that is where the drain curtains are located. I wouldn't think the health dept would put it in an area where they would foresee problems, especially since there are well lines-community wells. If the pump doesn't fail, what could wrong with this set up? Its so new to me so I do appreciate your honest opinions.

Oh and I just wanted to make it clear that the pump and tank will be on flat land-the fields will be uphill. And there isn't any sump pump in the basement at all and no water indication at all. The sellers received 4 different quotes and all 4 of the septic companies said that is the best area. Lets see what the health dept says when they do the perk tests.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 11:15 AM
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In theory, since water flows "Downhill", In the event of a flood or "Overflow" , the water would rush to the lowest point of the system.

I wouldnt lose too much sleep over it. As I mentioned before, where the dept wants it is where it is gonna go. Unless the building department is disgustingly corrupt, with no regard whatsoever, You can be assured that these issues were taken into account when the plans were submitted for approval. I realized that "Schmitt Happens", and nothing is safe from uncontrollable circumstances, But if it has been approved, it should be as safe as the inspectors signature on the final approval notice.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 11:48 AM
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Uncle

Where the water runs downhill on the property there are curtain drains that run all up the side of the house and it dumps it out into a stream on the other side of the house. It has rained here alot, a few days straight and each time we would go over to the house with the realtor and its been pretty dry, considering the yard also had snow on it up until last week. I don't think I will run into water problems. I was more concerned with the pump really thanks for all your advice.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 02:40 PM
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I was more concerned with the pump really
You have quite a while before this would even be considered an issue.

This is basically just one of those pumps that you toss into a puddle to drain the water. As far as specifics, after it is all installed, Ask the installer for part #s and specifications on the equipment he used. Write them down , and keep it in a safe place...I have my info in the envelope with the property deed...So in the event anything needs to be replaced, you wont need to pull anything out for replacement parts information.

I bought the house from hell, and while I can appreciate the panic of a new home owner over stuff like this, It also gives me a smile, because I was in that situation. It isnt rocket science, and once you understand it, you will likely be embarrassed by how simplistic it really is.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 03:04 PM
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Oh

I was told they were of better quality than say, a sump pump that you would put in a basement. I would think it has to be of better quality to last that long and since it is in the ground. My father has a sump pump and had to change it every year or so. that is why he is concerned that we will always have a problem with the pump. He doesn't want to see us having to dig it up every year and have to put in a new one.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 05:18 PM
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He doesn't want to see us having to dig it up every year and have to put in a new one.
Yes they are a much better quality than a plain ole' sump pump. That was just a comparison.

As far as digging it up.... ?..No.

Your tank is a big concrete "BOX" , about 8feet by 8 feet, and about 6 -8 feet deep. This tank is buried in the ground, and a concrete cylinder called a riser is placed on top of it. This usually comes up 8 or 10 inches above the ground. It is covered with a concrete "Manhole" cover. On rare occassions, the manhole cover will be buried under the topsoil, but not likely that you will have that.

At the bottom of this tank, is usually a raised "PAD" that the pump sits on, to keep the "Grit accumulations" at the bottom from being eaten by the pump.(Mine sits up on a cinder block). From the pump , there is a pipe that goes from the pump, to the drainfield.
Sometimes the installer will "Make-UP' an extended pipe and some elbows to raise this pipe up closer to the manhole cover. Unscrew the pipe coupling , and pull it straight up,pump and all. No digging required.
The pump only runs when the level of "Gray Water" rises above a point. A float turns the pump on and off, to maintain a minimal level of gray water.

There are Only 2 ways to kill a pump....Abuse or AGE.

If it isnt abused, 7-8 years can easily be expected from a quality pump.Probably even longer. As for abuse....The pump is cooled by the fluid it pumps thru itself. Allowing it to run dry, or running it too frequently, for only brief periods will hurt it. The installer will be able to set this up so that it operates properly.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 06:00 PM
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Wow-Thanks for all that great info! If I have any problems, I know where to come
 
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