Septic Lines not asorbing all water

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Old 05-16-10, 09:30 AM
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Septic Lines not asorbing all water

Just found this forum as i was researching my septic issue and solutions. I have a 35 year old house/septic system that over the last 2-3 years is showing signs of issues in the lateral field.
Water standing on top of ground in one area of laterals. 4 adults in house, and washing machine goes to seperate collection system. The tank is 500-750 gallon tank per the pumper truck when i last had the tank pumped. i do this every 3 years or so, since it filled up about 10 years ago. There are 4 lateral that are each about 100 ft or so. Most of the issue is in spring and winter when really wet, but is getting bigger each year.

I have contacted local septic person and he is recommending a pirana aerator system to eat the biomat that is clogging the septic lines, which is causing the issue. There are several types of these systems on the market after researching, but reading on here the conversion of my septic tank to an aerobic system may not solve my issue. So my questions are:

1- will something like the pirana system solve my septic line issue?
2- will injecting commercial septic bacteria products into tank and into line areas solve this issue?
3-do i just need to replace the laterals or add more line? last option if at all possible.

Thanks for any help
 
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Old 05-17-10, 06:06 AM
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Adding an aerobic system to your existing septic would probably help since aerobic bacteria work much faster than the anaerobic type in a normal septic tank and would better decompose the waste before letting it go to the leach field. With a reduced bio load the bio mat in the drain field should slowly recover. Even with an aerobic system you may have to look at ways of cutting the amount of water you are putting into the system. A aerobic system installed years ago might have prevented your current problem but keep in mind you are installing it on a system that is already failing.

Certainly be very careful about what goes down the drain. If you have a garbage disposal stop using it. Do not allow any grease or oils to go down the drain. If a lot of fried foods are served in the house even the grease left on plates can cause problems in an old system that is being overloaded. Grease & oil take a very long time to break down and even small amounts can push an already overloaded system over the edge.

Adding bacteria to the septic tank or injecting out into the leach field will do no harm and may help some but I have never seen them perform magic. I think they are good for preventive care over the long haul but are not a silver bullet to fix an old, overloaded and failing system.

Replacing the leach field will depend on how much land you have available and if the soil is good enough. This is definitely something to work out with your Inspections Dept. Most inspectors will want to see a new field constructed in fresh soil. If you are on a small lot and don't have options they may allow you to extend or replace the system in it's current location. They will also probably want a larger septic tank installed.
 
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Old 05-18-10, 01:28 PM
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The septic tank is too small for the number of people using it.

It should be a minimum size 1000 gallons.

Using a rule of thumb, the drain field is too small.

The average american uses 120 gallons of water every day. Thats 120 x 4 =480 gallons.

You have four pipes each 100 feet = 66 gallons per pipe=264 gallons.

Result 480 - 264 =216 gallons short.

When laying a drain field it is customary to provide enough perforated pipe to cover the expected daily usage and then to add the result of the percolation test.

The size of septic and the drain field would have been designed to cover a certain number of bedrooms, in your case one bedroom, the minimum size.
 
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Old 05-19-10, 09:35 AM
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I had similar problem. I didnít want to install new bed so did a lot of research. Seems there are two types of poop eaters oxygen loving & non-O2 loving The non O2 do a poorer job & leave a biomat around the drain pipes. The O2 loving guys work a lot harder & will eat the biomat. The idea is to drain the field & give the O2 eaters a chance to go to work. In my case I have sandy soil & am a good distance from wells. I installed a sewage pump about half way down the tank & every second day or so pumped out onto ground. This probably isnít legal, but I was able to restrict area, & sun will kill any bad guys. Another option would be to dig a dry well, or even add an alternate 40-50 feet of trench to divert flow. You are only going to need it for a couple of months to give the bed a chance to recover. Another way to prevent this reoccuring is to introduce O2 into tank. I made an aerator from copper pipe & connected to air compressor. Run it a couple of minutes each day or so. My field was like a swamp. Since this treatment last summer no problems
 
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Old 05-19-10, 04:33 PM
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All:
Thank you for your responses. I really appreciate it.
Dane: You have good points and i am afraid you are right. I am hoping that the introduction of bacteria will be the magic bullet, and maybe introducing air to my septic tank.

Perry: I do have a septic person coming out this friday to look at an give me some options. I think i will have to add more line to what i have in addition to the bacteria to clean up the old. This was put in in 1975 using clay tile. Not sure what the calculations were when they built this system.

Cliff: Very interesting on the pipe running into the tank. Not sure why some of the commerical systems cost $1000-1300 for an air pump and a nozzle to make bubbles.
What concerns me on using an aerobic pump on my septic is circulating solids out into the lines. Exactly what i am trying to stop. This is what is stopping me from doing that now. Would have to put a filter on the output side of the tank to be safe, or so i am told.
 
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Old 05-19-10, 05:06 PM
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There is a bit more to an aerobic system than just an air pump but yes, they are pretty simple. There is usually a tube or baffle around the aeration area so the turbulence is contained inside the chamber which minimizes the disruption to the rest of the tank. The system will digest the waste faster than non-aerobic action but you still have the problem getting a leach field to accept the volume of water you are putting out. I'm curious to hear what the septic guy says Friday.
 
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Old 05-20-10, 07:53 AM
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You're right about not getting too much turbulance. The key is to set aerator in second chamber & only halfway down. Also not too much pressure. The air will dissipate through whole tank. True it's not the same as a big bucks digester, but is a whole lot cheaper & for me does the job. I like nothing better than proving experts wrong. In my case I was told I needed new field costing several thousand. My solution cost me about $100.00 for pump - I already had the compressor. You do have to control volume entering field, but after rejuvenating bed by letting it rest it should handle the flow. Lots of luck
 
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Old 05-21-10, 05:51 AM
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Since my tank is 35 years old and its a single chamber, no option there.
It does have a baffel on the output side, to stop stuff from escaping.
I will update what the septic guy says today.

Can i dig a gravel pit close to the area that is not leaching and allow that water to go there to be asorbed? I have an area that is large enough for a big pit, but not really a good place for new long line. That would allow the water a new place to go while lines have a chance to recover, by adding the aerator also. I guess the septic guy will be able to answer that.
 
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Old 05-21-10, 07:07 AM
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One thing that may help in the future is a filter on the output line. They cost about $40 and install very easily inside the tank through the access hatch. The filters have a removable screen that prevents solids from getting out into your leach field and they are required in many areas for new systems.

Yes, a gravel pit would help but that is cheating . I have had similar problems with some of my rental houses and the inspector was very helpful. My most recent was a small lot in a low income area. There was not enough room for a new proper system and the inspector agreed that the truly "proper" fixes were too expensive and would cause us to level the house and a family would be put out of their house. They approved digging along side the existing lines and expanding the gravel field. In the process we found that the drain lines were not installed properly 30+ years ago so the inspector came back out, we agreed on a new plan where we ripped out the old drain lines and replaced them with modern three tube EZ Flow drain and expanded the width of the gravel bed. In the end it goes to show that the inspectors may work with you and allow you to come up with an out of the box solution that they will approve so you can do unusual repairs legally.
 
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Old 05-22-10, 01:36 PM
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Well i had two septic guys come out today and they both said the field needed more line for the people in the house.

First one said he would replace the entire field by putting new lines in between the old lines. 3K. Could do it in 1 day. Also said the same thing about the local inspector. Need to call the county and see if they have a diagram of the existing system and talk to him about options.

The second guy that came by is just my tank pumper guy but also very knowledgeable. He only charges $150 vs 250-$300 the other pumpers ask. He recommended leaving the old alone and adding new lines. Said not to put lines in between the old since that soil is probably not good from the other lines. Also recommended the new lines be the type of lines that does not use gravel under the lines. ?? He recommended a local guy to do the work, which i will have out next week some time.

I also have a local aeration company that is considering giving me an aeration system for the ability to use as testimonial. However they want me to put in a second tank for the aeration system. Use existing tank for solids and second tank for aeration. Will provide me cost next week. Plus they will install. . Were estimating about $2500 for second tank, dirt work, and installation.

Looks like i am going to be into this for aound 3K, at least so far.
Will see what the other guy says next week.
Whew...
 
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