Septic system with two drain fields - questions...


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Old 03-19-15, 02:01 PM
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Septic system with two drain fields - questions...

Our daughter and SIL purchased their first home. It is on a well and there is a septic tank and two drain fields. There is a diverter valve to direct the flow into one drain field or the other. The previous owner, and original owner of the home, said he switches the valve every 6 months.

My thought is to switch the valve every 2- 3 months, but i don't really know why i'm thinking that. Just seems that it might be better efficiencyů

They are in NE Ohio, so four definite seasons.

So, are there any recommendations on how often the diverter valve should be switched?

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-19-15, 02:17 PM
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Two leach fields would have been a red flag to me, very likely the old one failed long ago.
How old is this house?
Leach fields get clogged up over the years with floating trash.
On a septic system, no garbage disposals, no ciggettes, or hand wipes down the toilet
 
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Old 03-19-15, 02:33 PM
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The home is about 20 years old and as we understand it, the original owner designed the system this way.

Good advice on what goes down the drain. They both know the rules!
 
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Old 03-19-15, 03:44 PM
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A lot of towns nowadays require that new homes have space in the yard set aside for a second leach field, although only one leach field is actually installed to begin with.

But there are critics who say this requirement is only to increase the minimum lot size where the ulterior motive is restricting the number of homes on a given tract of land, and in turn reduce the number of children expected to attend the public school, and in turn reduce the overall burden on town services.

In addition to clogging from fine particulate matter (sludge) and grease (scum) from a septic tank not pumped out soon enough, leach fields are vulnerable to biomat, a species that specifically invades septic systems. Perhaps (I don't know) alternating to the other leach field lets the biomat if the first field die off. I would think that one year should be a good switching interval so, among other things one field does not get all the summers and the other field get all the winters.
 
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Old 03-19-15, 03:58 PM
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There are two basic schools of thought. Use one field until you have trouble and then switch to the other. Or, as the previous owner seems to be doing... switch every 6 months. Neither are hard and fast rules and there is a lot of leeway.

The idea is that you have two totally independent fields. I have some rental houses that have been on one field for 5+ years without switching. If you dump something naughty down the drain and screw the field you can switch to the other. The old field removed from the burden of daily use will slowly repair itself over time. A couple months is too quick for anaerobic bacteria to do much about grease so 6 months is a common "switch fields" timing but 9 months or a year could also work.

One of the biggest things that can be done in addition to not allowing grease and oil to go down the drain is to install a filter on the outlet of the septic tank. If the septic tank doesn't already have one it can be easily installed once the tank is accessed. The filter helps prevent solids from making their way out into the leach field. If something naughty is poured down the drain and causes problems it clogs the filter, things back up and you have the tank pumped before the problem makes its way out into the field.
 
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Old 03-19-15, 06:26 PM
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Listen.... switch every year... dont know about the advice below.. I been doing this a long time...

You have a bull run valve there.

Read here as to simplify for me to explain and post back with any questions....

If thats what you indeed have then thats the last $$$ you will ever spend on that septic system..

I envoy that as that's what I wish I have... A plumbers dream for sure....


http://www.americanonsite.com/american/catalog/brv.html
 
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Old 03-20-15, 05:23 AM
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Thanks guys, good stuff! It appears to us that the original owner over-engineered a lot of things in the house. It was a good find for our kids.

So i'll suggest to them that they switch on the 4th of July!

Tks again.
 
 

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