Dug up leach pits, not sure where to go...


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Old 03-31-16, 04:10 PM
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Dug up leach pits, not sure where to go...

Hello all! Looking for advice and/or suggestions. Septic system backed up, dug up tank and had it pumped. Guy who pumped tank put a hose down the leach line and it immediately started pouring water back into tank, said I have bad fields. After digging (lots and lots of digging), I found my junction box and uncovered two of the three tops to leach pits (pulled county records online and found I have 3 ~35' pits, not fields).

All pipes are root-free and clear to the top of the pits where they are covered in black bio-mass. There is gravel immediately under the boxes that sit atop by leach pits (seems like a strange setup to me, I don't see any perforated pipe going down into the gravel...)

With the pits exposed a little, is there anything I put down there to eat at the bio-mass? I'm thinking I may have to have someone come out and dig a couple of new pits 10' away and redo my pits... hoping to avoid the time and expense.

Any thoughts or ideas would be much appreciated!
 
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Old 03-31-16, 04:19 PM
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Also, those pits have been open for hours and there is still standing water in there. When I opened them up, they were completely full of water, I sucked it out down to about where you see now. But it hasn't gone down... at all.. I was expecting the last of the water to drain away and be able to see the gravel and any solids left there.

Is this normal? or a sign that my pit is 100% saturated?
 
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Old 03-31-16, 05:38 PM
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Must be a really old system if that's all you have for a drain field it's time for a new one.
Not sure how it works there but around here it's time for a whole new system and it's not cheap.
 
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Old 03-31-16, 05:55 PM
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Yes the pits are saturated.. But the pits IMO should not have rocks in them.. AFAIK

[ATTACH=CONFIG]64546[/ATTACH]

If I told you what to try you would be spending a few bucks to something that may or may not work..

I would need to know exactly how the seepage pits at designed.

My best judgement from what I see is to install a bull run valve before the current D boc. Install another D box and install two pits to the right or left.. Then leave the old field rest for 3 years or so. After that switch back yearly from field to field.. Last $ your spend on a field..

Also you need to show the design of the septic tank. You need to get a filter in the outlet some how..

Read my situation here. Long read. Post any questions you have...

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/we...lp-advice.html
 
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Old 03-31-16, 06:02 PM
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If the water does not go down, chances are that the leach pit (or field) is clogged. To prove that (with the pit) you would need to dig up the entire lid and scoop out the gravel. (not all leach pits aka septic pits aka seepage pits are full of gravel.)

Solid matter you find was not there on day one. It would be (1) fine solid matter from the septic tank contents, (2) grease from the septic tank contents, and/or (3) biomat which grows right there. The solid matter clogs the walls and surrounding soil and retards/prevents absorption of the water.

While the pit is empty you can try decomposing solid matter that soaked into the walls of the pit by using chemicals. Unfortunately the chances of success are not 100% and you may end up having to dig a new leach pit several feet away from the existing one anyway. Some towns do not allow leach pits so once the one(s) you ahve are no longer good you have to convert to a leach field (horizontal perforated pipes bedded in sand and/or gravel. Both kinds usually need permits and licensed contractors.

It is not practical to clean the pit by pouring chemicals in while it is full because the volume of water will dilute the chemicals too much or you would have to use tremendous amounts of chemicals at great expense.

It is a lot of trouble to rejuvenate a leach pit e.g. as described above. So some homeowners skip that and go for a new leach pit right away. The pit works better not filled with rocks or gravel but would need a more sturdy lid so as not to cave in. At any rate, when you dig a new leach pit, do not put the old sludge/grease/biomat soaked gravel in the new pit.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 03-31-16 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 03-31-16, 06:19 PM
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Thanks for the information all.

1) Yes, the pits are old. Permit for installation was filed in 1978, so they are probably almost 40 years old at this point.

2) There is no filter on the outlet side of the tank, never heard of that. But other than the black biomat, I don't see any solids in the pipes or boxes, so I don't think that's a problem... yet.

3) Pits are allowed around here still, I would need it 40' down and my groundwater level is sufficiently below that to be OK. So if I have to put a couple of new pits in, I could...

I think I'm mostly confused by hitting gravel straight underneath the box that goes down to the pit. I have no idea on how it was constructed (permit has limited information other than width/depth of pit), but it seems very odd to hit gravel and have no pipes/open space down there. I'll dig a bit more tomorrow in the nastyness and see what I can come up with visually.
 
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Old 03-31-16, 06:43 PM
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Also, a bull run valve looks like an interesting option if I install a couple of new pits, but all I see is ones that split at 45. My ABS runs in a straight line from my tank to my D box. Would feel weird about putting in 4x45 turns in my drain pipe... maybe I shouldn't, dunno
 
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Old 03-31-16, 07:38 PM
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Proceed with caution, even what you've done so far would could get me up to a $5,000 fine.
Once again time to call in the pro's.
 
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Old 04-01-16, 06:37 AM
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Did any unusual chemicals do down the drain recently that could have killed off the beneficial bacteria around the perimeter of the leach pits, and caused them to wax up.

As a Real Estate Broker, I have often had failed cesspools and leach fields occurring within just weeks of a change of Ownership. The new people come in and engage in a lot of cleaning (clean, clean, clean) and water usage, using an abundance of Lysol, Bleach, and Ammonia . . . . all of which goes down the drain within a short period of time.

Another related thing that is often overlooked is the amount of chlorine bleach (sometimes a few swimming pool shock treatments) that may have been used to sanitize the well water to pass coliform tests; but that same bleach is then processed through the septic system, often without an accompanying source of new bacteria because the dwelling is vacant for a few weeks, and that creates issues. I often gift the new Owners a box of "Rid X" to make sure they're not calling me to complain later.

That's my 2
 
 

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