Creative pumping solution for hard to reach septic tank


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Old 09-19-17, 02:22 PM
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Unhappy Creative pumping solution for hard to reach septic tank

I'm at a loss and need expert help! The township has notified me that I must pump the (2 piece, 500 gallon, concrete) septic tank for my small, rustic cabin. The roads below the cabin (that existed 50 years ago when it was built) are long gone and the current road leads to a location about 5 flights of steps above the cabin. I've called no fewer than 25 companies and most said that the road is too rough for their trucks. I then invested in road repair and found a company who said that the road is okay but their (smaller) truck doesn't have the power to pump at that elevation. I called a commercial pump company who considered working with a septic pumper to do the job but decided against it because his pumps can only pump 10% solution. This is not strictly a "do-it-yourself" question because - unfortunately - although I'd thought of a way, I'm required to use a licensed pumper and have the inspector present. So..I'm hoping that those of you with expertise and experience with septic systems might have some creative suggestions about how to get this job done. Thanks!
 
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Old 09-19-17, 02:36 PM
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Are you permitted to abandon that tank & install a new tank?
Have you asked the town for a contractor recommendation?
 
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Old 09-19-17, 02:43 PM
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As far as I know, there are no problems with the existing tank - but I'm required to pump (and the township has offered no help with finding someone). I could install a holding tank but wouldn't it need to be on (approximately) the same level as the cabin? If so, that wouldn't resolve the problem.
 
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Old 09-19-17, 02:52 PM
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I get it now. Who owns that road? It was the town, county or state who made the tank inaccessible by raising the road & now you have to look for a miracle. They offered no help. Maybe you have to press them a little. I hate to see it become a legal issue but it might be heading in that direction.
 
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Old 09-19-17, 03:16 PM
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How bad is the material in the tank?

air assist truck and a more moderns 500 cfm unit can lift 50 ft.. Typical older vane trucks have 20 ft or so max..

A trash pump at the tank connected to the truck intake hose may be the only answer I could suggest..

To buy a grinder pump to stick down there to assist would be in the $900 - 11200 range.. Trash pumps can be rented and are far cheaper...
 
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Old 09-19-17, 04:15 PM
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I'm thinking shuttle pumping like Lawrosa mentioned. A self priming pump able to handle 1/2"+ solids might do the job and would be cheaper than a submersible macerating pump.

Normally when pumping a tank the liquid is often pumped out then pumped back in to stir up and remove sediment on the bottom. You'll have to talk to your pumper to see what they suggest.
 
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Old 09-19-17, 05:16 PM
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The problem is that I can't find a pumper who's willing to consider the job so that I can ask these questions. One said he could do it if I repaired the road but the guy who delivered the millings nearly went off the road and that scared the pumper so now he doesn't want to take the chance. The only other pumper who said the road was okay said he didn't have the power to pump that far. It's a private road so all the repair is my expense, which is adding up - with no result! I don't know how to judge the material. The cabin hasn't been used much for the past two years and the inspector said it was full of water (is that good or bad?). My DIY idea was to use a trash pump (as suggested) and take it out in barrels from the lower road, which can be navigated by an off-road vehicle - but that isn't allowed and since the inspector has to be there when it's pumped, it can't be done. Does anyone know of similar situations with spot-a-pots in remote areas?
 
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Old 09-19-17, 06:10 PM
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The local town & county aren't willing to help. Suppose you call the DEC (state) or the EPA (feds). Maybe they will have an idea or even send a truck. The army & the national guard have them. Otherwise, I would tell the town that you can't find anyone.
 
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Old 09-19-17, 07:01 PM
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Eh, first thing I'd do is to stop in at the Township, early morning before they're busy, just talk to the Township secretary or township manager, or township roadmaster. Explain that you're stuck, and you're trying to find a way to meet their requests.

Second, ask around, I think you need to find a local farmer with a tractor, a trash pump, and a ~500 gallon fertilizer tank. Or, somebody with a lifted 4x4 and a long bed that can fit a 200 gallon truck bed-tank and make 3 trips.

Third, every municipal requirement or directive has some sort of hardship or appeal process.
If the tank is mostly water, i.e. doesns't need to be pumped to function, then I'd stat making a paper trail by pointing out that the tank doesn't need to be pumped at this time, which means you currently comply with the reason they want you to pump out the tank in the first place.
 
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Old 09-20-17, 04:50 AM
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I've used the trash pump solution and it worked great. Many rental places have them, often used to de-water muddy excavations. Often called "mud sucker pumps". In my situation, the suction hose on the septic pump truck coupled up directly to the discharge of the mud sucker pump. Also many excavation companies have these pumps and might be willing to rent one to you. Good luck, Steve
 
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Old 09-20-17, 05:17 AM
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The key is you doing the pumping up to the truck. That way even the septic company with a smaller pump can handle the job. You get the waste up to where their truck or pump can handle it. A big issue will be the transition. Will you pump all the way into their truck (hopefully it has a top hatch) or work out the fittings so your hose can attach to the end of their vacuum hose.
 
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Old 09-20-17, 02:06 PM
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Thanks for the ideas. The good news is that the pump company (who normally does only commercial work) took pity on me and went out to look at the tank and now says he can do it. Since the cabin has not been used much for several years, it's mostly full of water and I guess he felt his system could handle it. We haven't discussed the details so I don't yet know his plan but - if it doesn't work, I'll take the ideas suggested here to the inspector and township and will ask them to help! I really appreciate the kindness of strangers!
 
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Old 09-20-17, 02:21 PM
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Hey man, Keep us posted on the outcome... We love pictures too.. Good luck....
 
 

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