Septic Tank Trouble. Need advice on how to diagnose.


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Old 02-10-18, 01:22 PM
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Septic Tank Trouble. Need advice on how to diagnose.

I purchased a house a few years ago and I recently started having trouble with my plumbing.

Whenever it rains, and I go to flush my toilets, they fill up and take about 5 mins to drain down. When the toilet drain, almost all the water is gone from them as well. Also when its raining it seems like the sinks drain a little slow.

On days when its not raining, I can take a long shower and the the toilets will start gurgling, I assume from air coming up with the shower water pushing down.

I checked my septic tank, its full of clear water. No more then a couple inches of solid waste.

Can anyone offer any help ? Im guessing maybe a plugged leech lines, or too much water getting into my tank.
 
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Old 02-10-18, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DiamondDog
". . . too much water getting into my tank . . ."
Or, conversely, not enough water getting out of your tank, and into the Leach Field.

How long ago was the Tank pumped ?

Can you watch the Tank's Outlet when someone flushes a toilet, and see if the outflow is sluggish ?

I don't see your location; but are you in a State or Province where frost may be inhibiting the flow of effluent out to the Leach Field ?
 
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Old 02-10-18, 01:39 PM
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Im actually not sure of how long it has been since the tank has been pumped out. I didnt think it needed it since i took a cap off the tank and was able to put a wooden 1x1 about 6 to 8ft down into the tank and touched the bottom, and only had about 2 inches of sludge on it from the bottom. The rest appeared to be fresh water.

I cannot see the outlet of the tank. Would this be something I can dig up and try to find and investigate ?

I live in the US....Kentucky to be exact.
 
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Old 02-10-18, 02:09 PM
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You need to get the tank pumped. if time till last pump is not known do it now and who ever pumps will be able to give an opinion on what he sees, that is first step.
 
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Old 02-10-18, 02:15 PM
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It sure sounds like a drain field issue and not a tank issue although pumping the tank might pinpoint the problem better - like if water pours into the tank from the leach field. Does your local health dept keep records of septic systems?
 
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Old 02-10-18, 02:42 PM
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No records here. I live in a pretty rural part of the state.

There arent really any septic septic services I can really use either unless I get someone to drive about 2 hours here. Thats why I was looking for ways to diagnose this myself.

When the rain dries up, the water level in the tank drops and everything works as it should. Just during heavy rain, or if we use large amounts of water it starts acting up.
 
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Old 02-10-18, 03:24 PM
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Friend of mine had the exact same issue for years. Toilets are swirling again. Sigh... sinks are slow. His bed was not properly installed, Too much hard clay and a bowl shape yard filled his tank whenever it rained. His best solution was to fix the general yard drainage... slope things, dug a few drainage ditches ...keeps it from filling from the top ... most of the time.

Or if the budget permits you might want to put in a new bed
 
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Old 02-10-18, 04:01 PM
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How high is the water level inside the septic tank. Normal level a few hours after nobody has used water is about 9 inches below the underside of the septic tank lid.

If the level is allo the way up to the underside of the septic tank lid then water is not exiting the septic tank for the leach field properly. Since you mentioned that the problem happens when it rains most likely the leach field is not absorbing water like it should.

The leach field can take some rainwater but rainwater must not run from other parts of the yard over to the leach field.
 
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Old 02-10-18, 09:37 PM
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The leach field runs parallel with a blacktop road that is elevated about 10 ft. Im going to dig a 1ft ditch between the road and the leech field and see if that helps at all.

Thanks a lot for the help and information.
 
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Old 02-11-18, 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by DiamondDog
". . . The leach field runs parallel with a blacktop road that is elevated about 10 ft. . . ."
I presume (hope) that means the Leach Field is higher than the Road . . . . but wouldn't your trench be visible to the traffic on the Road ?

If your Septic Tank has an outlet observation port, you should be able to locate it and pull the cover to see the level of effluent at the outlet pipe, and when no liquid is being added to the Tank, the level should be up to the bottom rim of the outlet pipe, and only temporarily higher when someone uses an appliance inside the house..
 
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Old 02-11-18, 07:10 AM
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The road is higher than the leech field unfortunately. I wanted the ditch dug, so that the water that runs across the road, to be diverted to a nearby river. This would eliminate some of the water going toward my leech lines.

I figured this may help a little bit.


As far as I can tell,the only kind of inspection lid my septic tank has, is the vent.. I can remove the vent and look down. When the water level reaches the vent pipe, everything stops working.
 
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Old 02-11-18, 08:05 AM
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You don't have any rain gutters or sump pumps going into the septic system do you? Steve
 
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Old 02-11-18, 09:37 AM
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How long has that Leach Field or Absorption Area been located in that low area . . . . I gather that it was installed there long before you bought the property; but was it an area that was originally subjected to a percolation test, or a permitting process before the installation.

A Septic "Vent" isn't common everywhere and Septic Tanks come in many varieties . . . . maybe you could look at some of those in the following images, and see if one resembles what you have:

http://https://www.google.com/search?q=Septic+Tank+Photos&rlz=1C1AWUC_enUS730US731&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwja1Y3Zsp7ZAhUBk1kKHfupDEsQsAQIKA&biw=1600&bih=769
 
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Old 02-11-18, 10:19 AM
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No gutters draining into the system here.



It was there before I purchased the property. I highly doubt any kind of test were performed, or any kind of permits filed. This is an area where 50% of people straight pipe their septic to a river and nothing is ever done.

I honestly have no idea what the tank looks like. All i can see is the one "vent" pipe. I may try to take a shovel and dig around vent pipe and get an idea of what kind of tank it is.
 
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Old 02-11-18, 12:30 PM
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Yes, a ditch to prevent surface water from getting onto the leach field will help. Since you are next to a road you'll need to contact the DOT or responsible agency to get permission to create a ditch in the public right of way. But, anything you can do to keep surface and underground water away from the leach field will help.
 
 

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