Septic problem AFTER pumping?


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Old 10-12-18, 08:43 AM
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Septic problem AFTER pumping?

We live in a mandatory pump area. I have a 1000 gallon concrete tank, gravity system. Every 3 years we get inspected and pumped. It's part of our tax bill. My septic was pumped mid September. Water levels were right on, inspect report stated 'no problems'. Furthermore, I was having no issues with the system. I live in a a subdivision that has no perc issues, lots of gravel. No neighbors have had any septic work to my knowledge.

First week of October, I'm working outside and notice a sewer smell only to discover effluent on top of my concrete tank lids that are only covered by a thin layer of dirt. I'm like WTF? I call the pumper, he sends someone out, I was still working outside. The pumper goes to the tank, is there for a couple of minutes and walks back to the truck and drives off! I use the email address given on the inspection report completed in September and get a response from the owner.

So the owner goes on the defensive contradicting the inspection report and outright lying stating the water level was high, water was noticed in drainfield, etc. He fired off everything he could think of like a boilerplate response letter. None of it being true. We went back and forth and I got absolutely nowhere. He threatened to report my septic system to the county! Anyway it's been a few days and the tank level is still an issue.

What could have happened? Why won't this municipal contractor take the time to correct this? What can I do aside from pay someone else to fix the problem? Any ideas?
 
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Old 10-12-18, 08:55 AM
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Septic "Tank" might be fine but something seems to be blocking the route to or through the Leach Field and it's backing up.

If the Tank's Baffle or Filter is functioning, then I would suspect that tree roots have infiltrated the piping to the Leach Field.
 
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Old 10-12-18, 09:13 AM
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Have you been getting a lot of rain this fall? It sounds like the field isn't percolating like it should. Do you still have a copy of the sept report?

btw - welcome to the forums!
 
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Old 10-12-18, 11:00 AM
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Well, a wild guess would be that the September pump out knocked the baffle off, and the floating scum layer ended up in the drain field.

Could also be that the pump-out was done by "the new guy that we fired" and the company is dealing with a few unhappy customers, so they're not addressing the issue.

I'd suspect that there's a slug of sludge in the drain line.
In my experience, septic pumpers use suction to get the liquid level down to about 1/2 way, then reverse to "pressure wash" the solids into suspension, then switch back to suction to finish.

If you point the hose at the drain outlet while in "pressure wash" mode, I can imagine pushing sludge or solids into a blockage.
 
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Old 10-12-18, 12:25 PM
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So many years and a couple houses ago I had similar situation, water was backing up and tank was full.

Did a few test digs into the field, it was dry! Dug up the pipe out of the tank, collapsed, due to my landscape work and many many tons of boulders being delivered.


So, something is likely blocking the fluid exit, as others have noted a chunk of scum, a filter, something is not allowing flow to the field!
 
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Old 10-13-18, 05:23 AM
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Do you have a filter on the outlet end of the tank? If so I would check to make sure the pumper re-installed the filter core. The core is often removed and cleaned during a pump-out. Most filters have a valve that closes when the core is removed. If the core was not re-installed the outlet to your tank might be blocked (by the valve).
 
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Old 10-15-18, 06:05 AM
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I do not have a filter. The pumper only pumps out the effluent he does nothing else. When I talk to the government official he confirmed they do nothing but pump, because they use the mandated pump to discover failing septic systems, not really for maintenance!
 
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Old 10-15-18, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dane View Post
Do you have a filter on the outlet end of the tank? If so I would check to make sure the pumper re-installed the filter core. The core is often removed and cleaned during a pump-out. Most filters have a valve that closes when the core is removed. If the core was not re-installed the outlet to your tank might be blocked (by the valve).
Marq1. I raised that exact possibility with the pumper ( he has a six year contract with the county!) and he simply said 'I didn't do anything wrong' and 'good luck'. My leach filed is wide open and I haven't had anything heavy drive over it. It's just all grass and it's never been wet over the leach field. I believe there must be some kind of check valve or flap between the tank and field but the pumper tells me there are no moving parts. Maybe I need to dig at least a test hole in the field and see what's underground.
 
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Old 10-15-18, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Hal_S View Post
Well, a wild guess would be that the September pump out knocked the baffle off, and the floating scum layer ended up in the drain field.

Could also be that the pump-out was done by "the new guy that we fired" and the company is dealing with a few unhappy customers, so they're not addressing the issue.

I'd suspect that there's a slug of sludge in the drain line.
In my experience, septic pumpers use suction to get the liquid level down to about 1/2 way, then reverse to "pressure wash" the solids into suspension, then switch back to suction to finish.

If you point the hose at the drain outlet while in "pressure wash" mode, I can imagine pushing sludge or solids into a blockage.
That's what kind of my thought, that they stirred something up that got into the outlet or there's flap that has stuck shut. Looks like I'm going to have pay (AGAIN) another pumper just to take a look inside the tank.
 
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Old 10-15-18, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Have you been getting a lot of rain this fall? It sounds like the field isn't percolating like it should. Do you still have a copy of the sept report?

btw - welcome to the forums!
Yes, I have the written inspection report and it states NO PROBLEMS, with no issues boxes checked. I was there when he opened the lid and water level was right where is should be. We have ad a lot of rain, but it's been dry the last few days. Had a little rain last night but the forecast looks dry for about a week, so I'm sure that could be a contributing factor. I guess my issue is the system was working fine before the pumping and after the pumping, it's not working. Something had to change between the
 
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Old 10-15-18, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Vermont View Post
Septic "Tank" might be fine but something seems to be blocking the route to or through the Leach Field and it's backing up.

If the Tank's Baffle or Filter is functioning, then I would suspect that tree roots have infiltrated the piping to the Leach Field.
I don't have any trees near the field so I don't think that's the problem, but who know how huge a root system some trees have? It's my understanding the baffle is a non-moving piece that more or less 'blocks' larger pieces from entering the outlet field? Don't some systems also have a flap that acts like a check valve to prevent fluid in the drain field from coming back into the tank?
 
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Old 10-15-18, 12:04 PM
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who know how huge a root system some trees have?
I've always heard that the root structure is often as big as the tree's canopy although a lot can depend on the type of tree and the ground that it's planted in. Roots will search out water.

Don't some systems also have a flap that acts like a check valve to prevent fluid in the drain field from coming back into the tank?
I don't know but the few systems I've dealt with didn't have any valve/flap. The field is gravity fed so the field pretty much has to back up [not work] in order for the effluent to flow back to the tank.
 
 

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