Septic Pump Out Dilemma

Reply

  #1  
Old 07-10-20, 02:50 PM
R
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Septic Pump Out Dilemma

Bought a home in the mountains in 2017 (built in 2005 but only used as a vacation home until we bought it). Decided to have septic pumped out and inspected. Local service people tell me tank is way to far away and at too steep a grade to be pumped (about 100 feet down a hillside from my driveway). No one had any ideas on what to do. Hoping someone can think of something.
Thanks.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 07-10-20, 04:39 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 154
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
Is the system working properly? twelve years for a vacation home does not to me suggest the need for pumping,
 
  #3  
Old 07-10-20, 05:33 PM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,013
Received 59 Votes on 57 Posts
Yes, have the septic tank pumped out and inspected.

By the time the system starts givine you problems chances are major repairs (to the leach field) are needd.

You have to find out the amount of sludge (fine particulate matter) and scum (grease) is in the tank.
Too much and some will migrate to the leach field, ruining it.
In order to find out you need to dig up and open the hatch(es) to the septic tank.
While you have the hatch open you might as well have the tank pumped.
Under normal operation the septic tank is about 85% full of liquid which is typically about 9 inches below the top. (After pumping it will take some time to get back to that level.)

A good septic system maintenance company will report to you how much was in the tank and also be able to suggest when you need to have the tank pumped next.
 
  #4  
Old 07-10-20, 07:50 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 57,627
Received 904 Votes on 844 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

too steep a grade to be pumped (about 100 feet down a hillside from my driveway)
I think everyone has missed the point..... getting to the tank.

How steep is the hill ?
I'm not sure how we can help you. You'll need a company with a longer hose.
Definitely going to be an upcharge for that service.

I think Marksr.... the paint pro.... had run into this issue. I'll leave him a PM.
 
  #5  
Old 07-11-20, 02:28 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 47,282
Received 255 Votes on 225 Posts
What kind of driveway do you have? width and incline?

I understand the difficulty getting someone to pump a tank when you live on a mountain. My driveway is better than a 1/4 mile long with 7 turns as it goes up the hill. It took me several yrs [on and off] to get someone to come pump my tank. The guy that finally did come up to the house said if he had it to do over again he would have brought a small truck [think porta john service] and a regular truck down at the road. That would have required multiple trips up/down my hill and I'm sure would have increased the cost to me.

IMO your best bet is to keep calling the various companies until you find one that can pump your tank. I'm sure your cabin isn't the only one in your area that isn't as accessible as a normal home.
 
  #6  
Old 07-11-20, 03:53 AM
M
Member
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,432
Received 144 Votes on 131 Posts
As marksr said you are probably not the only one in the area with this problem.

Perhaps knock on the door of a neighbor with the same type set up and ask who they use.
 
  #7  
Old 07-11-20, 05:20 AM
R
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks everyone.

Have had 4 companies, all the ones servicing this area, now tell me tank is too far away and on too steep a hillside for their pumpers to work. Only suggestion so far is to cut a new road in from below. Appreciate everyone's time. Frustrating.
 
  #8  
Old 07-11-20, 10:15 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,013
Received 59 Votes on 57 Posts
Or install a new septic tank closer to the house.. It can feed the same leach field using much of the same pipe going down the hill.

Check with your town to see if they will approve that and what the current rules are.
 
  #9  
Old 07-11-20, 02:50 PM
H
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,638
Received 83 Votes on 73 Posts
The practical problem is that septic cleanouts are vacuum based, so the truck can't be more than 34 feet above the level of the tank.

A) find the route they use to put the tank in originally. Unless the "tank" is some sort of hand-laid-stone or concrete block (i.e. cesspool) SOMEOBDY had to get that tank in, dig a hole, and then bury the tank. That means there MUST be an access route somewhere. You should check the local municipality to see if they have any information on who pulled the permits to put the tank in.

B) dig out the paperwork from when you purchased the property, try and track down the former owner / realtor and ask them who they used.

C) worst case, you might have to scrounge up some used farm irrigation pipe to allow a level-suction extension. Generally available in 4" and 6" diameter at 30' lengths

https://hansenandyoung.bidwrangler.c...edium=referral
 
  #10  
Old 07-12-20, 03:27 AM
S
Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: upstate New York
Posts: 402
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
septic pump

Hi- I ran into this problem once and solved it by using a portable diaphragm pump ("mud-sucker") near the tank, part way up the hill.
The outlet from the mud sucker went into the suction pipe from the pump-out truck. It was a pain to set up, but it worked quite well! Good luck, Steve
 
  #11  
Old 07-12-20, 07:32 AM
L
Member
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 154
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
I think the main issue is the maximum suction lift of approximately 25 feet is far exceeded by the 100 foot lift needed in this case. The suggestion of a booster pump seems reasonable.

Some ideas:
Check with your county and get a copy of the permit and the sketch showing how it was installed. See if you can determine if a leach field consisting of pipe and gravel was used. Due to the terrain, I would not be surprised if something like plastic chambers were used. If so, the issue of leach field damage by particles moving from the tank to the field is greatly minimized. Also, root damage to the plastic chambers is far less than with a gravel field.

If you have reason to believe the original owner (have you talked with him?) did not get a permit for this installation you might not want to approach the county. Hopefully you have some place a new system can be installed in the event you have to just live with what you have until it fails.

As a seasonal residence for most of its life I suspect you are no where close to truly needing it pumped-but have you heard the every 3-5 year ads???

 

Last edited by lakeseed; 07-12-20 at 07:34 AM. Reason: correcxt spelling
  #12  
Old 07-13-20, 08:15 AM
R
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all the advice. Finding a local pumper who will work with .me.on a solution is probably my biggest challenge. Lots of good suggwstions here.. I appreciate everyone's time.
 
  #13  
Old 07-13-20, 09:25 AM
L
Member
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 154
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
One more suggestion. If you find the system is inferior, non-permitted, and this was not disclosed to you prior to purchase, and its not on the home disclosure statement, you may have legal recourse against the seller. In my state there is a 4 year window to take action on known issues that were not disclosed. Your state may also have a wide window for any such recourse.
 
  #14  
Old 07-13-20, 05:43 PM
R
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Given the comments on timing of septic tank clean out, is there any rule of thumb? 3 bedroom house with 2 full time adult residents. Just curious. Thanks.
 
  #15  
Old 07-13-20, 11:01 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 57,627
Received 904 Votes on 844 Posts
There is not enough information to even apply a rule of thumb.
Usually a homeowner will have the tank pumped out and then monitor its operating capacity.

Can you look into the tank and see how full it is ?
 
  #16  
Old 07-14-20, 02:52 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 47,282
Received 255 Votes on 225 Posts
I think the closest thing to rule of thumb would be every 3-5 yrs BUT myself and others have gone 10 yrs or more with no issues. A lot depends on what is put into the tank and how it was designed. If possible it's best for the washing machine and kitchen sink to bypass the tank. As Pete said, if you can remove one of the covers and visually inspect the contents you'll know a lot more about how your system is preforming.
 
  #17  
Old 07-14-20, 05:57 AM
Z
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,093
Received 12 Votes on 12 Posts
I used this method to check my tank (I too went past 10 years, but it's just me in the house).

https://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health...ct_septic.html

The pumper did tell me however, that the tank was fuller than I thought based on the results of my stick test. But still, the stick test is pretty easy to do and would get you into the ballpark.

Just my 2 cents!
 
  #18  
Old 07-14-20, 07:22 AM
L
Member
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 154
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
The best rule of thumb I can suggest is to google something like "septic tank pump chart" which will probably be provided by several states' Cooperative Extension Services.
The chart will show the size of the tank, number of people living in the home and give a suggested pump frequency.

You are going to need to know the size of the tank to use any guide/rule of thumb
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: