Leaking septic? (Video)


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Old 03-12-21, 11:59 AM
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Leaking septic? (Video)

It hasnít rained in over a week and I have a persistent wet spot in my front yard. I dug a hole a few inches and it fills up with a flowing water. The water flow seems constant, not changing with the amount of water the house uses. It does have a strong odor but Iím not sure if thatís naturally occurring sulfur or something. Our well water does not have this smell though.

I have dye test on the way but my question is, leaking septic water works be black right? This water is clear.

Hereís a video of the issue: https://youtu.be/WXbR8FUrtOs
 
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Old 03-12-21, 01:38 PM
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Where is your water line located? Otherwise it may just be ground water. I have a few springs on my property where water just erupts out from the ground certain times of the year.
 
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Old 03-12-21, 02:28 PM
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Water line is also behind the house, no where near this area. There is a line between the house and shop that I suspected of leaking so I shut it off and drained it but it has been off for several days with no change in the wet area.
 
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Old 03-12-21, 04:10 PM
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And where is the septic tank/line/field?
 
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Old 03-13-21, 09:43 AM
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Septic tank and leech field are also behind the house, probably a couple hundred feet away.
 
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Old 03-13-21, 01:04 PM
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if not seeing any plumbing issues then you have a surface water/spring issue that just needs to be drained!!
 
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Old 03-15-21, 01:01 PM
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So I did a little digging and discovered that this area does in fact appear to be the leach field. We had a paper when we bought that house that illustrated the leach field on the other side of the house. Maybe it failed and this one was put in and not documented? 🤷‍♂️

https://youtu.be/CHCD9hmXkYA

Where you see the rock is right underneath the initial seepage area and seems to be the edge or end of the field. I didnít dig any further. Iím no expert but 2-2.5 feet doesnít seem very deep for a leach field. Where it is and being unknown means itís probably gotten driven over.

From what Iíve read, maybe it just needs more soil piled on top to make it deeper??

The weird this is I never saw the test dye come out and I poured like half a gallon down which according to the bottle should be good for 6x my tank size.
 
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Old 03-15-21, 03:25 PM
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It can take a fair bit of water usage before the dye gets worked through the system. You may see it in a few days or after another laundry day.

Leach fields aren't buried too deep and yours is right in the middle of the range. Shallow is often good because more of the water can evaporate instead of having to percolate down through the soil.

You can check with your county government (Inspections, Health or Environmental Services...) for a record of your septic system. Often they are are nothing better than hand drawn sketches but at least it can put you in the right area. Is there any chance you found the end of a French drain?
 
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Old 03-15-21, 04:36 PM
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If it’s expected that some water will evaporate, is it normal for the surface to be a little mushy?
I think based on the smell and lack of rain in some time that this is Ava leach field and not a French drain.
 
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Old 03-16-21, 05:03 AM
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No, effluent should not be bubbling to the surface but the water takes the path of least resistance. I most often see it when a system is not installed properly level so the water runs to the end of a line or if the distribution box is out of level sending too much to one line. Adding some dirt on top might help.

Do you have a distribution box? If you do then it might be worth checking to see if it's level in both directions. And, you can try putting more dirt on top of the wet area.
 
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Old 03-16-21, 07:55 AM
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Squishy ground directly on top of your septic tank still has an ambiguity.

If the land is not properly graded, ground water, rain water, and even gutter water could accumulate there and seep into septic tank hatches that were not resealed when last closed up. This can overload the septic tank and leach field. As opposed to waste water overflowing out of the septic tank of a failed system and then saturating the soil directly above.

Leach lines will eventually fail. If there was no distribution box the single leach line zig zags back and forth in the leach field area if the area is wide enough. Waste water upon encountering the first several feet of the leach line failed will continue down the line to where the dirt outside the (perforated) leach line is more absorbent.
 
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Old 03-16-21, 08:25 PM
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Pilot D asked a good question: Do you have a distribution box ? If so, pour some red food dye in there and see what develops.
 
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Old 03-17-21, 11:04 AM
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Thanks for the input. I don’t know if there is a distribution box. Based on the original sketch I saw when we bought the house that showed the leach field in a different location, it looked like that field would have to have a distribution box. The field I found ina different area is totally unknown though. Would the distribution box be buried hidden or have an access port sticking above ground?
 
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Old 03-18-21, 05:12 AM
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The distribution box is usually buried and is somewhere between the outlet of the septic tank and leach field. Here in NC septics are often shallow enough that I can find the pipe exiting the tank with a ground probe. I probe following the line until I find the distribution box. If yours is buried deeper then digging or bringing someone out with an electronic locator are two options.
 
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Old 03-18-21, 06:48 PM
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I'm in NC as well. Unless they took a really roundabout path with the septic line then it is going under concrete and pavement. I'm not sure I could trace it with a ground probe. It has now rained significantly recently so all the ground is wet anyway. I filled everything back in for now.
 
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Old 03-30-21, 10:59 AM
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So I dug up some paperwork and found a Ď88 permit to repair the septic system.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/86NfmzZR53iEDRcQ8

It seems to indicate that the leach field was originally on the rear plane of the house and they moved it to the side and front. Two leach fields?? It looks like one field comes off the tank and the other comes straight out of the house. Is this normal? The one straight out of the house is in the problem area where my video shows. This would explain why I never saw the dye. I put it down the toilet and the toilets donít go to this field apparently. So would just the sinks and washer drain into this field then?

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ixSCCSV44nWKHv877
It looks like they were originally going to put both fields out front but then decided to only have one out there. That area does have water seep out too when it rains but after a few days it dries up. It doesnít smell as bad as the other area though which I would have thought the opposite if the front field is off the septic tank.
 
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Old 03-30-21, 11:15 AM
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Gray water is sometimes handled differently. There was a time when sink and clothes washer water was just dumped on the ground. By not discharging that water into the septic system it lightens the load on the leach field handling black water.
 
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Old 03-30-21, 11:47 AM
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So if the leaking area is just from drains, and we’re not running anything, wouldn’t the flow stop after a while? It never changes.
 
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Old 03-30-21, 02:40 PM
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Any chance you have a water leak? Maybe the line from the well?
 
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Old 04-08-21, 08:01 AM
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As far as I can tell there isnít a leak. I put a pressure gauge on a garden spigot and turn off the well. The pressure never changed.
I had a septic company come out to evaluate and they said the field is saturated and I would probably need a new field.

He was also pretty certain my septic tank has two chambers and that perhaps the other chamber got solids in it. A previous owner built a concrete patio over the tank though and there is only one access hole through the concrete. So he wants to cut the patio up to get to the other access hole that he is adamant is there even though all he did was poke around with a probe; didnít even look inside the tank. Does that sound right? A Ď77 tank is NC definitely has two chambers?? This is separate from my original issue by the way because the leaking field is the washer field not coming from the tank.
 
 

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