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  1. #21
    Super Star Member dave1949's Avatar
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    Industry, Maine
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    New Holland TC40

    Default Re: Help! Enzymatic Treatment Needed to Clear Septic Drain Field?

    Quote Originally Posted by MossRoad View Post
    cheap sytem
    I am shocked that the blue and white unit next to the light pole didn't use it for a waste line! What are rednecks coming to anyways?
    "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..."
    When there is a huge solar energy spill, it is called a "nice day"!

  2. #22
    Member
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    Dec 2007
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    Pacific Northwest (Washington)
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    l3400

    Default Re: Help! Enzymatic Treatment Needed to Clear Septic Drain Field?

    I just completed some classes on septic systems and feel that I know more about septic system that I ever wanted to know. I found this training video to be very informative. I have a salmon running stream in my back yard and the river drainage I live in is under scrutiny from the health department because of contaminants in the bay. They have forced homes to have mandatory inspections by testing streams flows. Still more than I ever wanted to know.


    Training

  3. #23
    Bronze Member
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    Nov 2012
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    Sealy, TX
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    Kubota BX25

    Default Re: Help! Enzymatic Treatment Needed to Clear Septic Drain Field?

    Just my two cents guys, but I went through this very same issue with my house; I have three septic tanks at my place!

    One is for the bedroom side of the house, covers the wet bar and the two bathrooms.
    Second is for the kitchen sink and dishwasher only (basically a grease trap.)
    Third - which we didn't even FIND until after we realized the half bathroom and washing machine didn't go into the second one - serves those two items.

    We had our tanks pumped several months after we bought the place and it appeared that the lines were "plugged" as the saying goes. I did a ton of research and heard about everything from "magic solutions" that were only $100 or so (and had to be re-done often) up to completely new drain fields at $15k+ - none of which sounded appealing. One of the methods in between made the most sense - "convert" them from anaerobic (non-oxygen using) to the newer style aerobic (uses oxygen) style. While this sounds complicated and exorbitant (the new systems have multiple chambers and spray the effluent out to water your lawn) your conventional system doesn't have to do that!

    The thing you have to keep in mind is that anaerobic bacteria (the stuff that eats the sludge in a conventional system) works at a VERY SLOW pace. Eventually it can't keep up and the leech field develops a bio-mat that "plugs up" your leech lines. The "oxidizer" (hydrogen peroxide) goes through and activates aerobic bacteria for a short period of time - enough to eat that bio mat out for your system to last a few more years. It will eventually plug up and fail AGAIN.

    Guess what? The aerobic bacteria works at an EXPONENTIAL rate! Once it starts working, it doesn't stop! So, how do we convert an anaerobic system to an aerobic? Nothing says you can't simply BUBBLE AIR into your existing tank. Several folks have done it, so I opted to give it a shot; I bought a large air pump (the kind for backyard koi ponds - $80 or so) a few PVC fittings, some large (1/2") vinyl tubing and some disposable-type air stones. I think total for the two systems was around $200 (two pumps, and enough to make two bubbler units.) I bought the two-piece Lee air stones for aquariums in case I needed to replace a stone. You want the finest type available so it makes the finest bubbles. The finer the bubbles, the better it works.

    The other thing I did to make life easier was to put new lids on all my tanks that had easy access. They sell new lids (and thankfully the place was right down the road from us) that have plastic risers/lids on them so only a small (12" diameter) lid is visible from the ground level. I put the hose through the plastic riser, and the bubbler (also affectionately known as the "turd gurgler") sits at the bottom, weighted down by a medium sized paver stone. The lids were the biggest expense at around $400 for all three, but now I have unfettered access to all of my tanks without having to dig them up. (The grease trap was ground level almost, but the other two were 12" + below ground level.)

    6 months later and all my septic lines are completely remediated and working as if they were new. Mine were constantly overflowing at the tank level. I go peep at mine every few days to see how they're doing and they are never over-full (they are several inches below the lid level) and the best part is - they don't stink! The effluent is a grayish clear, even. The aerobic bacteria has completely eaten the bio-mat from my leech lines. For the small investment I made it has been well worth it. My wife can even do several loads of laundry (granted we have one of those new high-efficiency units - that we afforded thanks to NOT having to replace a whole leech field!) in back-to-back sessions and the tank doesn't even show signs of overflowing or getting over where it should be. It is not an immediate thing by any stretch, it took several weeks (probably more like a month) for the aerobic bacteria to do their thing and eat the bio-mat out of your existing leech lines.

    As for putting anything in - I did not put anything in the system (other than the obligatory Tex-Mex dinner!) I'm merely bubbling air into it so the aerobic bacteria (which are far superior) can thrive and do their work. I don't spray anything and I didn't add any tanks or replace any tanks or lines.

    The best thing is, this is a permanent solution. As long as that air pump is pumping bubbles, my septic system will last as long as any other new (aerobic) system, probably longer since there are fewer parts to contend with!

  4. #24
    Platinum Member
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    Tidewater VA.
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    Ford '92 2120

    Default Re: Help! Enzymatic Treatment Needed to Clear Septic Drain Field?

    What Ken says is something to think about and you probably ought to convert your system to aerobic. The science behind what he is saying is real. If the Hydrogen peroxide treatment is the type that I've seen used in our area it will only be a tempory fix if your problem was really due to clogging soils because of bio mat and not just a crushed pipe. I happen to be in the onsite wastewater design business. Here is a link to some articles on my site.
    http://www.esva-onsite.com/Basics.htm
    Steve...

    "My biggest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell all my tractor gear for what I said I paid for it. "

  5. #25
    Bronze Member
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    Nov 2012
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    Sealy, TX
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    Kubota BX25

    Default Re: Help! Enzymatic Treatment Needed to Clear Septic Drain Field?

    Here's a website where they sell a pre-built system. I considered it but figured out all it is, is an air pump and a giant air stone.

    Septic Tank Aerator, Septic Problems, Septic Repair, Septic Maintenance, Drainfield Repair, Septic Tank Diffuser

  6. #26
    Platinum Member
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    Aug 2012
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    Location
    Hartford, SD
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400F

    Default Re: Help! Enzymatic Treatment Needed to Clear Septic Drain Field?

    As an engineer that designs large municipal wastewater systems this thread has me intrigued. First, aerobic bacteria do work much faster than anaerobic bacteria. However, anaerobic bacteria are needed to break down portions of the waste stream. Second, aerobic bacteria do work fast providing there is adequate organics (food) present however, there are portions of the stream they can not breakdown that settles as organic sludge. Finally, it is very difficult to oxygenate water and the poster was correct in saying the finest bubbler you can find. Even then, transferring oxygen into the wastewater is difficult, very inefficient, but is doable.

    Typically a large municipal wastewater treatment system relies on both forms of bacteria working on the portions they are best equipped to handle.

  7. #27
    Veteran Member
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    Jun 2010
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    Myrtle Creek, Oregon
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    Kubota l3130

    Default Re: Help! Enzymatic Treatment Needed to Clear Septic Drain Field?

    If your drain field is loaded up with solids, you may need a new drain field. The whole point of a septic tank is to digest whatever will digest to liquid, and let the solids settle out where they can be removed periodically. If the solids get into the drain field, it plugs it up and there's no way to get the solids back out. It sounds like they are trying to dissolve enough of the solids to get the drain field working again. You might ask them for references on this. I have never heard of it working, but maybe...

    It sounds like the previous owners didn't have the tank pumped regularly, the septage overflowed the baffles and plugged they system. It happens, usually to people who say, "I lived there for 20 years and never had the septic tank pumped." Sometimes the next owner gets stuck with the mess.

  8. #28
    Gold Member
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    TN

    Default Re: Help! Enzymatic Treatment Needed to Clear Septic Drain Field?

    Quote Originally Posted by savageactor7 View Post
    Acting on the advice from the guy that cleans our tank we've use Ridex for many many years...it's a real easy clean so it works.
    Yeah, real clean, but why? I read that Ridex breaks down the top scum layer, the stuff that can't be eaten, so it ends up in the drain field which gets clogged. I will not use Ridex and recommend you read more on this issue instead of relying on the guy that cleans out your tank. Several reputable universities have information regarding this posted on the web.

  9. #29
    Platinum Member
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    Tidewater VA.
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    Ford '92 2120

    Default Re: Help! Enzymatic Treatment Needed to Clear Septic Drain Field?

    I also think it's important to educate home owners in the difference between Septic (anaerobic) and aerobic systems. We only use additives in aerobic systems. These additives are mostly bacillus spore units in the order of a billion spores per gram and some wheat germ as a nutrient. They are placed in the aerobic section of the treatment train which comes after the anerobic digester section. Virginia has about 65 thousand residential aerobic systems and each must have an operator that periodically pulls a effluent sample. Just for comparison the residential systems must produce effluent quality with no more than 10 ppm of BOD TSS and TKN before it goes to the drainfield. If we discharge to a surface water course it only has to be 30ppm BOD and TSS and no limit on nitrate. Discharging systems are 3 times dirtier because you get dilution and you're drinking it not me sorta thing. Plus the water is treated before consumption where as individual well ground water is not treated before use.
    What the OP had done was a drainfield rehab technique which is designed to remove the clogging bio-mat at the bottom of the drainfield trenches. There is not much evidence that this treatment will be a long term fix and in some cases be harmful to the drainfield. There is a much more science and data that support rehabing a drainfield with Aerobic effluent. Whether you want to build one or buy there are tons of options. Search for Remediator, Sludge Hammer
    Steve...

    "My biggest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell all my tractor gear for what I said I paid for it. "

  10. #30
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    Suwanee, GA
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    Default Re: Help! Enzymatic Treatment Needed to Clear Septic Drain Field?

    Hello again. OP here. I have another update.

    Short version: Oxidizer treatment a bust. Brand new system installed.

    Longer version:

    My "leak" in the yard was back within a month. As suspected, the oxidizer treatment was a bust - I don't think it did anything. I >do< think the original company took me for $1000 or so. Now that I'm armed with a bit of education in these matters, I consider them dishonorable, at best.

    After re-discovering the leak, I had the area dug up again - this time by a reputable independent septic contractor. He found the drain fields full of water (he dug up the top of the drain field and found water at the top of the gravel). He recommended a new drain field.

    Ultimately, I ended up taking his recommendation. I also had the old tank removed and installed a new, larger one in a better location. Our county inspector suggested installing a bull nose valve below the tank to allow me to easily switch between the old drain field and the new one. If the new system ever fails, I can switch back to the old system to give the new one time to recover. The inspector says this should allow the complete system to last indefinitely.

    Total cost of the upgrade, which took 3 days to complete, was $5850 plus a $250 county permit.
    Last edited by ritmatt; 02-11-2013 at 11:11 AM.

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