Septic / Drain Field Issues

   #1  

dieselscout80

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We had to have our septic tank pumped due to the tank being full (symptom was toilet were gurgling when flushed).

We have heavy red clay that holds water and does not drain easily.

After that the system seemed fine for a few days maybe even a week then the toilet gurgling returned.

It seems that we have a easy flow type drain field (system install before we bought the house).
EZ Flow Septic Drainfield Systems | BARR Plastics Inc.

When we dug into it with a shovel some of the pellets have black on them and the guy stated that this means sewage got into the drain field and it is plugged.

He suggested that we add another 200' to the system setup so the old field is used first and then when it quits taking water gravity (dam made of a pvc tee that goes just above old field then down to the new field) the would cause it into flow to the new field.

The initial estimate is $2700 to $3000 to install the 80 feet of 3" hard pipe to get from tank to beyond the driveway and then the connections to the old field and the 200' of new field.

The new drain field would use infiltrator chambers I think like what is listed below.

Infiltrator Quick 4 Equalizer 36 Chambers - Q4EQ36 - Septic Solutions

Questions:

Is there away to restore the current systems capability to drain water?

Does their plan seem to be a good course of action?

Does the price seem fair?


Note we really need to have this fixed this week.
 
   #2  

herm0016

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once your field is full of solids, you pretty much have to replace it.

we replaced our whole system over the summer. cost more than my 2015 pickup truck. the infiltrator system seems to be the popular one now, its what we used also. you could have the current field jetted if there is access to the end of each of those pipes as well. though it may or may not work. they just run a stiff high pressure hose with a nozzle on the end down the pipes to clear them out.
 
   #3  

RNeumann

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No solids should enter the drain field. It’s going to be difficult to do now but you will want to verify that the inlet and outlet to the tank designed/installed properly. The affluent should enter and exit about 1’ below the top of the affluent which would allow a layer of sludge to form.

As to your question- $3000 for an additional drain field with infiltrators sounds about right. Especially for 200’. It sounds like the bid and contractor are good and they know what they are doing.
 
  
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dieselscout80

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No solids should enter the drain field. It’s going to be difficult to do now but you will want to verify that the inlet and outlet to the tank designed/installed properly. The affluent should enter and exit about 1’ below the top of the affluent which would allow a layer of sludge to form.

As to your question- $3000 for an additional drain field with infiltrators sounds about right. Especially for 200’. It sounds like the bid and contractor are good and they know what they are doing.

Thanks

Ours is a rectangular tank with two square clean out ports/lids and was installed when the house was built in 1989. The output side of the tank has a square concrete elbow that is designed to only let liquids out into the drain field.
 
   #5  

RNeumann

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IMG_4912.jpg

Should be something like this on the inlet and outlet.
 
   #6  

strantor

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I did a lot of research when I started having septic problems 3 years ago. At first I thought I was having the same problem as you. You could actually walk out into the yard and, without digging, clearly see where the drain lines weren't working because some of the greener rows of grass didn't go all the way out to the end of the yard like they should. Adding up the linear feet of plugged drain lines, it seemed to be half of my field was plugged. But it turns it had been that way for a very long time and was working just fine that way. It turns out my problem was a collapsed tank, and it cost me a whole lot more than $3000 to fix it and I had to get a whole new septic system (aerobic) because the old style are no longer allowed, so you're lucky.

But I still remember some of what I read, and what stands out in memory is that when solids get out into the lines, is that the soil actually becomes clogged. The soil is a filter, and can get clogged just like a paper filter. the only way to fix that is to replace the filter. That means digging up the whole field and hauling off the contaminated (biohazard) soil, and replacing it. That's crappy job (literally) and if you can find someone willing and licensed to do it, it probably isn't cheap. Adding a new field sounds like the right call. $3,000 sounds like a bargain compared to the cost of replacing the system. But that doesn't mean you need to stop at just one quote. Get a few bids, see if someone else will do it for less. Once you get the new field installed, check the operation of the baffle in your tank. There's a baffle that's supposed to be pushed up by rising solids and close off the outlet before solids get out into the lines. apparently yours isn't working 100% and it would be tragic to screw up your new $3,000 field right off the bat.
 
   #7  

WVBill

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View attachment 576795

Should be something like this on the inlet and outlet.

The bottom of that output elbow is way too deep. That deep and it will quickly get clogged by the sludge that builds up in the bottom of the tank. It should only go maybe 12" below the level of the outlet. The idea of pumping the septic tank periodically is to keep that bottom sludge layer from fouling the output elbow and the drainfield.
 
   #8  

herm0016

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The bottom of that output elbow is way too deep. That deep and it will quickly get clogged by the sludge that builds up in the bottom of the tank. It should only go maybe 12" below the level of the outlet. The idea of pumping the septic tank periodically is to keep that bottom sludge layer from fouling the output elbow and the drainfield.


TRUE.

you need to pump your tank before the sludge layer is up that high also. mine has a plastic filter on the output side that will clog if solids get that high.
 
   #9  

mikester

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Questions:

Is there away to restore the current systems capability to drain water?

Does their plan seem to be a good course of action?

Does the price seem fair?


Note we really need to have this fixed this week.

Septic beds have a limited life span.

Depending on the age and condition of your septic system your recourse is likely replacement. Remediation and/or simply extending the treatment bed is a short term "kicking the can solution" at best. If you are simply planning to sell the property in the short term then your proposal is a quick band aid. If you are planning to live at that property long term you may likely be better off replacing the system now and enjoy the next 20 years with fewer headaches.

Extending your bed only benefits the installer because someone will end up paying him twice for the same job.

Tacking a tarp on your leaking roof doesn't fix the leak.
 

RNeumann

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The bottom of that output elbow is way too deep. That deep and it will quickly get clogged by the sludge that builds up in the bottom of the tank. It should only go maybe 12" below the level of the outlet. The idea of pumping the septic tank periodically is to keep that bottom sludge layer from fouling the output elbow and the drainfield.

So you are saying the drawing is “maybe” 100mm off?
And if that drawing (with unknown distance to tank bottom) were to be followed it would “quickly” clog because of that approximate 100mm difference?
 
 
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