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I have recently suffered a terrible horror story with my Septic Tank. The Septic Leach Field had totally clogged up resulting in backed up toilets & sinks. I had the septic tank pumped out and the Septic Plumbers said that I needed to have the old septic field dug up and all the sand, gravel & pipes replaced at a cost of $5,000 or MORE.
I spent hundreds of hours searching the internet to find inexpensive solutions to this horror story. I would like to share my discoveries with others, and more than half of Americans have septic systems that WILL clog up. So this is a desperately needed forum, YES! I rejuvenated my Septic Field and it was easy & inexpensive. It is now running like new.
It is good you live in the country and you can can get away with it. If you live in MA it gets reported to the Board of Health and they will tell you you have to replace the field and indeed you are looking more at $30k.
Since what you did is illegal here, people usually have their tank pumped every 3 years depending on the size of the tank. I know people with small tanks that do it every year.
We know where our tank and distribution box are. Also houses can not be sold here without a septic inspection.
I can't believe that pouring a water + Oxy-Clean (sodium Percarbonate) mix into the septic field is illegal. Can you show me the law? There is nothing to be found on the internet that says Sodium Percarbonate is illegal.
People around the USA have been using Oxy-Clean (sodium percarbonate) in their washing machine for decades. It is totally safe.
Yes, temporarily pumping a portion of the tank into the woods or an open field is certainly illegal in many parts of the country, so check your local laws. I said this in my document. If it is illegal, then get it pumped out by the Septic Guys to give you a few weeks to rejuvenate your septic field with Sodium Percarbonate. Paying the Septic Guys another $250 to pump your tank to give you time to rejuvenate your field is nothing compared to $30,000 to replace all the sand, gravel & pipes.
The only other things I did was to aerate the tank & add risers. Nothing illegal there.
If the corrupt liberal bureaucratic politicians won't allow the use of Sodium Percarbonate ( multiple trade names such as OxyClean, Oxy-Septic, and numerous other products all beginning with OXY ) http://www.oxyseptic.com/how-it-works/
then you can get around these unjust laws in other ways.
The object is to get oxygen into your drain field any way that you can. Oxygen will break up the biomat and restore flow. There are companies that will pump oxygen directly into your drain field, that quickly breaks down the biomat. They attach an air pump to the D-Box and pump air directly into the septic field lines. I could do this myself by attaching a rental air compressor to the Septic Tank outlet pipe. I think 10 PSI pumped into the leach field might work A-OK.
If your drainfield is just slow at absorbing water, you can install an aerator into your septic tank. This converts the tank from Anaerobic to Aerobic and the oxygen rich water will slowly break down the septic field biomat. http://www.septicairaid.com/index.html
As a bonus, it will be far more effective breaking down the solids in the tank. An aerator also eliminates most of the odors in the effluent. There are many aerators on the market. Google Septic Aerators for the list.
There are also companies that will come out and fracture the biomat in your drain field to get more oxygen into the biomat.
Do a google search of "Septic field oxygen" for more ways to get oxygen into your septic field. Anything is better than paying $30,000 for a new field that is not needed as MAKE WORK for the unions.
Here is another option you can use as a last resort. Let your septic field sit idle for 6 months to 1 year. Sitting idle allows oxygen to penetrate the biomat and break it down. Some people do this by adding a new 2nd leach field and they install a 2 way valve so they can switch their septic tank between fields each year. With this approach, you will at least get something worthwhile for your $30,000.
PS) Believe it or not, some of my neighbors have not pumped their tank out in 20 years ! ! I don't know why their septic tank is even working at all. They think that "Rid-X" or other toilet additives eliminates the need for pumping out the tank. (All the experts agree that pumping is still required) It will be a real mess when they finally get it pumped out!
IMO, the Septic Plumbers make it impossible for the homeowner to work on their own tank on purpose: Job Security.
It is so simple & easy to add risers to the tank during installation. I would not be surprised to hear that your Liberal state even has a law against that to provide more make-work for the unions. Remember New York unions blocking non-union volunteers from helping after Hurricane Sandy?
Thank you so much for all the info! I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to avoid a new septic system...no way can I afford it! I've even gone so far as to consider a waterless composting toilet! So scary! I'm wondering if any if your remedies might work on my system. The biggest problem is that it's not a "real" septic system. It was put in over 34 years ago and is a homemade, cinder block "tank" surrounded by rock and gravel and buried under what used to be well draining soil. The "tank" is very small and was intended for occasional use but things have evolved over the years and it's now needed full time. I've had to have it pumped twice within the last few months, the last time being only a few weeks ago and it's showing signs of being full of water again. Luckily the kitchen and bathroom sinks are a grey water system and run out onto trees (no clothes washer here). The soil surrounding has become exactly like you describe. Hard like clay. There are no lines going out from the tank that I know of. I'm wondering how I can get any of the remedies into the surrounding area. What about boring small holes here and there into the field and just pouring it in? I was almost sold on the aerator remedy until I read your story. Sounds like it would NOT work in this case. My next plan of action is to install a VERY low water dual flush toilet and to have the darn thing pumped AGAIN. Desperate and worried! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
How many people live in your house?
How far around your cesspool has the soil turned into clay?
I'm afraid I may not be much help on this one. I'm surprised it worked for so many years. There are only 3 chemicals that I know of that may help restore your drainage.
1) Sodium Percarbonate or the equivalent 30% hydrogen Peroxide to eliminate the "Biomat" Get hydrogen peroxide at a local pool supply store. I think you should use the hydrogen peroxide version because the sodium percarbonate only lasts a day or so, and you need to get into the surrounding soil which will take many days. 12 gallons might work.
2) Septic Seep or equivalent formula to eliminate the "Hardpan"
All are described in my doc.
If you can get your water flowing again with the above chemicals, I believe an aerator would help in your case to keep it running. Mike at this link has been very successful using an aerator in his seepage pit: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/wells-sump-pumps-septic-sewage-systems/4467...
Read through his messages starting at #1.
No matter what we do is going to cost $$$. If it were me, I would start with the 30% hydrogen peroxide, then do the Septic Seep and if that worked, then add an aerator. This action plan may not work and you may have to invest in a septic system anyway. I suggest getting a 2nd opinion here: http://www.selfhelpforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=7
These guys are good.
PS) You might want to use a sump pump & a long hose to pump water from your tank into the trees if you are out in farm country temporarily until you find a permanent fix.
Best of luck to you, let me know what works for you,
I only posted so people realize that not in every state you can do this. We also have wells and you have to have laws so you don't contaminate your neighbors well.
I have a friend who has a farm in Missouri and I am sure they can do what they want, since they have hundreds of acres.
To throw politics in your answer was not very mature. We are also talking about keeping people safe.
It is the same with testing well water, since we have a lot
of ledge you can have radon in your water and certain area's have high arsenic. So when people buy a house the water get tested.
Yes a failed septic system should be fixed to prevent contaminating the ground water but it is also important that
you keep your neighbors in mind.
Of course everything we do with a septic system must be done according to local codes, and the codes are different in every state.
So always check with your local laws before working on a septic system.
This is the main document that goes with this forum:
Where the disclaimer says:
** It is the responsibility of the reader to follow all local rules and ordinances when applying information found in this document.
** WARNING: Working on septic tanks & D-Boxes can be deadly or hazardous. Dangerous gases can collect in the septic tank, & septic fluids can pose a health hazard. Please be extremely careful or hire a qualified septic plumber.
** It is recommend to hire a licensed professional septic service technician to do all work related to the septic tank, D-Box and additives described in this document.. and to obey all local laws.
Furthermore, there are viable alternatives to spending $35,000 for a new septic tank. This forum is to avoid wasting $35,000 for a new septic field when there are better solutions.
This is a sorely needed forum because so many people have septic tanks, and every one of of those systems will back up and fail sooner or later AND it was sooo difficult for me to find solutions that work on the internet. I spent easily 100 hours or more searching for the best solutions to this difficult problem.
Rejuvenating the septic field is really easy if we know what to do. This new forum will be a great help!
I've read through your struggles with your septic system and first of all I want to thank you for documenting it for everyone to read. I've learned more about septic systems in the last couple of weeks than I ever cared to know.
I had a couple of questions I would like to get your insight on.
First the situation. The system is about 19 years old.
My leach field is not draining properly. After some digging and research, I've discovered I have a somewhat uncommon leach field called porous panel block and it gets effluent via a low pressure pipe dosing system. So I have a main tank that then spills effleunt into a pump tank. In that tank is a pump with a float switch and kicks on/off based on how much effluent is in that tank and a warning alarm float switch. There are 4 lines with 11 each of these porous panel block 'buckets' for lack of a better term. I've dug down to several and the effluent is just setting there in the buckets not draining. I'm guessing I have either a biomat or hardpan issue considering I'm in NC with lots of red clay. The tank has just been pumped, I've put some septicseep down the lines but that doesn't seem to do much, which makes me think that biomat is the more likely problem.
1) you seem to think an aerator would work on a dual tank system. Does my pump tank fit that bill for the second tank of a dual tank system?
2) current plan is to get an aerator and then once installed in the pump tank put a huge dose of hydorgen peroxide down the lines. Thoughts? You've mentioned that you believe the sodium percarbonate can lead to hardpan, so with my concern that it might already be hardpan I thought the hydrogen peroxide would be the best bet. Or would it be better for the first major dose to use sodium percarbonate?
YES! Do put an aerator into your 2nd pump tank. your setup is perfect for an aerator. YES! You can save a lot of money by using the sodium percarbonate the 1st time as opposed to 30% hydrogen peroxide. Sodium Percarbonate worked like a miracle the 1st time for me. Percarbonate should get your field operational again, and then aeration should keep it operating. After your aerator goes in, I now think worms will also help keep it operational.
Ok thanks. I've just purchased the stuff to put risers on my tank, so that'll be the first step this weekend. I don't think I have a filter between by tank and pump tank so I'll need to get one of those put in also.
While at the septic place I found out a bit more about my lines. They are T&J Panels, apparently a 50% reduction type of line. When I told the guy they were holding water he made nasty face, and said he didn't think I had much hope outside of new lines. He also said they were quite expensive, almost $3000 just for the panels, not to mention the labor and all the other materials needed. Since the effluent does not directly contact the soil, I'm not sure aeration will work, but I figure it is better to drop $1200 with a chance to make it work than just go spend $8-10k to replace it.
Anyone have any experience rejuvenating this kind of lines?
Worms? I would think as they died their bodies would cause more problems or do the new worms eat the dead worms? This is all so disgusting. :-)
It says here that T&J is maybe designed for aerobic operation. "Because of the porosity of the panels and natural sand, tiny aerobic bacteria are allowed to process the effluent very efficiently." http://mcneelycompanies.com/info.php?itemNo=108
Should someone have already installed an aerator for you?
I've never heard of this system. Thanks for posting.
I read that page earlier, but I missed that about the aerobic bacteria. There is not an aerator in there now. Hopefully adding one will help. Any thoughts on aerator? I saw you said you'd probably try the sludgehammer if you were to try again, but was that just for a single tank. I've looked a bit at the septicair aid and the sepaerator. Not having any experience in all this I'm at a loss for how to choose. $900 is a pretty penny to me, so I hate to pick a bad one. :-) Also trying to figure out how I'm going to get the sodium percarbonate in the panels. I think it'll be a waste to put it in the pump tank and pump it up. I don't think I have a distribution box... According to the hand drawing from the county there is a clean out at the end of each line, so I'm hoping I can find those this weekend and flush a bunch down those.
How deep is the water in your pump tank? The sludgehammer requires a deep tank. You may need the SepticAirAid model which will work in shallow water. Once mixed, sodium percarbonate must go into the field immediately when mixed wit watr. Sounds like you are better off sending 30% hydrogen peroxide through your pump. Can you rig up a special input to your pump to pour peroxide into the pump, then turn on the pump manually?
It's not very deep. I haven't measure, but the water is barely above the pump. 18-24 inches.
Not sure about the input. Will look into it. Might work to just dig up each panel and dump some sodium percarbonate or hydrogen peroxide directly in them. Could possibly test that with the two panels I already have access to now.
I think you should put your aerator into the 1st panel. It looks to me like one panel feeds the next with water and if you can get the aerator into the 1st panel, then the aerated water will service them all.
I'm not sure... I'm going to do some digging tomorrow to see if I can get a better understanding. But I don't think water flows between the panels... unless they are not draining. There is a 2 inch pipe running through the top of each of the panels and I believe it just drips/sprays down into each panel from there. Also, there isn't much room in the panels, so I would have to get a pretty small aerator. I'll report back tomorrow when I know a bit more.
Side note, I called the sludgehammer people... that thing is pretty expensive. They also mentioned something that I keep dismissing, but maybe shouldn't. Has my water table just risen to the point its at the level of the field? I don't think so for these main reasons... the field is at the highest elevation of my whole property, so I would think that if the water table as just below the surface there, then I would have standing water at my lower points. Also, I had my well checked this last year, and they said my water started 12-15 feet down and the well is in nearly the lowest part of my property. So all of that makes me rule that out as an issue. Sound correct, or do you think water table might still be an issue?
So, I got my input and output riser panels installed on my tank yesterday. My tank looks like an interesting design, has a concrete divider and then some type of concrete "cone" that the output pipe is inside of. I started digging around my leach field, looks like at the head of each line there is a ball valve so I can turn off individual lines. Might give me some interesting options for restoration. Going to go ahead and buy an SepticAir Aid aerator to install next Saturday. Hoping that works.
Your aerator should work if it is placed on the output side of your dual chamber septic tank. An aerator will not work on a single chamber tank. All it does in a single chamber tank is to stir up the sludge and send it out to your septic field. The concrete cone is the output baffle to prevent the scum from getting into your leach field.
No it is better in your pump tank if you can make it work there. The 2nd chamber of your septic tank will accumulate some sludge that was not trapped into the 1st chamber, and all of that sludge will enter your septic field when it is stirred up by an aerator.
I don't like aeration unless it is in the D Box to directly aerate what goes into the laterals. All sludge should be contained within the septic tank and not be stirred up to be sent to the field.
I don't think I have a D-box. I talked to the local septic supply guy and he said most don't in this county. I haven't found yet where it splits from 1 pipe to 4 pipes, so when I find that I should know. Those pipes are very deep. The drawing indicates that they all connect serially. Not sure yet. Will let you guys know when I make some progress. I appreciate any feedback/input.
If you can make an aerator work in your pump tank then that is ideal. Your pump tank must have a float level to turn on the pump, so I imagine that you can alter the float level is required to keep more water in the tank. Right? How big is the pump tank?
Ok... so I just purchased the Sepaerator. Should get it to install this weekend. Praying for good results. Just a cost decision between sepaerator and septicair aid. Got more for less. I thought about rolling my own per lawrosa's recommendation but liked the idea of a maintenance free aerator. Probably just a pipe dream, but it sure would be nice to not have to take that nasty thing out and wipe it down.
I received the Sepaerator last week, shipping was pretty fast from Septic Solutions. I have not have any time to put it in until this evening. Seems to be pretty well built. Today I just did a temporary install. Drilled a hole through my pump tank riser about 3 inches below the surface and pulled the air hose through and then just put the pump under my deck. I'll bury the hose and do something permanent for power when I have a couple of hours. I just wanted to get the aeration going. FYI the aerator with the weight on the bottom is about 15 inches tall. My pump tank was just about as full as it gets before pumping to the field, so we'll see once it pumps if that is too tall for mine when it is low. . If it is, I'll increase the height of my float switch. As far as noise goes, I can’t hear the pump at all when I’m more than 3 feet away. Also, since my main tank is not aerated and is an anaerobic environment, do you think I need to add some aerobic bacteria to the pump tank? I’ve heard that is like adding weed seed to a garden, but I'm wondering if once the effluent gets to the pump tank the aerobic bacteria are dead. Thoughts? If I do, one dose should do it because once populated it never fully pumps out so I wouldn’t think I would need to add more.
i have a tank about thirty years old and with just a good rain the drain fields back up and back fill the tank. i took top off distribution box and poured a container of roebic brand emergency repair down each of the three drain field line. i dont anticipate success so what do you recomend and exactly how much do i put down each line. also should i try to flush the lines after applying the solution. thanks so much !
The only thing that worked for me (and is still working) was to hydro flush the laterals. I used the Clog Hog hose attached to my 2,500 PSI pressure washer.
You should probably contract that out to a septic plumber so he can pump away all the gunk that comes flying out of those laterals into your D-Box. My laterals were literally all clogged up and there was no way that any amount of chemicals added to the drainfield could have helped.
After they have been hydroblasted, it might be worthwhile adding chemicals to the lechfield for the biomat.
We don't know where our d-box is, and the tank is full over the exit pipe. We do have a vent pipe at the end of the field...Would it work if we put hydrogen peroxide in there to start or not since it's a gravity field?
My best suggestion is to skip over all the trials & tribulation and go for the FINAL FIX up front.
1) Add risers to both ends of your septic
2) Add a riser above each Dbox
3) Get your septic plumber to drain the tank
4) Pressure Hydro Blast your lateral lines. Solids fill up the laterals. Your plumber will then pump the gunk out of your d-boxes.
5) THEN add the peroxide to your D-Box.
The plumbers typically add a 50 gal drum of peroxide after pressure blasting the laterals.
Anything less and you will be endlessly hassled with your septic system.
While you are at it, bite the bullet and add a gray water system for the washing machine, sinks & showers. Septic fields don't like washing machine water & lint.
Septic tank should be nice to as this contain all waste water and other wastes which comes with water in it and for health and other point of view this should be proper and for getting it proper there should be proper maintenance and cleaning between 2 to 5 years interval so that it works properly.
Thanks for your report. I have found it very helpful thus far. I'd love feedback on my situation if possible. We moved into a house almost three years ago (and were under the impression that the septic had been dumped prior to out moving in - not the case!) Anyway, getting the septic cleaned out was on the list of things to do when we noticed that the washing machine discharged and came through the downstairs shower and toilet (thankfully it was washing machine water!) Anyway, we had a plumber come out. He snaked the line and got out very little. We were able to get the line to back up again by turning on all of the water (3 showers, 7 or 8 faucets). If we only ran a few things we couldn't get it to back up. We made an appt to have the septic cleaned out which happened today. I was at a meeting, but my wife assured me that it was overfilled (apparently it's been 10 years and we were misled :( ). Anyway, they were saying that they think our leech lines are clogged (probably are). I wasn't there, but they were throwing around ideas of removing fences, digging up lines, etc.
I'm thinking after reading your deal that at most I'm probably wanting to try is jetting the line. As we don't smell anything and it only had a minor backup once, it seems to me that it still must be leaching a bit (not sure). I'm thinking of going one of two ways:
1. Ignoring the situation, trying to dump something in the system (what would that be?) to rejuvenate it and keep an eye on if it backs up again. I'll have it pumped again in two years if I notice no problems. Would this be a foolish approach? If we did notice a problem, we'd go to option 2 immediately.
2. Have someone come out and try jetting the line.
Am I missing something or is there where I should start?
Please advise and thank you very much for your consideration!
Install risers above your septic tank, as seen in my report. Do both the input side of the tank and the output side of the tank. Your tank MUST be serviceable. Then make certain that the output side of the tank has a waste filter installed.
With this work done, you can easily make regular inspections of the water level in your tank, and easily clean the septic filter annually. If you see the water level rising above the outlet pipe, then you know that your leaching lines need to be jetted out. Don't waste money on additives, as the leaching pipes are VERY likely to be packed as seen in my videos.
Get your plumber to dig up your D-BOX and add a riser to make service easy. Then jet out your field lines. The added riser will make future jetting easy. If your property is on a slope, then you have multiple D-Boxes to dig up and add risers to.
I just wanted to say a big thank you for the enormous amount of research and tireless in-putting on this subject. My problem hopefully is not as bad as yours. My septic tank needed to be pumped out back in March. I've lived here for 13 years and never had to have it done and the previous owner lived here since it was built in 1980 and he never had it pumped either. We added a holiday let to the system, being used about 26 weeks of the year with up to an additional 6 people living in it. Another thing was, I redirected a surface water overflow into the tanks to overcome a blockage in another soakaway at the front of the house. Prior to having it pumped I fished out a heap of wet wipes and all sorts of thicker tissue type stuff which didn't look any different from when it was new, apart from being dirty, so whoever says this stuff is biodegradable is having us on. I even fished out a plastic carrier bag, other smaller plastic bags and even a chicken bone, would you believe. The crust wasn't so thick and the sludge at the bottom wasn't so bad either. I assumed, therefore that the blockage was caused by this other nasty stuff and the effluent had got into the 2nd chamber and down the pipes.
The tanker came and pumped out the tanks and then jetted the main pipe out of the 2nd chamber. It appeared to do the job until just recently the house was surveyed due to selling. We sit on about 1 acre with several old block outbuildings and a concreted yard. It used to be part of a farm. So the cesspit is laid across the yard and in places under one of the block buildings and then out into the field. It was at that far end, approx 25 mtrs from the tanks we found an area of dirty water. A builder friend came and had a look and suggested we consider digging up the earth at the far end but that may cause problems due to the pipes going under the block building. I decided however to do a bit of research and we also came across the sewage worms. After hours of reading, we sort of decided to go for them. But then we had contact from the purchasers of our home, having received the surveyor's report, wanting us to have the tanks pumped out again and inspected. I, of course, was somewhat reluctant as we had made up our mind to go for the worms. My thought was also that the blockage had probably been building up for several months. AND I realised that the additional storm water going down into the tanks was probably causing an excess and overflow of the effluent into the 2nd tank!
So whilst I will have to agree in having the tank emptied and inspected, I'm hoping that the worms will do the trick....what do you think?
Quick what's what:
Tank was pumped July 2013
Late Dec. - Temps dive below freezing. Sudden abnormally Cold weeks on end. Temps 4 degrees plus wind chills. D-inlaw and wife whip through 8 loads of laundry. Other daily household actions (7 persons) continue as usual.
Bang - Pipes lock up - from normal flow to No Flow. Minor snow on ground(not insulation depth) and ground frozen solid. Cannot dig for a few days. Stop using any Drain water(pleasant - not)
Okay after a few days, able to dig out front inspection cover. Level is at Entry pipe upper 1/3rd Snakeed a bit and what exited covered pipe exit level. Stopped and covered - show storm and temps dropping.
Home in Full water conservation mode. minimal grey water to plant beds. Black water to porta-potty for disposal.
Temps rise a bit. Open front service access. Water level has dropped below pipe. Worked to free up house blockages. Not much luck and still Freezing. More Snow storms/sub freezing temps. Lock down again.
Finally Temps above freezing. Open Septic, level 8: or more below intake.
Snake out house lines and all drains flowing. Tank is rising rapidly.
Read all possible over the Months in preparation.
A lot of Grizz info seems solid and can be confirmed through other sources.
End of March. 3 Weeks Off to solve issue. Yea, Snow again/Rains/Freeze and finally a few decent days.
Fully uncover septic.
Tank is down again - water going somewhere(slowly)
Lines to house still flowing. Minor water usage to keep pipes moistened.
Allowed a few showers and a few flushes. Tank rose to center of drain pipe - Stopped water usage.
Attempted to snake out to D-box. almost impossible - maybe 5ft. and pulled a piece of plastic bag out.
Dug and located D-box
Removed Lid - Not flooded - Not in great condition, but not flooded.
Inspected Septic outlet line and found almost closed. Finger hole at best.
Prepared for full field treatment.
Tank Pumped out
Baffles inspected - good
Filter acquired for Exit baffle
Exit Pipe opened back up(still in progress)
Jetted Laterals to clear blockages - 3 laterals in system.
Small Jetter - 1500PSI
Verified low amount of septic sludge - mostly Non Flushable blockages - ahmmm.
Jetting and checking, ran about 300 Gal into laterals.(Good?)
2 treatments of sodium percarbonate so far, directly into each leach line.
Second treatment - Mixed in HOT water,flood filled lines and Capped lines to Push expelled oxygen into field.
*Will repeat 2x more then treat with Lime Sulfur followed by Roebic K-570 to boost/jump start Aerobic development.
Will maintain water conservation in an attempt to allow field to start healing.
NOTE: A 30' Pool was installed over the field 27 years ago. Several experts say - No Problem.
Septic is almost 4 feet below ground level.
More complications - what else would one expect?
Friend with camera came out to check for broken line.
Pool Deck post damage - No post, but concrete blockage(20+yrs) I had broken out part of the Blockage with Jetter and pulled stone with snake. Camera showed No open(concrete sealed)
Leach lines were not thick with goop as far as I could clear. However there were a few obstructions.
Unfortunately D-box Shows (3) lines
Divining reveals (5) Lines approx. 11ft apart.
Bad news - Water slow to exit field.
Good News 80+ % or field is NOT under Pool.
All pipes turn after exit of d-box and 45* across yard.(and into Neighbors yard)
Will continue to end of preplanned attack.
Next steps if required will be to dig at Legal Trench ends, cut and Jet Lines to D-box, Add Service pipes and Terra-lift.
I foresee a long tiring and inconvenient project ahead.
Months of saving and preparation will be involved.
Shocked me, even learned how in minutes.
Take (2) metal cloths hangers
cut each at end of bottom run and near top of one side(before kink)
Bend out slightly to form an (L)
Need (2) 6"-10" pieces 1/2" or smaller pvc.
Short end of rod in tube so it will react naturally
Holding one in each hand vertical at your sides, walk slowly through suspected field.
Crossing any pipe will draw the wands together(or to full opposing positions)
You must estimate to work across, not along each line to target the layout.
Took me about 30 minutes to identify (5) runs instead of (3)suspected and realize they were in a totally different location than I suspected. Also all are running in a Diagonal in my back yard.
Google - Images - Divining Rods Good examples for build
3rd Percarbonate treatment. Purchased 4" expansion caps.
Treated each line and backed with 40-50 gal water. Capped each line to force oxygen expansion out to field and Not back out of piping.
Left each capped for several hours.
Field Took an estimated 160 Gal. of water and d-box is basically empty(no backup)
Grizz - Are your lines on a sloped land area?
first box to first line -
Overflow to second box to second line -
overflow to third box to 3rd line, etc.
Each field line will have a small box at the line head.
A side line will drop box to box to disperse effluent.
*If Box one gets blocked all remaining lines are DOA (UN-ACCESSABLE to effluent)
If you can access the first box - Jetting All boxes(may) be possible.
Jetting all lines may require locating ALL boxes.
Yes, my septic is on a slope, and your advice is very timely, as I am going to try out your tip on divining rods and dig up the closest D-Box this week.
Message from CRXESS for the benefit of all:
Hope I'm not bugging you. While researching everything to work on my system, I have been following your adventure/Nightmare.
After your last post I did some research on what your septic people say you have. It seems to me, simple through not knowing the system design, you have been beating a dead horse. Not that you didn't have a solid plan. Just that it would not apply/function for your particular configuration.
If you indeed do have a Sequential system, you will need to locate each and every Drop Box and field line.
Have each thoroughly and independently Jetted.
Have each Drop line Jetted.
This will free up all of your mechanical system to flow effluent.
Now, Before attempting to close and use, you should start over and Treat each line in an individual manor.
Calculate your needs by the final Lateral count and lengths.
I know you have already invested a large chunk of cash but it still needs to be done. Likely only the Last line ever got any treatment and was still overwhelmed.
If all else fails, Terralift. Insist they punch Max depth and work up to create the most fissures possible and inject the foam pellets. Might even be wise to add Lime Sulfur through each rupture to work through the cracks.
Wish you all the luck in solving this.
Many thanks for your message. It all for one & one for all.
Messag from CRXESS:
2 Feet deep you say?
Definitely save your money.
Simple to find and faster than poking around the back yard.
1) use a 1/4" sewer snake through the service port you built. Go slow and be aware of any possible turn(probably none) once you hit the Box, Mark the snake with a piece of tape.
Pull back and measure distance.
Lay tape measure straight out(House/tank/outlet) ans the box should be approximately under the end.
2) Probe to confirm or Dig at that mark for the first box.
*Box should be from Tape end to 12" or so back under tape measure.
3)Once Box top is exposed - and 1"-2" deep additional dirt removed around box - Remove top.
4)Verify direction and repeat process to locate second box.
Repeat for all boxes. Additional boxes (in/Field/out)
Last box will be in/field lines.
Once you locate the first box - you should have all found in just a few hours.
Boxes are likely 12" x 12"
Did the final Percarbonate treatment 4-13 and hit the lines with 4 Gallons of Lime Sulfur on 4-16. Followed each chemical treatment with approximately 150 Gal. Water.
With Grey water conservation and Porta Potty usage, Tank is under 12" full in 1 month.
4-20-14 Today the field gets Roebic K-570 Treatment in hopes of kick starting the Aerobic process anew.
Next is installing and setting Speed levelers.
5-18 - latest news
One field line is still a bit sluggish, the triple split line. But the other 2 are working strong.
Had to do an emergency stress test today. I've been conserving in hopes of relieving pressure on the field. Fat chance! Flash flooding in the area this week. Basement pumps(3) running non-stop. Mega-Pooh grandson stopped up the house lines.
Cleared the house from the tank side and got a flood of junk out.
Today I hit it with Washing machine, 2 toilets and a tub 1/2 full of water 3 times.
Slow running, then a rush of water then sputter/rush/sputter rush.
Kept an eye on the Tank and D-Box flow and gave it an hour before repeating the process.
I am amazed that the field could handle that much water and the D-Box settle down in only a few minutes.(10-15)
Estimating a hard hit of over 300 gallons in under 4 hours.
I feel with water conservation the system just may survive.
1-11-15 Follow up
First: Glad to see Grizz has had some success!!!
After Jetting, Chemical treatment, Tank to D-Box pipe repairs and installation of an exit filter, the past 9 months have been a dream.
This week threw us a curve. With freezing Temps something was bound to go wrong. Not from the cold but because I hate it.
Heard a Thumping sound in the kitchen sink after dinner a few days back. Could actually feel the pipe under the sink kicking a bit. Then it just stopped as fast as it started.
Next day EVERYTHING was locked up again. No water drainage.
A moment of panic set in, but then I thought - No WAY - this system just should not go from Good to go to totally over night unless it is something simple.
Homer Simpsom Doh!!! Moment.
Our Message threads on Septic Tanks has paid off in spades. After rejuvenating the septic field with Sodium Percarbonate, we need a long term method to get oxygen into the septic field to prevent future clogging & slow-downs.
This gets the oxygenated water right where it is needed and when it is needed. As the water level rises out of the D-Box, aeration becomes more effective. IMO, this option is better than adding sodium percarbonate over & over because I'm afraid this may result in too much sodium in the septic field causing problems. Note below- It DOES cause serious problems. Aerating the D-Box water avoids all the problems from stirring up sludge in the tank, and adding too much sodium into the septic field. The ideal solution is to put a holding tank between the D-Box & the Septic tank, and aerate this water. But until this ideal solution, aerating the D-Box is a step in the right direction.
I will slide the 6 inch aerator sticks down through the exit pipe in my septic tank, and into the D-Box. The D-Box is usually within 25 feet of the septic tank. Photos of my septic tank exit pipe riser can be seen in my report below.
Complete details for this idea and complete report on rejuvenating our septic field with photos and a detailed report on aerating problems: http://tinyurl.com/Septic-Solutions
I'm very new to all this, but my septic system has failed and it sounds similar to your problems. I seem lucky in that my tank has 2 chambers and looks exactly like the diagram of a 2 chamber system you have in your google doc.
I've been pumped twice in 6 weeks. I know a LOT of solids made it in to the leach field because the baffle in my tank was deteriorating. I've had that repaired. My soil is full of clay.
The Septic Pumper already added 18 lbs of Add-Ox to my 2 leach lines. (Add-Ox is Sodium Percarbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Silicate) He used a hose and air pump to blow the dry powder directly in to the leach lines from the d-box. Even after that treatment, my leach field is draining very slowly.
So far 2 different pumpers have told me:
Pumper 1 (and contractor that installs septic systems): I need a new leach field.
Pumper 2: Many of the septic systems in my neighborhood have already been converted to engineered systems. In the coming years he expects the county to only approve engineered systems. That is likely what they will require now if I go for a permit. (my leach field was installed only 6 years ago) He recommends that I divert all grey water away from the septic system and that will allow it to work for another 15 or 20 years the way it is.
Right now I am considering going the route of aeration, a larger Sodium Percarbonate treatment and diverting all grey water to a separate system.
I learned about Septic Air Aid from your google doc. I've talked to Artie today and he is convincing. But, I couldn't tell from your notes if you found Artie to be con-ing you or if it was simple a mistake that you were installing the aerator in a single chamber septic tank.
I'd love to know your feeling about whether aeration may be the right path for me or not.
Thanks. (and yes, I'm not taking any one persons advice, but instead asking around for advice from everyone that I can)
Oh, and as far as using the liquid Lime-Sulfur mix. When should I consider using it? Once the Sodium Percarbonate has restored the proper drainage? Immediately after I finish the multi day treatment with Sodium Percarbonate?
There are TWO major reasons why the septic field clogs up:
1) The "Biomat" has overgrown with sludge. Oxygen is required to clear this condition.
2) Your washing machine, soaps and salt your family uses sends SODIUM into the septic field causing "HardPan" that is stopping the water flow. This condition requires the Septic Seep Formula
The Hardpan is by far the worst condition. I have seen septic systems last for 20+ years with the biomat never being serviced.
@@He recommends that I divert all grey water away from the septic system and that will allow it to work for another 15 or 20 years the way it is.
Absolutely do this ASAP to stop the sodium from getting into your leach field. He is RIGHT ON.Do you have a water softener? Make sure it goes into your grey water.
@@Right now I am considering going the route of aeration, a larger Sodium Percarbonate treatment and diverting all grey water to a separate system.
I have mixed feelings about aerating a dual chamber tank. Here is my opinion. It may work conditionally. Artie is a super salesman & has a fantastic web site. Here are the facts. The aerator will stir up the scum & sludge into Septic Soup. This septic soup will flow out of your chamber.
If the aerator is in the input chamber, then all the scum & solids will end up in your output chamber, and the output chamber becomes the "Settling Tank." Since you are starting with a freshly pumped tank, all new solids & scum will go into your output chamber, and hopefully settle down.
If the aerator is in the output chamber, then all the soup goes into your septic field to clog it up. Which chamber does Artie advise you to use for his aerator?
Artie has a stick aerator kit that is excellent for a D-Box. IMO, there is a 3rd option that I think is superior. Add a riser to your D-Box and then Aerate the D-Box instead of your septic tank. This gets the aeration right where it is needed the most and when it is most needed. It is most needed when the water level starts to rise and when toilets send all that water into the D-Box.
I think you will have a perfect and long lasting system by using sodium percarbonate to blast away the biomat, then a few weeks later use the septic seep recipe to remove the Hardpan, install a Greywater system to prevent the hardpan from forming again, and aerating your D-Box. The sodium left behind by the sodium percarbonate contributes to the hardpan, so it can't be used too many times without problems.
My experiments with effluent water in mason jars prove that if the septic tank water is UNDISTURBED in any way, the effluent becomes amazingly clear. So look at your input baffle. If you have a vertical 4 inch pipe as a baffle, then the BLAST of water from the toilet will shoot down into your sludge to stir it up. Hang a plastic plate 12 inches below the input baffle with stainless wire to send the blast horizontally to avoid stirring up the sludge. Or lay the baffle horizontally to send the blast across the water surface.
If you don't have risers on the D-Box, input & output of your tank, now is the time to do this. Now is the time to add an effluent filter if you don't already have one. You WILL need them. Bite the bullet now and live happily ever after.
That is my 2 pennies worth, and please keep us informed. My aerators arrived for my D-Box today. I'll have them running by the end of the week. I must also add a gray water system for the sinks, showers & washing machine.
Hello all and thanks again to Grizz for sharing is successes and probably more importantly his failures.
Though I know your not a fan of aerating the 1 chamber tank Grizz, which is what I have, Casey (nice guy) over at Septic Solutions was helpful in explaining the many successes they've had with 1 chamber systems. The basics of what he told me were this and I would welcome your opinion on this Grizz. He said...
- Many of the products out there instruct you to put the diffuser by the outflow pipe. They recommend putting by their diffuser by the inlet pipe.
- Their system also has the following product which I have copied and pasted below.
"An item offered exclusively with our SepAerator™ Premium package is the Air Particle Recirculator. The Air Particle Recirculator is a barrier to prevent solid material from exiting your septic tank and entering the drain field. This barrier is essential when adding aeration to a septic tank. Under normal conditions in a septic tank the solids will separate by floating to the top as scum and sinking to the bottom as sludge. This cannot happen in a single chamber tank with aeration, as all of the solids are continually being mixed, therefore something must be done to stop them from leaving the tank.
"The Air Particle Recirculator functions as an effluent filter to stop particles, but has an added advantage over anything else you will see on the market today. A standard effluent filter under these conditions will have to be cleaned very regularly. By introducing air around the inlet of the Air Particle Recirculator, particles are pushed away from the inlet of the filter back towards the diffuser side of the tank where they will continue to break down. This action stops particles from entering and clogging the filter which allows for much longer periods between filter cleanings and produces a cleaner quality of effluent discharging from the sytem. Generally the Air Particle Recirculator will need to be cleaned every 3 to 6 months, but some systems have went as long as a few years without cleaning the filter.
"There is no other product on the market that has anything close to the Air Particle Recirculator. The Air Particle Recirculator gives our product the ability to properly treat the wastewater with a powerful air pump, yet stop solids from being pushed into the drain field."
The Science sounds good and they give a money back guarantee up to 6 months. That said, with what I've learned from Grizz's detailed documentation in the last 36 hours, the idea of aerating the D-box seems like a more simple solution if biomat is indeed the source of the slow drainage.
Ive been in my 35 year old house for 15 years. I will say that for a some time, don't really know how long, my tank's baffle was broken and I didn't realize it till I got it pumped about 10 years ago. Who knows how much 'crap' got down those D-pipes. I (like sciencesingalong) just had my single chamber tank and D-box pumped out about an hour ago after having the tank alon done a month ago. All kinds of thick black sludge came out of the D-lines. I just but 36 one pound containers of Awesome Oxygen at the Dollar Tree and am about to go put it in my leach field.
I do not have clay soil, it's on the sandy side. How much do I need to be concerned about hardpan? I haven't had time to fully read all the articles on hardpan but I plan to. Artie's website recommended an application of 9 pounds every other day 4 times. I'm pretty sure my lines will take more than 9 gallons of water. He said he's seen people put 30 gallons in at a time. I'm trying to decide if I should just mix up 30 gallons and pour it in the D-box and let gravity do the work or get a sump pump and inject the water into the lines. Will this make a difference?
I have no intention of diverting gray water unless I absolutely have to and will try to work with the system I have. Now that my tank is empty, D-box exposed and open, I need to decide what to do over the next few days as the water level in the tank starts to rise again and flow into the field. I'm thinking 4 - 5 days max though I will try to drag it out longer with shower and laundry restraints on my family of 5.
Ok...off to mix up the Awesome Oxygen. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for your input Grizz.
Please don't mix all of it up at one time. It quickly degrades. Mix up a portion each day & spread over 4 days. I mixed 9 lbs per day into about 20 gallons of water. 1/4th of the 9 lbs of sodium percarbonate into a 5 gal bucket. Stir it frequently to make sure it is thoroughly mixed, and pour it into your D-Box. This will cure your problem of the Biomat. But it will do NOTHING for the hardpan.
IMO, the aerator should go into your D-Box and don't mess with your septic tank unless you improve the input or output baffles. All of the salesmen are "Nice Guys," that is how they make their living. I don't know anything about that product, so I am not going to disparage it. However if air is sent into your septic tank, it WILL stir up sludge. How many years was your septic tank running as a ANaerobic tank? ( 35 year old house for 15 years) How on earth can you improve on THAT? I suggest focusing on your septic field and leave your tank as an Anaerobic.
Trust me, the sludge in the bottom of your tank is like wisps of smoke. It is so easily stirred up by the SLIGHTEST of water movement, and it is zillions of microscopic sized specs. It takes well over a month to float back down to the bottom. Once it is stirred up NOTHING will stop it from getting through your effluent filter. Here is the link for what you are talking about: http://www.septicsolutions.com/SepticAerator/RepairSepticProblems.html
Get some sludge out of your tank and test it in mason jars to see what I'm talking about.
The guarantee means nothing because it will take 6 months or more for aeration to clog up your field.
Also, not discussed by those NICE salesmen is that 90% (per SepticSeep(tm) of clogged septic fields are caused by Hardpan created by sodium from washing machine, water softeners, diswashers, sinks & showers. The aerator sites lie by omission of the vital facts about hardpan. If you don't install a graywater system, then you need to pour septic seep(tm) or equivalent into your drain field annually. Aerators will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for hardpan.
Sorry my report is getting long on the tooth. I need to reorganize & simplify it.
See your nearest Farmers Co-Op or your nearest Tractor Supply or similar farmer store and ask them to order it for you:
Lime-Sulfur for only $68 at your local Farmer's Co-Op; Miller Chemicals #45512. (Cannot be ordered on-line.)
See your local Tractor Supply or other farming store to order, they don’t stock it, but will order for you. Ditto for the Triton X-100.
PS) My septic tank is running GREAT since I got rid of the aerator, & my last rejuvenation with 2 gal of Lime-Sulfur, now running > 4 weeks with ZERO sludge in the effluent filter and the tank water level perfect. I am feeling good that my horror story might finally be ending. I'll be taking new effluent water samples in Mason Jars soon and give a report.
Could you please explain the lime sulfur application process? I realize you need to add 10% surfactant but how much is applied to the field? Is it mixed with water? If so, how much.
Also, I looked at the home depot effluent filter that's on your google doc and all the choices that are available at Septic Solutions. Big range in price from $40 - $150. Any insight would be appreciated. I'm assuming I better get this filter installed before my tank fills up again? I'm also thinking that if the outflow T-pipe is glued in I'll need to cut it to adapt the filter to it? I'm somewhat handy but having a little trouble envisioning the process.
2nd treatment of Sodium Percarbonate to be applied tomorrow.
Although I only used 2 gallons when my field slowed down the last time, and I saved 3 gallons for future use. The field has been Perking nicely since (4 weeks now).
The choice is between the 6 inch & 4 inch effluent filter, and the filter with a baffle at the bottom or not. Bigger is better & I like the baffle at the bottom. The Home Depot filter used to be sold at Septic Solutions, where I originally bought it.
I started with NOTHING in my output pipe. I had to add the "T" and the 4 inch entrance pipe & the effluent filter. I held everything together with stainless steel metal screws to make it easy to modify if necessary. I suggest do not use glue. I also started with nothing in my input pipe.
PS) I'm sure that I drove the hardware store salesman crazy with multiple trips to the store and asking for help fitting the 4" pipes together. We need sleeve adapters to mix thinwall to thickwall 4 inch pipes. I would not make a very good plumber ;--(( I would rather suffer death by Ugga Bugga than be a plumber for a living !
Great, my last question about the lime sulfer is how long to wait after my last application of sodium bicarbonate which will be this Thursday?
My next questions is about hanging the plate under the inlet pipe. There is a baffle in front of it but even the toilet blast doesn't reach it. How exactly did you secure yours. Since I'm not putting risers on, the most simple method to me would be to wrap the wire around the concrete cover going through the handle then down into the tank on each side of the cover. I'm thinking from your description you want the water landing on the plate so to spread it out horizontally across the tank. Is that correct?
My next questions will have to do with aerating the D-box but I'm not quite there yet.
Great, my last question about the lime sulfer is how long to wait after my last application of sodium bicarbonate which will be this Thursday?
@@I don't know the answer to that one. I suggest waiting to see if you have any more problems. If it is not broke, then don't fix it principle. You may not need it for months or even years. If you have clay soil, then you might need it sooner than later.
My next questions is about hanging the plate under the inlet pipe. There is a baffle in front of it but even the toilet blast doesn't reach it. How exactly did you secure yours. Since I'm not putting risers on, the most simple method to me would be to wrap the wire around the concrete cover going through the handle then down into the tank on each side of the cover. I'm thinking from your description you want the water landing on the plate so to spread it out horizontally across the tank. Is that correct?
@@ I didn't use a plate. I simply changed my 4 inch "T" input baffle to be horizontal instead of vertical. If I have problems with this, then I will put the "T" vertical again and hang a plate below it. My horizontal input baffle is working perfectly so far. Yes, I want the blast of water from the toilet to go horizontally so as not to stir up the silt at the bottom.
My next questions will have to do with aerating the D-box but I'm not quite there yet.
@@ I am not happy with the aerators I ordered, they required too much air pressure to make bubbles. I ordered new ones today... 6 inch fish tank air stones from Amazon.Com.
It's been quite the busy summer. I am finally getting a chance to give an update on my progress since my last sodium percarbonate application on July 24th. I was able to install an effluent filter just in time before the water in tank filled up to the outflow pipe. I think the level was 1 to 2 inches below the pipe. In that 6+ weeks the water has been draining in the field. The water level in the D box varies, sometimes rising more than halfway up the pipes leading to the field but most of the time it’s under the half way mark or near the bottom of the pipes. This is a wonderful result so far.
Now I need to decide if I am going to aerate the D box. Grizz, I know it’s something you’ve been wanting to do. Have you been able to finish that project?
My D box and tank are still dug up and exposed. I need to decide whether or not to put a riser on the box or try and go the winter and deal with it in the spring. Money is tight these days. I’m thinking I should even if I don’t aerate the box, it will still be easier to do another sodium percarbonate application if I need to during the frozen Maine winter.
>>My D box and tank are still dug up and exposed<<
OMG, I suggest for sure put in your risers. I can't imagine digging up all that dirt again. Best thing I did was to put in those risers on my tank to make it easy to add chemicals to the field. Even if you use cheap aerators made for fish tanks, I'm sure they will last a long time in your D-Box. These aerators are small and easily slipped through the tank exit pipe into your D-Box. My aerators are sitting on my desk, awaiting me to get ambitious and install them. My field is still working great since taking the aerator out of my tank. Putting that aerator into my tank was a HORRIBLE mistake.
Grizz1943 - I have seen your posts on a few sites, and you seem very "In the know". I have a house built in 1965, in southern maine. It sits upon ledge, at the top of a pretty steep hill. When I bought the home in 1996, at 26 years of age, I had the tank pumped and inspected. They found the outlet baffle had fallen off. I had it replaced at that time. It is just a 90 degree elbow with a few feet of pipe going down into tank. It just drains down into a leach bed of stone, surrounded by dark soil(old farmland). My tank is a 1000 gallon tank, and 2 out of the last 3 pumpings, it's been full to the cover, tho never have I had a symptom in the house, and there has NEVER been any sign of percolation. I decided to have a company come and hydro jet my single output line, which is a 4" PVC line until about 7' from tank, where it turns to cast iron pipe. They worked at it until the 3" foot hole they dug had filled up with water\sludge, than all of a sudden, something broke free in the pipe, and the hole and pipe emptied in seconds. The jetter guy suggested it was buildup from when the outlet baffle had fallen off, and the build up I had added over the years. I live alone in this 3 room house, so almost NO load, and all my appliances are low water useage. Sitting on a hill, the outlet pipe has at least a 45 degree angle downwards, causing a major gravity flow. He then ran my garden hose for 10 minutes into this section of pipe, and not one bit backed up. He said I had absolutely NO drainage problem, it was just build up from the fallen baffle. My 1.28 gal flush toilet wasnt gonna do what the wide open hose could do. He suggested I put 1 gallon of cess-flo in for 4 days in a row. Seeing it was that deep, I installed a "T" that comes up within 2" of the soil surface, so I can do this without digging. I did that for 4 days, as directed. My tank is still not full, but almost there, after about a month. Today, I put 5 lbs of sodium Percarbonate 99% in 6 or 7 gallons of hot water, and poured it down the "T" on outlet side of tank, based on what I've read from a few of your posts. It certainly had some reaction, as even the little spillage on the surrounding soil was foaming like yeast. This gravity system is 50 yrs old, and the guy was amazed it didnt back up under full force of garden hose, but then again, like I said, its a steep decline, and no clay. In your opinion, should I put the sodium percarbonate in again for the next few days, to just help eat the sludge up in the stone? That is my plan. I'm not even sure You will see this, but it's worth a shot. Im told my drainage is surprisingly good. Then I added 4 days of a gallon of cess-flo, and now the sodium percarbonate. I'd like to rest easy knowing I am reversing some of the buildup from over the years. I did notice that where I spilled a bit while pouring, the ground was MUCH softer, like its more aerated. That has to be a plus. Any advice, pointers? Thank You so much! Mike
Thanks, Grizz! I did for two days, put 5 lbs of sodium percarbonate 99% mixed with 5-10 gallons of water into the drainage pipe. Yesterday I ran the hose into the pipe for 5 mins or so, wide open, and no signs of drain field not taking the load. I am using the "T" I installed on the outlet pipe as a riser(just for level inspection). It's about 2" inches from the surface, and I figure if the tank is fuller than the outlet pipe will handle, it will be obvious, as the pipe would be backed up and full of effluent. As of right now, that pipe is dead empty. My old drainfield isnt too far from the tank. It's just a single pipe, but it is down a very steep hill, so gravity helps a lot in my case. I just want to be sure to help it recover and sustain after all these years. I guess I will just get through the winter at this point, relax, and when snow melts, I will remove cap and check to see if there is any effluent in drainage side. I'm thinking if I can freely run the garden hose into it for several minutes, I dont have much to worry about. I will pump the tank every two years to keep sludge down. Thanks Grizz!
Well just to update anyone who may be interested...... I made it through the winter without any issue. I frequently remove the cap from the outlet line going to my leachpit, and can see the "water" slowly flowing down the pipe towards the field, with out backup. Of course that is only for a short while after showering or laundry, then the trickle of water slows down and stops. Therefore, looks like the system is doing it's job, and I am very relieved knowing I can just dig down 2" and remove the cap and see the outlet is not plugged. That ensures my tanks not overfilled. When it's just me taking a quick shower, sometimes the level in tank doesn't even rise enough to flow down outlet pipe because there isn't a tight seal between tank and outlet pipe. Over a days time, I am hardly home at all, so the tank level drops enough from seepage to allow a quick shower and not quite reach pipe outlet level. I poured 4 gals of the Cess-Flo in early November just to help any buildup in leach bed. I will do 4 more gallons soon. This is just a precaution, I probably don't even need to do this, but I will. I will have the tank pumped next summer, and every other year going forward. Hope the info helps anybody out there looking. Mike
I have read alot of the septic stuff and understand everything. I just need to know how to apply hydrogen peroxide to the d box. Isn't it a volatile substance and can burn you? What are the measurements? Same as the sodium perc?
Yes,Hydrogen Peroxide is caustic. Do not get it on your skin.
I pour all of my chemicals into a pipe that I added to the exit of my septic tank. See the photos I provided that shows the riser on the exit side of my tank. You will see a 4 inch pipe attached to the exit baffle.
I also have a riser added to the input side of the septic tank, see photo. The risers are ESSENTIAL to do tank maintenance.
I need to know how much peroxide to use. I plan on having tank pumped, d box pumped, letting it rest for a couple days and dosing d box multiple times over a 4 day period (like the sodium perc stuff)with hydrogen peroxide. I will then dose the drainfield with the septic seep (I have a lot of clay with green grass over drainfield). The only thing I am unsure of is how much hydrogen peroxide to use. Please help.
I made my own airater by drilling holes in a 1 1/2 pvc pipe and weighting it down so it floats 12 inches below the surface of the water.I have it in a 4inch pvc pipe that is app 4-5 feet long with holes drilled into it to cut down on turbulace in the tank that is suspened verticaly in my single chamber sepic tank. I also have the air split so it goes to the water outlet to bubble there and i installed a timer to let things settle in the tank.
I have used the oxyclean but just 2 scoops a day.
I think you have a brilliant idea! That will certainly prevent my problem of the aerator stirring up sludge all around the tank, and I love that you placed the aerator pipe inside another pipe to prevent stirring up water currents. Could you describe your 1 1/2 x 4' PVC aerator pipe?
What size holes and how many across the pipe? Spacing? And ditto for your 4 inch x 4' pipe? I assume you have both pipes capped at the ends? Do you have it laid between the input manhole & the output manhole? Suspended with wires? I think your design would be improved with a dozen fluffy paint rollers suspended in your tank to help incubate aerobic bacteria.
I wonder if the aerated water is able to spread out all over the tank, or will it all float to the top? Is there any way to measure this? Does it even matter? Probably not. Facultative Anaerobes would multiply near the surface, but would spread all around the tank: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerobic_organism
It would be great if you use Windows Paint to draw a detailed diagram, and use the FCK editor to post in a message here. I'll also post it into the Septic Solutions Doc. http://tinyurl.com/Septic-Solutions
How does the water bubble into your Outlet "T" ? Do you have an effluent filter?
The air line that I have go to the outlet tee pipe is a 3/8 clear hose with some holes 4 dilled in it to create bubbles but not enough to take away from the main arater. I am thinking of taking the same size of hose and extending it to the d box to arate it there.
Yes, I agree that aerating the D-Box directly is a superior project. A 4 inch long x 1 inch square airstone such as used in an aquarium would be perfect for the D-Box, I have one on order from Amazon.Com for my own D-Box.
You can order aerobic anaerobes here:
Young Tank Tablets This 3-gram tablet contains 60 billion microbes -- a consortium of 100 species of aerobic, micro-aerobic and facultative anaerobes of the Archaea domain. The Tank Tablets are packaged as either 10 or 24 tablets in a clear, easy-to-dispense tube. http://www.young-enterprises.com/products.html
First, I would like to thank you for creating this site, and also thank all who have shared their experience here.
I am at the beginning of my efforts to repair my system, which I was actually involved in installing in 2007, and now is showing signs of failure.
We will be pumping, inspecting the tank and testing the lines this week. The tank has not been pumped since it was installed.
I have maps and pictures of what we did back then, and, of course, if I knew then, what I think I know now, the installation would have been done with much more care and forethought, and would have seen at least some regular maintenance. Hind sight is always 20/20 right?
1200 gallon two compartment tank, with about 200 feet of leach trench total in the two lines. Trenches are ”double rocked”(about twice the rock required). Rocky clay and loam soil mix. No outlet filter was installed (I would have if anyone would have told me about them), and will be retrofitting one on the outlet pipe this week.
I built my home on very steep land, which we had to terrace to have a flat spot for the relatively narrow house approach and parking area. This area was also the only nearby area with the soil depth and quality for the field. Hence with county approval, I installed my field under my gravel parking area.
While I was told by my contractor that this was ok to do, I now know this is a poor choice for a field location. We had little choice, and what’s done is done.
I am actually hoping for a crushed pipe, or something easy like that, but my life experience tells me it will not be that easy. Even if it is just a smashed pipe, I want to change my ways, and take care of whatever is left of my system.
My wife and I have also made some of the classic mistakes. Surface water drainage, while not horrible, could be much better,(and that’s all me), and my dear wife likes to do 6 loads of laundry in one day.
Like many others who see the ads and videos for an add-in aeration system, I got really excited, and was pretty sure I was going to try one. Then, something told me to look a little deeper into it, and that’s when I found your writing on the subject. Very helpful, and THANK YOU for saving me from making that mistake! I’m sure I can come up with some really original mistakes of my own as I move forward on this. I saw one video where the aerator salesman was showing how clear the primary chamber was after only 24 hours! It was really clean, but where did all those solids go? Only one place to go, right out to the drain field!
At this point, I’m pretty sure I have both bio mat and hard pan troubles, but not sure how much of each.
I am planning on jetting the lines, before I dose the lines with 30% hydrogen peroxide.
Jetting will be messy, as I did not originally vent the ends of each line, however I am going to add risers to each line end to vent them after jetting is complete. I also plan add a small drywell (or two) to the end of each line at that time to both extend the field a bit, and accommodate 20-30 gallon surges. This should take some pressure off my already stressed system, and allow the old lines to air out a bit between effluent doses.
The laundry waters will be heading to their own new system as well.
I am still hesitant to try to treat the hardpan with the lime sulfur mix, because I want to make sure that this mix does not contain salts in great amounts. One link you added to your page took me to a description of lime-sulfur(Miller Chemicals MSDS), saying lime-sulfur falls in the “inorganic salt solution” chemical family. I have read your warnings, links, and reasoning about adding more salt to the system, and if the lime sulfur is high in salts, I am hoping there is another answer to the hard pan problem out there.
After reading your “Septic Leach Field Rejuvenation” article over several times, I gather that you have found hydrogen peroxide treatments helpful to both breaking up biomat and helping with hardpan. Is this correct?
At any rate, I promise to report back on what I find, what works, and what does not, in my case.
You have a good plan. The Hydrogen Peroxide is a replacement for the Sodium Percarbonate for breaking up the biomat. The advantage of Hydrogen Peroxide is that it doesn't leave behind salts which make the hardpan worse. IMO Sodium Percarbonate works really great the 1st time it is used, but each time it is used it becomes less effective because of the salts it leaves behind which contribute to hardpan. So I suggest not using Sodium Percarbonate more than one time. I have 4 gallons of 30% hydrogen peroxide on site for the next time my field clogs up.
Aeration is great for the D-Box and for septic Pits to prevent biomat. IMO, NEVER aerate a standard septic tank, or it will just send sludge right into your septic field, even forcing it through an effluent filter. Installing seepage pits at the end of your field lines is a great idea, and another great place for an aerator. IDEAL is the gray water processing for the washing machine to keep all of those salts out of your leach field. Excellent that you are taking car of this.
I have not had any problems with the lime-sulfur, as it saved my bacon when the Sodium Percarbonate no longer worked. I also don't know of any other approach to solve the hardpan problem. Septic Revive(tm) uses a different chemical for the hardpan, but I have not looked into this because lime-sulfur is working for us.
Hello Grizz and All,
Reporting back on phase 1.
I switched pumping services at the last minute, as I have learned that some of the local services have taken it upon themselves to report negative test findings to the County!
This could have easily resulted in being forced to install a new engineered leech field, without ever having a chance to repair the existing one. I may have narrowly avoided disaster. Who are these pumping companies working for anyway?
I would strongly suggest checking around, and asking if the pumping service does this sort of reporting before hiring them!
Tank level was high, Primary chamber scum layer was normal. Sludge layer was not too bad according to the pumper. He pointed out a small amount of floating sludge in the secondary chamber, and said it should not be there. When he got to the bottom, he said I have a significant of gap or leak at the bottom of the concrete baffle wall, which was allowing sludge to enter the second chamber. He said this could be repaired by pouring dry ready-mix concrete into the bottom of both chambers, letting it absorb the 2” of effluent left on the bottom, and allowing that to harden.
As we were not prepared to do that fix on pump day, I will have to do it in the spring.
My outlet san tee had tilted about 30 degrees since installation, suggesting the outlet tight line had settled significantly and/or been smashed flat due to traffic over it.
Phase two will now have to include re-pumping, baffle repair, digging up, inspecting /repairing the tight line and d box, adding a riser to the d box, and protecting all that from traffic.
This means I will have to wait until Phase 3 to jet the lines and treat with peroxide and possibly lime sulfur.
I will report back as I progress.
Pumping service reporting you to the county ? That is HORRIBLE! I never would have thought of that. That is just another Booby Trap to suck us into Septic Tank Nightmare. I'll post your warning in my Doc file!
I'm sorry but I don't believe what your septic pumper said. I think he is trying to sell an extra profit line of BS.
Sludge does not float, it sinks to the bottom. In the secondary tank, there is always a smaller amount of scum floating on the top, and a smaller amount of sludge in the bottom. Even if you did have a leak in the tank, there is no place for it to go. Far more liquid goes into your leach field than what could possibly leak from your tank. It would be easy to verify his claim by marking the water level before going on a trip, then see if the level dropped while you were away. Even if a little were leaking from the tank, how could it possibly be a problem?
We greatly expanded our house some years ago and had to install a whole new septic system. Ours is the first system in the county with an auto-siphon dosing tank, which supposedly prevents field clogging. The dosing tank is connected to the main tank through a plastic filter that won't allow anything bigger than a quarter inch to pass through (the filter needs to be pulled out and hosed off several times per year.) When the dosing tank fills up, a bell siphon automatically dumps 100 gallons of effluent out over the entire field (when the system was being installed, we tested and configured it to wet the entire fiend evenly.) The idea is that the particulates are spread out thinly across the entire field in batches, where they can more quickly break down aerobically, as opposed to trickling all the time at one end of the field, where a crust can form and spread across the field. I think it's been in use about 7 years, and all we've had to do is have it pumped out two times.
During the first test of the field piping, the water didn't even make it to the far end, so we added a vent pipe to the surface at the far end to allow the air in the pipes to be pushed out of the way by the incoming rush of water. So, between dosings, the top of the field is covered with air-filled perforated pipes (PVC with holes drilled in it), providing oxygen. And, I actually did have our plumber add an aerator, but it's in the second chamber of the main tank. According to him, it's best to have the first chamber free of aerator agitation for settling out solids. During pump outs, I've noticed that he is able to pump out some sludge from the bottom of the dosing tank, so perhaps the settling in there is benefiting the field by reducing the amount of solids that get sent out.
The one thing our plumber said he would do differently today is give each perforated pipe along the length of the field its own vent, instead of having them terminate in a pipe across the far end, with a single vent pipe to the surface. That way, he could visually inspect the inside of each pipe with his sewer cam, and if necessary, use pressurized water to blast away any gunky build-up.
Sorry to disagree with your plumber, but the 2nd chamber in your dual chamber tank is designed to accumulate sludge & a scum layer. By aerating this chamber, all of that sludge & scum will be mixed into septic soup and sent into your dosing tank and then out into your septic field. See this diagram: http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/ehs/wastewater/owners/works.aspx
You do not want all of that sludge in the 2nd chamber going into your septic field. This sludge will also clog up your effluent filter located in the 2nd chamber far too soon. Be sure that you have an effluent filter in your 2nd chamber. There should be NO sludge in your dosing tank. That sludge is coming from your 2nd chamber. That septic soup stirred up in your 2nd chamber slips right through your effluent filter. BAD BAD NEWS!
I suggest moving your aerator into your dosing tank asap, so the 2nd chamber can accumulate sludge & scum like it was designed to do.
I agree with adding a vent pipe to each lateral. It is not too late. However the best place to hydro-blast your laterals for cleaning is from a riser added to your D-Box. I am adding risers to each of my drop boxes as soon as I can find a plumber to do the job.
IMO, remove the cover to your D-Box and add a riser. A vent added to this D-Box riser will also serve to vent all of your laterals at one time. There should be room in the riser to temporarily hold any surge of liquid. I suggest a 20 inch diameter riser.
I called the septic pumping guy, and he told me that adding an aerator to *any* part of my system is completely crazy, even the dosing tank. He said that the dosing tank holds a few hundred gallons, and when the siphon runs, it pulls out 90 gallons from the very center, where it's clear liquid. According to him, solids should be able to settle out in every part of the system, including the dosing tank. Even though it's been less than three years since he last pumped out the system, I'm going to have him clean it out and start fresh, with no disruptive agitation.
As for adding more vent pipes, that would involve a backhoe tearing up ground in front of the house, and I'm not going to do that.
Hello Grizz and all, thanks so much for the research and this wonderful place! My folks have a small rental house that appears to need a new leach field, having to be pumped out every few months. My current thought, after reading your bad experience with aerating, is to attempt prototyping a special type of outflow mechanized filter with durable medium that automatically water jet backwashes itself periodically. By this, I was hoping to attain a very fine particle filtration capability to prevent the potential leach field problems from aerating/stirring up the single tank. Any thoughts, and could you suggest how small of particles I should be aiming to filter to prevent leach field damage?
I assume you mean that the tank has to be pumped out too frequently?
In most cases, the lateral pipes in the leach field get totally clogged up, as in PACKED with solid particles. there is only one course of action and that is to hydrojet the lateral pipes to remove ALL of the solidified sludge that fills the pipes.
Please refer to the many videos that I have provided to see how clogged up the pipes get.
So like others I was having issues. After my research, at the time it seemed an aerorator was the answer, ch-ching $1500 later got one installed. A few months later the black sludge from the yard is gone!
Then ~6months after that, ponding over my tank =( It seems the 'silver bullet' wasn't the answer, or I had compunded issues: I do have a single chamber tank, and high clay content soil, hard/well water with salt softner. That seems to be a deadly combination too; and could be why many folks around me have the sprayer style tanks (not sure of the name, it empties off fluid like a sprinkler)
So more research, finally found this place, Try oxy clean to 'clear' the lines, tried that, no help. Try jet washing them, bought a clog hog, seemed they were clear, I did get a little black sludge to come out; but thats all, the hose went it's full distance easily.
So then tried septic seep, it says it breaks up the 'hardpan' of clay soil & salt, and aparently oxy clean breaks down into salt; and that's been my 'homemade' laundy ingrident for years.
Well it's been about another 6 months, no more flooding over the tank, altho it's been more drought than rain in that same period.
BUt now to my question, I still have the ends of my lateral lines dug open, and even after adding septic seep, 2 of the 3 are always holding water, the 3rd only at rainy times.
So should they always be holding water, or should they 'dry' out at normal water usage?
Again nothing backing up to the house; not overflowing the tank?
Bought my first house this year. LOVE IT. Came with a septic system, which was not a deal breaker for me. The previous owners had it pumped two months before we moved in. Within two weeks, there was about two inches of greywater pooling at the site of the septic tank and the washer wouldn't drain. We had it pumped again, and the guy offered to charge us $600 to 'explore'. Pass.
So we dug the hole, found:
homemade concrete tank, approx. 740 gallons. one leach line, looks like 4" PVC pipe. The water is pooling where the leach line meets the tank, it disappears after several hours of not using any water or it not raining. I flushed the toilet, ran outside and watched it trickle out instead of going into the pipe. The sewage is not backing up into the house. There are no wet spots or greener grass anywhere else on the leach field. We plan to repair this ourselves. Here's my series of HELP ME questions:
one of us thinks it's the septic tank itself, that the sides are corroded and it needs to be replaced, which is probably pretty valid, it's getting to be around 20 years old. I have been thinking about it though, and I think the problem may be that there's a leak where the pipe got displaced at the output after he drove over it with his loaded truck and trailer (whoops). It seems like it would be easier to try to fix this problem before replacing the whole thing and digging up a leach field.
What would I use to seal this? Does that even sound like a plausible explanation and fix, or should we just go ahead and replace the septic tank? I know nothing about this but I don't want to rent a mini excavator, dig up my entire yard, and spend a ton of money if it's a simple fix. Obviously, I will if necessary, but I need some third party opinions and not the kind that are profiting from pumping or fixing my septic tank.
Sorry to say this, but a 750 gal tank with only 1 leach line is totally inadequate. You should replace it with a new tank 1500 or more gallons with a minimum of 2 compartments. 3 compartments is best. http://www.deihlprecast.com/html/septic_tanks.html
It should also be installed with risers above the tank and above the D-Box to make it serviceable in the future.
You seem pretty handy so congrats on investigating on your own. What is your household size and how many rooms/bathrooms do you have? You may need to do some investigating with your home inspector or the prior owner about prior disclosures, you may have a valid complaint, esp since it's only been a few months. Check your county records if you can to see what your system looks like. Grizz has lived it and knows his stuff, so be sure to check his links. I had to take a chance and fight with my local septic company and the county for my own septic issues, and it was not fun. Shop around or ask friends for someone you might trust to do an honest eval. It seems unlikely a local municipality would approve a tiny leach field like that in the first place. Good luck to you and trust grizz. -Dave
So here's the whole story in hopes that someone might pickup on a key here or there:
So new house/septic Jul 2008. Didn't do anything but throw some RidX down the toilet semi regularly (monthly unless I forgot). Reading online at different intervals to pump I finally got it pumped out Apr 2014. 4 person house (adults as 2 are teens). Hard well water run thru a salt water softner (does not drain into tank/field). Also soil is very clay.
So about 6 months after pumping I start getting soggy yard & then black sludge in the grass. Do some googeling (unfortunatly did not frind Grizz's huge topic) and determined we needed to convert to areboic system. Ordered & installed an aeroator into my single chamber tank. A few weeks later sludge is gone, no more tank overflowing. YAY! it's fixed....
Until a few months ago, tank is now overflowing with any high usage (laundry day, etc). Lids are just a few inches under dirt, and the bubbling action of the water thru the lids washed away the dirt, and left a pond over the tank. Granted at the same time the area is recieveing record setting rain fall; so I chalk it up to over saturated soil. But it's still happening, and rain is few & far between at this point. So back to the google; and now I find Grizz's awesome write up.
I have been searching for a "D Box" with no luck, 110+ days and cement like soil made it difficult to dig. Bur I finally made progess this weekend, I found the ends of 2 of 3 lateral lines (the 3rd should be easy to locate now). They were not capped, just the holely PVC in gravel, ends open. Bought the clog hog, and started at the tank to the field, nothing came out, ran it 100' up the 150' lateral lines, and had a tiny bit of black sludge come out.
And finally I found where the 2 connected (septic drain line & lateral field), and it's just a 3' T over the lateral PVC lines. But it rinsed out clean, no clogs, no sludge.
I tried adding a box of Oxi Clean to laterl line #1, and added hose water for several minutes, but it just filled up the pipe with standing water. I did see some foaming action going on, but almost a week later the water is still in that pipe, hasn't drained or evaporated yet.
At this time the aerator is not running, but I'm not sure it was the culprit either as the lines seem clear.
I also have been using homemade laundry soap for the last few years, it's basicaly a combo of Borax, Baking Soda, Fels Naptha (soap), Washing Soda (Soda ash?) & Oxi Clean powder.
Now reading that salt & clay don't like each other, the fact we have salt soft water (minamal I'm sure but adds up after years), oxi clean I guess breaks down to salt, salt in all the foods, etc
My conclusion is the clay has 'hard pan"ed into no accepting anymore water.
I'm planning on ordering septic seep to add to the lines to see if it helps.
The T pipe (vs a D box) that I accidenly broke with the shovel
The end of my lateral line (the upright pipe is what I used to feed the oxi clean into the lateral line
If not, is it possible to convert a 1000 tank into the kind that have sprayers, or is that a completly different system/setup? (most of my neighbors have this type, not sure the name of it.)
Since you had installed an Aerator, the obvious answer is that your effluent filter is totally clogged up with sludge that was stirred up by the aerator. Remove your effluent filter from the exit side of your tank and clean it.
The aerator stirs up sludge in your tank and packs this sludge into your effluent filter. If your tank does not have an effluent filter, then you should install one.
I suggest moving your aerator into the D-Box where it will do the most good. An aerator should only be used in tanks designed for aeration. Typically a tank designed for aeration has multiple chambers and only the last chamber is aerated.
Since your lateral pipes are relatively free of packed up sludge as seen in my videos, then your best hope is Hydrogen Peroxide 30% and septic seep poured into your laterals from the D-Box, or from the exit pipe out of your tank. See photos in my on-line document:
I suggest that you buy the Clog Hog direct. They will match the hose directly to your pressure pump, and will provide the correct fittings. Clog Hog also provides a very nice kit for maintaining the hose. Clog Hog also provides expert advice.
Then save your Amazon Discount coupon for other purchases.
Old too soon, smart too late. If we don't use the EXACT correct search words, Google will simply NOT display what we are looking for. After finishing my major project of rejuvenating my septic tank leach field, http://tinyurl.com/Septic-Solutions
I discovered the correct search word to find inexpensive aerators for the septic tank.
Aerators are required to convert a septic tank from Anaerobic to Aerobic operation. The Aerobic septic tank is allegedly far more efficient to digest effluent, and the aerated water breaks up biomats in the septic field to prevent backing up problems.
Excellent aerators can be purchased for $100 or even less.
Learn to measure the sludge level in your septic tank, http://www.aero-stream.com/how-to-measure-septic-tank-sludge-depth/
and you will discover that aerobic septic tanks don't need to be pumped out so often.
Aerobic bubblers can extend the required pumping to 10 years or more, easily paying for themselves. ( My last septic pumping was $265. ) You don't need a special tool - you can simply use a PVC Pipe or a stick wrapped in gauze.
Use this search in Google:
Best prices for air bubblers can be found with this search phrase:
"Fine Bubble Diffuser"
I stumbled into this search term, I never would have figured this out on my own.
The required air pump & hoses are available here: http://www.septicsolutions.com/SepticAirPumps/SepticAirPumps.html
Use a Google search of "Septic Aerators" to find the best prices. IMO, a low air flow pump consuming only 50 to 75 watts is just fine for the average homeowners septic tank. Smaller bubbles are best for aerating the tank.
The problem is that solids get broken down and recirculate around inside the tank instead of falling to the bottom. These tiny solids get forced through your effluent filter and end up as black MUD in the exit pipe going out to your septic field, thus clogging up your septic field to require rejuvenation..
I discussed this problem with my aerator dealer and the technician recalls one customer with this problem, and he fixed it by placing a culvert vertically with the aerator inside to prevent water from circulating around the tank. This forced circulation up & down inside the culvert, yet the oxygen in the water still spread all around the tank.
7/17/13 - Update. The Aerator Pipe failed and so did adding a LOT of aerobic bacteria to the tank. I have abandoned the aerator and gone back to my Anaerobic tank. IMO, it is just not possible to aerate a tank without stirring up the sludge, new solids & scum into Septic Soup that squeezes right through your effluent filter to clog up your septic field.
Reported Aeration Problems
This is not a new problem. Here are more discussions about aerator problems:
The standard septic tank may not be suitable to use an aerator. I was able to find these reported problems that confirmed the problems I had discovered.
1) “Aerobic (that need oxygen) bacteria work much faster than anaerobic. As a retrofit a small plastic chamber is often added to the septic tank near the infeed end. The waste enters this chamber and air is pumped in and bubbled through the waste. The plastic chamber has baffles or holes so the waste can leave but it basically creates a small aerobic chamber separated from the main tank. There is some controversy about the use of a separate chamber but most seem to think it is better than just plopping a bubbler into the septic tank. The chamber prevents currents and stirring from happening which can disturb the muck layer on the bottom of the tank. Just dropping in a bubbler will aerate the tank and encourage aerobic bacteria but just like in an aquarium it stirs things up which could cause solids and unprocessed waste to pass out of the tank.”
Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/wells-sump-pumps-septic-sewage-systems/4467...
4) “Gravity fed septic tank and gravity fed drain field are not designed or recommended for aftermarket aeration systems. Converting gravity fed septic system with an aftermarket aeration system can cause more harm than you are currently experiencing with your gravity fed system. Converting a conventional gravity fed septic system to an aeration system pump can stir up solid waste found in the solid side of the tank forcing undigested sludge into the drain field, making a preexisting bio-mat problem worse further damaging your drain field.” http://www.bio-septic.net/drain-field-restoration/">http://www.bio-septic.net/drain-field-restoration/">http://www.bio-septic.net/drain-field-restoration/
(This is exactly what happened in my tank.)
5) “There are several companies marketing an air pump and diffuser system that will convert the septic tank into an aerobic tank in order to repair the drainfield. These systems typically include an air pump or blower that compresses air and disperses it into the septic tank via a diffuser. The diffuser spreads the air out into the water to provide a good transfer of oxygen and to mix the air into the water. These systems usually include piping to connect the diffuser to the air pump, and possibly a case or cover for the air pump to protect it from the weather.
...they have one large drawback. These systems must aerate the septic tank continuously so that the contents of the tank are mixed and oxygen is transferred completely throughout the tank. These processes are called complete mix aeration systems. The problem with these type of systems is that the mixed contents of the tank (we engineers call this the “mixed liquor”) is full of solids and bacterial biomass. In a normal wastewater treatment plant, this mixed liquor is allowed to settle in a separate tank so the biomass and solids sink to the bottom and the clear water is taken off the top. These septic aeration systems don't have a settling process. When water from the house enters the tank, it displaces an equal volume of the mixed liquor out of the tank and to the drainfield. So the drainfield is receiving aerated water, but the water is full of solids and biomass that will again eventually plug the soil pores in the drainfield.” http://www.saberseptic.com/
They seem cheaper than anything else I have found and have the same one year warranty that the Hiblows have.
I am worried about running into the same issues you've had with stirring up sludge inside the tank. My septic tank does have at least one baffle wall ( I saw this the last time they were pumping. I do not have a proper access port to check it out myself), so I am assuming that as long as my aeration diffuser is not in the last chamber, not too many solids will be stirred up there and therefore shouldn't end up in my drain field.
Have you any way to determine if your metal hvac pipe contraption is really reducing the stir inside the tank?
The answer on my aerator pipe, is YES, it is working perfectly. The scum layer is undisturbed, and the color of the exit water is a perfect light gray, indicating no sludge being circulated. Additionally the effluent filter is clean (not clogged up with sludge). See "Breakthrough on my aeration problem" near the end of my report,
I'll post a message here when my testing of this breakthrough is complete in the next few weeks.
Which side of the tank are planning to put your aerator? Input side out output side? I suggest the input side to digest the max amount of sludge, then the output side will trap whatever is left over, or whatever is stirred up to escape into the output side. I suggest waiting for my breakthrough report.
I plan to open it up a little more fully before I do it (obviously), so I will look and see how many separator walls there are. Either way, I was thinking it would be right before the last wall. In other words, if there are three chambers it'll be in the middle one and if there are two chambers it will be in the first one. Hopefully this will avoid stirring up too many solids in the last chamber
I ordered the 2+ cfm pump from Dr. Foster's ($120) and a disc aerator (made for waste water treatment) from Grainger ($30). All things being equal, I think this will give me a pretty good airflow and pretty good amount of fine bubbles for $150.
I envision creating a baffle similar to yours, but having the whole system mounted in a weighted 5 gallon bucket that I can lower down into the tank.
I'm not sure if pictures can be posted in this forum, but if I can I'll try to show you what I'm talking about.
Yes, that is a good plan. However I have discovered that you need to add a bacteria charge and a growing medium for the new bacteria. The bacteria found in human waste is allegedly not enough to eat up the sludge. I'm using a dozen fluffy paint rollers and this Facultative bacteria charge: http://www.septicrestore.com/
I remain very skeptical of aerating a standard septic tank after my disaster using an aerator in my single chamber tank. As of now, I think your aerator will just send ALL of your sludge into the next chamber and out to your septic field. Keep us informed.
I've been a little skeptical. There doesn't seem to be consistent info available on aerating old tanks. Some people seem to think you just drop in an aerator and you're good to go, then other places warn of the dangers of moving solids into the leach field.
I have only one partition. So Right now my plan is to basically center my contraption in the middle of the inlet side and try to use my eyes and a flashlight to determine if it is causing too much disturbance in the second chamber. Not sure about adding bacteria. Again, no consistent info. Even one of the sites you posted said "all you need" is already in the waste water.
I added a "clean out" on the drain side just to give me something else to look down into to monitor what was going on. Can you think of any sort of a filter I could drop down in there? A filter might get clogged, but it'd be stopping stuff before it clogged the leach lines... and if it clogged too quickly I'd know the aeration was causing the problem. Just a thought.
I'm not sure why it didn't display my last message...
It seems every website has a slightly different take on the things you just mentioned. It's almost as if the "science is still out," only it's not; because some regions mandate septic tank aeration... so it's been going on for awhile.
Even while one website you posted says you need a growing medium, etc, another one you posted said "everything you need is already in the waste-water."
So what's a guy to do? So far it's at least an inexpensive experiment (relative to a $5,000+ new leach field). I'll be out about $300 once it's done (plus $350 for a septic tank pumping, but that needed to be done anyway as it's been over 6 years at the very least).
With everything dug up and open, rainwater over-filled my tank and drain field earlier this week. The whole system surged to about 4 inches above where it should be. It drained the next day. So some drainage is happening and that's good. It means that all of the digging I did to replace the clogged pipe and the gravel I added to better distribute the first 10 feet of water has helped a bit. Nothing drained at all when I started.
I'm also adding a pl-122 filter to the discharge tee ($60). It should stop most solids from getting into the drain field? Right now there is no filter at all, so anything has to be a step in the right direction. I will probably have to clean the filter more often with the churning going on inside the tank.
Anyway, my pump arrives today and I have tomorrow and saturday off of work. So hopefully some work will be getting done. Then, once my filter arrives, I should be up and going in no time at all. I'll try to post again in a few weeks with any new info and an update
I have abandoned the aerator completely. Every attempt to use an aerator in my standard tank has resulted in sludge being sent to my septic field. I've gone back to the standard Anaerobic tank design that had worked well for 18+ years. My testing proves that the only way an aerator will work properly is when used in a tank designed for an aerator.
If you install an effluent filter, it will clog up with sludge stirred up by the aerator, then water pressure will just force the sludge right through the filter into your exit pipe creating a THICK, BLACK SLUDGE going into your leach field, as happened to me.
The whole problem is caused by the aerator stirring up the sludge, new solids and the scum into septic soup that gets thicker every month, until your septic field gets clogged up.
Sludge MUST be allowed to settle to the bottom and scum MUST float to the top. This means no aerator is allowed. Bacteria will not eat up all the sludge. Sorry, but that is the results of my 6 months of testing my own aerator.
My testing has proven this statement to be true:
“There are several companies marketing an air pump and diffuser system that will convert the septic tank into an aerobic tank in order to repair the drainfield. These systems typically include an air pump or blower that compresses air and disperses it into the septic tank via a diffuser. The diffuser spreads the air out into the water to provide a good transfer of oxygen and to mix the air into the water......
“...they have one large drawback. These systems must aerate the septic tank continuously so that the contents of the tank are mixed and oxygen is transferred completely throughout the tank. These processes are called complete mix aeration systems. The problem with these type of systems is that the mixed contents of the tank (we engineers call this the “mixed liquor”) is full of solids and bacterial biomass. In a normal wastewater treatment plant, this mixed liquor is allowed to settle in a separate tank so the biomass and solids sink to the bottom and the clear water is taken off the top. These septic aeration systems don't have a settling process. When water from the house enters the tank, it displaces an equal volume of the mixed liquor out of the tank and to the drainfield. So the drainfield is receiving aerated water, but the water is full of solids and biomass that will again eventually plug the soil pores in the drainfield.” http://www.saberseptic.com/
This "Mixed Liquor" is not solids that can be stopped by your filter. It is gooey sludge particles that clog up & slip right through your effluent filter, and get concentrated by the filter into MUD that exits into your septic field.
My next experiment is to add a 120 gal tank between my septic tank & the D-Box, and aerate that water.
IMO, My testing over the last 6 months confirms there is no way to aerate a standard tank without creating Septic Soup to foul up your septic field. If you figure out how to do this let us know. The goal is to aerate the tank and do this without disturbing the water. If we figure this out, it is a $Billion Dollar idea. Scum must float to the top and sludge must settle to the bottom. This is a critical balance.
One idea that is worth a shot is adding a particle recirculating air hose to your outlet baffle. The outlet baffle is modified to include a flat bottom (5x5) square with only two sides open. The openings are about 1 inch high and 5 inches wide. A smaller air hose is split from the main line to this baffle. The air hose is secured inside the flat plate constantly forcing air and water away from the outlet baffle inlet. This forces all of the bad particles away from the baffle and only allows the clean water through. Along with the added air hose it is best to use the fiber filter vs the plastic one. I found this concept and it is patented under patent number "US 7513995 B2". I would paste the link but cant figure it out.
My septic guy told me to add a wall keeping 2/3 of the tank for the inlet and the other 1/3 for aeration. the baffle between the two compartments would be 1 missing concrete block at about the halfway point in the tank. I don't agree with this because the aerator should be mixing in the inlet area of the tank. The whole point is to break up the solids into smaller pieces as soon as they enter the tank. The 1/3 part of the tank will be nice and settled only discharging grey water.
Very interesting ideas. However I am now focused on one thing, based on my research & problems over the last 6 months. Eliminate ALL water currents in the tank. Any form of bubbles just makes it worse, causing more water circulation, and stirring up more sludge. The Input Baffle is a really bad design. When that blast of toilet water comes through, it is directed straight down into the sludge, stirring it up and sending it out to the outlet baffle. We need a vastly improved input baffle to eliminate ALL water currents. Any ideas?
Here is my newly designed input baffle to minimize stirring up sludge: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HL-0iahk8hPwqclnajsgFnaDEq6JGNMZLaCZ14c2r...
and in my opinion, it won't work. Here is why: The aerator in the septic tanks stirs up the water into recirculating water currents that mix the sludge, the scum & new solids into septic soup. ALL of the water in the tank is equally contaminated with solids. It does no good to send bubbles up the side of the effluent filter because contaminated SOUP will still enter the into the bottom of the effluent filter. I think that if an aerator is used, there MUST be a settling chamber between the aerated tank & your septic field.
I have abandoned using an aerator in my septic tank, and going back to my old Anaerobic tank. But we do have 2 major success stories from all of my misery & suffering:
1) Sodium Percarbonate mixed with water.
Both have worked extremely well to rejuvenate a clogged or slow septic field when added directly to the septic field via the D-Box or the exit pipe of the septic tank. Details here with photos: http://tinyurl.com/Septic-Solutions
Interesting read. I am wanting to try to rejuvenate my field, I was thinking about aerating it at the tank and then have seen problems online like listed above.
Now I am considering actually aerating my field. I've got a clean out between my tank and field (after the filter in the tank of course) and I could drop a hose down there with an blubber. It shouldn't cause any disturbances in the tank, jut hopefully allow for the breakdown of the sludge in my field.
Excellent idea! It will definitely help! You need to drill a 1/4 inch hole in the top of the pipe that exits your tank to provide an exit path for the air pressure from your aerator, or else the air may be forced up into your yard causing a stink.
The air will find its way into the plumbing stack and exit the vent on the roof.
Just wanted to share my experience with my septic system and a note of thanks to Grizz for sharing some knowledge.
My system has been in service for 24 years. I am the original owner as I had it installed when I constructed the house in 1990.
The system has an 800 hundred gallon dual chamber tank split 2/3 black water, 1/3 effluent. There are tees on the inlet and outlet with extensions. The line out to the bed is 65 feet long. The weeping bed itself is a filter media bed with 4 runs of 15 foot long 4 inch diameter PVC weeping pipe spaced 42" apart. It is a mound design mostly chosen because the clayey soil is any where from 3 to 12 inches deep over limestone.
The tank is actually at ground level due to the height of the bed, so accessing the clean out lids is relatively easy
The tank has been pumped every 7 or 8 years with the septic dude saying the sludge was never really more than 30% of the level.
It had been working well until this past February when the pipe from the house to the tank froze solid. It was a cold winter. I went to work thawing out the line using a hose with hot water first from the house side, then the tank side after thawing out the access hatches.
The fun had only just started. There was a 1 inch layer of ice in the black water side. Not too big a deal as water could still flow in. There was a 5 inch layer of ice on the effluent side however and the outlet Tee was encased and blocked. A big issue. I tried the thawing trick but seemed to get stuck at a joint or something about 2 feet from the tank. The septic pumper could not get to the house due to the snow and narrow country lane. I needed a workable temporary solution which was to break a hole in the ice and pump out enough effluent so I could use the system.
Since I live on an acreage well away from neighbors I pumped out about 200 gallons at a time which gave me 10 days or so of relief. The effluent really stunk of sulphides so I was glad it was winter and the windows were closed!
I did a lot of research and came across Grizz's blog and posts and decided to try a few things.
I reduced my water usage by letting the toilet mellow, showered only every 3 days and only did 3 loads of laundry a week. This helped.
I added 1 Lb of yeast and some Sugar to the black water side to try and kick start some bio activity. Probably a waste of money.
I looked at aerating the effluent side and after a few false starts managed to get a bit of success with a low volume fish tank pump and 3 stones. I suspended them from a PVC tube half way in the tank and after 2 weeks the effluent was far less smelly and actually went from black to relatively clear. This also kept the ice from building up on the effluent side which made the pump out easier. I think I only needed to do 5 in total since the water seemed to flow to the bed by mid April.
I have a friend who does septic installs as well as heavy equipment work, so last week we dug up the line to the bed as I had noticed a greener spot in the lawn on the run out to the weeping bed. What we found was very bad and probably in place since the system had been installed. The pipe from the tank was kinked 3 feet away from the outlet on the tank resulting in a 6" drop and rise in the line. There were two 45 degree angles to offset the line so it would run to the septic bed and where the green patch in the lawn was there was a hole in the pipe that the installer had covered with a roofing shingle. Nice. On top of all that, there was almost zero fall to the bed due to all the ups and downs in the line. At the bed entrance T there was a distribution line where we found one of the 4 weeping runs was completely dry due to the fact it was 6 inches higher than the others. It's amazing it even worked at all let alone 24 years.
After having the tank completely pumped out, four of us went to work and replaced the entire line, installed an access riser at the bed entrance, cleaned out all the weeping lines which were clogged with mix of black organic gunk and sand and installed a filter on the outlet T at the tank. I have poured a 20 gallon treatment of 10% hydrogen peroxide solution into the weeping bed to kick start the organics breakdown and will do another treatment in 4 days or so.
The worm population looked healthy but I may try and find some to add to the soil over the bed.
It will also take a while until the water level in the tank reaches the outlet, so I will wait before reinstalling the low volume aeration system to give the solids some settling time.
Worms & septic fields are made for each other. They are used extensively in Australia, England, New Zealand and other areas of the world. Worms by themselves have totally cleared up hopelessly clogged septic fields and worms can prevent fields from clogging in the future. This is called Vermifiltration.
Earthworms can be grouped into 4 main categories:
Epigeic, Epigean - (above the soil surface)
Endogeic (burrowing under the soil) and
Anecic (deep vertical burrows)
Sewage Worms (can live underwater)
We want 3 varieties of worm:
Sewage Worms to eat suspended solids & sludge. Tubifex for the lateral pipes, can survive underwater,
Endogeic Worms to provide horizontal burrows, called Alabama Jumpers to create burrows for drainage & to eat the biomat
Anecic Worms to burrow 6 feet deep, called night crawlers to create drainage burrows & eat surface litter such as cut grass & leaves.
Worm Photos for each type of worm:
New to forum but I'm about to buy a house with a septic system (30 years old)...had inspection and no sign of leaks or previous backup. Recommendation from inspector was to put Copper Sulfate in every few weeks to kill any potential roots (the leech field is in an area of trees). I researched the hell out of septic as I have never owned a home with one. I am VERY curious about this whole "worm" thing and wondered if you have successfully implemented this Spring? Still not sold dumping worms in the tank dirt and all, but I'm curious if buying burrowing worms and spreading across leech field will have any impact? Again, no problems yet, but I want to renew the system before there is! Any updated insight would be appreciated. Thanks!
Will worms survive copper sulfate added so frequently to the field? I don't know. I would strongly advise checking with local authorities before doing it. This stuff can't be removed during the normal process of treating waste water. It could end up back in your drinking water.
Also...putting it in your septic system is just going to kill all the natural organisms and bacteria that have to be there for the septic system to work properly.
Really do your homework on this stuff before you use it. If you go ahead, Copper sulfate should not be added to the tank, but should be added to the tank outlet pipe or to the D-Box. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/cuso4gen.html
IMO, the best investment is to add risers to the tank & to your D-Box to make future maintenance fast & easy. Hydro-jetting the laterals and pumping the tank should be an easy chore as needed. Hydro-jetting the laterals will also blast away roots. Risers above the tank will make it easy to measure sludge levels in the tank so you don't waste money pumping too often.
My septic system does not have a D-Box but instead a flow regulator that per my inspector "changes direction each time you flush" so the only way I could get the CS into the lateral field would be to flush it...I like your idea about the blasting the lines...I don't want to use chemicals if I don't have to!
"a flow regulator that per my inspector "changes direction each time you flush"
I'm sorry to be laughing out loud, but I've never heard of something so ridiculous. I think your source is full of BS! Send me a link on how this "Flow Regulator" works. Demand tat your inspector supply you with links & details about his "Flow Regulator"
All septic systems work pretty much the same way. A septic tank collects all the water from the house, which is sent to the septic field through a pipe & distribution box(es). More complex systems may have pumps involved to pump the septic flow into a mound system.
I have problems with high water level in my septic tank and water not being distributed into my septic field lines that is partly causing a higher water table at the back of my house. The water has yet to back up into the house but it gets iffy when it rains a lot. I have a double chamber 400 gallon tank - too small for 4 people. I have access to my tank and distribution box. Is it best to wait for summer in order to try and treat the field? Should I buy an air filter and place in the distribution box and start adding bacteria to my septic tank. I'm going to install a drain to take excessive runoff from the house away from my back yard. I have had estimates for a rebuild and it would cost me 40,000 to fix. Yep 40,000.
I'm not sure weather to buy composting toilets, and try to do a quick fix by digging a few new lines and wait to see if the old field can restore itself. Where do I begin???? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I think you should take action asap. Pump your tank out (if you haven't already done so ) Make sure you have a tank output baffle to prevent floating scum from getting into your field. Pour Septic Seep or equivalent into your D-Box followed by 30% hydrogen peroxide a few weeks later. Both of these products help to clear the septic field.
YES start adding bacteria to your tank, such as Roebick K-37. I have had good experiences with all of these. See my cliff notes with photos here. http://tinyurl.com/Septic-Solutions
I am sitting on the fence for a bubbler added to the D-Box, as I'm still testing Roebick products. I have also not jetted out the laterals yet. Maybe this summer, I also want a riser added to my D-Box to make access easy.
thanks grizz. I have a filter on my output baffle to field. I had my tank pumped in October and the lines jetted then. quite a bit of crap came out. I had some jelly fish like material in my d box the other day and the oxy septic people sid it was lint from the washing machines.
The water levels in the ground are still high here due to rain. The water level in the septic tank is currently under the baffle output but the field is not draining properly. I heard hydro peroxide treatment should be done on a dryer field? I was wondering if you knew of any products besides hydro peroxide that are equivalent to oxy septic you used? Then how do I determine if there is hardpan in the bed? They don't sell oxy septic here in Canada.
I guess I need to wait until the ground dries out a bit before I can diagnose the condition of my field's soil? Then, I would know if the problem is due to high ground water or biomat. I'm also diverting roof water off one side of my house 30 feet or more. There are 4 people here on a 400 gallon tank. I was thinking of going to composting toilets and possibly diverting washing machine water into my perimeter drain.
Thanks for responding. It gets quite overwhelming as I dont find the professionals very helpful. They are tied up with red tape here and know I cant really afford the fix.. Technically my field is not failing because there isn't a large amount of water seeping above ground . It is squishy wet though. The water does not smell.
so much thanks for your time. I appreciate it.
My septic seep arrived yesterday. I'm thinking about pouring a gallon into the distribution box.
I have a question. The water level is still 3" above the pipes in my distribution box. Should I just go ahead and pour it in?
Poured 2 gallons in the d box yersterday. The water level is amost down to the top of the pipes but not draining fast enough for me I think. I perhaps should have treated with hydrogen peroxide first as now I have septic seep in my dbox. Sure hope it drains out and into the field. Got a 50' snake and did both pipes. A bunch of air came out and now have a bit of counter clockwise movement in the water.
I think I am going to ridgedly conserve water for the next while untill this product makes it's way well into the field. Then I'll apply the mega bio I got from west wind. If that doesnt work I'll call the septic company and get them to flush with hydrogen peroxide. If it's still slow i'll try this product a Toronto Star reporter wrote about called septic cleanse. In the mean time looks like a curtain drain and diversion of grey water will be done. Also bout new HE washers and 3 gallon dual flush toilets.
What else is new in regards to getting all your bills paid off only to have more find you!!! At least I'm warm and have food in the fridge!
Jetting line from septic tank outlet to about 30 ft beyond solved my clog problem. I'm going deeper when spring gets here. I used the 100ft clog hog with 2.5 gpm 3000psi gas driven pressure washer. Added rid x to inlet side of tank to assist with solid breakdown.
IMO, it should be illegal to install septic systems without risers to the tank & to each distribution box to make it easy to service.
Anytime the septic field clogs up, hydro jetting the laterals is usually VERY successful. Be sure that you have an effluent filter installed in the exit pipe from your septic tank to minimize total suspended solids getting into your drain field.
Okay I just ordered 4 gallons of septic shock and 1 lb of Mega bio. 279.00 plus 59 shipping. Thankfully, they ship to canada. I'm going to do the shock treatment they prescribe once the field dries out a bit. In the meantime I'm going to find something to treat the tank and put lint filters on the washing machines using pantyhose.
One thing that may help in the future is doing what my parents started doing years ago… No paper products are flushed. It may sound gross, but it has not required service for a long time and still passes county inspection.
My wife uses up an AMAZING amount of toilet paper to dry her Bush after urinating. I told her to put that toilet paper into the trash. She uses at least a roll each week for that alone. There are a lot of people using wash cloths instead of toilet paper, and then they get cleaned in the washing machine.
All kinds of things can be done to reduce water usage.
I also installed a lint filter on the washing machine.
We also do not flush if it is yellow.
"Yellow is Mellow. If It's Brown, then flush it down."
This rule alone saves 80+ gallons a day. Some people compost all of their urine. Do you have a garden?
I have a garden I'm thinking of sending the grey water from the washing machines to. I'm going to buy a few front loading washers soon. I'm looking at hooking up a simple grey water system to the garden.
You may also want to think about reducing the amount of water your putting into your septic system. For me, the biggest contributor was the washing machine. We ended up buying a new front loading washer. It uses, I'm guessing, 80% less water to run. It's amazing how much water it DOESN'T use. I also installed a dual flush kit on our 3 toilets. They have been working great and are saving a decent amount of water. You can also save water with low flow faucets and shower heads.
That is exactly the one I used on all three except that they have a handle instead of the push button. My research showed that the handle was easier to operate. We're are going on 5 months now without any issues with any of them.
I'm new here and I've read the threads on aeration stirring up solids that cause problems in the leach field. I have a two chamber septic box but I'm still concerned. I don't believe my system uses a D-BOX, but rather jumper lines that join them. So my idea is to add an extra tank just down stream from the septic tank. Since this fluid is already headed for the field, I will not concern myself with worrying about stirring up solids, rather focus on making it boil with fresh air. I found a 200 gal. plastic tank that I'm considering. I welcome opinions.
I've uncovered my leach line ends, and ran a snake down one. The other three are just submerged. I've ordered a clog hog to clean them out. While I'm waiting for drier weather, I'm considering getting a little air compressor and bleeding a stream of air into the lines. I'll attach a hose or tube to the end of the snake, push it into the leach line. Then I'll start feeding air real slow and stand clear of the open end of the pipe. I'm hoping it will percolate the line and start killing the bio-mat. Makes me think if I ever put new lines in it might be cool to install a small perforated line on the bottom of the trench, for the purpose of aerating the leach field.
This is my second response to your post. The first is gone. I knew their basic location, because you can see them when the grass dies in the summer. I used a probe (3/8" pointed rod with a T-handle). The lines are about 2' deep. The probe goes through the dirt fairly easy this time of year, but stops when it comes to the rock. So it's not difficult if the soil's not too hard.
Thanks for the compliment, although my ideas are not all original. I went back and read more and discovered the post where you did indeed make the suggestion of the extra tank for aeration. I'll let you know how the compressor does. With the ends visible, three of the lines are just submerged. My plan now is to shop and order an aeration pump that will work in the added tank. Then while I wait for better weather to install the tank, I'll continue snaking the other lines and use the pump to aerate the leach lines full time while they're submerged. I also intend to put clean outs on the ends.
While waiting for the clog hog, ran a 3/8" hose taped near the end of a snake up one of the lines. This line is near full of fluid , but I believe mostly clear of solids as it snaked easily. At first I turned the compressor on slow as I could and sent it in and back out. That stirred up black very fine material. Then I ran it about half way in and blocked the end with a piece of bubble wrap to seal the end and force the air through the leach holes. Unfortunately I only have the one side of this line exposed and couldn't witness the activity on both ends. But that may help force air into the leach holes. When I turn the compressor on the fluid rises 1/2" as the fluid is forced out and then bubbles pretty vigorously. I think it will be beneficial, but it's a little loud and it can't be run continuously. So I'm still planning on buying an aeration pump that will be used for the added aeration tank and using that pump to aerate the leach lines. That way I can run the pump continuously without pissing the neighbors off.
It's still raining off and on and I don't know how far the lines will drain. So far the fluid has only gone below the top of one and the fluid level recedes slowly. After cleaning I foresee needing Septic Seep. Are there any downsides to using this product?
Grizz, when you jet clean your lines, are you going to pump that fluid out?
Septic Solutions has a fine selection of pumps. I suggest using an airstone bubbler. Other bubblers I've seen take so much pressure that they will run up your electric bill & wear out the pump
prematurely. IMO, if you can't blow through the bubbler with your mouth, it is not suitable.
It looks like I will be forced into Jetting out the laterals and adding riser to my D Box. I'll put my aerator back in service into the D Box at that time. Chemicals are no longer working for my leach field.
Thanks for the suggestions Grizz. When you jet your lines, are you going to pump them out at the same time?
You also mentioned chemicals not working anymore. Have you discovered a problem with Septic Seep, or the active ingredients in it? I'm thinking if aerating the leach lines doesn't improve drainage, that may be my next step.
Thanks again for sharing your experience with this stuff.
I have to hire the septic plumber to dig up the D Box and install the riser. Then he will blast out the laterals with his high pressure hose and his truck will suck out the water & sludge just like he was draining the septic tank. His high pressure pump is far more powerful than mine. When he is done, I can do it myself with my own pressure pump and my Clog Hog the next time. The plumber will then dump a 50 gallon barrel of hydrogen peroxide into the D-Box.
I am still pouring Lime-Sulfur (septic seep) into the D-Box. This is going very slow, because the field is so clogged up. My fingers are crossed in hopes this works one more time.
Sorry to hear you had to hire a plumber to help you with your leach field rejuvination. I'm at the point where my field is clogged again. Fortunately for me the overflo is sitting on top of the hastily filled hole for the d-box in my woods from last November (ground almost totally frozen) and is not backing up in the house.
My septic guy is coming on Tuesday. My Clog Hog arrived today. I have a 2700psi pressure washer. My septic guy will hang with me and pump out the water from the Dbox while I jet the lines.
I searched all the threads for hydrogen peroxide. Do I really need to put in 50 gallons? That seems like it's going to cost $600-$700. I realize it's small change compared to replacing the field. I've also read I should put in Septic Seep before the H2O2? and....Should I let the field dry out first before I add anything. My tank will take 4-5 days to fill up.
When I looked at your Tinyurl site to check for any updates I was glad to see your field was draining normally. I'm really curious about the worms. I may try those once I get my field working again God willing. As always, your replies and the time you take the write them are much appreciated.
I would hold off on the chemicals until you jet out your laterals. The clumpy junk that came out of my lateral was unbelievable. Also the youtube videos on hydro=jetting will give us an idea of what is down there.
I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to find. When I had the tank and Dbox pumped last year all kinds of black water backwashed out of the laterals. After applying my one and only application of sodium percarbonate the field drained normally until this winter. Based on your manifesto I know I should not keep reapplying the sodium percarbonate. How much did your plumber charge you for that 50 gallons of hydrogent peroxide?
Oh...ok...Just to be clear, I want to do this right the first time. Were the buckets 4 gallons each or one gallon each? And...did you install the 10 gallons all at once or split it up with time in between? I was thinking of running a hose down my distribution lines and using a funnel to insure it gets all the way down but if I use 10 gallons right into the Dbox it should disperse evenly I would think...Thoughts?
Yes, I will be pumping out the fluid from the laterals. I'm trying to find a local plumber to jet my laterals and take away the waste water. No luck so far, so I may end up doing this chore myself. The septic plumbers seem to be more interested in pumping tanks & selling new leach fields.
I'm not aware of any downsides to using Septic Seep. If I discover anything, I will document it for everyone.
This time around, the septic seep equivalent is no longer working as it did earlier in the year. Nothing works as it did. I think my laterals are sequential since my field is on a slope.
What the hell is “Sequential Distribution?” Here is what I found. There is sequential distribution, Serial Distribution and Equal Distribution. Equal distribution is the “D Box.” All are described here in this PDF File, Pg 3. http://www.werf.org/c/DecentralizedCost/D1_Gravity_Distribut.aspx
After looking at the plans again I realize I have 5 lines instead of 3. Oops. I've snaked the bottom 3, and clog-hogged, then hydrogen peroxided 2 of them. They weren't too bad and the clog-hog doesn't use much water. I've dug below the lines on the ends(with a little rock in the bottom for now) so I can add a clean-out with a downward extension. While jetting the lines I pumped the fluid into a water trough and then pumped it back into the first chamber of the septic tank. Luckily not much came out, mostly sludge from the bottom of the pipe. I'm going to get the tank pumped when I'm finished. When I added the hydrogen peroxide, I used the pump to circulate it. Since I've got a 2 chamber tank I'm going to give aeration a try. I bought an aeration pump and and have been running it in the small pits at the end of the lines. I also have a little fountain pump to circulate the line being aerated. My bubbler, for this purpose, is just a garden hose with a bunch of holes drilled into it, and the end plugged and buried under the rock. Aeration really works. I'm planning on adding a second air pump to bubble the clean-outs on one side and a small pump ( maybe the one I have if it's powerful enough) that will circulate fluid from the bottom line up to the top line. That's a picture of the clean-out I'm going to put at the ends of the leach lines. You can view it with a description in the image folders. I had to put it there first and then move it here.
I just removed the aerator from our dual chamber septic tank. It was in less than 6 mos. I noticed flow was slowing after a few mos. so I cleaned the filter and took a sample at the turning structure. It was clear. The last check revealed some solids made it past the tank filter and down to the filter I had installed just before the field. I wish the filter in the tank was more successful, but I don't feel like cleaning filters every couple of mos. For now the tank will go back anaerobic and I'll continue to aerate the leach line clean outs. I may add a 300 gal. tank just beyond the septic tank for aeration like I mentioned before.
That was my initial response after reading your experience. But after installing aerators to the leach lines and turning structure and having the ability to monitor it all, I figured I didn't have much to lose. Anyway another confirmatory data point for your side. I still wish the filter had worked. Are you familiar with this style, and do you think it could have performed better? http://www.septicsolutions.com/SepticTankFilters/EffluentFilters.html#925
The problem with aerating a tank is that sludge is stirred up from the bottom creating a Septic Soup. This sludge is not what we think it is. It is composed of zillions of microscopic particles that get suspended in the soup, called TSS (Total Suspended Solids). They flow right through your filter under water pressure, and then clog up the filter. These solids take a long time to settle back to the bottom of the tank, like several weeks. These solids are like smoke in the wind. No matter what kind of filter you have, TSS will slip right through.
The only thing we can do is to make sure that there are NO water currents in the tank. I turned my input baffle "T" around to supply the blast of toilet water horizontally across the top of the tank, where it used to point down vertically, and send the blast of water down to stir up the sludge.
If you are going to add another tank to the output of your original tank, I would choose a dual chamber tank and aerate the input chamber and let the output chamber be used for settling the remaining TSS. See this diagram for how TSS settles out into sludge. http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/T0388E/t0388e10.gif
My latest thinking is that worms in the septic field are godly to keep the field healthy. Worms thrive on TSS. They are used extensively in Austraila & New Zealand. See my latest research on worms: http://tinyurl.com/Septic-Solutions
These solids are like smoke in the wind. No matter what kind of filter you have, TSS will slip right through.
Maybe since the first sample was only a few months after the tank had been pumped explains the clean sample. Even though the tank was murky with visible solids the sample was clear and remained so for weeks. If I add a 300 gal. tank for aeration only I was thinking of a light weight single chamber tank that I could install myself. http://www.plastic-mart.com/product/1032/300-gallon-plastic-septic-pump-tank-41319 A bigger dual chamber tank would be better, but I've got limited room and at 125 lbs. I can handle this one myself, with a small excavator. After the tank settles down I'll see if the effluent clears back up. The aeration I'm already doing in the cleanouts (http://curezone.com/upload/_S_Forums/Septic/clean_out.jpg) may be adequate to keep the leach field happy. In the summer three of the five lines were completely dry. Even before I added air to the tank, odor was only a problem where air was first being introduced. The cleanout at the other end of the first line was anaerobic odor free as were all subsequent cleanouts. I am disappointed the aeration in the tank did not work because having the air introduced as early as possible was helpful at speeding up the breakdown of the waste, and reducing odors. Before I aerated the tank, air was first introduced at a turning structure (http://curezone.org/ig/i.asp?i=71768) just before the first leach line. If that lid and the tank lids were not secured tight there were odors. Soon after I added air to the tank odor was not an issue. It would be nice if someone could figure out a way to do it.
I have been considering ways to take aerated effluent from an added aeration tank and reintroducing it to the septic tank at a continuous slow controlled rate so's not to create TSS. My latest thought is I could place an upside down funnel with a hose attached and positioned over my aggressive aerator, in the aeration tank. I think it would generate enough pressure to create flow. I could then add a simple irrigation valve to control the flow. I could try trickling this aerated effluent back onto the filter in the septic tank ( like back flushing ) and/or reintroduce it into the first chamber. Either way I think it could be controlled and reintroduced in a way that won't cause TSS. I'm excited about this idea because it would run passively off the energy supplied by the aeration pump.
Interesting idea.If you sent the flow through a long PVC pipe with hundreds of holes laying across the surface of the tank, then the flow might be slow enough to not stir up the silt laying on the bottom. However any idea that works is a good idea. Let us know what works for you. You are doing some valuable research!