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Thread: Drain Field Help

  1. #1
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    Default Drain Field Help

    Got a customer I was doing Plumbing repairs for that has a issue with the septic. Best I can tell from the inspection report is that the drain field leaves the tank and goes approx 38', then it starts to run off in different laterals. Has 10 laterals total all ranging about 70' in length on the south side of the drain and a few laterals on the north side that are about 30' in length. There is water standing on the ground right at where the laterals began to branch off. Why would there be water showing on the ground there? I circled the area the water is showing up with blue. I need to get me a pump truck so I can start pumping these tanks, but I haven't gotten into septic much yet as I'm not licensed to work on them. Is there a way to clean these lines or is the best solution to dig it up and replace? I was wondering if there was a blockage on the main drain, causing the water to come to the surface?

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    Will Rogers Plumbing
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  2. #2
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    I'd expect a blockage and broken line at that location.
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    Is this a pipe and rock system or chambers or EZ-Flow?
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    I'd think it would be just plain pipe and gravel, but I'm not 100% sure on that. If it was a blockage, which I do believe it has, would it cause the sewage to show on the surface where I circled with the blue? Would a break even do that? Wouldn't it just dissipates into the ground?
    Will Rogers Plumbing
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    "We Unclog Drains That Others Can't"

    www.willrogersplumbing.com
    http://willrogersplumbing.com/?page_id=8

    "Oklahoma's Favorite Plumbers!"



  5. #5
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    If most of the perf pipe in the drainfield is plugged you sometimes see a little bit surfacing at the head of the drainfield. Take a probe of some kind and probe in the rest of the drainfield. You should be able to feel the drain rock then check the end of the probe. If the probe comes out dry or even slightly damp you know the effluent is not getting out of the pipe very well. If the system is saturated your probe should be dripping and you might even see water come out the hole your probe made in the ground. If the pipes are more than 1/3 full of sludge the water can't get out the holes in the bottom of the pipe and they will need to be jetted.
    Septo-Bismol... For quick relief of all your septic symptoms!

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    How is the effluent distributed into the trenches? Is there a drop box or just a tee at the head of each lateral, or is there a big distribution box with that many outlets, with a line running to each lateral separately? How much slope is on the property? I'm thinking a sludge blockage caused by not pumping often enough, but if there are drop or distribution boxes maybe the soil settled and the inlet pipe broke, or maybe it somehow pulled out of the inlet seal (???ground settling???).

    If the system is a drop box system, you should never see any effluent on the ground until the system fails completely, at which point the effluent will most likely surface over the last and lowest lateral in the series.

    A shovel or mini excavator will tell the story, and a pumper might be required as well if your excavations fill with sewage. Or, you could simply jet from the outlet of the septic tank if it's actually a straight run all the way to the end like the drawing shows. Work it in sections, go in a ways, pull it back to bring the sludge back, then go further, always coming all the way back to the tank to drag the sludge out of the line. If you just jet down through it as fast as you can, all you'll do is dilute it to the point it can flow out to the field, which you don't want to do. The idea is to remove it before it can clog the field further. If you dig down and cut in and the lines are sitting a third to half full of sludge, sell him a jet job. You will get some time into this one if you want to do it right, because you'll have to dig up each and every lateral connection, cut in an access, jet out the lines, repair your access point, and move to the next line. Work with a vac truck so he can remove the sludge as you jet it out. Cha-ching, cha-ching! $$$$$$
    Kendall
    www.westseptic.com

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    The tank will be pumped on Wednesday. I had to refer a pumper as I don't do pumping(yet, I want to, just don't have the money yet to get a pump truck). I told the home owner I can jet the line, just can't get into the laterals with out digging it up. I figured it would be a project if I was to clean the whole system, might even be cheaper to replace the drain field.....I realy need to learn more about septic systems....
    Will Rogers Plumbing
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    "We Unclog Drains That Others Can't"

    www.willrogersplumbing.com
    http://willrogersplumbing.com/?page_id=8

    "Oklahoma's Favorite Plumbers!"



  10. #8
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    Replacing a drainfield is not always as easy as it sounds. Setbacks, site conditions, soil conditions, etc, can really limit the ability to replace one. Then you have used up the replacement area. What happens when that one fails? In my opinion it's always better to try to save the existing system. Convincing the customer is another story.

    How'd it turn out?
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    Will (04-26-2012)

  12. #9
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    How do you go about saving them? Assuming using a jetter would be the only option? The tank got pumped out yesterday, I still have to get back out there to camera the line and see how I'm going to go aout making the repair.
    Will Rogers Plumbing
    Moore, Oklahoma
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    405) 323-2852

    "We Unclog Drains That Others Can't"

    www.willrogersplumbing.com
    http://willrogersplumbing.com/?page_id=8

    "Oklahoma's Favorite Plumbers!"



  13. #10
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    You can save a bunch of them just by jetting all the sludge out of it. You can also use Aftershock from Cape Cod Bio Chemical.
    Clinkscales Portable Toilets
    & Septic Service

    http://www.ClinkscalesSeptic.com
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