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Thread: Bad Drainfield...

  1. #1
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    Default Bad Drainfield...

    I got called by a customer who wanted me to figure out why the poo was coming up in his drainfield. Juan and I discovered black water surfacing and dug up the drop box it was coming from. The box was PACKED FULL OF SLUDGE, forcing any new effluent to the surface. As we investigated further we found another box down stream from this one, which turns out to be the last line in the system. This box has a tiny bit of sludge in the bottom of it but looks pretty decent. We get enough of the sludge out of the previous box to allow it to flow into the last line. Amazingly as we dug to the bottom of the plugged up box, that line started taking effluent as well. We continue our fact finding mission up stream and find four more boxes and each one of them was full of effluent but not too much sludge like the first one we uncovered.

    This house is huge, it has 6 bathrooms and there are 8 people living in it. We checked the septic tank (1500 gallons) and found it grossly neglected, so we pumped it. We broke out the jetter and started jetting the drainfield lines only to discover that they are Infiltrator. In some of the lines the poo was thick enough that the jetter would pull itself out a little ways but I couldn't get anywhere near the ends of the lines. We tried all of them. What we did do is pump about 500 gallons of effluent and crap from the drainfield. We also jetted between each of the boxes.

    I left the lids exposed and will drop by next week to see what is happening with the system. I don't have allot of confidence that it will work for much longer.

    The kicker to all of this, the house and septic system are only 7 years old! This was the first time the tank had been pumped.
    Clinkscales Portable Toilets
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trent2 View Post
    The kicker to all of this, the house and septic system are only 7 years old! This was the first time the tank had been pumped.
    Pay you sooner or, later...

    That's for sure...

    The trouble is they pay a lot more later....
    "99% of Being Smart...
    Is Knowing What You're Dumb At"


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    I really think he will have a new drainfield sooner than later. If it was pipe and stone, I'd have felt more confident about recovering it. If he does, I'm going to recomend a second tank in series to let the effluent settle out one more time before it hits the new drainfield. Obviously they use a ton of water and the tank just won't settle out.
    Clinkscales Portable Toilets
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    My father-in-law has a 20+ septic tank and has never done a thing to it. It just blows my mind to think what it looks like and what could be going on down there.
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    I had a customer recently where a couple with a large home (no kids) made it 19 years...
    They didn't make it to 20.....

    Kind of dumb considering the cost of a cleaning compared to a new field installation....

    Maybe it's time for a talk with your father in law....
    "99% of Being Smart...
    Is Knowing What You're Dumb At"


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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    I had a customer recently where a couple with a large home (no kids) made it 19 years...
    They didn't make it to 20.....

    Kind of dumb considering the cost of a cleaning compared to a new field installation....

    Maybe it's time for a talk with your father in law....
    What do you tell a man that thinks its ok since he has never had a problem. I have tried before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gettinit View Post
    What do you tell a man that thinks its ok since he has never had a problem. I have tried before.
    Tell him Kendall said to quit changing the oil in his car. No point in it if it never knocks or ceases up.
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    Its every 3-5 years on the pumping right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gettinit View Post
    Its every 3-5 years on the pumping right?
    It really depends on the size of the tank and the number of users in the home.
    3-5 years is a good ballpark number and the cleaner can advise on the frequency of future cleaning requirements.

    You can basically figure on a given amount of sludge that is not digested by bacteria per year, per user accumulating in the tank and what the size of the tank will handle for the cleaning frequency. Additional loads such as garbage disposals have to be computed as well. If you know the size of the tank and loading Kendall could give you a cleaning frequency ballpark. I had some numbers Connecticut published but was told they were out to lunch once so I'll shut my mouth and leave that to the experts....
    "99% of Being Smart...
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    Assuming (yeah, I know) that the tank is 1000 gallons and there are two users, three years would be a little too soon probably. 5 to 7 years would be more likely the right numbers.

    The best bet would be to pump the tank, have a riser installed, then check the tank with a sludge judge in 3 years to see what's happening. You can't go by the scum mat alone. We pumped a tank on Friday that had no scum mat, but the sludge was 2 feet deep in the bottom of the tank. It hadn't been pumped since installation 17 years ago.
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