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Thread: Jetting Leech Field

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    Default Jetting Leech Field

    How do you know if you are making a difference?

    My brother needs his dug up and pumped. He just bought the house and it is full. His son started to dig it up as I was running the machine in case it wasn't stopped up. I pulled his toilet and started running the tub while I ran the machine. The water started going somewhere as I ran through the drain. They start yelling that water is rising up into the hole. At this point I think it is obvious that it needs to be pumped but what we will find, I have no idea. It has probably never been pumped and the house was built in '57. Any help is appreciated.
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    Which state is it located?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
    Which state is it located?
    North Carolina
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    Well.....if it was installed in 1957 and has never been pumped, you could be in for anything. There wasn't a universal code for septic installations and/or enforcement. Could have even been put in by someone guessing they were doing it right.

    In these years for that area, tanks are found to be uniformly made of concrete and also hand built in the ground out of bricks and cinder blocks. WATCH OUT getting on top of it or digging it out. Someone could be going for a swim!

    They can be in "ok" condition and can be showing signs of deterioration. If it has been this many years since any kind of servicing of the tank, they will probably encounter a high amount of solids. The tank may or may NOT have a baffle internally. Many did not relying on the outlet T-pipe to block solids from entering the line/leechfield.

    Dig it up, pump it, give it a visual-common sense inspection. Make sure both sides of the tank are pumped if it has a baffle. Good idea to open both ends up anyway to inspect the inlet and outlet pipes. The inlet often will have deterioration and/or crustaceous buildup on it that could cause blockages. The outlet T-pipe will often be gone i.e. fallen off into the tank and will have to be replaced.

    Lines or leechfield are often terra-cotta bedded in gravel. They can also be bedded in coal cinders these years. There also may not be enough line installed. People use more water now even with low flow fixtures.

    The lines condition is just as important. Their condition? Who knows?! Again, many factors. The soil, the amount of trees & bushes (roots). You could try to camera, but I wouldn't advise it. Way to many places to get hung up. It's not like looking in sewer lines.

    When they have the tank open and are pumping it, you can take a hose and shoot it into the outlet lines to see if they are taking water. It's a rudimentary way of checking we do, but can give you some decent input as to performance.

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    Gettinit (01-02-2013)

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    P.S. As far as jetting and knowing if you are doing any good. For these years and system, there probably is no way to tell. Other parts of the U.S. appear to be more "jet friendly" towards rehabilitating and breaking down bio-mat in lines.

    Good luck.

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    Great info, thanks. I have only seen one old tank. Its been a while and I don't even think it was square....been awhile. I am afraid this thing is gonna fall in when we start digging it up.

    Is jetting to field worth it and how would I know if I am getting anywhere with it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
    P.S. As far as jetting and knowing if you are doing any good. For these years and system, there probably is no way to tell. Other parts of the U.S. appear to be more "jet friendly" towards rehabilitating and breaking down bio-mat in lines.

    Good luck.
    Didn't see this before my post, thanks.
    AllurePlumbing.com


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    JCsPlumbing (01-02-2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gettinit View Post
    Great info, thanks. I have only seen one old tank. Its been a while and I don't even think it was square....been awhile. I am afraid this thing is gonna fall in when we start digging it up.

    Is jetting to field worth it and how would I know if I am getting anywhere with it?
    It COULD fall in. Some more common tanks are not square. One type is concrete and hexagonal in shape.

    If it was sitting in your driveway and you were looking at the end it has the shape of a stop sign. Flat lids on top long ways.

    Another type is more square but has kind of rounded corners on the end lids. Four or five lids on top and can be pretty heavy.

    Very common and actually the norm to not have any kind of handle for removal.

    See above for jetting. There are often so many dips, turns, offsets, & breaks in these old systems that I don't think you can improve them by jetting and also won't know much of your progress. I've heard and seen other areas of the U.S. where it is done. Often different pipe, straighter runs, and less overall damage where some success is had and maybe gives the impression that it can be done everywhere. I personally don't buy it.

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    Gettinit (01-02-2013)

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    any idea on the type of leech field? is it a drywell type deal, or a "finger" style leech?

    If it hasn't been pumped, get it pumped. While they're pumping it, have them listen to see if you get water backfeeding from the leech. If so, you've probably got a blockage out there.

    I've seen tanks w/ so much solids in them that they built up from the bottom of the tank, all the way up and blocked the T baffle on the back side of the tank, effectively blocking things from leaving the tank and causing it to back up.

    Pump 1st, assess from there.
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    Redwood (01-03-2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gettinit View Post
    Great info, thanks. I have only seen one old tank. Its been a while and I don't even think it was square....been awhile. I am afraid this thing is gonna fall in when we start digging it up.

    Is jetting to field worth it and how would I know if I am getting anywhere with it?
    After it is pumped run the garden hose to the leech field and time how long till the water starts backing up, if it backs up real fast then you have a benchmark to go against, run the jetter out the pipe or pipes slowly to try to push biomat away from the pipes, water will back up while jetting but when done will drain out. If it was really bad you will see an improvement right away. Or you can wait let it drain down then do the garden hose test to see how much improvement you have made. Blasting biomat and roots usually shows improvement but how long lasting is up for grabs.
    Seattle Drain Service
    Bryce Kennedy
    Sewer and Drain Contractor
    Http://www.seattledrainservice.com

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