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Thread: Switching Drain Fields Question Soggy new one vs reusing old one

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member astronomer25's Avatar
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    Default Switching Drain Fields Question Soggy new one vs reusing old one

    When I moved into my house the septic inspector said that the drainfield had failed and recommended a new one. His company did the job and put a new drain field next to my old one and charged the sellers 10k or 12k in 2003. I am guessing the new drain field is failing now (soggy and notice a 10 inch wide 10 inch deep water spot at the end of the drainfield which drained yesterday to for at least 10 hours (about a cup a minute) once I cut a trench to see if the water was standing or keep coming out. Appears that hundreds of gallons have leaked out. I made the little trench from the wetspot out to lower area of the yard and it drained from before work and was still draining at 9pm when I got home last night. We havent had rain except once about 5 days ago but we got 5 inches 1 weeks ago and had severlal days of rain a few weeks ago.

    Can I switch back to my old drainfield maybe get it roto-rootered? I would say my soil is clay type, but I don't know the perc values. Do companies usually dismantle the old drainfield or just disconnect it. I was wondering if I could switch back between drain fields every 2 - 3 years until I save enough to hook up to city sewer which was put in our neighborhood 2 years ago.

    The new drainfield gets tons of water over it because it is in the lowest lying area of my yard. the old drain field was in the highest area of the back yard. we get terrible water runoffs because I am lower than my neighbors and they cut down their trees two years ago.

    The backyard has always been slightly soggy after it rains due to the runoff and lots of leaves and shade. When I walk on the drain field now in most spots it looks most after I have stepped and I can feel the ground move under my boots.

    I am not sure my next steps I was thinking
    1) get the tank pumped
    2) maybe get the drain lines roto rootered and or hydrojetted? (what would that cost est)?
    3) or see about switching to my old drainfield.

    Is there anything I can do to examine my old drainfield?


    I am getting my tank pumped today or tomorrow (has been three years), we have two people who live in a three bedroom house.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    For a drainfield to work the water has to be able to flow out of it into the ground and be absorbed by the ground. The perc test checks the ground to determine its feasibility. IF the ground is soaked, then there is no way the water can drain OUT of the pipe, and even worse, the water in the ground WILL ENTER the pipe and may flood the septic tank and possibly your house drainage piping depending on relative elevations. If the old system really failed, and he was not just trying to make some money by installing a new field, then it will not work now either. I question the wisdom of putting a field in an area which would obviously be flooded, and wonder how he ever got a permit to put it there, unless he did the test during a dry spell, and no one checked the terrain.

  3. #3
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    My first thought is was there a permit taken out when the new system was put in? Most towns will not allow you to replace a failed septic system if city sewer is available. My felling is they should have used the 10K to 12K to hook up to the city.

    John

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    DIY Junior Member astronomer25's Avatar
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    City sewer was not available in 2004 when the replacement drainfield was put in when we bought the house. City sewer came through in 2007. A permit was taken out and they demolished the back yard then through hay over it. To determine if the drainfield failed, the septic guy put a garden hose and ran water over the t pipe or whatever it is called going towards the distribution box. He also ran the showers and sinks. After a while, he opened up the distribution box and saw it was flooded so he said the owners needed a new drainfield before we bought the house. He said there was no need to test further and the owners were not there for the test but I was. He figured that roots got into the old drainfield and caused it to fail.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member astronomer25's Avatar
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    in 2004 it was a long dry spell, we got hurricanes a lot of them in 04 and 05 in recently the neighbors on the other side of the street dropped there trees and runoff is a problem as the road is above the roof of my house (1/3 acre lot, house is on the back 1/2 of the lot). The septic system is out back and the drainfields run down towards an easement and ditch between the two backyard houses which are lower than mine.

    I am just trying to get a little fix while I save for hooking into city sewer which would cost a lot in Tallahassee.

    So roto rooting the drainfield to see if there are roots wouldnt work?
    Would hydrojetting work?

    How many gallons of water can actually flow out from that drainfield pipe? It looks like hundreds must have leaked out and we haven't done any laundry yet.

  6. #6
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    what size tank do you have....A field that new should never have failed that fast...call the installing company and see what they have to say...
    Last edited by Cass; 01-28-2010 at 07:22 AM.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member TJanak's Avatar
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    I've seen guys put duct tape over the end of field lines instead of a cap when installed. If the water is coming up in one spot you may dig down and see what you find.

  8. #8
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Sounds like a lot of stupidity to me. No inspector would allow a system in a "hole". Would have been easier and better to replace the old drain field, expand it too.

    And you do not allow home "inspectors" to be the beneficiary of a bad report. You get more opinions.

    Most fields will flood with all the taps and a garden hose open. Bet he makes a fortune with that game.

    This is not a hotel. Leach fields get influxes of effluent that CAN rise to the level of the D box, during a Xmas party. But the field takes it up slowly. A hose in the tank and taps running is not a test, its a SCAM.

    Go back to the old field that was most likely fine. I'd guess the old owners got robbed.

    Get an HONEST septic guy and add a D box to use the new field as back up, especially easy if the new field is lower.

    Also CHECK the old D boxes, they are the main culprit in failure when they get out of level and are set by dopes, as many are.

    http://www.septicdesign.com/septic-l...tribution-box/

    http://www.septicdesign.com/forums/s...tion=printpage
    Last edited by ballvalve; 12-07-2010 at 01:23 AM.

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