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Thread: Septic Tank Drain Line Failure

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Brando913's Avatar
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    Default Septic Tank Drain Line Failure

    I have a 1000 gal septic tank thats about 10 years old. I have it pumped about every 3 years. I picked up a drawing and plat map from the county which shows its a 150' single chamber drain line.
    Problem: This past year its backed up a number of times, makes gurgling sounds, and I've had to pump it twice in the past 6 months. There havent been any obvious reasons for the drain failure other than maybe more water usage than previously. With teenage kids, the washing machine and/or showers seems to run constantly.
    I dont have any soft spots in the yard near the drain field or anywhere along where the drain line runs.

    Septic Co says I need to add another 50' to the chamber. They didnt scope the line or anything...just said to add on to fix the problem. Is there a way to trouble shoot this to get a better idea of the cause?
    Ive read about Biomat...Is this a possible issue? Are the commercial shock products (NT-Max, Biosafe-One, etc.) effective at all?
    Any ideas on how to definitely trouble shoot the problem?

    If the line has failed due to putting too much water thru it this past year or from solids blocking it, what is the best course of action to fix this? Are there any fixes short of replacing drain field or adding to it?

    Any knowledgeable suggestions or information would really be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Homeowner
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    Limit your water use. Change all the showerheads to low flow and see about installing a field line just for the washing machine. If you have any leaky faucets or toilets they must be repaired.

    I had a few customers that added a field line just for their washing machine and their troubles are over. Try letting the system dry out some by not washing clothes at home for a couple weeks.

    Always follow the plumbing/health department rules....



    Goodluck to you.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Brando913's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply Hackney.

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    A one bedroom house around here needs 200' of drain/ gravel or infiltrator chambers. 400' is not unusual. If you have any clay in the soil, it has been recently found that the chambers fail in about 3 to 5 years, so we are all back to rock and pipe again. Also the tank is small, and yes, your lines are short. But perhaps you have blockage somewhere if your field is not moist. If you have chambers, dig down and make a hole in the top - see if they are filled. I always installed view ports on my systems.

    NONE of those elixers work - just like "marvel mystery oil" so forget it.

    Go under the kids sink [all sinks] and turn down the valves so they get only a trickle, then take the handles off. When they ask what happened, tell them the pressure regulator is acting up. A teen girl can use 60 gallons of water to brush her teeth and scrub her makeup while talking on the phone. What they can do in a shower with a hand held head, would be enough water for a village in India for a week. Also, turn down the temp on the water heater! That will shorten up a shower very quick.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Brando913's Avatar
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    Thanks ballvalve...Im in Georgia so we definitely have clay in the soil. I'll check the chambers to see if I have a blockage somewhere.

  6. #6

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    Do you use a top load or front load washer? What kind of detergent do you use? I had a similar problem a few years back. I had it pumped and then before long it would be gurgling again, always when the washer drained. The gurgling would be at different places--say the kitchen sink--but when the washer drained. I had never had this problem in years and had always used powder detergent. Had switched to All Free Clear detergent liquid because of sensitive family member. After months of this switched back to powder Tide and the gurgling went away. Havent had a problem since. Some here might say this couldnt be it but I know what "fixed" mine. SO I just wondered what you use. You hear so much about what to use/not use that liquids have animal fats or oils in them, then you read that powder wont dissolve. I just know for some reason the powder give no problems.

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