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Thread: Septic Tank Problem

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member jrm747's Avatar
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    Default Septic Tank Problem

    We live in a subdivision that initially put in septic tanks and then decided to run city sewage. So we have a tank, but instead of a drain field we have a central pump that pumps from our tanks. Im not sure how often it does this. Our problem is that our tank is up to the covers. Its just My fiancee and I. I have grown up in houses that we had septic tanks. I have dug up and installed new drain fields, I have been around having to dig up the lids to have them pumped. I know that usually if your tank is full, you have a drain field problem. We noticed water coming out of the inspection pipe between the house and the tank. contacted the owner of the subdivision and was told that the tank just needed pumping and that was that. I feel that the problem lies on the outgoing side of the tank tho. Not sure how to go about this. Yes, I can pay $250 to have it pumped, but Im not sure this is my main problem. The full tank is the problem from there being a different problem. Looking for some input from people who would know what the problem may be or how to go about having the problem fixed? Dont know if I should pay to get it pumped then have the owner of the subdivision check out their end? Looking for advise. I am not trying to get out of paying for what is my responsibility, just dont want to pay for something because its the fault of somethingelse

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I don't know how a bunch of strangers on the internet would know more than the owner of the subdivision. If you think the owner is lying to you, get the opinion of your neighbors or the city sewer or planning department. Surely the city would have some sort of record on how the subdivision sewer was installed.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I am confused by your description of the system. If it goes to a city sewer, there should be no reason to have the tank, or at least the tank should NEVER have water in it as long as the pump is working.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Senior Member CanOfWorms's Avatar
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    I wouldn't trust a word that subdivision owner tells you about septic tank .
    if there is a widespread problem he might just be biding his time until your warranty or some statute of limitations expires so that he is no longer responsible for fixing what could be subdivision wide problem .
    how long have you lived there ?
    how old is the house ?
    how old is a septic?
    new construction is required to have some sort of warranty I almost every state.
    in New Jersey is 10 years four major structural defects .
    I'm not sure but I think a a failed septic system would be considered a major defect .
    if I understand your septic system correctly you have a tank to collect the solid and then some sort of subdivision wide drainage system that collect the effluent ?
    if you grew up around septic tanks and replace drainage field you probably know about as much as most septic installers do . it's not rocket science . however if your tank is full and some float ables clogged up the outlet. that might cause a probled
    Don't expect the subdivision owner to give you an honest answer about something that is going to cost 10,000 possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars

  5. #5
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Let the conjecture begin. Forget due process and innocent until proven guilty. LOL


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    DIY Junior Member jrm747's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    I don't know how a bunch of strangers on the internet would know more than the owner of the subdivision. If you think the owner is lying to you, get the opinion of your neighbors or the city sewer or planning department. Surely the city would have some sort of record on how the subdivision sewer was installed.
    The owner is not the contractor or builder. Our new owner is an insurance salesman for statefarm insurance. I guess the insurance world pays well..... A bunch of strangers that know plumbing should know more about it than a him. Its not a matter of I think he is lying, just that he doesnt want to shell out money if he can convince me that pumping my tank is the answer.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member jrm747's Avatar
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    the way I understand it is like this, when the first few stage of homes were built in my neighborhood, they planned on each house having a tank and drain field. Im guess that didnt work well because A) there is not enough yard on a .25 of an acre to put a house, driveway, a septic tank and a drain field and B) were this subdivision is, used to me a swamp for the most part. Before they developed this subdivison I remember it being low and holding water. The filled it in to build here. So, if I dig down 2-3 ft, the hole I dig will start to fill with water. So what I have is a septic tank that is roughly 15-20 ft from the road. There is no drain field

    here is a very rough diagram of what I have:


    Dont take my post the wrong way. I am not a mordern day prissy man that will not fix it myself nor pay for it if it is my problem/fault. I am not trying to get everyone on my side to help me battle. I am trying to research what the problem may be and if it is my responsibility to fix it. To my knowledge, from the sept tank to the house its my problem, after that its their system. I could pump the system, then if there is a problem in their side, being pumping it in a few months. They told my fiancee on the phone that we should have out tank pumped once a year. I was at work and have not talked to them yet. No one is answering today.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member jrm747's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanOfWorms View Post
    I wouldn't trust a word that subdivision owner tells you about septic tank .
    if there is a widespread problem he might just be biding his time until your warranty or some statute of limitations expires so that he is no longer responsible for fixing what could be subdivision wide problem .
    how long have you lived there ?
    how old is the house ?
    how old is a septic?
    new construction is required to have some sort of warranty I almost every state.
    in New Jersey is 10 years four major structural defects .
    I'm not sure but I think a a failed septic system would be considered a major defect .
    if I understand your septic system correctly you have a tank to collect the solid and then some sort of subdivision wide drainage system that collect the effluent ?
    if you grew up around septic tanks and replace drainage field you probably know about as much as most septic installers do . it's not rocket science . however if your tank is full and some float ables clogged up the outlet. that might cause a probled
    Don't expect the subdivision owner to give you an honest answer about something that is going to cost 10,000 possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars
    We have lived here for 3 yrs.
    These houses are around 10-12 years old.
    Septic is original, 10-12 yrs
    I dont have a warranty.

    We had this problem a couple months ago and it stopped. Was working a lot at the time so i didnt get to uncover the tank for a few days. The problem went away. I kind of had and idea then, but once it stoped I didnt think about it. A couple of weeks ago, I was in the yard and decided to take the access cover off and have a look (dont have to dig it up, there are two plastic covers). Looked fine, I could see the pipe coming from the house and all looked normal. Now it started back up.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member jrm747's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Let the conjecture begin. Forget due process and innocent until proven guilty. LOL

    This makes no sense. I am not trying to run off a werewolf or burn down the system. A lot of the time, due process has nothing to do when all your being told is "not our problem, its on you" I have a problem with someone telling me they will do nothing to correct something without even sending someone to look at the problem. If I were to look for the problem, I would have to inspect the side of the system that runs under the street or under the sidewalk in our neighborhood. Thats a little out of my know how.

  10. #10
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    That was a reply to CanOfWorms.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member jrm747's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    That was a reply to CanOfWorms.
    oops, sorry

  12. #12
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm747 View Post
    We have lived here for 3 yrs.
    These houses are around 10-12 years old.
    Septic is original, 10-12 yrs...
    All septic tanks will build up sludge and require periodic pumping. Have you ever had it pumped? Has the previous owner ever had it pumped?

    There are a lot of factors determining the frequency and the previous owner's lifestyle may be an unknown.

    http://inspectapedia.com/septic/tankpump.htm

    If the tank has never been pumped in 12 years or lifestyle negatively impacted the health of the system, the outflow could have been plugged by sludge or other debris.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member jrm747's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    All septic tanks will build up sludge and require periodic pumping. Have you ever had it pumped? Has the previous owner ever had it pumped?

    There are a lot of factors determining the frequency and the previous owner's lifestyle may be an unknown.

    http://inspectapedia.com/septic/tankpump.htm

    If the tank has never been pumped in 12 years or lifestyle negatively impacted the health of the system, the outflow could have been plugged by sludge or other debris.
    Ok, but it would have to be clogged leaving the tank right? thats the end that I cant repair. It would be connected to the "grid" that leads to the pump

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Are you having any plumbing problems in the house?

    I would think the drain pipe from the house would flow by gravity to the pump station that pumps to the city sewer. The old septic tank may have been by passed and has nothing to do with your drain pipe. In that case it might just be ground water with no where to go during wet periods. It is possible that the waste water flows through the old septic tank and then into a pump tank or maybe just a pump tank on your property. In that case you would have a pump and that could be your problem. You need to find out how it is set up.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member jrm747's Avatar
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    From what I was told, we have one pump station for the whole neighborhood. It pulls from the septic tank. It doesnt bypass it. We arent having any problems inside, yet, But I think that is because I have the inspection pipe open and its flowing out into the back yard

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