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Thread: Drain field problem

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
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    Default Drain field problem

    About a 600 gal. septic tank. 2 people in household.
    2 bathrooms and one kitchen sink. One bath not used for year due to remodeling.
    Showers, bath sinks on separate system.
    The toilet started backing up. Determined the septic tank was full.
    I had the tank pumped out. Water was overflowing tank.

    The thing is we has a new drain field put in 7 years ago. New area, all new gravel, plastic pipe etc.
    The water isn't even leaving the tank. Now I realize the drain field pipe is clogged, but why in 7 years?
    The guy that put the drain field in wants to put a whole new one in at a couple thousand dollars.
    Do I have any alternative? Could it be clogged where the pipe enters the tank? Can I just dig up the first few feet and see what the deal is? I find it hard to believe it has failed in 7 years!

    Any good suggestions? I really don't want nor can afford a new drain field right now. Heck I'd rather rent an excavator and put in my own before paying for a new one.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Many times when a system is repaired the owner doesn’t want to spend much money. Often time the repair system is smaller than the initial system. Also your tank is under sized. Does it have a baffle and an outlet filter? A larger tank with a baffle helps to separate the solids and liquids better. The larger tank also gives grease time to separate from the water so it will rise to the top. The baffle and outlet tee or outlet filter prevent the grease from going into the drain-field. If you have a garbage grinder the tank will fill up quicker and clog the drain-field sooner too. Sometimes roots can grow into the drain-lines and clog them up. Plants like wisteria can clog them up fast. There are many things that can cause a failure such as being undersized, located in a bad area, put in too deep or a bad installation etc. Sometimes the cable company will damage the lines etc.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    In my jurisdiction, the minimum size of a septic tank for a 1-3 bedroom house is 1000 gallons. As Smooky said, this gives the water time to settle and puts less solids into the drainfield. The drain field is expensive to replace, so there's no reason to skimp on the tank. OTOH, 7 years seems a short time if you have been pumping regularly. If not, then the 300-400 you saved by not pumping will now be spent on something else

    Get a good cesspool company out there to evaluate your present system and to see if there are clogs near your tank, and also to determine what it is that has flowed into your field.

    If there has been a bunch of rain lately, perhaps all you will need to do is wait for things to dry out a bit...

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    I am guessing this is the first pump-out in 7 years.

    $2000 seems very cheap for a replacement drain field. I am guessing your pump-out was maybe $150?

  5. #5
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    $300 for a pump out.
    Found the problem. Dug out the rest of the tank and about 12 feet from the tank the drain field pipe was filled with roots, about 6' worth, totally stopped up. It is a corrugated plastic pipe with 1" drain holes in the bottom. I'm going to replace the section of pipe, gravel and all, but how would I keep roots out in the future? Anything I can put in the soil that is legal and environmentally responsible? The drain field guy still insists on replacing the whole drain field.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    My dad use to use bluestone/ copper sulfate

  7. #7
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    BTW, looks to be a 1000 gallon tank.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffGr View Post
    $300 for a pump out.
    Found the problem. Dug out the rest of the tank and about 12 feet from the tank the drain field pipe was filled with roots, about 6' worth, totally stopped up. It is a corrugated plastic pipe with 1" drain holes in the bottom. I'm going to replace the section of pipe, gravel and all, but how would I keep roots out in the future? Anything I can put in the soil that is legal and environmentally responsible? The drain field guy still insists on replacing the whole drain field.
    http://www.rex-bac-t.com/c-160-roots...ach-field.aspx looks interesting. I have seen root-x recommended here. It seems to me that adding a cleanout to facilitate dosing the leach field directly sounds wise.

    You may want to kill the aggressive tree. Some trees tend to be more aggressive at that.

    I would wonder if putting a barrier, such as a sheet of plastic, between the problem tree and the field would help.
    Last edited by Reach4; 01-20-2014 at 03:57 PM.

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