Septic has been pumped twice in last 1.5 months

aprilshomemadeMay 10, 2009

This is our first home w/a septic system and we're starting to have some issues. So I'm looking for some advice/opinions on what could be the problem.

We've had the home for about 6 years and no problems until recently with all the rain. The house was built around 1969 and the septic system is 'original'. We've had to have it pumped twice in the past 45 days ($150x2=$300!!!) cause the toilets stop flushing and all the drains quit working. Each time we take the lid off the tank, it is completely full of water so we call the septic guy to come pump it. Each time it's pumped, you can hear water rushing back into the tank...not a trickle but more like the garden hose on full blast. The guy says we needs new lateral lines. Why would we need new lines if water is coming back in? To us that means that water is coming in so the lines are not 'clogged'. Can the original drain field be 'saturated' instead or is there something on our tank that should be replaced/inspected to keep the water from flowing back in from the lines?

Also in the past year, we've notice stinky smells coming from our kitchen sink and also when the washing machine drains there is a rotten egg odor. I know there is a new p-trap on the kitchen sink, so why/how could odors come up from the septic? Or is this a sign of something else?

thanks in advance,

April in Owasso, OK

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A septic tank is always almost full when working properly. The liquid runs out the lateral lines and is dispersed into the ground. If the ground is too wet or cannot absorb the water the lines will fill.
I think the septic guy is right. You need a new drain field.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 8:24AM
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I'd say your septic needs replacing. Reminds me of a womans house I went to list. As I was walking around her yard, I came across a very foul smelling odor and very mushy ground. I said, I think you have a problem with your septic. Her reply, "oh, no, it just needs to be pumped, I haven't had it pumped in two months. Once I have it pumped, it'll be fine for months". HELLOOOOOO, this is not how a septic system works. If you know its there, something is wrong!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 8:41AM
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Yep, I see a drain field in your near future. A field usually lasts about 15 years, yours has done its job and more.
We had the field at our old home last from about 1973 to about 1990. The grass in the back yard wasn't looking too good and there was sitting water. DS#3 was doing "soccer slides" thru it, lol! He sure stunk!
Our yard was very large and they were able to install a second field in the yard. We used the new field and then using the tool they gave us, we were able to direct the tank back to the old field when it dried out. That way we would never need another field. It saved us the cost of having to pay to have the old field dug up and disposed of.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 10:44PM
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I'd say your septic needs replacing.

The tank rarely needs replacing, the drainfield/drywell, yes that will plug and back up everything.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 8:25AM
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I agree, your drain field is saturated. That's why water comes back into the tank.

But as far as a fiels lasting only 15 or so years, to be honest, I've never heard of that. There are houses up here that are over 100 years old and they have the original system.

Today's sysrems will last easily 50 years with proper maintenance.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 6:49AM
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The tank itself unless broken should not need to be replaced.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 9:56PM
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Depending on the site configuration (e.g. how close the tank is to the field, and how a truck carrying a heavy tank would reach the tank site), it might not be too much more expensive or troublesome to upgrade the tank at the same time. You could get a larger tank than legally required, to allow more time between pumpings, and/or less disturbance of the settled solids so they stay safely out of the field lines. A two-compartment tank is also good -- in my experience in my own house, the second compartment contains very little scum and sludge, which of course is what you want in the part of the tank that's closest to the field lines. Also, get an output filter installed. You could probably install a filter on your existing tank if you keep it.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 3:20PM
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