advice on old septic & leach field

Kathy547August 15, 2013

We are still living in the only house we've ever bought. Lived here 16 years & never pumped septic. Rural area & don't think it was done before we bought it. Over the years we've had problems & I think has to do with the magnolia, cataba, & mimosa trees a few feet from the tank. Tank is about 5 feet from house. Leach field is about 100+ feet further. There is an access road going over it that we suspect has crushex the pipe. 2 or 3 years ago my husband uncovered the tank. & took 1/2 the lid off (other 1/2 fell at a slant in tank. All this time its been oncovered so there's sticks & leaves. It has flooded the area beyond it so the ground is boggy & gross. We don't mow or go anywhere near the area.

I want to cut the trees down. Also pump the tank & try to get that ground dried up. We don't have a lot of money but want it done right. Will they pump with all that stuff in there? Realize may have to get another tank & redo lines to leach field. Concerned with getting inspectors involved. Never had the mobey to fix the problem while small but now that its large & a health hazard, we need to do something. Do we do now or in colder weather?

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Waiting longer will be more expensive.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:02PM
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First, if there is a lot of large debris in there they may not be able to pump it out.

And second, if you ever go to sell the place, it would need to be fixed properly before selling (especially if someone needs to get a loan which requires an inspection).

It's better to fix it right. It currently sounds like a health and safety hazard.

Do it while the weather is decent. I'm not sure what zone you're in, but if the ground freezes you may not be able to address the problem. If you hire someone to put in a new tank they may need to do a percolation test to determine the absorption rate of the soil. You could be talking thousands of dollars (for removal, new tank, install, etc.) so do some homework.

We had a septic tank collapse on us. We didn't really notice it, except when all the kids came home to visit we had a slight back-up through the basement floor drain in storage room. Went outside to find a soggy mess on top of the tank location and a slight indent. The septic guys came the same day to tear out the old tank and install the new. It was during the first gentle snow of the winter season.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:50PM
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Hilltop, how much did this cost you in your area? Were you, or the company, required to contact town or city inspectors? I'm also in a house 22 years, but the original septic is about 45 years old, but no problems. It's a summer house for only the two of us, but it's always on my mind.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 8:26AM
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We live in the Midwest and it was over 10 years ago that we had to replace it. The replacement install cost around $1300. I can't remember the logistics of it all. We don't live in town, so I'm not sure who the company had to report to. The original tank had only been installed 6 years prior to that (during a new build) and that's when the perc test was required. I don't know if they did another one or what since it was more of an emergency situation when they replaced it. During the initial build we put in a plastic septic tank (hubby's idea) and that's what collapsed, likely due to the fact that we drove over the area with a tractor to mow (since it was in an outlying area away from the house) and the weight of the tractor could have caused it to collapse. We replaced it with a concrete tank.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 6:25PM
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