septic lines clogged! Help!

lachaseDecember 15, 2010

We've lived in our house 13 years and NEVER had our septic system pumped out. I've told my husband for several years now that he'd better have it done, but he has ignored me. Now, in the frozen snowy ground of winter our lines have become clogged and we have had water backing up in our basement shower and leaking around the bottom of a toilet in that bathroom periodically throughout the day.

My husband has taken an auger and tried to unclog it but so far, no good. He claims it has nothing to do with never having our tank pumped out. I am frustrated. He finally called a plumber but with the cold winter weather and with expecting more snow tonight, the plumbers he has called are booked with frozen pipe situations and no one is coming anytime soon. I'd just like to have any comments about my situation and any suggestions for what to do before the plumber gets here. Of course we're not using our water now which doesn't make it great for our bathroom needs.

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Call and have the tank pumped is the first thing to do.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 8:57AM
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It may well have everything to do with not having th etank pumped.

If solids of ANY kind, including cellulose from TP, made it to the field from a lack of pumping the field could well have been wrecked.

The small openings in in the earth of the field that allow water to soak in may have become clogged rendering the field unable to dispose of liquid.

New fields are often rather expensive, and you may need to have enough land available for a new field.

Find the best plumber in the area that knows how to deal with septic and fields.

If you pump the tank at this point you will have to wait for it to fill again to find out if the field is working.

Pumping a septic tank is NOT to remove the liquid it contains (though that has to come out as part of the pumping) but to remove solids that have settled to the bottom of the tank and can damage a field.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 9:01AM
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My guess is that you have a frozen pipe like everyone else. The septic system would fail more gradually, and you would've seen problems before this.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 9:55AM
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I can only relate my story which is similar. My system is 25 years old and has been pumped every 3-4 years. About 3 years ago we had laundry water come up a few times through a drain in the basement. The problem went away after a few weeks. Then this summer it happened again. I knew this was a problem now. So I called my septic tank guy. He came out and looked. He said its possible the line between my 2 tanks is rusted/clogged. He probed the ground and said it 'feels" like cast iron pipe (I was impressed). So they dug it up. Sure enough the line was cast iron and it was clogged except for a 1" hole.It wasnt rusted through. Just clogged with gunk. He cut the cast iron out and replaced it with PVC. Works great now!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 2:13PM
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You need a septic company not a plumber.

There are numerous things that can be wrong and not pumping the tank for 13 years more likely than not won you a multiple thousand dollar leach field replacement.

When you don't pump your tank solids accumulate and get out of the tank into the leach field where they saturate the area and clog the waste water flow. That's why water backs up.

Not to worry, the big backhoes that septic companies have dig up frozen ground real easy.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 4:48PM
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"You need a septic company not a plumber. "

In most places septic companies ARE plumbers, though they may have the heavier equipment for septic work (many rent as needed for each job).

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 9:09AM
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"In most places septic companies ARE plumbers" and in most places a different license is required.

Anywhere septic systems are in use there are usually septic companies that specialize in that work and that is who one would want. I would never call a plumber for a water softener although many sell and install them, very, very, very few plumbers understand how to size them and set them up correctly.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 9:57AM
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