Septic Tanks-Just a reminder

longbow

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If you haven't cleaned yours for more than a few years. Do it soon....

Nothing worse than a full and clogged septic tank you need to empty with no one to come and suck it out...

Neighbor went 10 years before it blocked up back into his house. 3 to 5 years works for me.
 

WhitleyStu

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Wife puts Ride-X down the drain first of ever month and we have tank pumped once a year just to be on the safe side. Want to keep the system very healthy. We use Shankster Bros from Silver Lake. They say out system always looks good.
 

awames76

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ours was pumped for the first time in 2017 i think. house was built in 1950. i know it was never done, i had to cut a hole in the top of the concrete tank. the real problem with doing it more often is its under the slab on the porch. had to cut it then dig 2.5 feet. we were lucky it was in the fall and we have a port a pot and on a farm with 3 other familys so we shower other places.
 

Trigger Time

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Modern soaps and shampoos are very hard on older septic systems.
Also everyone thinks it's ok to poor grease and all kinds of mlm food down the drain if they have a garbage disposal. They learn the hard way it's not ok.
It's not even ok if you're hooked to city sewer to put grease and tons of soap down the drain.
But on a small septic system depending what size family you have and how much shampoo they use will determine how often you need to pump it out.

And God forbid any of the ladies flush their feminine products! If so, you're ****ed.

Have a friend who just bought a house with half an acre of land. Has septic. Our realtor warned us about septic systems on less than an acre and advised us not to even buy one if it had less than an acre and septic.
What's the regulation on that now for new houses? Can they even install a septic system on less than an acre? Seems like a risk
 

dvd1955

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When I was a young boy, my dad said a properly installed and treated septic tank should never need pumped. He lived on that farm for 40 years and never had an issue. I think Trigger Time is right about today's household chemicals being harder on septics. However, I have lived at my current home for 31 years now. Thought we had a full tank about ten years ago, but it turned out to be a clog where the pipe goes into it from the house. Had a company come out and they found and cleared the clog. They said there was about three feet of clear space in the tank, but I had them pump it out anyway. Haven't had anything done since, but it is on the list to have it pumped out again. BTW, 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom on 1/2 acre.
 

Cameramonkey

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When I was a young boy, my dad said a properly installed and treated septic tank should never need pumped. He lived on that farm for 40 years and never had an issue. I think Trigger Time is right about today's household chemicals being harder on septics. However, I have lived at my current home for 31 years now. Thought we had a full tank about ten years ago, but it turned out to be a clog where the pipe goes into it from the house. Had a company come out and they found and cleared the clog. They said there was about three feet of clear space in the tank, but I had them pump it out anyway. Haven't had anything done since, but it is on the list to have it pumped out again. BTW, 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom on 1/2 acre.


This. If you have to have your tank pumped every 12-24 months, something is wrong. My boyhood home was built in 1967. Its tank has been pumped twice in that time frame. Works fine. Without so much as a box of rid-x.

Then again there is no automatic dishwasher, garbage disposal, no "flushable wipes", etc.
 

WhitleyStu

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This. If you have to have your tank pumped every 12-24 months, something is wrong. My boyhood home was built in 1967. Its tank has been pumped twice in that time frame. Works fine. Without so much as a box of rid-x.
Then again there is no automatic dishwasher, garbage disposal, no "flushable wipes", etc.
Several of my neighbors and two excavating contractors have told me that our 15 year old septic system is one of the few in the area that is not is some way tied into field or county tiles that eventually drain to old man made drainage ditches. Over the years many folks have diverted their septic drainage when issues have came up unbeknownst to others . Quick fix... I don't think all the four and five decade old systems are able to meet modern code.
 

Kozaturf

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Our house was built in the 70's and nobody knew if/when it was pumped when we purchased it from the estate. When the company came out to check it the issue was actually too little use.

A single person living in the home for the last 30 years didn't create enough waste for the system to stay "active" and breakdown properly.
 

mcapo

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Geology, soil conditions, quantity and contents of influent, etc. all influence the efficiency and lifespan of septic systems.

Some do last 50 years in grandma's house and then a family of five moves in and it fails.

It is a good idea to have it pumped and checked every few years and then determine a reasonable maintenance interval based upon those observations. Too regular of pumping can also harm the system. Best to talk to a qualified expert - I ain't one - just have a keyboard and am sharing my observation.
 

JeepHammer

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A friend that installs & repairs septic systems says gel soaps, anti-biotic soaps, non-septic safe TP & flushable wipes have made him a crap ton of money (pun intended).

First they use the sticky/fatty soaps that leave the gray sludge in pipes and on everything else,
And it's usually anti-biotic so it kills off the tank floria,
Then they try to clean drains with caustics & acids, further killing the biology in the tank,
Then they plug up tank and leach field with 'Paper' products...
Great wads of paper that isn't designed to biodegrade.

There is ONE way to get around the septic problem issues with much older houses, and on small lots...
And, you guessed it, it costs more.

Replace the tank, it's a 'Repair', and only the tank has to be up to code.
This is a good thing since a lot of them older tanks were nothing more than oil drums and the like...
A WHOLE LOT of old home heating oil tanks out there for 'Septic' tanks.
Then have the leach field upgraded at a later date, again a 'Repair' and doesn't have to meet the current stringent standards for new, full replacement installs.

My septic system was the one thing here I had to have county/state approval on, and the county inspector wasn't having any of what I wanted.
I had to hire a guy from 4 counties away to do inspections and sign off on it for the county/state, since he was the only one around that understood what we wanted to do.
The entire thing has to be easy to unclog/clean, and I used heavier walled pipe, lots of clean out plugs, gentle angle bends so the drain snake won't have issues, etc and the local guy just couldn't grasp it.

Knock wood, 15+ years without issues and we had up to 7 people living here at different times...
They ALL got a lesson in septic systems because I don't want that particular job, even if it is much easier than the average system.
 

Gluemanz28

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I’m on a 2 year pump plan. Is it overkill maybe, but like others have said with the modern soaps detergents and food disposal I consider $90 a year cheap insurance and lots less than city water and sewage bills.
 

ghuns

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Several of my neighbors and two excavating contractors have told me that our 15 year old septic system is one of the few in the area that is not is some way tied into field or county tiles that eventually drain to old man made drainage ditches...

My system, installed in 1942, has never been pumped.

It also has a 0% chance of meeting modern code.:whistle:
 

Paul30

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The size of the tank matters, a 1200 gallon tank will hold more than a 500 gallon tank. The bacteria in the tank should eat lots of the contents, so killing that bacteria with bleach from the washing machine etc. is one way to keep it fro working well. In our old house in the country we had a seperate drain for the washing machine and the sinks and it didn't go into the septic. I am sure it was a small tank and we didn't pump it for 20 years, who knows how long before that.
 

jand1911s

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Thanks for the education on this thread. I’ve never had a septic system but we are now looking to get a place and several that we’ve looked at are on septic.
 

russc2542

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What it comes down to is consistency and contents. What goes in should only be what goes through the body already and water. Some soap's OK, as others have said, anti-bacterial is a hard no. After that, consistency. If you like going on long vacations or having a house full of visitors it'll hurt the system.

The whole premise is that it's self-sustaining. Think of it like a living thing cause it is. The tank shouldn't be emptied and filled, it should stay mostly full and the bacteria eat the solids and the liquids drain to the leech field. If the field stinks, something's wrong. If the tank's "full" something's wrong (what you're feeding it, built wrong, or broken). You shouldn't have to pump it every year or even every 5.
 

x10

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That's what everyone was brought up to believe, but they have found that the balance is hard to keep.

Your tank should be full of water up to the outlet and with about a foot of "solids" (that are being digested) But all it takes is a rainy season, a dry season, Somebody accidentally flushing a bunch of bleach. Baby wipes, Ect.

Face it nobody wants to inspect their tank every couple months and then try to figure out what's going right or wrong, Tank maintenance is around $300 every 2 years, and a new system is 15k or more,

Many systems now have grinders on them and that helps, But also the variability in your leech field also comes into play, Sand/clay/loam, good drainage, high water table, like so many things there isn't just one answer. Some systems are in the sweet zone and work perfect, but most slowly fill up with solids that don't get digested. It's probably 5 years or more before it's a problem. Again no one solution.

Get it pumped, and then you don't fret when the sister in law that's lives in the city dumps baby wipes down your system.




What it comes down to is consistency and contents. What goes in should only be what goes through the body already and water. Some soap's OK, as others have said, anti-bacterial is a hard no. After that, consistency. If you like going on long vacations or having a house full of visitors it'll hurt the system.

The whole premise is that it's self-sustaining. Think of it like a living thing cause it is. The tank shouldn't be emptied and filled, it should stay mostly full and the bacteria eat the solids and the liquids drain to the leech field. If the field stinks, something's wrong. If the tank's "full" something's wrong (what you're feeding it, built wrong, or broken). You shouldn't have to pump it every year or even every 5.
 
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