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MrsD

12:46AM | 06/13/02
Member Since: 01/31/00
76 lifetime posts
Bvplumbing
I am a first time homeowner, so forgive my ignorance. We have a home built in 1963. We bought our home 5 years ago and have had no septic problems...until tonight. I flushed our toilet and heard a gurgling in our bathroom sink. I then went into our bedroom to hear a gurgling in our toilet in there. I went back and inspected the toilet in our main bathroom to find that it had flushed, so I decided to flush it again to see if it did it again. There once again was gurgling in the sink, but this time the water level in the toilet rose very high. I went into our bedroom's bath and flushed that toilet to see what it would do, and that toilet's water level also rose very high. About an hour has passed and the water levels have dropped, but I am afraid to flush them again. I thought back to about 2 weeks ago and I remembered smelling a septic-type odor out in front of my house. I didn't think it was the septic, however, because our septic is out back and there was no odor out there. After buying our home, we discovered that the white water goes into a drainfield of it's own and bypasses our septic entirely. I noticed a problem in that drainfield about 2 weeks ago also...but since it bypasses our septic, I didn't think much of it (other than my husband needs to go take a look at that drainfield). I don't really know what to do. I am suspicious that our septic may need to be replaced (we know a long, previous owner of our home). Do I call someone out to pump it and go from there? What types of questions should I ask to make sure I am getting someone who will do the job right? Any suggestions are GREATLY appreciated!!!! Thank you!!!

rpxlpx

04:34AM | 06/13/02
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
First, don't panic. It could be as simple as a blockage in the pipe going into the system.
My low-pressure system has an alarm that tells you when the tank is too full. This has happened when the circuit breaker trips and the pump stops pumping for awhile. It just needed to have the ground fault circuit breaker reset in the crawl space.
Do you know if you have a gravity system or low-pressure?
If you've been there 5 years and never had it pumped it might be time to do that.
In any case, it would be best to check all your options before replacing the whole shebang. My existing system was fine when it was installed but now would not pass today's tougher requirements. If I had to replace it, I'd be in trouble.
If you have checked all the things you can, I suggest you call a plumber to go from there.

[This message has been edited by rpxlpx (edited June 13, 2002).]

MrsD

07:38AM | 06/13/02
Member Since: 01/31/00
76 lifetime posts
I honestly am not sure what type of system it is. I believe it is gravity, as I see nothing in my fuse box leading me to believe a pump runs off of it. We live in a very small community. The older man who lives next door, is the man who built this home. I may be able to ask him what type of system it is. The long, previous owners we know said that they had it pumped when they owned the house about 12 years ago. They said that at that time, the company that pumped it said the lid was pretty rusy and that it would be time to replace it soon. In talking to these people and our neighbor, it doesn't sound like that was ever done. My daughter and her friend just told me that water came up in the sink yesterday when they flushed. So, where do I start? With a plumber or a septic pumping company? Should I try something myself first? Thanks!

rpxlpx

09:31AM | 06/13/02
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
If there's any way you or someone can actually look in the "box" and see if it's full to overflowing, try that.
If it's not overly full, then I would go the plumber route. If it is too full, then chances are that pumping would help.

MrsD

04:11PM | 06/13/02
Member Since: 01/31/00
76 lifetime posts
We are going to check the vents on the roof, and the pipe sticking out by the tank itself...I think it is a vent type pipe that Roto Rooter would use. I am completely in the dark with these things. I thank you for some reassurance. I panicked at first. So far there has been no further noise or problem, but we are taking it easy on our septic system...fewer flushes. I am sure I will be back if I have further questions. Thanks for all of your help!

MrsD

12:22AM | 06/15/02
Member Since: 01/31/00
76 lifetime posts
Well, we popped the lid of our septic today and found a mess. It is going to be pumped tomorrow, but unfortunately it needs to be replaced. We plan on trying to do it ourselves. Any suggestions before we dig into it? Thanks for your help!

MrsD

10:23PM | 06/15/02
Member Since: 01/31/00
76 lifetime posts
Well all is flushing well here. I have one last question for anyone. I was told by a septic pumping service that the anti-bacterial soaps alot of us like using are terrible for septic tanks. Is there honest, real merit to this statement? I was told that more people are having problems well before they should because the anti-bacterial soap destroys the necessary bacteria in a septic tank. I'd like to hear any opinions. Thank you!

rpxlpx

04:43AM | 06/17/02
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
I came across the URL for an article about septic advice created by the state of Delaware awhile back. I didn't keep the URL, but in it they advised NOT to use any of the commercial products advertised for septic systems.
Here is a good URL for more info. This one also advises NOT to use those products. http://swopnet.com/geo_wastewater_2000/machmeier/Machmeier_Care_n_Feed.html
One more thing for safety: it says NOT to go down into your septic tank, as you can be asphyxiated.
Later:
I just realized I should have read your post more closely. My response didn't match the question. The author in the above-mentioned URL says "normal amounts" of soaps, bleaches, etc. won't harm your system. It's worth reading.

One comment about doing it yourself. I think that many areas require permits and inspections. You should check on that before proceeding.


[This message has been edited by rpxlpx (edited June 17, 2002).]

BobF

01:55AM | 06/18/02
Member Since: 10/19/98
223 lifetime posts
Sounds like a job for Winston Rothschild's Sewage and Septic ****ing Services;-)

As for problems caused by anti-bacterial soaps: Sounds plausible, plausible enough to be an urban myth. But anyway, I quit using those soap a few years ago. Regular soap will kill bacteria harmful to humans. Even antibacterial soap won't do any good if people don't use it. There is some evidence (another myth, junk science???) that shows anti-bacterial soap promotes bacteria that are resistant to anti-biotics.

MrsD

06:59AM | 06/18/02
Member Since: 01/31/00
76 lifetime posts
I appreciate your comments! Our county requires it to be inspected and there are permits we will need to obtain. We are in the process of trying to find out more information about our drainfield. A licensed contractor put one in around 7-10 years ago because the previous owners tore up the old one. Our neighbor knows the contractor and is going to ask him if he remembers exactly where it is and where the distribution box is. We are hoping that the drainfield is still good and we can just put in a new septic. Our county requires a perc test if we need to put in a new drainfield...and it is expensive to do unless we have standing water in it. Thanks again everyone!
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