Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: oldpaddy On: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:21 pm

Hi all, I have an old title 5 septic system built around 1982. There's a holding tank, then a d-box to a leach pit. The ground is essentially beach sand and approx 130' to the water table. I live out in the woods and there's no bodies of water within 2 miles. I grew up in the house (3bd, 3bth) and it was never pumped until a few years ago. The pit has been failed for at least 10yrs. I'm guessing the ground around it is saturated with muck and wont drain. I'm poor and can't afford to have an engineer draw up plans and then have a field installed by a professional. I also don't want the town getting in there and telling me I need a whole new system. So... Time to do what any true American would do, time to jury rig it! I plan to one day remodel my house and at that time I'd have to get a whole new system, but in the mean time I want to install by hand either a new pit or a field that will last another 10yrs.
Can anyone give me some ideas on what to do and how to do it? Bear in mind that I will not be pulling a permit, nor do I care about the legalities. I also won't be selling my home. Thanks!
oldpaddy
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Mohawk
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Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: titleist1 On: Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:09 pm

In our area the basic drain field trench would be dug to a level that allowed for a 5 gallon bucket of water to drain out in a reasonable amount of time. Reasonable depends on how well you know the health inspector, ours ended up 14' deep - I didn't know him too well! The length is dependent on the # of bedrooms in the house, I think 50' per 2 bedrooms was the number recommended, I may be off by a couple feet on that though since I took their minimum and added about 50'. I went way longer since our clay soil is a pain and I didn't want to be doing it again in my lifetime. Fill the trench with #2 stone, in our case about 1/2 way up (I think they want at least 4' of stone below the pipe), put in the perforated PVC pipe as level as you can, fill the trench to about 2' from top with more stone and then put silt fabric over the stone and cover with dirt.

The cadillac version would have you put in a diverter valve to allow you to switch the outlfow from the tank between the new drain field to the old drain field every couple of years. They claim it allows the drain field to recover a bit while it is not being used.

Yours should not be such a deep trench since you say you have good sandy soil. If you can run a backhoe reasonably well, it might be a 2 day rental job to dig and 1/2 fill with stone one day, lay the pipe and backfill the next. Even if you don't get permit or inspectors involved take pictures and measurements so those that sell off your estate and future owners have it easier!

I am probably forgetting something, it's been about 8 years since we did this one.
titleist1
 
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Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: Freddy On: Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:26 pm

Years ago I was in your shoes. We're talking mid 80's. Things wouldn't drain well at all. I waited until the morning of the 4th of July...I knew the parade would draw most eyes.... then I simply dug a trench as long as I could, filled it with crushed stone to the level of the bottom of the pipe, installed perforated pipe, then buried it with crushed stove. Topped it off with loam & seeded it. To the best of my knowledge it's still working.

Of course this story is fictitious, as is yours. ;) Keep your trap shut if you ever actually consider doing such a job.
Freddy
 
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Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:31 pm

Round concrete pit, Yes?...
Well water or town, Going to guess well...
The easiest way is to copy what you got...
Keep the pit 100' from well 50' from foundation...
dig new pit 30' from the old one and install new...
pipe it and done...
Pump the tank every 3 years or so and you will not plug the pit...
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
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Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: oldpaddy On: Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:13 pm

Thanks guys! I knew I came to the right place!


CapeCoaler wrote:Round concrete pit, Yes?...
Well water or town, Going to guess well...
The easiest way is to copy what you got...
Keep the pit 100' from well 50' from foundation...
dig new pit 30' from the old one and install new...
pipe it and done...
Pump the tank every 3 years or so and you will not plug the pit...


I thought I was the last one who still heated with coal on the cape. I love my coal : )
Yup, round pit and well.
The septic is way away from the well. Now can the pvc pipe have a 45-90 angle coming from the d-box? The current pit is pretty close to the d-box.
How about a cinder block cylinder with a few inches between each block, surrounded with a foot of stones?
oldpaddy
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Mohawk
Stove/Furnace Model: Temp Coal II

Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: kozel On: Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:23 pm

Right up front, I know nothing about this. What I remember hearing from an old time plumber is that when you dug a leaching field, you'd throw in a dead cat to seed it with bacteria.
kozel
 
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Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:32 pm

you'd throw in a dead cat to seed it with bacteria.


Bioforce (google it) is the modern way and works very well. It's second best to the remains of a rotting Kenyan President.
coalnewbie
 
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Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: steamup On: Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:18 pm

The old beehive leach pits are no longer permitted. However, simple leach fields still are. IMO, a leach field is easier and safer to install than digging deep for a beehive structure if you have the space.

Shallow trenches, 4" perforated pvc pipe and some gravel and you are back in business. You just have to figure how many feet to install based on the percolation of the soil

Yes, I have rehabbed beehives myself and it was a lot of work but had to be done as there was no room for a leach field. Too much deep digging for my little backhoe.

Follow this link for design info.

http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/ ... #appraisal
steamup
 
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Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: oldpaddy On: Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:49 am

steamup wrote:The old beehive leach pits are no longer permitted.

Haha A lot of things aren't permitted! Hasn't stopped me before, why start now? Personally, I tend to feel a little contempt for people who do things the "permitted way".

steamup wrote:However, simple leach fields still are. IMO, a leach field is easier and safer to install than digging deep for a beehive structure if you have the space.

Shallow trenches, 4" perforated pvc pipe and some gravel and you are back in business. You just have to figure how many feet to install based on the percolation of the soil

Yes, I have rehabbed beehives myself and it was a lot of work but had to be done as there was no room for a leach field. Too much deep digging for my little backhoe.

Follow this link for design info.

http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/ ... #appraisal


Is there any reason why it has to be shallow? I'd rather have it a few feet down. Percs not a problem, it's beach sand.

Thanks everyone for the input!
oldpaddy
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Mohawk
Stove/Furnace Model: Temp Coal II

Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: steamup On: Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:14 am

oldpaddy wrote:
steamup wrote:The old beehive leach pits are no longer permitted.


Is there any reason why it has to be shallow? I'd rather have it a few feet down. Percs not a problem, it's beach sand.


Be careful of letting you contempt get in the way of common sense. If you have ever put a backhoe or truck through the top of a beehive leach pit, you will then know one reason why they are not desirable.

Depth is only required to get to better "perc". Deeper you go, the more it costs to dig and backfill. Also, the deeper you go, the more you have to be aware of the crush strength of the pipe or leach system you use.

Be careful with sand as it plugs easy. A filter on the outlet of your septic tank or in the distribution box would be recommended. There are units manufacturered for just that use.
steamup
 
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Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: Sting On: Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:39 pm

I question why we support "Upgrades" such as this in public forum?

Codes for septic are in place for only ONE Reason

So I don't have to drink YOUR PI$$ from my well water

Kind advice to proceed on a project like this is simple reinforcement of anarchy!
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas

Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:39 pm

I don't condone work that is not properly done...
Septic work done the wrong way will cause problems...
However I would rather see it done prpoerly without a permit... ;)
Than done wrong without a permit... :sick:
The State has made pits in their various forms illegal...
The field is to keep the efluent closer to the ground surface...
so the 'bugs' can have a better chance of breaking down/consuming...
all the chemistry that comes out of the tank...
The place where I live now had 2 'cesspools' for the houses...
Ground water was visible during springtime in the bottom of the pools...
It is 600' to the beach...
We were the first Title 5 system on the street...
Because all the other house sales were in family transfers that did not require upgrades of the septic system...
This is all 'legal and with permits'...
CapeCoaler
 
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Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: dll On: Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:17 pm

Before you do anything you should analyze your current system.

First, is your water source from an on site well or town?
This will determine placement of one of the following.

Now what are your discharges to the current system.

Washing machine, is it top or front load, is it used a lot?
I have seen systems where the owner dug a dry well and diverted all the washing machine water into it. After a while the well will become saturated when this happens they move it to a new location.
This can take a substantial load off a system that is failing.

Do you have a garbage disposal unit attached to a sink?
Garbage disposals require a lot more capacity in a septic design due to slower breakdown of the solids.
If you have one, stop using it and start a compost pile.
dll
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman MKII
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Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: oldpaddy On: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:19 am

dll wrote:Before you do anything you should analyze your current system.

First, is your water source from an on site well or town?
This will determine placement of one of the following.

Now what are your discharges to the current system.

Washing machine, is it top or front load, is it used a lot?
I have seen systems where the owner dug a dry well and diverted all the washing machine water into it. After a while the well will become saturated when this happens they move it to a new location.
This can take a substantial load off a system that is failing.

Do you have a garbage disposal unit attached to a sink?
Garbage disposals require a lot more capacity in a septic design due to slower breakdown of the solids.
If you have one, stop using it and start a compost pile.


Thanks for the helpful replies guys!

I'm on well water. The well is at least 130' deep. I have very few neighbors and their wells are no where near my septic or property. I use water savers on everything, front loader washer, dishwasher, no garbage disposal and I compost all my garbage. The way my house is setup (no basement), it would be next to impossible to switch anything over to a drywell. I wish I could, but I'd need to do a big renovation to even access the pipes, they're in the foundation (which I can't access). I've tried for a couple of years to bring my pit back to life, but to no avail. Just to give an idea what kind of soil I have, a couple of years ago I pumped the pit into an area in my back yard and the grey water drained into the ground quickly. There was no water 2' past the hose.

If anyone would like to "loan" me the money, I'd be happy to have a brand new septic system. I can set up a paypal account and you can deposit your donations there :)

I think I'm going to go with the perforated pvc pipe with stone. I'd like to install it 3' below the surface. How much stone should I surround it with and how long should the perforated pipe be?

Thanks!
oldpaddy
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Mohawk
Stove/Furnace Model: Temp Coal II

Re: Need to upgrade my septic system the "old fashioned way" ; )

PostBy: freetown fred On: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:35 am

Just cover the pipe & have it as long as you think you need to. I extended mine around 25 ft into the lower pasture--3' deep, no problems in 15 yrs I also have no neighbors or nosey people that worry about nonsensical things. Git-er-done :) My neighbors system consists of an old Green Briar Chevy van & perferated leach. ;) PS--I used # ones or twos to cover the perforated. Probably because that's what I had a big pile of.
freetown fred
 
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