Septic System

Re: Septic System

PostBy: Steve.N On: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:48 am

I have had a septic system of some form on every house I have owned. Our current house has a conventional in the ground system with no raised bed. I too have heard of and know of systems that havn't been cleaned for twenty years or more uasually when they were being replaced. I have everything going into mine, washer dishwasher etc and have it pumped every 5 years. The only problem I have had was the second year I discovered that the leach field wasn't big enough and I expanded it to a size that would accomodate a hotel.
Steve.N
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman mkII
Stove/Furnace Model: Axeman Anderson 260 at store

Re: Septic System

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:53 pm

Have your septic guy 'stick' the tank 25% solids is the maximum safe level.
3-5 years is good rule of thumb
2 years is too soon unless you have a disposal in the sink or you put too much non degradable down the drain.
Filter for the washing machine.
http://www.septicprotector.com/Productsandservices.html
Good/interesting info
http://www.septicprotector.com/index.html
The old systems on the Cape had leach tanks/pits 6-8 feet across by 6-8 feet deep
Yes there was a crew that would rejuvenate that pit by scrubbing it down...and the process did work...nasty work!
I guy in P'Town spent the summer in his 'underground house'....Yup an old leach pit....but it was decorated real nice!
There is a product that will temporarily rejuvenate the pit by breaking down the sludge that blocks the outflow.
I forget the name but the plumbing supply house would know what it was.
5 gallons of that stuff in the full, but failing, pit made it like new for about two months, enough to get the plans done and bids solicited.
Title 5 in MA now requires a leach field, rather than a pit, to better cleanse the effluent.
This requires more land and sometimes creative solutions.
There is a new type of 'honey wagon' that puts back some of your tank water to spike the tank, similar to how a sourdough bread starter is used.
Some people think it is a sham.

http://www.bwseptic.com/environment.html
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
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Re: Septic System

PostBy: Steve.N On: Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:25 pm

I feel that Rid-Ex, spiking, yeast, etc is all BS. You are crapping in the thing isn't that enough bacteria to get her cooking. :)
Steve.N
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman mkII
Stove/Furnace Model: Axeman Anderson 260 at store


Re: Septic System

PostBy: Yanche On: Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:42 am

Maybe not. Just depends on how much anti-bacteria stuff goes in the septic system. Laundry bleach, anti-bacteria soap, spray tub cleaner, antibiotic pills you take and pee out, automatic toilet tank cleaners, etc. It all adds up.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Septic System

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:59 am

Yanche wrote:Maybe not. Just depends on how much anti-bacteria stuff goes in the septic system. Laundry bleach, anti-bacteria soap, spray tub cleaner, antibiotic pills you take and pee out, automatic toilet tank cleaners, etc. It all adds up.


Along those lines, I read an article a year or so ago about all the traces of prescription meds that are in public drinking water. Very scary. Glad I have a well.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Septic System

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:40 am

Anyone know what a "Pit Cesspool" is?
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Septic System

PostBy: George-NJ On: Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:46 am

Hi John,

A cess pool as I know it is just a homemade void in the ground laid up by stone or brick/block, everything would just dump in & leach out the gaps, no leach field of any kind, no holding for bacterial breakdown although some would occur. This was the first step up after a two holer outhouse.This is what most people did a generation ago before modern building codes and standards came into place. You still find old houses around here (where we are) with this type of set up, good luck trying to get a mortgage on something with that, most lenders would want that upgraded. A house that I know of in a lake community (small lots) just had to get $6,000 in equipment to treat the well (475' deep) water to make it potable. I'm sure there is still plenty of homes around it with cess pools. What do you think the neighbors are drinking & showering with?....

BTW, about 4 years ago NJ passed a stringent well water testing law. People who bought a house before that and had the water tested, only had a*very* basic test, some of those same people are now finding out when they go to sell their houses today that their water is failing, miserably sometimes. $$$
Last edited by George-NJ on Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
George-NJ
 

Re: Septic System

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:47 am

Wood'nCoal wrote:Anyone know what a "Pit Cesspool" is?


Washington DC?
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Septic System

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:13 am

Washington DC?


:D :) :D
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Septic System

PostBy: CoaLen On: Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:36 am

We've got a septic and well (two very separate systems :lol: ) and eight acres of ground. So we're fortunate enough that we have some room to try some options. We also have a rolling topography and gravity flow, which makes it better.
I did do some plumbing modifications to separate the clothes washer and basement laundry tub from the septic system. I'm also considering draining the master shower into the "gray water" line.
I think a septic systems biggest enemies are those chemical/fluids that hinder bacteria. Without those, the natural bacteria should keep a system running a really long time.
Our state/county health dept has a new regulation going into effect 1/1/09 eliminating the old style leech field. New construction and replacements will be required to go to a mound or drip system $$$. The Health Dept is also getting quite a bit more active about investigating "that funny smell" you occasionally drive thru on the county roads.
So far, wells around here have not been much of an issue. A water test is required when a new home is constructed. After that, you're on your own.
-Len
CoaLen
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Coal Size/Type: rice

Re: Septic System

PostBy: Yanche On: Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:35 pm

I grew up in a NJ town that only had cesspools. My best friends father was the contractor that dug most of them. He had a military surplus Bay City crane with a clam shell bucket. Open the bucket wide and let it drop, scoop out the dirt, repeat until about 40-50 feet deep. Hole was lined with hollow core concrete block turned sideways for several courses on the bottom. Poop and all just went into it. Town did have public water, put in as a WPA project in the '30s. When septic systems started to fail in the late '60s the state forced construction of a modern public sewer system. Loud outcry from the citizens because of cost. Those who couldn't or wouldn't pay got a lien attached to their property.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Septic System

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:18 pm

I have a pit cesspool here, built in the late 1930's. It consists of a hole in the ground about 10 to 15 feet deep, poured concrete bottom, blocks placed in a circular pattern, about 5 to 7 feet from the bottom, maybe 6 feet across. on top is another poured concrete piece with a concrete lid about 3 feet across. The lid is about 2 feet down.

I'm past due to have it pumped, most I ever went was 6 years. It was quite full. The bathroom goes into it--toilet/sink/bathtub. All the water from the laundry and kitchen goes elsewhere.

While the septic truck is here pumping I'm there with a 10 foot copper pipe attached to the garden hose flushing out the spaces between the blocks.

I couldn't figure out why there were old rotten timbers in it, until the last guy who pumped it told me it was the form for the top. It was built and the top was poured. No precast stuff back then. Since it could not be removed it was just left inside the new cesspool.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Septic System

PostBy: George-NJ On: Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:30 am

Sometimes they just covered them up with wood, then dirt & grass. A nice surprise for someone walking or driving around the property years later :o

I've looked at my share of abandoned old houses where you could see caved in cess pool covers. Alot of the first septic tanks around here were made of steel and now are swiss cheese, those tops cave in too. I found an old steel tank on my own property, I'm happy to report that I found it the easy way, not that I fell into it.... It was to an original system for the house no longer in use, so I filled it in with crushed stone.
George-NJ
 

Re: Septic System

PostBy: traderfjp On: Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:13 pm

In my area they use Sulphuric Acid to clean out the sludge and then aerate. Too much Sulphuric Acid can weaken the cement rings and this can cause the pool to cave when it's pumped. I hear of it happening a lot where I'm at. In 15 years I've never pumped my cesspool without a problem.
traderfjp
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3

Re: Septic System

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:28 pm

In 15 years I've never pumped my cesspool without a problem.


You will have a problem soon, if it hasn't already started. Is it a true cesspool or a septic system? If it's a pit cesspool like I have once the cesspool is full of solids and the liquid can no longer leech out into the soil it will back up-that's a certainty. If it's a septic system once the tank is full and the solids begin to flow out into the second holding tank (if you have one) and that fills up with solids (supposed to hold liquids only) the solids will begin to flow out into the leach field. Once the pipes in the field are full of solids--it's goodnight Irene.

A friend of mine did the same thing. Didn't have it pumped for the first 14 years he lived in the house. Everything was fine until a persistent stinky puddle began forming in the back yard. It cost him quite a bit of money to get it straightened out.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert