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Septic Problems

A few weeks ago, we had a backup that resulted in septic waste in our basement. We had the tank pumped, and the regulatory agency performed a dye test. There is no dye showing up in the leach field or down hill from it (good). This was after a period where we had over 9 inches of rain in two weeks (thanks to Irene and Lee). In the intervening 10-days, we have had almost another 3 inches, and today I realized that the tank had filled AND overflowed a little (the tank is still uncovered as I wanted to see what happened before I filled in the hole).

The septic system is, we guess, > 10 years old (maybe as old as 23 years, and we have never had any trouble with 2 pump outs since 2001.

What do people think about the probability that the leach field is just not draining fast enough because of all of the rain? Nearby there is surface water running (where it usually does not run) at about the same elevation as the leach field. It would not surprise me if the leach field is saturated with groundwater. because of all of the rain.


Re: Septic Problems

It sounds like the ground is saturated from the rain. You could have the tank pumped again but this will be just a temporary solution. Hopefully when the ground drys out you will be OK. Until that happens I would be very careful with the amount of water you use.


Re: Septic Problems

I think so too. We've had about 12" of rain in the past month (4-5 is normal), on top of having almost a years worth of rain up through only July!

I am hoping it dries up soon, then I can see realistically how quickly the leach field really drains a full tank, which should tell me if I really have a problem.

The water level has dropped ~2.5 inches in 8 hours, measured from how high it is above the tank cover (the tank is uncovered from the last pumping so we could monitor it).



Re: Septic Problems

If the septic tank was full of solids, it is possible that some of the solids got into the drain lines to and in the leach field. The septic tank companies have a snake that can be run down the lines to loosen up the solids and then they can be sucked out with the pump truck. You may need to have this done.

But it is also possible that the leach field is just too saturated right now.

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