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Vera Lenora
Septic tank aeration

Has anyone installed a pump and airline to aereate their inefficient septic tank, turning it from anaerobic to aerobic? I need to do something to make my 500 gallon (Depression era) tank more reliable.

Fencepost
Re: Septic tank aeration
Vera Lenora wrote:

Has anyone installed a pump and airline to aereate their inefficient septic tank, turning it from anaerobic to aerobic? I need to do something to make my 500 gallon (Depression era) tank more reliable.

What is the problem you are experiencing? How many people live in your home? Do you know what the leach field is like?

As long as the tank is not leaking, the age of the tank is unlikely to have a bearing on its efficiency. However, the design of the inlet and outlet may be an issue: both should be baffled so that incoming waste is directed downward yet allowing ventilation from the tank back up the pipe; likewise, the outlet should be baffled to prevent scum from exiting the tank (where it will clog the leach field) yet allow ventilation from the outlet lines & leach field back into the tank.

If your tank is from the 1930s, it probably would be a good idea to replace it. If it's not leaking yet, it might soon. If it's a concrete tank, it should be pumped out, cleaned, and relined (if not replaced).

The other critical thing is the condition of your leach field: if scum or sludge (solids) have been allowed to enter the leach field, it will clog the soil preventing proper filtration, absorption, and evaporation of the effluent. If the leach field is backing up, it must be replaced.

What I'm getting at here is that you need to identify the problem before identifying a solution. You can treat a symptom for a while, but eventually you will have even worse symptoms.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Septic tank aeration

I have a much smaller tank than yours but it has been operating properly since it was installed. Not sure how long ago that was but we have had it for nearly 30 years. As Fencepost ask, what problem are you having?

Jack

johnjh2o
Re: Septic tank aeration

I agree with both Jack and Fencepost. There isn't much that can happen to a septic tank.

John

Vera Lenora
Re: Septic tank aeration

My other pipes are gurgling, which has been a sign in the past that the septic tank is full. The first two times I figured it was just a coincidence ... and each time I ended up with waste in my basement coming out of an old (rarely used) sink.
There are no input or output baffles; the last time I asked my Sanitarian and he said they were not needed (!) I do use a filter on my washing machine to prevent man-made fibers from going down the drain and clogging the leach field with materials that don't deteriorate. septicprotector.com sells them. About 3 years ago when I first started having yearly problems I started using toilet paper made partly from recycled paper. It says it's septic tank safe but now I'm wondering if that's a coincidence. There is only me in the house. I send the Culligan rinse water out another drain to an old gravel drain field. Oh, I also send the washing machine water out there, so as not to overwhelm the small septic tank. I have an energy efficient dishwasher, small, about half the size of a normal one. I bathe about once a week in the tub, then 'sink wash' stinky parts the rest of the time ... to baby the septic tank. I think the leach field is one (!) pipe with holes in it; the soil here is almost pure sand except in the flower beds where my grandmother gardened for 60 years. I don't have a garbage disposal. The tank is concrete. I can't think of any other details. The tank never gave my grandmother or her family of four any trouble, but they were water stingy. I love to say this: My grandfather built this house.

johnjh2o
Re: Septic tank aeration

You have a problem with your drain field. Not having baffles in the tank could have been the cause but in most cases the cause is in not having the tank pumped on a regular basses.

John

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Septic tank aeration

Baffles are an necessary part of the septic tank to prevent the leech field from filling with raw sewage. I would suggest you contact a different septic system company. At this point it may be necessary to have the tank repaired or replaced and even my be necessary to replace leech filed. Or just use it as a holding tank and have it pumped one or two times a year.

And a note, in this area it would not be possible to sell the property without a properly working septic system.

Jack

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