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Pumping Septic tank - Questions

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by bsa0021, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    My parents never pumped their septic in 30 years, and there were 6 of us. My aunt, 25 years (she moved), the same w/5 people. BUT, I've a friend who designs, installs, and studies septic tanks both commercially and privately, and he says to pump.

    S

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Same here I have dug it up looking for the well....This tank was put in the 50's never pump either.
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I don't believe that you can just never pump it out and expect the system to live forever. There are things you add to the septic tank that do not decompose. Lint from the clothes washer, hair from the people washing, and solids from poo. All of the solids shrink significantly due to decomposition but there is always a component that will not decompose and will settle to the sludge layer. None of this stuff should ever leave the tank or it will clog your drainfield. Only clear water is supposed to leave your tank.

    I help run a sewage treatment plant and we dump the "clean" water to a river. The other stuff is decomposed as much as possible and concentrated before being shipped off in dump trucks to a landfill or other place. When you grab a handful of the dry solids in this dumptruck it is full of hair and dry mud. You can't dempose all the waste. These solids are accumulating in your tank all the time.

    You can go on with not pumping your tank but then your system will have a life. As in, you will need to replace it when the system becomes plugged up. You can't clean a drainfield so you'll need to build a whole new one. Might be 5 years, might be more but it will have contaminated the groundwater, surface water, and maybe even backed up into your home before it finally is ruined. With pumping you can extend the system life indefinitely and not cause the environmental damage.
  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I have seen the inside of mine looks good and know it has never been pump in 60 years...I will hold my fingers crossed......
  5. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    High, I pump for the reasons you mentioned, but I always wondered why my parents/aunt never had to pump. I was just thinking, too, that my cousins lived with us for a while, so there were, in fact, 10 of us for at least five years with no pumping. Maybe our tank was being funneled into the neighbors'!

    S
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    From the top? You just looked at the surface of the tank contents and deemed it good? 60 years is quite a while. Shove a shovel in there. It should be at least 4 feet deep to the bottom with less than a third of that feeling like mud.
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    That's what I did.... Its a Reinforce concrete tank. I really know nothing other than what one on the sewer pumping places told me. They also said not to put a clean out on it. (because if you ever needed to pump it out you could get to the cornors) Digging this thing by hand I can tell you that I was the first to dig it up in a very long time. If its not broken there is no hurry to fix it.
  8. bsa0021

    bsa0021 Feeling the Heat

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    If you have never pumped a septic tank for 60 years with 5/6 people in a household, you probably have a tank that is damaged and leaking sewage (solids) directly into the ground and ground water.
    Must be tasty well water.
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Another thought: my septic guy used something that looked like a weedwacker with a propeller on the end to stir things up on the bottom so it would get sucked out better.
  10. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    LOL, It holds water fine and the reinforce concrete is among the very best tank to have.....Very easy to discount things on the Internet. Take it for what its worth I know what I have. ( as dry as are summer and fall is here, there would be tell tell signs) Oh And Could really careless who thinks what! IT WORKS As It SHOULD!
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    That's a clever tool. The sludge can be very compacted on the bottom. So much so that it squeezes the water out. Since his suck line only works to suck liquids, it will plug up if asked to suck the heavy solid sludge. Mixing it up allows it to be transported easily. Clever guy making a poo milkshake.

    This little challenge is why the crooked pumpers will tell you to leave some behind as "seed" bacteria. They are too lazy or dumb to finish the job. That bottom bit of heavy sludge will immediately take away from your time between pumpings.
  12. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    I had my septic installed in 94 and have never had it pumped. It works as well as it did then today. The guy that put it in said don't use gimmic items like rid-x and don't put any grease in the system. We abide by this and have had zero issues with the septic, It is a 1500 gallon reinforced concrete tank.... maybe i should take a look in there and see what's brewing..
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You can't just look in there. You've got to shove a stick in to see how much sludge has accumulated. All tanks look the same from the top, full and scuzzy. The clear zone is in the middle between the scum and the sludge. The width of that zone is what determines if your tank is ready to be pumped.

    Every septic system works great until it doesn't. It's not a gradual failure thing.
  14. loon

    loon Minister of Fire

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    listen to Highbeam gang !!!

    also, the drying bed can be flushed but it isnt a cure all.

    loon
  15. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    A conventional is 5-7k, a mound system is 12000-15000. I pump my system every year. Its a 110 dollar insurance policy to know that everything is working properly before winter. If it stops in winter and freezes what are you going to do? You can not even dig a new one in winter in Wiscosin....
  16. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    I've been meaning to have mine pumped just for peace of mind. When I bought my house, I inquired about the septic tank and was told that were no problems with it. It was one of those issues I did not push and it turned out to be OK. I am pretty sure it has never been pumped.

    Due to where mine was placed, the truck will have to drive across the yard and I have missed the dry summer window to do so.....Unless they can possibly pump from the road. Does anyone know the maximum hose length these trucks can pump?
  17. loon

    loon Minister of Fire

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    pretty much endless, but do a quick measure before you call them so they can throw some extra hoses on the truck.

    over here its the law to have a tank cleaned out and inspected on sale of property ;-)

    terry
  18. Later

    Later New Member

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    Just spent $8K to clear up an issue that the previous owner caused when he never pumped the tank. Do it every 2 years now. $125.00
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    So you pump it every 2 years even if it doesnt need it?
  20. Later

    Later New Member

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    Yup. I clean the screen every year and every other year I have the septic tank and dosing tank pumped. $125 well spent. Around here 8 grand doesn't grow on trees.
  21. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Well in 60 years I would have spent 4000.00 on pumping (doesnt grow on trees either).....Again I have check it and working well just must be one lucky sob! Was inspected when I bought the house and again this spring(very wet spring). I would have it pump if it need it.
  22. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    I had a new system installed because my cesspool failed ,no septic tank. Because my home is 100 years old the city told me I don't have a cesspool. There is no mention of it on the survey. The city told me since i dont have a cesspool it is not a repair and i must submit for new construction under 2008 guideline's. The city told me I had to hire an Engineer, submit permit, do perk tests, get permit to open fire hydrant to do pump test(I'm a firefighter). 22k later I can shower and sit on the John! I would pump it at least every 5 years! It could not hurt! They wonder why people hate the Government.
    Oh I did hear that bakers yeast is a good treatment every 6 months or so. Who knows?
  23. loon

    loon Minister of Fire

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    60 years :gulp: a mouse woulda filled that up 20 times :cheese: wonder where its going???

    loon
  24. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    Of course, $4,000 is half of $8,000! Also, $4K over 60 years is better than $8K at once!

    I've been pumping every two years, but I've always wondered why my relatives never needed to.

    S
  25. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    At 110$ I would pump more often, it does no damage. They get about 350$ for us to pump the typical 1000 gallon tank out here in the NW.

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