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Septic Pump

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by eric-holmes, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    Got some bad news yesterday and my ground didn't perk as well as I thought it should. Turns out I'm going to need about 700' of field line and a septic pump. Septic pumps seem just like something else to go wrong. I'm looking for someone else who has one and can ease my ill stomach at the moment. I've never had anything but a gravity drain system.

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  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    What's the pump for? To lift the effluent to a gravity dbox or will all 700 feet be a pressure distribution? The pressure distribution systems are so superior that the pump is totally worth it.
  3. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    I will have to verify. When he started talking about all this, all I could see were $$$ signs and more things to go wrong.
  4. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    Just hope that you aren't required to get a mound system...ka-ching.
  5. Laurent Cyr

    Laurent Cyr Member

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    I had my whole septic system redone. We are on clay soil, so had to truck in 30 trucks of sand to buidl up a septic field. When they changed the septic tank, they added a septic pump to pump the liquid up into the field. I haven`t had any problems with it since install 4 years ago. A small siren installed in the basement goes off if the pump stops working for any reason. I check the pump as well as the screen filters in the septic ank twice per year to make sure nothing clogs them up.
  6. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    He said it woul be an effluent pump that would pump from the tank to the field. He said it would wait until there are 70 gallons to pump and then it would activate, maybe 2x daily. I will require 8-95' lines and he said anything over 500' of line is require to have a pump by code. I have another area of land we plan to perk later this week and we will go from there.
    Swedishchef and Laurent Cyr like this.
  7. Laurent Cyr

    Laurent Cyr Member

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    Yep. Sounds just like mine. 150 feet from the tank to the field.
  8. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    Yeah, but my field will start almost directly after the tank though.
  9. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Not a big fan of pumps pushing my poo...but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. There are setups like this in my neck of the woods. I have a friend who has an Ecoflo setup with a pump. Works like magic.

    Andrew
  10. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    Eric, sounds like the size of land you have gives you a few options. The cost you will be incurring will be an investment in your land/house that will always be returned if the need ever arises to sell your holdings. If you don't sell, it is still an investment and you know that your new system will be done right and "worry free". The initial cost seems like a small (?) obstacle now, but you'll be relieved when it's all done. Good luck! Also, welcome to the forum!
    eric-holmes and Laurent Cyr like this.
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I would say that most systems are now using pumps. You were not specific but it sounds like you are proposing a pressure distribution system where those 95 foot laterals are actually small diameter (like 1") pipes with holes to squirt the effluent. The pump kicks on every 70 gallons or so and pushes effluent out of the tank and to the drainfield. These are great systems. They are not as sensitive to installation perfection, they "dose" the ENTIRE drainfield twice daily so the effluent has a chance to soak in. A dry drainfield is a happy drainfield, compare this to a gravity systems that almost constantly dribble effluent into the first hole large enough to take it. The gravity drainfield floods the portion of drainfield at that first hole, more of a progressive failure system.

    I would be thrilled to have a pressure distribution system with a pump. You know it won't backup into your house unless the pump fails. These pumps do fail but they are easily changed and are very common. It'll either be corrosion at the wiring splice or the floats stick internally sometimes. The pump itself seems to be robust.

    In our area they allow a reduction in drainfield due to the pressure distribution system. Las t time I did one it was 25% smaller.
    Joful likes this.
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    We have a pump.

    The water table here is very high so when the previous owners had to redo the septic to pass MA Title V inspection to put the house on the market in 2008 a mound system was installed. Total cost of that project was close to $30,000 for a small 3BR so I'm glad they did it not me. The setup is like this:

    • Regular 4in PVC sewer line from the house runs to a standard buried 1,500gal 2 chamber baffled septic tank.
    • Filtered overflow from that tank runs into a second 1,000gal buried tank that serves as a pump chamber.
    • A 1/2hp pump in that tank pumps effluent uphill to the leaching field in a mound.

    The pump is a Barnes unit, a cast iron pump basically like your typical sump pump(not a sewage grinder, its only pumping liquid to the leech field). As long as the system is working properly and the main tank is maintained only liquid should ever get to the pump tank . The pump is float operated and triggers whenever the tank gets to 300 odd gallons full and turns off at 200 gallons. There is an alarm float that triggers when the level gets to ~400 gallons if the pump fails (still have 600 more gallons of free capacity at that point). The pump controls are all wired to a control panel in the basement that has an ear shattering alarm that goes off is the alarm float is triggered, provides controls to run the pump either on auto (float) or manually and has a generator hookup.

    The design flow of my system for 3 bedrooms is 330gal/day so if we where using it to capacity the pump would trigger and dose the leach field with 100 gallons 3x a day. If the pump failed or the power is out the pump tank gives you have at least 2-3 days of reserve capacity before backup would become imminent, and the generator hookup is there for long term outages. The alarm triggers at less than half full and Ive never heard that come on with less than a 24hr power outage so I'm comfortable its well oversized. (we are on city water so can still use it in an outage)

    I cant tell you about long term reliability but in the 5 years Ive lived with it to date Ive only had one issue - we had water infiltration in a buried junction box for the pump wiring causing intermittent alarms but that was easily fixed by a 30 min service call (which the installer came out same day and did for free since thy goofed up the first time)

    If the pump ever failed its very easy to change as the tanks where both installed with exposed manhole covers for direct access.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
    Highbeam likes this.
  13. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    Our elevation made it possible for us to put in a 500 gal. dosing tank with a flout system instead of the pump. The installer claimed that dosing the field is much better than a traditional systems.
  14. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    Our septic pump died last year, after about 12 years of service. Just to buy the pump myself would have cost about $700, so when I was quoted about $1000 to install, including replacing all the float switches etc., I was glad to let someone else handle it. They said that was about typical life for the pumps.

    TE
    flyingcow likes this.
  15. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    Sherman, NY
    I wish my experience was like Jeremy's post above. When we bought our house, the county made us upgrade from an 800 gallon gravity system to a 1500 gallon sand filter system with a 300 gallon dosing tank (The county *&@hole told my wife (after he asked her if her parents were home :mad:) that he knew it was going to fail...It didn't until she let that damn inspector out of her sight for 30 seconds) We had to cut down 6 trees and bring in 42 yards of aggregate. $12K not including the repairs to keep it running.

    Do everything you can to convince them to let you put in a gravity system.

    In 3 years, I have had 6 instances of the alarm going off with a pump, filter, or electrical problem, and one instance where the alarm failed to go off and I noticed the toilet not flushing right and caught the system before it backed up into the house. In our area, the county engineers the system, and their "engineers" have no clue about NEC code, or any commonly accepted practices. Many of the failures of my system can be traced back to poor engineering. Generator backup has been mandatory for power failures.

    Save yourself the hassle. Around here (Western NY) a gravity system, if properly maintained, typically lasts 40+ years before it fails a dye test.
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Big difference between pressure distribution and sand filters.

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