My septic tanks inlet is lower than my commode drain

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Mad Plumber, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. Mad Plumber

    Mad Plumber Mad Skills

    Messages:
    222
    I am building a house. I made a change in location and now my septic tank inlet is 4"-8" above my commode drain. Would a pressure flush toilet help?
    Mike W
  2. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    NO it won't
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,522
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    Why did you do that in the first place? No, a pressure flush toilet will not work. Unless you can correct your mistake somehow, you will have to install an ejector pump for the basement plumbing.
  4. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    HJ, I think it's worse than even that. If the tank is above the main line, the entire system will be full of you know what. He would have to dump the entire house into a tank and then pump it up from there. Seen it done, but it's expensive. Tank needs to be 50% larger than normal and so does the leach field.
  5. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Your best option is to lower the septic tank so you will have a normal gravity flow going out of the house ... and if your drain field is also already installed, compare the cost of lowering it to the cost of an effluent (dosing) pump between the tank and the drain field.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,522
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    I assume at this point he would direct the drain out through the wall high enough to get into the tank, and just pump the basement.
  7. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Sure, but maybe there is no basement, and I would be hesitant about overall frost issues here where I live even though I have heard a properly-vented line out to a septic tank should never freeze.
  8. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    7,452
    Location:
    Connecticut
    That would be a gravity line, properly pitched. Not a forced main.
    A forced main has to be below the frost line or it will freeze.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,522
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    IF this is not a house with a basement, then the inspectors screwed up when they approved the tank installation. The best solution, long term, might be a bulldozer.
  10. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,334
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Perhaps this question belongs in the "Why is Everyone a Plumber" section. You don't suppose this is a DIY construction job with no permits and/or inspections?:rolleyes:
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,522
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    Maybe. I really cannot imagine ANYONE revising a building's plan so radically that the drain came out below the septic connection. AND in most cases the septic is not installed UNTIL the plumbing is in place so this cannot happen. Maybe this is something for "Holmes on Homes". I would love to hear what he had to say about the genius who let it happen.
  12. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I thank you for that bit of info ... and that is because a "forced main" would not be empty between pump cycles, correct?

    Maybe the house is being rebuilt (on a hill?) and the septic system was already there?
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,522
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    That is why they make building pads so the house is up to the proper elevation. If it is a rebuilding, unless they completely destroyed the old house, the floor would still be at its original elevation. Forced mains are only full of water until they reach the point where proper drainage grade can be restored.
  14. Rich H

    Rich H Civil Engineer

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I would agree - best bet is to 'do over' and reset the tank and drainfield.

    And, before you go making more changes - ask a few questions of the people working on the project with you. One 'little' change can cost a LOT of money. Changing things on paper is WAY cheaper than changing it in the real world...

    Here in northern Wisconsin, we have had a few low-snow, very cold winters and MANY people have had their septics freeze up on them. Typically, little attention is paid to how deep that line is placed relative to the frost line (typically 48" here). I'd say 99% of septics are gravity.
  15. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Plumbers screw up as well. In one job I had my licensed plumber:
    • installed my main level laundry room floor drain in the basement;
    • plumbed the water service through the basement slab into a shower stall (right next to the drain);
    • installed the main shut off valve in the basement ceiling, above and behind a boiler;
    • "forgot" a PRV valve, running 150 psi service into the house.
  16. BAPlumber

    BAPlumber Plumber

    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Vashon, Washington
    sounds like someone who doesn't care or doesn't know how to read prints.

    what was it that made you hire them in the first place?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
  17. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,522
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    plumber

    Did he know you intended to use that floor drain for a shower, and if so, why wasn't it a shower drain fitting? Why wasn't the main valve where it came into the building in the shower? Did you specify a PRV, did he know the pressure when he bid the project, does your area specify a PRV for all new work? If none of these apply why would he "donate" a PRV to your job.
  18. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    1. I gave him a complete set of engineered plans for the house. The floor drain was for a laundry room, at the low point of a floor framed to slope at 1/4"/ ft to a center low point. I figured the words "floor drain" pointing to a small circle on the first floor plan would be an additional clue. I even bought the drain fitting and duct-taped it to the floor where it had to go, and he had to trip over it while he was plumbing the rest of the room.
    2. Why would the main shut off be in a shower? Isn't that where you'd take a shower? I figured he'd set it next to an interior partition wall inside the heated garage, near the boiler, which is about 12" from where he put it. That was what we discussed before he started.
    3. According to the utility company, A PRV is required per Code. Regardless, I offered to pay for the valve if he'd put it in. Instead he just stopped showing up at the job site.

    This was about a $10,000 contract with three draws. He got his first two. He didn't have the balls to send me an invoice for the third. I didn't mention some of the other stunts that he pulled. At one point he joked with my dry wall guy 'that he'll never get a CO, and will be camped out in a tent looking at his house from the outside'. It turns out that he knew the building inspector, a failed plumber himself, and Mr. failed plumber never filed his daily inspection reports, even though we saw him on site at least 4 times, two of which he and I talked extensively in front of several of my subcontractors. I eventually had to hire an attorney and threaten to sue the County to get my CO.
  19. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    My GC hired him. They are one of the largest subs in the area, and they came recommended by a guy he went to college with and now works for an adjacent county, head of maintenance for the schools. That's how we hired the framer and concrete guy, and they were excellent.
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