Odd trap / drain depth question.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by RPN, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO
    As I noted in a different thread, a licensed plumber will be plumbing (at least DWV) a bathroom addition for me.

    In the drawing below, there is a soon to be poured concrete slab (in green) and also a soon to be poured foundation (in white).

    In order to maintain access to the second port of the septic tank, there has to be a slight "crawl space". As it happens, the shower drain will also need to run through this area.

    When we pour the foundation, we will need to provide an opening in the foundation for the shower drain to meet up with the tub drain.

    My question is: What is a good distance (vertically) from the bottom of the shower to the port in the foundation?

    Screen shot 2012-10-03 at 11.06.10 PM.png

    Screen shot 2012-10-03 at 11.06.48 PM.png
  2. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    3,030
    Location:
    Maine
    Your plumber will know what to set grade at.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    WHY is the shower drain "outside" the foundation? Is the septic tank going to be under the house?, If so, that is a No-No. If the foundation went straight there would not be a need for a shower drain "port". The drain system installation will determine the shower drain height, NOT the other way around. Trust your plumber to install it correctly.
  4. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO

    Yes he will. But he won't be out there for at least another three weeks and we need to pour the foundation next week. I would try to explain it to him over the phone, but he and I would both be confused before that was over. He isn't exactly high tech or I would just email him a drawing.

    I am thinking about just making a couple of 4" ports. He can use the one he wants and I will plug the other one.
  5. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO
    hj, the septic tank will extend about halfway under the addition. One port of the tank will be easily accessible. The other port will be under the addition about 30" past the outside of the foundation. When the plumber originally looked at it, he said we could either make a U around it or pour straight across it. This was with the understanding that if we placed the foundation across the tank, it would be very expensive were an issue to occur with the buried end of the tank.

    He didn't know (neither did we) at the time that we would want to put a shower on top of it.

    Is it a good solution? No. However it is the only one that will work with the site. There is no other place to add on to the house and moving the tank is really an option at the moment. Access through the foundation to the port will be approximately 24" high and 24" wide.

    Edited to add: The shower drain will be in the way if some needs to get to the tank port. However, PVC is cheap. We will probably seal the 24"x24" access with a 3" concrete panel or something else suitable for ground contact.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
  6. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    I may be wrong here but I believe there are codes concerning how far away from the house a septic tank has to be. I believe that there is no way it can be under the house. IIRC 25' minimum is how far the tank needs to be from the dwelling
  7. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO

    Yeah? Hold my sweet tea and watch this. :p



    There is no code enforcement here. Even if there was, the code enforcement officer would have to drive back into the hills until he heard banjos. Then, he might run a risk of getting shot at because he would almost have to drive through the yard of our neighbor (1/2 mile away) to get to our locked gate (which is still 1/4 mile from the house).

    My point is: I respect the code. When I do electrical, I wire to the code or better. My wiring practices are better than most licensed electricians. However, in this case we are trying to make the best of a bad situation. We didn't build the house. We didn't place the septic tank 8' from the house. If I was convinced that there is a specific health or safety issue with what we are doing, we wouldn't do it.

    We may build a new house in two or three years. If that happens, the current house will probably become a workshop. Even so, you can't live your life based on what might be.
  8. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
  9. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO
    TS, I have to assume that you never, ever speed and that you pay local use taxes on all of your out of state and online purchases.

    Lack of a policeman does not absolve you of obeying the speed limits. Lack of a tax collector does not absolve you of paying taxes on purchases from Amazon.

    There are dozens of examples. The fact is, people selectively obey the law based on some internal decision making process that cannot really be defined.

    I do respect the code. Yes, I also believe there should be exceptions based on circumstances - as long as the exception does not pose a threat to life and limb.

    Give me a good reason why it is dangerous and I will listen to it.

    Yes, he is a licensed plumber. What is he doing illegal?
  10. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    I'm not going to argue with you. You can equivocate and justify to your hearts content. By your twisted reaoning we should do away with all laws and rules. If you get a chance to stand before a Judge you can explain your reasoning to him.....good luck. As for a reason, I'll tell you what. You do some research on septic tanks, sewer gas, waste disposal and then tell me.
  11. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO
    TS, don't quit now! Did the speeding and taxes remark hit too close to home?

    Regarding laws, even at an extreme stretch you cannot possibly read "we should do away with all laws and rules" into what I wrote.

    I am very interested if you can give me a real reason (other than "because it's the law"). My family's safety is of great importance to me.

    You also didn't explain what the plumber is going to do that is illegal. I would like to hear what you have to say as I certainly wouldn't like to see him get into trouble.
  12. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    #1 Most important Hydrogen Sulfide Gas ! Please Google this most
    important for living will "kill" like cyanide or carbon monoxide !
    #2 The solid side of tank with inlet baffle is where tank must be pumped from to properly maintain septic action
    #3 As noted above the state "health code" does not allow for housing
    over a septic tank,
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Your logic seems to be that you only have to obey the laws when someone is "watching you". The rest of the time, they are just "Suggestions".
  14. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    Location:
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    How many times has someone posted that there is no inspector, or the inspectors are all idiots, or my plumber says I don't need a permit or inspections. I get real tired of the same old excuses. The truth is that these guys don't respect the law or the codes and they think they are smarter, better or the rules don't apply to them. Then they come here expecting us to solve their problems for them but they don't want to play by the rules or they get pissy when we point out their stupidity.
  15. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO

    TS, the problem I asked about was what was a good height for the shower drain to run through the concrete wall. If I had said the wall was needed for some structural oddity (and not mentioned the septic tank), you might have actually given a helpful answer.

    Ironically, we have rearranged the bathroom layout (no tub or shower unit, added a large corner curbed shower). No drain will need to run through the inset area now, so my original question is unneeded.

    You still didn't answer my question about speeding or taxes on internet or out-of-state purchases. I would just like to know the answer to that just make sure it we aren't dealing with a case of "I can violate the law in the areas want to, but you can't."
  16. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO

    Not at all hj. Again, every person makes up their own mind about to what level they will comply with the law of the land. Hence my question to TS about speeding and taxes.

    I recently did some electrical upgrades on our farm. To do them to code required a fair amount of trouble and expense. However, I did what was required - with one exception. I spliced inside an LB that did not have the cubic inches marked on it. Some inspectors would pass that and some wouldn't. However, having the cubic inches stamped inside the enclosure does not change physical qualities of the enclosure one whit.
  17. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO
    TS, this caught my eye. Read my posts and read your posts. Then tell me who is getting "pissy".
  18. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO

    Thank you for your rational response.

    1. I am familiar with H2S (sewer gas). Yes, it is very toxic (and flammable). I would never consider a traditional wooden joist crawlspace floor over a septic tank port. However, I am quite comfortable with with several inches of concrete between living space and the port.

    For H2S to enter the dwelling, three things would have to happen.

    i. The port plug would have to be dislodged. This seems unlikely, but let's assume that pressure built up in the tank enough to dislodge the concrete plug out of its seal.

    ii. The gas would have to migrate through 12" of packed top soil. If pressure has already dislodged the plug, we can assume that a foot of topsoil is no obstacle.

    iii. The gas has now reached air space that is 12" high, 24" wide, and 30" deep. This space is vented to the outside and surrounded by concrete on the sides, back, and top (and dirt and tank on the bottom). The laws of physics still apply. I do not believe they make a bathroom vent fan that is powerful enough to suck the H2S through the sides or top of that concrete box (even if it cracked).

    2. The solids side could be easily pumped with any hose I have seen on pump trucks around here. The only pumping issue is that a scoop or rod could not be used to break up large solids.

    3. I know, thank you.
  19. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,030
    Location:
    Maine
    So why are you not willing to comply with your plumbing project? Ahhhhh, it will cost too much and inconvieniance you

    Also notice how nobody is too willing to help you on your project either. Wonder why that is? :rolleyes:
  20. RPN

    RPN New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    MO

    The only way to relocate the septic tank would be to move it 100 yards and then it would be higher than the house and require a lift pump. Yep, it will cost too much.

    Have you read my posts in this thread? We have already relocated the position of the drain and this particular thread is now pointless.


    This is getting pretty deep on the philosophical end of things. There are laws that protect our basic civil rights - IE murder is illegal. Then there are laws that have no basis in what people consider our "God given rights" - seatbelt laws are one. You should not be able to break the law in the case of murder (yet, people do). You should be able to break the seatbelt law (and, people do). If you could not ever break any law, then the penalty for every crime would be death. Instead, we try to "make the punishment fit the crime." That is, we assign punishments to laws based on how badly we do not want people to break them. The penalty for not wearing your seatbelt is relatively minor (a fine but no jail time).


    Unless it violates a basic human right, it becomes a simple risk vs reward decision.

    Like it or not, yes, that really is how our society works. Don't believe it? Go drive the speed limit on the interstate and see how many times you get passed.
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