Septic field going bad??

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by gundogblue, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. gundogblue

    gundogblue New Member

    Messages:
    14
    I live 20 miles south of Chicago, and we got about 6 inches of rain that came from the huricane that struck Galviston. Since then I've noticed that there is a wet spot in my yard that is over the field tile leading from my septic tank and going down hill, the wet spot is about 5 feet long and 2 feet wide, it constantly stays wet. Could this be from all the rain, or is that just a coincidence, and I have a broken field tile? So far the septic tank has'nt backed up into the drains or anything like that. If it's a broken field tile , is it a simple matter of digging up the ground and exposing the broken tile, and replaceing it, or is there a lot more to it than that, Im not very knowledgable with septic tanks, and field tile systems. Any info will be greatly appriciated.
    Paul :confused:
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    If that is a line actually *between* your septic tank and drain field, it is possible your drain field is temporarily full from the rain, and the tile in-between is leaking simply because the drainage from your tank has no place else to go at the moment.

    The rain is a possibility, but if your tank is not backing up, its drainage must be going somewhere.

    Possibly so, but that might not actually be necessary unless there are nearby roots that might find their ways into it. Personally, I would not be too concerned about your situation unless/until your septic tank begins backing up.
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You have had a huge rainfall and flooding...
    Go easy on the water usage and wait n see what happens when the ground dries out.
  4. gundogblue

    gundogblue New Member

    Messages:
    14
    I thank you guys for the info, your answers make me feel a little better. Earlier, I spoke with the nieghbor across the street who was here when the original owner of my home built it, he told me that the guy who built my home was in the septic tank buisness, and because he had nine kids, he put three lines going out of the septic tank, and that there is a lot of junction boxes, and lines running on my property. He told me that he doubted that a field tile was broke because if they brake it's useually in the earlly spring, he told me that his first thought would be a blocked junction box. Does any of that sound right, at any rate Im gonna take your advice and watch it for a while and see what happens, hopefully the wet spot will dry up and go away. I guess the reason this is so scary to me is because I don't know much about septic tanks, and septic fields, one more thing, my well is about 175 feet from the wet spot, should I be concerned about it seeping into the ground water? Thanks again for all the advice I really do appriciate it.
    Paul
  5. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Since there should be no solids coming out of your tank, roots are about the only possibility for blocking a distribution box or field system. If you would like to attempt trying to locate your lines and distribution boxes, have a welding shop put a comfortable "T" handle (like with 3/4" pipe) on the end of a 4' piece of 3/8" steel rod with a pointed end and begin poking into the ground at the output end of your septic tank. With some patience and a notepad to map your progress and finds, you should be able to locate the various components and even open a distribution box for inspection.

    Here where I live just a hundred miles east of you, I believe something like 75' is a minimum distance and I have no trouble with my deep well being even a little closer than that. However, the more important factors there are the depth of the well and the types of soils dealing with surface waters.
  6. gundogblue

    gundogblue New Member

    Messages:
    14
    leejosepho,
    Thanks so much for all your help, my well is 150 feet deep, but they got water at 50 feet. This week-end Im gonna find out just where the lines and distrobution boxes are, it's something I as a home owner should know. I just hope this problem goes away. Thanks for everything.
    Paul
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,642
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    wet spot

    sewer water is strictly governed by gravity. It CANNOT flow up to the surface of the ground UNLESS the sewer is obstructed beyond that point, and the water is backed up to that same height elsewhere in the system to give the hydrostatic pressure to force it to the surface. Therefore, it is probably standing incidental water.
  8. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    It sounds like you've gotten good advice so far. I'd like to add though that you should have the tank pumped and inspected every three years. If you've just moved in that should be the first thing that you do. The reason is that if the drain lines should only have water in them, and if the tank fills up with sludge (on the bottom) or scum (floating on the top) and gets into the discharge (near the middle of the depth) then you'll get solids in the drain field and ruin it forever.

    Along with this service I'd also suggest getting an effluent filter installed in order to reduce this possibility in the future. The guy that pumps the tank should be able to put this in. If he can't call someone else.
  9. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Along with poking around, you might check with your local permit palace to see whether there is a record of your system on file. Also, here is the filter I use at the discharge end of my own septic tank:
    http://www.gag-simtech.com/new_files/Page566.htm

    That particular filter looks and feels like a large "bottle brush", it is relatively inexpensive and it can be easily pulled, sprayed clean and reused many times.
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