What does this sound like?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Mike Swearingen, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. Is your home on a septic sytem or public sewer?
    Sounds like a main drain line partial clog in either case, unless you're on a septic system and the drainfield is getting saturated in heavy rains.
    You need to rent a heavy-duty plumber's snake, open a main drain line clean-out and snake the line from the house to the street if public sewer, or to the tank if on a septic system. Unless you're a fairly strong lady, you might need a little help with that heavy-duty plumber's snake.
    Good Luck!
  2. gagirl1961

    gagirl1961 New Member

    Thanks Mike.I have a private septic tank.Yes,at 5'2",115 lbs,I think I'll recruit some help.But what would be an example of a "main drain"? Thank you so very much:)
  3. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    For whatever reason, your field system is saturated ... and that is probably because it was not done correctly in the first place and the water simply has no place to go. Have your septic tank pumped, and I bet the problem goes away completely until the tank fills back up to its usual level. To solve the problem, you will likely end up with an elevated drain field and a dosing tank with a pump to get the septic tank's output up to that height. Those kinds of systems can be expensive, and your builder should be held accountable.
  4. The main drain line will be the largest 3" or 4" size line leaving the house. A clean-out would be a threaded cap with a square plug on top. The clean-out access could be in a crawlspace, basement or in the yard just outside the house.
    You should be able to get your Health Department to come out and inspect your septic system. They would have had to inspect and approve it to begin with for the permit. If ground saturation is the problem, pumping the 1,000-gallon septic tank (about $265 here) will give you temporary relief and tell you if saturation is the problem (by everything working fine until the tank fills back up and things become sluggish and back up again).
    As mentioned, correcting that could get expensive. I would try to go to the builder first to see if he will correct it, after getting guidance fromt he Health Department.
    Good Luck!
  5. gagirl1961

    gagirl1961 New Member

    Thanks for having this forum.I am a single woman working with a tight budget so I have to try and do as much around the house myself,as I can.I have been in this house almost 6 years.It was brand new when I bought it.Pretty much the entire time I've been here,after it rains,when the water would drain out of the washing machine,both the toilets would bubble.Then,Monday,it bubbled up definite toilet stuff:( in both bathtubs,bathroom sinks,and the toilets.Nothing came up in the kitchen sink.In trying to decide what to do,I've just been draining the washer into a bucket and tossing it outside since Monday.Hadn't had any more backups.We're using the toilets(my child and myself) Oh.And I haven't used the dishwasher either.Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    To restate what has already been said...you have one of two things wrong: the line going to the septic tank has a partial clog, or (more likely), the field where the water goes from the tank is not built properly, and after a rain becomes totally saturated and can no longer accept any additional waste water. The lines could be built with a back slope and instead of draining away from the tank, they fill it back up when the ground gets wet, or, they did not use enough sand and gravel for a proper 'perc test' (tests how quickly water will be absorbed into the drainage field).

    The septic tank is normally nearly full - the excess that comes in goes out into the drainage field from the distribution box. The tank captures solids so they don't clog the drainage field. It is possible that the tank filled with solids, and then those got washed out into the distribution box and drainage field ruining it, but at 6-years, possible, but not probable unless you flushed all sorts of stuff (do you have a garbage disposal and use it a lot?).

    If the tank is pumped out (may be in the 1000 gallon range), if the drain to it isn't clogged, until that fills back up, everything should work fine.

    But, since you indicated this has been going on for a long time, but has gotten worse recently, I'm leaning more towards an impropper septic system install.
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    A few things come to mind here...

    You bought this new 6 years ago...
    Has the tank been pumped in those 6 years?
    If not it's overdue!

    Another thing is on some tanks there is a filter that keeps solids from going into the leaching fields. Sometimes this filter can become clogged slowing the flow or, stopping the flow of grey water out of the tank. Cleaning this filter may be your problem solver...

    I agree with the others that rain and saturated ground coinciding with your problem has the ominous sound of a badly designed leaching field, however, It may also be your perception and the problem may be one of the above. Lets hope!

    In any case calling to have your tank cleaned is the first step to finding out what is going on with your septic system. Fees for cleaning a tank usually will be in the $2-300 range.

    I wish you luck with your problem and please do post back with how you make out!
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