I have a septic issue that I am trying to figure out

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by lzicc, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. lzicc

    lzicc New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Allison Park, PA
    I purchased this house last year. There is a septic tank that gets pumped up to the city sewage manhole. Prior to this, the septic tank pumped uphill to a leach field, but since then city sewage was put in.

    2 weeks ago, my basement toilet would flush but the water backed up. After investigating, I saw that the septic tank was full to the top. I pump it out into a side yard with a sump pump. The toilet started flushing properly after that. I thought that the pump went bad so I replaced it with a new one. The tank filled up again and I had to manually pump it out into the side yard. When the tank filled up the last time, I could hear the pump working, so I let it run all night. The next day I looked in the tank and the level wasn't any lower but the pump was still running.

    The manhole where this pumps to is about 300' with a 20' rise from the septic tank. That's an estimate.

    The discharge pipe that goes from the septic tank to the manhole is 1 1/2" and looks to be schedule 40.

    Of what I can think of, either the discharge pipe is clogged or broke. When this first happened with the old pump, when I pulled the manhole cover, I could see water pumping into the manhole from my line, but it was a very low flow. That I why I replaced the original pump with a new one thinking that the old one was not working correct. But that didn't fix the issue. The new pump has a head pressure of about 60' which should be large enough for my rise and length I would think.

    I don't know if there are 2 tanks or one big tank underground. I only have 1 access hole, but it could be 1 tank with a baffle in it to keep the solids from getting pumped.

    I can't really snake the pipe due to length and size. I'm not sure what to do. What are the chances that discharge line could have clogged or broke between the septic tank and the manhole? It's schedule 40 which is pretty rugged buried underground.
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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  4. lzicc

    lzicc New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Allison Park, PA
    I am going to replace the septic tank with a fiberglass basin and grinder, but if the discharge pipe would happened to be clogged or broke, I would need to get that addressed first. It ran fine all year and the people who owned the house before me were running it also.

     
  5. Treeman

    Treeman Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Michigan
    I have zero experience with this and am a diyer. I think I would first confirm that your new pump is working by running it unconnected. It's rare, but sometimes things are defective right out of the box.

    After that, it seems that logic would lead one to think that the pipe is clogged or broke. Any heavy traffic or other recent events around this line? 300' of 1.5 inch PVC is only $150, so keep that in mind when trying to unclog the existing pipe (regarding costs).

    I'm guessing that sump and ejector pumps with impellers don't have the ability to build up much pressure against a clog? Is there a way to hook up either a water line or air compressor at one end of the 1.5 inch line to get more pressure on the line? Maybe 50 to 125 lbs. to dislodge a clog? Be mindful to not shatter the line or contaminate your potable water. Another cheap solution might be to get 150 feet of 1/2" poly line and run it into the PVC line (from each direction) as a "water drill" to flush out a clog. This would only work if there are no elbows in the line.

    Good luck. Let us know the outcome.
     
  6. lzicc

    lzicc New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Allison Park, PA
    Treeman, you and I think alike. One thing that I did not consider is the inline check valve. It is in the vertical part of the pipe leading up from the pump. To me, it is work though because when I disconnect the pump from the discharge pipe, water comes flowing back into the septic tank from the line. Not 300' worth, but a good amount comes out.

    I currently have the pump disconnected from the discharge line. I am going to power the pump on to make sure it is pumping. It will just flow back into the tank.

    I thought about getting a roll of 1/2" pex and try to snake it with that. It should be a somewhat straight run to the manhole without any elbows. I do worry about it getting stuck, but it would be rigid enough.

    I also thought about using compressed air in the line. I would have to buy a fitter that goes from 1 1/2" down to a air fitting so it builds pressure.

    I am at the point of buying new pipe and running it. Like you said, it's doesn't cost much and I would know what I have. It kills me though not knowing if the line is obstructed or not.
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    You could try a medium Brasscraft drain bladder. From the bottom, or the top if you have water available there. However the flow may be more along the lines of your trickle. It's cheap and easy.

    A Clog Hog on a gas pressure washer could clean 100 or even 150 ft from each end that you have water at potentially. Maybe find a local commercial jetter with a line that can do 1.5 inch pipe.
     
  8. lzicc

    lzicc New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Allison Park, PA
    I talked to the sewage authority and they cannot snake back to me since it is considered private. He did say that there may be a second check valve up closer to the manhole. That could possibly have clogged or is stay shut.
     
  9. lzicc

    lzicc New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Allison Park, PA
    I think I found the issue though. I dug around where the 1 1/2" discharge line is and it comes out 1 1/2" PVC but there is a reducer that goes to 1" then to black poly pipe. I would post a picture, but I can't seem to find out how to upload, only link to a URL. So if my pump can pass 3/4" solids and it goes into a 1" pipe, it's definitely going to clog up.
     
  10. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Occupation:
    Repairing and remodeling homes
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    When You find something this unprofessional , You need an experienced Plumber to come out. Fist He will check all the plumbing , then make repairs that are code and work. This is Your familys health. Good luck Tool
     
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
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    On a new post, just click the Upload button. You might have to scroll down to see it.

    If editing an existing post, click "More Options..." first.

    Uploaded photos 800 pixels max, 200kB max.
     
  12. lzicc

    lzicc New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Allison Park, PA
    Thanks Reach4. See attached. The black pipe on the left is the 1" pipe that leads to the manhole and the white 1 1/2" pipe on the right is what is coming out of the septic tank. The 4" black pipe that goes up and down I put there while I was digging to cover up the inspection hole for the tank.

    If you think about it, the gray reducer is 1", by the time you add the wall of the reducer, you are down to 3/4".
     

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  13. lzicc

    lzicc New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Allison Park, PA
    I called the sewer authority. I am permitted to run a new line and attach it to the sewer main, they will need to inspect prior to me burying the pipe. They are sending a crew out to see how the current pipe is attached. They have been so helpful during this whole process.
     
  14. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Occupation:
    Repairing and remodeling homes
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    So your whole home's sewerage and waste water passes through a 1" line ! Brilliant !!
    Do You think It's time for a licensed plumber ??
     
  15. lzicc

    lzicc New Member

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    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Allison Park, PA
    Yes, me. I trust me. The person that installed the 1" line was a licensed plumber. The development that was put in where my leach field was installed are the ones that installed the manhole and ran the line. That all happened prior to me owning the house. I've seen first hand some shoddy plumbing work done by master plumbers.

     
  16. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Repairing and remodeling homes
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    yea , those master plumbers !!
     
  17. lzicc

    lzicc New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Allison Park, PA
    I got the sewer main dug up and found the stub out. It's a 6" pipe, you can see it in the first pic, then about 10' away from the sewer main, I found where it gets reduced to 4" PVC then down to 1" poly pipe. I was able to cut the 4" PVC and put a reducer in there down to 1 1/2" PVC and got the line run down to where the new grinder pump will go. It's supposed to rain the next few days, so I will have to wait for the weekend to in the the pump and basin. I have the basin/pump already, just need to dig down about 8", cut the main sewer line which is ABS, it's hard to find ABS around here, but that is what the main sewer line is, make my connections, wire it into the breaker box and it will be ready to go. I got the EONE Grinder pump/basin EH071. It's pre setup and ready to go. What is nice about it is that it uses electric switches instead of floats and has a head pressure of 185'.
     

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  18. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    http://www.charlottepipe.com/Documents/PL_Tech_Man/ExpansionandContraction.pdf talks about thermal expansion and contraction issues. At least don't bury the pipe at the hot part of the day. Maybe first thing in the morning.

    Snaking 1.5 inch PVC would be hard. I might have been thinking of SIDR polyethylene, but I have no actual relevant experience.

    That elevation looks considerable.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  19. lzicc

    lzicc New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Allison Park, PA
    Thank you for that link. I wanted to go with poly pipe but I cannot find it around here in that size. Of what the plumbing supply said, plumbers use Schedule 40 for these installs instead of the poly, that is why they don't stock it. I did ask the sewage and the pump distributor and they both said that PVC or Poly is fine. I told them that I was going to go with 1 1/2" PVC and they said that 1 1/4" PVC would suffice, but again, 1 1/4" is not a popular size. I do like the poly since it is 1 piece. I did use high pressure couplers for the PVC joints. They are longer than regular couplers.

    The elevation between the septic tank and the sewer main is about 24' and the distance is 225'.
     
  20. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
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    IL
  21. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Occupation:
    Repairing and remodeling homes
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    Adapt N use PVC a stronger choice ! Good luck. Tool
     
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