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Old 10-28-2010, 01:26 AM
 
Location: The Middle
5,262 posts, read 8,247,028 times
Reputation: 6709

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I am fairly new to having a septic tank. We bought our house over a year ago and it has one. The house was built in 1994. 2000 sft, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths. We had a pretty horrible purchase experience with hostile sellers and a bad realtor. A lot of things were not explained and when our septic inspection took place we were told after the fact. The report states very little information. Just that the system is working and it needed to be emptied.

Before moving in I had the system pumped and was told by the company that the previous owners did not take care of the system. There was no gray water on top and when he inserted the shovel, it stood up on its own. Yuck. The company told me that since the system was old and that most septics only last 20 yrs, I should really baby it because its near the end of its lifespan. The people we bought our house from only lived in the house 14 months. The owners before them were the original owners that built the home and from what neighbors have told me they were very meticulous. So I am thinking the septic was only abused for the 14 months the second owners had it. I hoping with my taking care of it, we will be okay for a lot longer than 5 more years. But I am worried because in my sub, I have seen 3 homes get new septics this past summer. All the houses in the sub were built around the same time, about 14-16 yrs ago.

I was talking to my neighbor about septics and he used to pump them for living while in college. He told me that he was friends with the original owner of my house and that they paid extra to have a larger tank installed when the house was built. He said the original owner was at the house every day when the house was being built and he did not cut corners on anything. My neighbor told me that I did not need to empty the tank once a year. He feels the company is just trying to rip me off. He said I could go up to 5 yrs since there are only 3 of us living in the house.

So with this new info about my house from the neighbor, how do you know what size tank you have? From what I read on line, it seems a 3 bedroom house would have a 1,000 gallon tank. So how much more would someone bump up on size? Does it even really matter? I do not intend to go up to 5 yrs but it would be nice to go about 2-3 if possible. Or should I just do the yearly pump to be safe? If so then I am 4 months over due. Thoughts?
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,833 posts, read 21,956,687 times
Reputation: 5354
Check with the planning/building department of the convening authority. All records are public. They should have a record of the septic system that was installed.
It should tell you the size of the tank, the runs of the leach field, and their location.
They may charge a few bucks for a copy of that record- if you require it.
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:37 AM
 
Location: The Raider Nation._ Our band kicks brass
1,856 posts, read 5,959,656 times
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Only a 20 year lifespan? I would say that is a load of crap.

As long as the solids never reach the leach field, it should last forever. Solids stay in the tank, and water evaporates from the leach field. It doesn't drain into the ground like people think. If the laterals get plugged with solids from neglect, you are then screwed.

The next size up from 1000 gallons should be 1500 gallons.

It all depends on where you live, and what your health department mandates. My County goes by the number of bedrooms. I have 5 bedrooms. I had to install two 1500 gallon tanks, and 1500 feet of laterals. I've had it pumped once in 10 years, and I'm probably due for another one. Pumping fees in this part of Ohio run about $150 for that size of tank.
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:47 AM
 
Location: The Middle
5,262 posts, read 8,247,028 times
Reputation: 6709
Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
Check with the planning/building department of the convening authority. All records are public. They should have a record of the septic system that was installed.
It should tell you the size of the tank, the runs of the leach field, and their location.
They may charge a few bucks for a copy of that record- if you require it.
Okay, I should have thought of that. Thank you! Now I just have to figure out where. Its an odd set up here. They call my area a city but its not a city. Nor a township. We have no government so I have to make some calls to see if the neighboring cities have that information.
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Ridgewood
302 posts, read 1,052,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by South Range Family View Post
As long as the solids never reach the leach field, it should last forever. Solids stay in the tank, and water evaporates from the leach field. It doesn't drain into the ground like people think. If the laterals get plugged with solids from neglect, you are then screwed.
The leach field doesn't last forever. Honestly, that's just stupid to say that. A biomat forms in the leach field, which clogs things up. And very little water evaporates from the leach field. There's a reason a perk test is done to size the leach field. It percolates down through the soil.
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,833 posts, read 21,956,687 times
Reputation: 5354
Quote:
Originally Posted by South Range Family View Post
Only a 20 year lifespan? I would say that is a load of crap.

As long as the solids never reach the leach field, it should last forever. Solids stay in the tank, and water evaporates from the leach field. It doesn't drain into the ground like people think. If the laterals get plugged with solids from neglect, you are then screwed.
What the...? I find it truely amazing that one would "think" that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergenite View Post
The leach field doesn't last forever. Honestly, that's just stupid to say that. A biomat forms in the leach field, which clogs things up. And very little water evaporates from the leach field. There's a reason a perk test is done to size the leach field. It percolates down through the soil.
Thank you! Somebody said it without me going on a tangent!
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,825 posts, read 23,242,151 times
Reputation: 4817
In our experience (parents in GA and DW & I in WA) if you keep the amount of raw water going into a septic to a minimum, don't run a sprinkler all day over the leach field, and stick with white TP, don't flush any plastics into it, etc - a septic will work way over 20 years with no attention at all. I want to say my parent's septic has been working fine for over 50 years without any attention or maintenance.

Of course if you ask a septic service if it needs to be pumped periodically, this is like asking a barber if he thinks you need a haircut - they are almost obliged to say yes.

Not strictly according to code everywhere, but if you can run your washing machine drain to a French drain, instead of to the septic, that removes one thing the septic deals with worst. Failing that, maybe a "green" type of detergent would help? (speculating, I don't know one way or the other)...
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:04 PM
 
Location: The Raider Nation._ Our band kicks brass
1,856 posts, read 5,959,656 times
Reputation: 2183
[quote=M3 Mitch;16435687 I want to say my parent's septic has been working fine for over 50 years without any attention or maintenance.

..[/QUOTE]

Exactly. My Mother's has been going strong for 45 years. My brother across the street has the original from 1948, and another brother has the original from 1930. My area is loaded with ancient houses. The only ones that get replaced are the ones that don't get pumped.

The health department in our area keeps an eye on that stuff, and mandates that they get pumped every time a house is sold. Maybe you other guys have crappy soil, but that's not the case here.
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:51 PM
 
Location: The Middle
5,262 posts, read 8,247,028 times
Reputation: 6709
Thanks for the replies. I am probably being extra careful in how I use it but I am fine with that verses replacing the system by doing stupid stuff. In fact, a friend of mine lives down south and told me about 6 months ago I was babying mine too much and not living. I only do one load of laundry, sometimes two a day but I always space them out. One in the morning, one at night. We also upgraded to front loaders. So anyway, my friend called me this morning in fact and was upset because the neighbor behind her found poo in his yard. He followed the trail and its from her yard. She ruined her leach field I think that is what its called. She does back to back loads every day and hasn't emptied it in 5 yrs. She also has 8 people in her household. So...Im good with being over cautious. But would like to know how big it is. I will look at finding this out soon.
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,833 posts, read 21,956,687 times
Reputation: 5354
Is your house on a basement or crawl?
If it is, I suggest you look into having your waste system divided. Re-plumb so that only black water goes to the septic system and gray water can either feed directly into the yard, or you could (if room and budget allow) install a cistern to hold the gray water and pump for yard, garden, or landscape irrigation.
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