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Unread 04-29-2008, 02:03 PM
 
6 posts, read 23,011 times
Reputation: 10
Default Septic tank problem!!??

I currently live in a mobile home community. My former neighbor had ongoing problems with sewage running into her yard from a pipe that was not capped. COme to find out, both of our mobile homes and possibly a third are connected to the same septic tank. When I asked the rental manager about this she said it was made that way before code changed to having one tank per unit and that they didnt have to update the system because it was pre-existing. My neighbor ended up moving out because of all the problems, even after the septic company was out here several times over the past yr and a half. My current neighbors have lived there for about five mths. I have never had any problems until now. A few days ago, I was doing laundry and when my washer drained, the water was coming up into my kitchen sink. Later that night I took a bath and when I let the water out, I used the toilet and flushed, toilet overflowed. When I plunged water shot up out of my tub, it occurred to me then that it was the septic tank. Today, my toilet farther away from the tank wont flush at all, my closer toilet will flush but its slow and comes up in my tub.

I went next door to ask my neighbors if they were experiencing problems, they were not having indoor issues but there was water in their yard coming from the capped pipe. Heck, everytime they flush their toilet, my toilets bubble. I went to check out the septic tank, something doesnt look right. Parts of the ground are sunk in and there is water everywhere. Then I see a kind of rigged contraption so I asked the neighbors about it. According to them, the manager told them that the pump didn't work so they had put in one that sticks out of the ground. Get this! This so called pump is powered from an electrical cord plugged into their outside receptacle. Why should they be paying to power the pump when it it the park owners responsibility to maintain the tank and pump. We rent our unit but they bought theirs and pay lot rent. My neighbors said that there is a pipe visible that runs off into the creek (where a lot of kids like to play) Im getting this pipe is an overflow pipe of some sort. I'm not for sure if the pipe does run into the creek I'm going to go walk along the creek and see if there is a pipe runoff to be sure.

I have seen many septic tanks but Ive never seen one rigged like this, isn't this a code violation?? The owner spends as little as possible in maintaining rental units and any septic issues that arise. I took some pictures and A video so you could see what Im talking about. By the way, my unit is lower than the other two. Also, according to the manager, kids can switch off the pump so it is accessible to kids.

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h2/jdoxakis/101_2076.jpg (broken link)

the ground is sunk in around what Im guessing is the lid of the tank
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h2/jdoxakis/101_2079.jpg (broken link)


The next 2 pics are of the back side of the "pump and therunoff pipe
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h2/jdoxakis/101_2082.jpg (broken link)
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h2/jdoxakis/101_2083.jpg (broken link)

This is the rigged pump and the cord that powers it
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h2/jdoxakis/101_2084.jpg (broken link)
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h2/jdoxakis/101_2085.jpg (broken link)

Here is the video, a closer look at the pump

photobucket.com/albums/h2/jdoxakis/?action=view&current=101_2081.flv

You will probably have to copy/paste Im having issues posting the direct link.

Last edited by jdoxakis; 04-29-2008 at 02:19 PM..
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Unread 04-29-2008, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
10,669 posts, read 22,262,023 times
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"I have seen many septic tanks but Ive never seen one rigged like this, isn't this a code violation??"

If there is a code, I'll guarantee that there is more than one violation there.

The real question is - how do you handle it? I'll also guarantee that if you report it, with the photos, to the health department, the owner will get hit with an order to clean it up, a fine, and quite possibly a notice declaring your property and your neighbors as an uninhabitable health hazard. That means you have to move within a day or two, even if you have to continue to pay rent. Your neighbor who left when the problems started getting bad had the right idea.

Look at your lease. If you are renting, find a way to break it. If you stay, the owner will be so angry with you that your life will be miserable and you'll end up leaving anyway. If you can't break the lease, find an attorney or legal aid group that will work pro bono for you, BEFORE doing the reporting. Once you report this, the sewage is going to hit the fan big time. If your kids have had as much as a sniffle, you may also need to file a civil suit against the landlord. Raw sewage on the ground is a health hazard.* The pictures you have posted point out that this is an intentional violation of health laws in an area likely to be frequented by kids and polluting a neighborhood stream.

*I'll mitigate that comment, in that if the sewage was away from dwellings, did not flow into a stream, and was in an area where people didn't normally go, it would be nowhere near as big a deal. Walk into any cattle pasture or around any farm and you'll find excrement on the surface of the ground. The key issue here is safety, especially of kids.
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Unread 04-29-2008, 03:41 PM
 
6 posts, read 23,011 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
"I have seen many septic tanks but Ive never seen one rigged like this, isn't this a code violation??"

If there is a code, I'll guarantee that there is more than one violation there.

The real question is - how do you handle it? I'll also guarantee that if you report it, with the photos, to the health department, the owner will get hit with an order to clean it up, a fine, and quite possibly a notice declaring your property and your neighbors as an uninhabitable health hazard. That means you have to move within a day or two, even if you have to continue to pay rent. Your neighbor who left when the problems started getting bad had the right idea.

Look at your lease. If you are renting, find a way to break it. If you stay, the owner will be so angry with you that your life will be miserable and you'll end up leaving anyway. If you can't break the lease, find an attorney or legal aid group that will work pro bono for you, BEFORE doing the reporting. Once you report this, the sewage is going to hit the fan big time. If your kids have had as much as a sniffle, you may also need to file a civil suit against the landlord. Raw sewage on the ground is a health hazard.* The pictures you have posted point out that this is an intentional violation of health laws in an area likely to be frequented by kids and polluting a neighborhood stream.

*I'll mitigate that comment, in that if the sewage was away from dwellings, did not flow into a stream, and was in an area where people didn't normally go, it would be nowhere near as big a deal. Walk into any cattle pasture or around any farm and you'll find excrement on the surface of the ground. The key issue here is safety, especially of kids.

The area where the tank is is back about 50 feet from behind my neighbors home. This sewage isnt in my yard....yet but the creek is what Im worried about. We have well water, can this contaminate the water supply? The owner of this MHC lives in California, we are in Georgia. I have thought what the repercussions would be for reporting it, how would they know who reported it, we are not the only ones who are aware of this problem. Our lease is month to month so there wouldnt be any problem breaking it, only thing is we cannot afford to move. My kids don't go into my neighbors yard, but she has kids so there is concern for both of us, I worry about her kids getting sick. There is not that much sewage in her yard, the main problem is the area where the tank is. See I dont know if it runs off into the creek, im abou to go look and see what I can see, chances are it is contaminating the creek because the ground is soaked with sewage not far from the creek.. It upsets to see any landlord skirt around code to save money. The manager called and said the septic company will be out tomorrow, so I plan on asking questions about how it is set up, esp with my neighbors powering the pump.

I just went out and looked, there seems to be a dried up creek bed and I found a large pipe going from one side to the other thru the creek bed, there is mossy looking water under the area in the creek bed where the pipe is. This isnt the main creek, but a smaller one, there is so many trees and busehes it hard for me to get too far back to see. but I did notce that most everyone has a large pipe that leads out across the dried creek bed past whre the tanks are, like there is a large pipe leading out from the tanks to somewhere else. The larger creek, you can only see so far up and it not accesible to walk around unless you get in the water.
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Unread 04-29-2008, 03:58 PM
 
6 posts, read 23,011 times
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I have looked up general diagrams of septic tanks. So, based on this, the pipes leading from our tanks go into a designated drain field, which happens to be in the same direction where the large creek is, no water runs in the creek, the water is still, no flow--like the creek was formed by the sewage water, not being an actual flowing stream. From the tank to the area where the this creek is about 100 feet, I dont know how far out the drain field is supposed to be .

Another thing, most days it doesnt smell that bad but sometimes the air is so thick with stench you want to puke. It certainly has smelled far worse than it does right now.
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Unread 04-29-2008, 06:19 PM
 
14,981 posts, read 13,503,653 times
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You have to call your local heath department!!!!
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Unread 04-29-2008, 06:29 PM
 
Location: A little suburb of Houston
3,700 posts, read 10,177,443 times
Reputation: 1829
Absolutely violations there in any state. Heck, it is even against federal law to discharge sewage into waterways. Plan to move and call your local health department or environmental authority ASAP. While the owner may have been grandfathered in the first time, under most state laws that only holds as long as the system is operating properly...clearly it is not.
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Unread 04-29-2008, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Floribama
8,280 posts, read 13,923,465 times
Reputation: 4613
Is that pipe going into the top of the tank?
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Unread 04-29-2008, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
10,669 posts, read 22,262,023 times
Reputation: 12580
I may not be posting much longer, due to unrelated issues, but if you have a month to month, report it and move. You'll thank yourself later.
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Unread 04-29-2008, 08:50 PM
 
6 posts, read 23,011 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southernnaturelover View Post
Is that pipe going into the top of the tank?
Yes the small pipe is coming from the top of the tank, the large pipe going across the creek bed is coming from the tank too. From what Ive seen from diagrams the pipe shouldnt be on the top of the tank like that. I gather it was too much of a pain to dig it up so they skirted around it. It would be nearly impossible to dig it up because of the massive trees back there. We cannot afford to move or we would have already been gone. Mu husband is concerned that calling the city would cause the landlord to evict but I am going to contact the health dept because I cannot not do anything, it can make our kids out here sick, I would be willing to risk eviction that would be better than my kids, or someone else getting a bacterial infection or something. One of two things will happen, either the landlord takes care of the problem, which he will have too or we have to move, either way this has to be taken care of. If this area is considered uninhabitable and youre forced to move, doesnt the landlord have to pay to relocate you?? I am seriously worried about our water, we have been plagued with diarrhea for months but I didnt connect the dots. I want to test a sample of water to see if its contaminated, could be why our stomachs are tore up.
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Unread 04-29-2008, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Floribama
8,280 posts, read 13,923,465 times
Reputation: 4613
If the pipe shown in the picture is the one coming out of your home I can see why it's backing up. It looks like it turns upwards over the tank before turning downward into it. Sewage is not going to travel uphill.

If the pipes shown are not coming from your home (or anyone else's) then they are likely some sort of makeshift overflow pipes. That would mean the drain (feild) lines are not working properly. It would also mean that the tank is becoming full to the rim with water, which would cause the problems you described.
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