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Old 01-20-2013, 02:38 AM
 
1,444 posts, read 2,115,409 times
Reputation: 589

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So...if my problems with my well aren't bad enough I have some septic tank issues/questions for sure.

1)Is it possible not to even have a septic tank? I learned to never say never. My house is 64 years old and the house flipper I bought it up put vinyl siding all around the outside of the house but the hous has no insulation.

2) I obviously don't know where my septic tank is due to my first post and neither does the county. The inspector when I bought the house for my well and septic tank was a pest control company!
I called the pest control company and they said that they don't have the location on file but could only tell me that it was checked. They did have some measurements which seemed to correspond to a strange location (and to the direction of a large green flakey looking slightly smelling pipe in my low ceiling unfinished basement) as seen in point 3.....

3) At the location of where the measurements conclude and where the above mentioned pipe points, there is a bunch of what appears to be clay and debris that is elevated....looks like a makeshift animal grave. Around it is an area of about 12 cinder blocks a few feet away that are somehow (don't know the right term) attached to the ground permanently. If I dug there, might I find the septic tank after digging "x" amount of feet? Why would a septic tank be hidden I want to save my $$ and find the septic tank myself. I'd like to expose it so the guy can pump it. If there is even one!

4) At my closing for the house years ago, the realtor mentioned that the septic tank was small and not rated to support the additions on the house. Is that possible or maybe even a warning that something was up with the septic tank to begin with?

5) Everyone else in my area got notices at the 5 year mark to pump their septic tank but I never did. Any idea why that might be?

I bought this house in 2007 with the intention of it being a starter home and then being able to move out of it. Reality has hit me just like everyone else and I am 50k upside down with no chance of being able to sell it.

Any thoughts on how to get started?

Thanks
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
1,980 posts, read 6,016,531 times
Reputation: 3307
Quote:
Originally Posted by va_lucky View Post
So...if my problems with my well aren't bad enough I have some septic tank issues/questions for sure.

1)Is it possible not to even have a septic tank? I learned to never say never. My house is 64 years old and the house flipper I bought it up put vinyl siding all around the outside of the house but the hous has no insulation.

If you are connected to a city or other sewage system or have just an open pit then no you would either have a septic tank or have known you did not long ago.

2) I obviously don't know where my septic tank is due to my first post and neither does the county. The inspector when I bought the house for my well and septic tank was a pest control company!
I called the pest control company and they said that they don't have the location on file but could only tell me that it was checked. They did have some measurements which seemed to correspond to a strange location (and to the direction of a large green flakey looking slightly smelling pipe in my low ceiling unfinished basement) as seen in point 3.....

I'm a little lost here. Who performed your home inspection and the septic system inspection? It appears you are in Virginia and they do not prohibit anyone from operating a Home Inspection business. Virginia does license Home Inspectors but that is only so the Home Inspector can claim that they are a "Certified Home Inspector" and have performed a "Certified Home Inspection". In other words anyone can perform home inspections as long as they do not use the terms "certified home inspection" or "certified home inspector".

What did your home inspection report state about the septic system? How did the Home Inspector "check" the system?


3) At the location of where the measurements conclude and where the above mentioned pipe points, there is a bunch of what appears to be clay and debris that is elevated....looks like a makeshift animal grave. Around it is an area of about 12 cinder blocks a few feet away that are somehow (don't know the right term) attached to the ground permanently. If I dug there, might I find the septic tank after digging "x" amount of feet? Why would a septic tank be hidden I want to save my $$ and find the septic tank myself. I'd like to expose it so the guy can pump it. If there is even one!

From your description the type of system is "Who Knows"?. Here is a nice page with the various types of systems to help you understand them Septic System Design. Septic tanks are buried to place them at a level lower than the home's main drain line so waste can flow down by gravity into them. They can also smell and burying them helps reduce that. If you want to locate the tank the first thing to do is find the main drain line from the house. Look for a pipe in your basement where every other waste pipe is coming into. That pipe should then go to the outside of the home. Just outside of the home should be at least one (should be two) riser pipe with a cap on it for accessing and cleaning out the main line to the main sewer line.

Once you have located the cap you can start there with the next step. If you do not have a cleanout riser pipe then the next step is to find where the pipe leaves the home. It will help to have a pipe probe such as this 60 In. Long Pipe Probe With Rifle Point-P27005 at The Home Depot . Be very careful when probing the ground not to shove it to hard as you can break piping with this tool. Gently probe the ground to find the main drain pipe to the septic tank. Once you find it probe outward away from the home until you find the tank. When you find the tank you can probe outward and around the tank to find the tank edges and possibly the access port cover.


4) At my closing for the house years ago, the realtor mentioned that the septic tank was small and not rated to support the additions on the house. Is that possible or maybe even a warning that something was up with the septic tank to begin with?

Septic systems are sized per the expected usage of the home. If the home has been added to since the septic system installation then yes the system might have been smaller than required for the additions. From your brief description it could have been a warning but we don't know the entire situation so can't say one way or the other.

5) Everyone else in my area got notices at the 5 year mark to pump their septic tank but I never did. Any idea why that might be?

There are typically no requirements for the local municipalities to provide you any such notice. There are typically no requirements for the County or State to supply such notices. Those that received the notice might have received it from a septic company that either pumped their systems before or were aware of the last pumping? It is the homeowner's responsibility to keep up on when septic maintenance is needed or required.

I bought this house in 2007 with the intention of it being a starter home and then being able to move out of it. Reality has hit me just like everyone else and I am 50k upside down with no chance of being able to sell it.

Any thoughts on how to get started?

Thanks
I provided comments and suggestions above in blue. What you can do also is speak to neighbors with similar ages of home to see if they are aware of who might have installed these septic systems at the time of construction. You can also check with the local septic system installers and see if they have a record of installing it until you find the one that did. You said the County has no record of it but have you checked with the local city and/or any State offices responsible for writing the rules on septic systems for the State? Possibly one of those have additional information or can tell you where the information can be obtained?
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Where my bills arrive
8,066 posts, read 9,496,710 times
Reputation: 7982
[quote=va_lucky;27849968]So...if my problems with my well aren't bad enough I have some septic tank issues/questions for sure.

1)Is it possible not to even have a septic tank?
2) I obviously don't know where my septic tank is due to my first post and neither does the county.

3) At the location of where the measurements conclude and where the above mentioned pipe points, there is a bunch of what appears to be clay and debris that is elevated....looks like a makeshift animal grave. Around it is an area of about 12 cinder blocks a few feet away that are somehow (don't know the right term) attached to the ground permanently. If I dug there, might I find the septic tank after digging "x" amount of feet? Why would a septic tank be hidden I want to save my $$ and find the septic tank myself. I'd like to expose it so the guy can pump it. If there is even one!

4) At my closing for the house years ago, the realtor mentioned that the septic tank was small and not rated to support the additions on the house. Is that possible or maybe even a warning that something was up with the septic tank to begin with?

5) Everyone else in my area got notices at the 5 year mark to pump their septic tank but I never did. Any idea why that might be?

Let me try and address some of your issues, you don't mention where in VA you are so there is a possibility that the home construction along with the septic are on record with the town/city/county etc.

1) You wouldn't have a tank if the home was place on the town sewers, do you know if they come through your neighborhood?
2) It sounds like the sewer line out of the house is cast iron and a plumber with a metal detector should be able to follow it to where it ends and that will be the tank.
3) Years ago septics were made of cynder blocks, in later years cast concrete and plastics were introduced. All standard septics are completely buried with the clean out access dug up when needed.
4) Septics are rated to support so much waste from the house, when adding on the tank may needed to be enlarged . Building codes should clarify this. Properties also must pass a PERK Test to determine how much waste it is cable of supporting.
5) Ask the town/goverment why you receive no notice, find out what they have on record for the house.

Plumbers also have cameras for snaking through pipes, you may need this to determine what type of tank if any is on your property.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:00 AM
 
1,444 posts, read 2,115,409 times
Reputation: 589
Thanks for the posts everyone. There is quite a bit of information on here which is awesome. I will come back shortly with additional responses or questions as appropriate. I am going to look through my inspection records and give as much accurate information as I can.

I really appreciate you all being nice enough to post.

Last edited by va_lucky; 01-21-2013 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:03 PM
 
1,444 posts, read 2,115,409 times
Reputation: 589
Thanks for the link...I don't see where this is a warranty or includes a limited pump out though?

The page was pretty resource hungry and hard to move around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajlarkin1 View Post
there are great waranty programs for septic tanks Go to SepticMAXX its a great septic warranty program and can include a limited pump out as well!!
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Old 02-16-2018, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Kalamalka Lake, B.C.
3,044 posts, read 3,994,202 times
Reputation: 3898
Septic tanks DESIGNS with their registered PERMITS have been around since the sixties just about everywhere, even rural areas via county head requirements. Your design, registered at the County seat, will show it's rated for a 3 bedroom, etc.

"pumping out" is like exchanging car coolant. Everyone does it and it usually doesn't need to be done. It says "permanent" on the bottle! I've had tile type septics from the 1940's (the last century) that have never been pumped. I've built modern type septics in 1980. They're never been pumped. My uncles was installed in 1970. It's never been pumped.

If you use it properly you should never have issues unless you've got ground movement, damage, floodilng and/or large equipment driving over it, creating damage.
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