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Discussion Starter #1
With Michigan on stay-at-home orders, we found out that our septic system isn't keeping up with us being home all day :(.

A little background: we bought the house last September--the house was vacant for a year before we moved in (estate sale). Since it was an estate sale, we dealt with the executor of the estate, the seller's sister. She didn't know much about the various house systems. We had the septic inspected before the sale...ran tons of water into it beforehand to try to really exercise the system. Inspector said the field was original to the house (1969) and was working "OK" but no guarantees about the future. The sister did have the tank pumped before we moved in.

No problems through the winter, but once we started working from home I noticed water (er, "water" :eek:) pooling above the septic tank. We had the tank pumped, but the pumper didn't really inspect anything. We crossed our fingers that maybe the previous pumping was not done very well, but no dice. Two weeks later, tank overflowed again. This time we called a septic contractor to pump and re-inspect everything. Second inspector seemed way more thorough and competent than the first...and he found that the drain field was root-bound.

So, at the moment we're in wastewater-conservation mode (military showers, rerouted what we could into the sump, letting the yellow mellow, etc.) while we wait for a perc test to be done. Unfortunately, our lot is wet, both with surface water and, I fear, a high groundwater table (sump pump is pretty active). I would rather have this test done in August, but we can't wait that long.

So, everyone please keep my septic system in your thoughts and prayers :cool:. We are hoping for good perc results so we can just do a simple traditional field replacement, rather than an engineered system which cost more and takes a lot longer to get done.
 

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I had similar problems a couple of years ago when some relatives stayed with us for a few months. I am not sure if the bed was root bound, but it was slow draining. My septic guy suggested that the well filter/water softener backflush be routed elsewhere. Said the salt used in them was killing the emzine action in the tank. He also suggested adding a yeast based additive to keep the tank brewing. I rerouted the backflush and add a packet of this septic stuff every month and it has been good since. For the last month, brother and sister in law staying here and no ssue.....Its worth a shot.
 

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I had similar problems a couple of years ago when some relatives stayed with us for a few months. I am not sure if the bed was root bound, but it was slow draining. My septic guy suggested that the well filter/water softener backflush be routed elsewhere. Said the salt used in them was killing the emzine action in the tank. He also suggested adding a yeast based additive to keep the tank brewing. I rerouted the backflush and add a packet of this septic stuff every month and it has been good since. For the last month, brother and sister in law staying here and no ssue.....Its worth a shot.
Yup, already rerouted the water softener backflush to the sump. But the problem isn't the enzymes in the tank (which break down the solids)...it's getting the liquid out of the tank, through the drain field, and into the ground. So getting the water softener backflush out of the septic is more about managing quantity of water going in to the system than it is about enzyme management

I'm hoping that the field will be draining better in the next few weeks (we had a ton of rain between my 2 recent pumpings) so we can limp along until we get the new field I'm pretty sure we need. Just hoping to keep the price reasonable--although I did get approved for a HELOC already. So, hoping it can be another traditional field rather than an engineered system.

We're gonna be in this house for probably 15-20 years, I don't really want to be in "limp-along" mode with a marginal septic system all that time so I'd rather just fix the problem now.
 

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Forgot to mention...My tank is much like this one......



The wastewater should go up the pipe and out into the field. Since my system was draining slow, that scum layer rose and was going in the top of that outlet pipe. I think that was partially plugging the runners. I put a cap on top of that pipe so the water could only go in from the bottom. My outlet has no filter on it, it's pretty old. The scum is now just below the top of that outlet pipe. I pump every 2 years just to be on the safe side. It's been a year and a half, due in Sept.
With some luck, your runners may clear themselves too....good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #6
When I read stuff like this I thank God for County Sewage Systems
Township sewer coming within 1/4 mile of me within the next year because of a new subdivision going in nearby. Doesn't help me at all :mad:...not close enough for me to hook up.

Original plan for the sewer routing had it going in front of my house, but they revised the plan and now it goes the other way.

I was concerned about being on septic, but not concerned enough to scotch the deal. We love the house otherwise.
 

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My house and septic system are 40 years old,,,,backed up during heavy use a few years back. A friend asked how many trees were getting big around the area,,several of them. He said try copper phosphate root killer ,flushed down the toilet and into tank/drain field. Did it for a couple of weeks and cleared up the problem. It was a really dry summer and the roots were looking for moisture ,that summer.
 

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There is some stuff in the news about folks flushing things that should never be flushed, like rubber gloves, sanitary wipes, and even face masks.

Of course, if you have high ground water, you don't have to be doing anything wrong.
 

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There is some stuff in the news about folks flushing things that should never be flushed, like rubber gloves, sanitary wipes, and even face masks.

Of course, if you have high ground water, you don't have to be doing anything wrong.
We’re not flushing anything except TP and, well, you know.
 

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Try rotor rooter, something that goes inside pipe and cuts away roots...
 

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Ugh - good luck! We've had our share of septic/leach field problems in our 27 years in this house but so far so good under quarantine. 5 adults in the house with 3 of us at home full time and a 4th here every other day. Running the dishwasher almost every day but not as much laundry (and I'll admit - not as many showers, LOL) so it's basically a trade-off.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We're beyond the roto-rooter or chemical stage :(. Turns out the previous owner scabbed in a new drain field without any permits at some point in time--we found it during the perc test. Good news from the perc test is that our soil is nice and sandy, not too much clay. Bad news is that our groundwater level is too high so we need an engineered field anyway. So much for the planned kitchen remodel.
 

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Better cancel Christmas too. Sorry to hear the bad news, I was hoping the best for you......... We have one at our house, made the seller take it right off the agrred upon price of the house at the settlement. I had pictures of water laying right over the top the drain field that seller wanted to put in new drain fields in for us. Said nope not going to work that way, either take the price off the house or we aren't settleing.

Seller needed the money to buy the next house he was moving into out of state..sohe had no choice really but to lower the price right there at the table.

Some people call it a Wisconsin Mound

Costs of Mound Septic Systems
A mound septic system has an average cost between $10,000 and $20,000, but may cost more for exceptionally large systems. It is important to regularly maintain the septic system, with annual maintenance and pumping having an average cost of $500.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Better cancel Christmas too. Sorry to hear the bad news, I was hoping the best for you.........
Already approved for a home equity loan, but yeah, not fantastic news. We had it inspected before purchase, but obviously we picked the wrong inspector :(. Anyway, we paid less than asking price...the difference was just about what the septic will cost.

Things don't always go as planned, and it's only money. I used to get really upset over things I couldn't really control...as I get older I get better at rolling with the punches. I have lost a lot more in the last 2 months from my 401(k) than the septic will cost me, but I can't go back in time to February and sell all my stocks so I don't let that keep me up at night either.

Despite this setback, my wife and I love our house. We have always lived in the city (well, the suburbs) and figured there would be a learning curve moving to the country (really, still the suburbs...we only moved 4 miles).
 

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I have been lucky,my house was built in 1977 and if I remember correctly,back when 4 or more of us were living here,we only had the septic tank pumped out twice,and neither time was there a "problem",my dad just worried if he let it go too long ,there would be..
One of the times he had it pumped, there was a back up,the toilet overflowed and the downstairs one also did (which never was used much,it was one of those "flushes uphill" siphon action ones,it never did work right)...the guy who pumped the tank out found some tampons and a face cloth had been flushed,and was stuck right where the pipe from the house dumps into the tank--he was able to get them out using a long pole with a hooked end,and a lot of water gushed out..

Both times it was pumped,it was only about half to 3/4 full too...the leech field is located behind the house in a field that is about 150 x 150 feet square,with woods behind that,and drainage was decent despite the soil being mostly clay--they put a lot of crushed stone under the piping in the field and it slopes away from the house so rain water doesn't pool up on it..

Now its just me living here,and I am hoping the septic doesn't give any grief,being so old..since I do not shower more than twice a week usually,and don't use the dish washer (its broken and I don't need it!)--and the washing machine gets used only every 2 weeks or so,I'm hoping it doesn't get roots in the pipes or the sludge in the pipes dry up and block them...
If I want to hook up to town sewer ,now that they finally ran it past the house ,it'd cost about $30,000..!--then have a quarterly bill to pay.....they also would require me to,if I decided to sell the house too most likely,unless one of those "we buy ugly houses" places bought it for 1/3 its worth..don't know how they get away with it.but they know some loophole I guess..

It's always something when you own a home..right now my furnace is short cycling 3-4 times before it finally runs its normal time period,it hasn't been serviced in several years,and is 20 years old now..boiler is probably loaded with iron deposits,I have well water and its high in iron content..Well pump crapped out in 2012,that was $1200..new pump sounds like a grinder from day one..
Had 1/4 of the hip roof re-shingled last November to the tune of 4000 bucks..taxes keep rising,and my income stays "fixed"...but other than one "neighbor" thats a noisy punk,I love it here and I'd hate to leave after living here 42 years..
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Got some quotes for engineering the system over the last couple days, and talked to the engineers about what's important to us. Of course we want a functioning septic system that meets all the county requirements, but we have some nice mature trees that we would like to keep if possible, and we want the system to not look like a wart on our lawn.

Both of the engineers we talked with seemed capable to meet the requirements, but the second one gave us a better feeling about how the system would look, and how we can minimize the carnage to our trees. He costs a little more, but the engineering is the cheaper part of the project compared to the construction--so it doesn't seem like the right place to economize.

He also thinks he can get the design done in a couple of weeks, as far as I'm concerned the sooner the better.
 

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Got some quotes for engineering the system over the last couple days, and talked to the engineers about what's important to us. Of course we want a functioning septic system that meets all the county requirements, but we have some nice mature trees that we would like to keep if possible, and we want the system to not look like a wart on our lawn.

Both of the engineers we talked with seemed capable to meet the requirements, but the second one gave us a better feeling about how the system would look, and how we can minimize the carnage to our trees. He costs a little more, but the engineering is the cheaper part of the project compared to the construction--so it doesn't seem like the right place to economize.

He also thinks he can get the design done in a couple of weeks, as far as I'm concerned the sooner the better.
Hopefully this is behind the house, seen some awful looking ones in front of houses before, ours in the back the house to the right of the above ground 24" round pool we have. It's probably about 35ft from the pool in a high area of our back yard...............you can hardly tell it is there.
 

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Hopefully this is behind the house, seen some awful looking ones in front of houses before, ours in the back the house to the right of the above ground 24" round pool we have. It's probably about 35ft from the pool in a high area of our back yard...............you can hardly tell it is there.
Should have built it right near the pool and built a deck over top of it.
 
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