Do It Yourself septic system repair information

Septic Tank Repair Stories

septic tank toilet stopup backupHoney, The Septic Tank's Acting Up Again! (Page 4)

Reply #33

There have been a lot of claims here about miracle cures, but most of the problem is the day to day use and care of the fields themselves. Septic fields have a multitude of bacteria that actually cause the tank to operate as it was intended. But everyday the owners are putting chemicals down their sinks and toilets (bleach, drain cleaners) that kill off the bacteria that perform the necessary functions. If enough chemicals are flushed into the tank you can kill off enough bacteria at that time to make the tank virtually worthless. Stop using drop in tablets in your toilets, go easy on the bleach in your wash and when cleaning, and stop flushing anything other than toilet paper and the obvious down your toilet.


Reply #34

What has worked for me is connecting to a city sewer system. It works and you don't have to worry about future problems.


Reply #35

I use a floating outlet from Rissy Plastics. This is mounted in a tank that replaces the distribution box and sends out a 300 gallon surge of water at 130 GPM, flooding the whole leach field at once. The water from the septic tank is then held back until another 300 gallons is collected. This delay gives the field time to rest and absorb the water. No more green soggy areas of lawn to mow. Most dosing tanks require electrical pumps for forced distribution but this one is gravity powered and mine works with only 15" of water level. (When was the last time there was a gravity outage?) I installed this unit myself three years ago and had never worked on a home system before.

Matt Cauthorn,


Reply #36

I have had problems with my lateral systems not leaching properly. I had the local Terralift contractor come out and treat the system 6 moths ago. Since it failed after a couple months I had him out again. The since has failed and been retreated twice since the original treatment. I now have standing water in my backyard and the contractor is not returning my calls.
Tom Wilson,


Reply #37

Your SwopNet web site is a favorite of mine. I have an anaerobic (old fashioned) septic tank that I pumped out in 1988. Family of four. Have not pumped it since. No additives,(Rid-ex, Bio-Aid, etc). Maybe I’m setting myself up for lateral line replacement. but I told my Aggie Engineer Uncle I wasn’t going to pump it for 20 years.

Mark from Central Texas


Reply #38

Hi. My washer began backing up, overflowing out the elbow, every time I did a wash and it hit the drain cycle, flooded everything each time it happened. (6 months) Frustrated, we decided to have the septic tank pumped out- it had been almost 3 years, 1000 gal tank 3 people. 2.5 yrs ago was almost full so we thought maybe it was time. (or worth a shot anyway) Pumped out last week. All fine for a week. 

Today, when we flush either our upstairs or downstairs toilet, water (not sewage) overflows out the elbow pipe by the washer. (washer and these pipes are in the basement) Nothing went in these toilets that shouldn't have. We can pin it down to one of 3 flushes, it was dry then these 3 flushes then it was flooded. No clue what's going on. Tank is empty; could it be a leech field problem? Other thoughts or options?

Tank, house and field are 17 yrs old.-built by our builder, original owner, pumped every 3 yrs on avg., sandy soil. Tank is 10 ft directly out from house where pipes come out. Lawn goes about 50 ft (of leech field I am guessing) back then hills. Could the stuff be hitting the hills and somehow backing up? Just don't get why it comes down the toilets fine ( no backup there) but doesn't quite make it out to the tank.

Any thoughts or advice gladly accepted! Joe 


Reply #39

First of all I am a 39 year old woman, and until today the only thing I knew about the septic was that thing on your Toliet,,,and that makes all the nasty stuff go down to something in your ground and that was all I wanted to know. well, bought 7 acres with QUOTE the seller the septic is very new only 2 years old, 22000 double tank and with just two of you, you will never have any big cost but to have it drained about once every 5 years and at 150.00 that sounded GREAT!! Well, first of all if you have a double tank, remember this word it is one you should NEVER FORGET,,,a switch, yes a switch to switch your tank over if one side fills up. But the trick to this is where is the switch? If your a woman like me, hell I think switch like a light switch, easy!! Ha Ha how wrong I was, it took me 8 hours of looking for this so caled switch, called a friend of mine and he told me this he assumed I knew what kind of switch I had, so he said Laura look in your Leech field and you will !

see a white PVC pipe ground level and down in there is the switch, easy enough I thought wow what a dummy I was, well it was in the leech field, but it was in a green pvc pipe the color of my carpet grass, and covered, my neighbors must have thought I was on drugs,,looking at my grass for 8 hours like an IDIOT, well found that damned switch,,,now the good part you need no not need you HAVE TO HAVE A TEE Turner TOOL to switch it, so I call this friend back and ask him where would the tool be,,this gets better he says the previous owners probably nailed it to a tree, guess what I have at least 500 trees, so now my neighbors think she found her drugs on the ground now that crazy woman is talking to every tree she has for yep another 4 hours, did not find that tool so I had to finally borrow one. You think my story is funny? Well, let it happen to you and we can laugh together, take my advice, you are probably thinking hahaha that will never happen to me, well if you want it NOT!

TO HAPPEN to you, well if you did not install your septic yourself you better get out there and find it now and not when you HAVE GOT TO FIND IT, and make sure you have that tool. Those switches are kinda like that Flush handle you have got to have, and the switch can save you the 100.00 service call, and the other 100.00 he gets to laugh to himself saying Idiots don't even know that they have a switch,,easy money!! The Moral of this story? S$%T Happens!!! 

Laura C


Reply #40

I had a similar problem to most of the other people here, except I had a new system, less than a year old. I had water backing up into the floor drain whenever we washed cloths. I called the septic guy but he never called back, so I started searching the web for information, which is how I found this site. I read everybody's story, but still did not get my problem fixed. After looking up how septic systems work and unearthing a little of mine I found that liquids were not getting to the drainfield. I snaked it from the junction box back towards the tank but did not find anything. I then ran the snake in the liquid side of the tank and found many "feminine hygiene" products and "flushable wipes" but still did not open up the outlet. I knew the outlet port had to be plugged but could not figure out how to get into it since it is about four feet down. I finally thought of using a six foot piece of plastic water line I had left over from construction. It was the pex type that was coiled up, when I pushed it down the pipe on the liquid side of my septic tank it curved right into the outlet port and cleared the clog. It sounded like a waterfall, music to my ears! Thanks for everyone who took time to send in their story.

Scott Hanson

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Miscellaneous Information

How often should you pump your septic tank?

Time Table for Inspecting and Pumping Your Septic Tank (in years)

	Number of People Using the System
Tank Size
(gallons) 1 2 4 6 8
-------- Number of Years --------
900 11 5 2 1 <1
1,000 12 6 3 2 1
1,250 16 8 3 2 1
1,500 19 9 4 3 2

For example, if there are 4 people living in your house and your septic tank can hold 1,000 gallons, the tank should be inspected and pumped at least every three years.

Source: Adapted from "Estimated Septic Tank Pumping Frequency," by Karen Mancl. 1984. Journal of Environmental Engineering. Volume 110, via

A lot of information can be found at the Richard Septic Systems website. Even for those who live outside the New England business area of this company, their on-line catalog can be educational.