Posts Tagged ‘intrusion’

Tree Roots in Septic Tank Removal

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Hello there septic system owners.  This blog post is about trees and what they do to your septic system.  But in this case it’s just the septic tank that stopped working.  They can do all sorts of damage.

This client has been warned for many years.  10 years ago roots had started infiltrating the seams of the septic tank.  At that time the client was told it would be a good idea to cut the trees down by the septic tank.  But client saw “Root Kill” for septic systems.

So here’s a little education on septic systems and root kill additives.  Root kill additives are meant to be put directly into the drainfield.  Flushing them down the toilet, into the septic tank doesn’t do any good.  None of the additive will reach the drainfield.  It’s even on the package to add it directly to the drainfield.  And it does work when applied to the inlet line going to the drainfield, from the septic tank.

 

So for over the next 10 years this client added Root Kill into her septic system by flushing them down the toilet.  The roots continued to grow without the client knowing.  Until one day the system stopped working. Below we tried to break up the roots a little bit with tool called the crustbuster.  Of course it didn’t work, but I was willing to try anything to not have to go inside this septic tank.  But it did mix up the sludge on the floor so the vacuum truck to suck it out, and I wasn’t wading up to my knees in sewage.

 

Now the client wasn’t backing up just yet.  But was selling their house.  During a real estate inspection for the buyer, we removed the lids and saw the root damage.  The buyer could see that these roots couldn’t possible be good for the septic system, and could see that the roots have stopped the whole tank from working as it should.  Buyer decided that he wasn’t going to purchase the home until the problem was fixed.  Now here’s a little lesson on Real Estate Transactions.  Once a problem has been discovered about anything, the seller and the Realtor must disclose this condition to any trying to buy the home.  So needless to say, most people would not buy a home with a septic system in this condition.

 

So now comes time for the repair.  We had to take a shovel and chop a hole through the roots to get a hose to the bottom of the tank.  The pumper sucked out the best it could and then it’s time for “Confined Space Entry”.

We have the canopy set up as it’s raining pretty bad.  We have a tripod set up.  This is what lowers me into the septic tank and pulls me out.  I wear a harness that connects to that tripod.  I have blowers pushing fresh air down to me, and I wear an air monitor that monitors the air I am breathing.  Anything goes wrong the guy manning the tripod would crank me out of the hole.

Once lowered in you can see the damage it created.

I was down there for two hours.  Cutting roots with shovels and pretty much wrecking my sawsall.  But they needed to come out.

About half way during this procedure I did need a break.  This job is the worst root job I have had to this date.  I spent over 2 hours down there, and it was exhausting.  I can feel it in my body now about 18 hours since this job happened.  I am sure to be sore.

So when your septic technician let’s you know that you should remove plants/trees/shrubs, he/she is trying to save you money.  Because even though this is a “Job”, or maybe even “Job Protection”, it’s one that none of us want to do.  We are also trying to save you money.  This expense.  This tree root removal job cost the client about $1,600.00 and could have been avoided by simply removing the trees.  And make no mistake about it, if they don’t remove these two trees, we’ll be back.  Because the trees know that there’s free water right there and fertilizer.

 

Most important is that this is a job none of us want to do.  It’s really gross to be wading around sewage with creepy crawly worms and stuff, spiders, and everything else you can image.  I for one came out a different man then when I went in.  I may need therapy to help me forget this job.  It was a nightmare.

Groundwater intrusion by heavy rains and high groundwater solved

Friday, February 10th, 2017

 

This homeowner did not want to divert water by digging rain drains and ditches. Super nice yard, didn’t want dug up.

One option is to trench the water to off of the tanks and direct water downhill.  Frenchdrains work great for this too.  But in this case, the homeowner’s yard would have been destroyed to his house as that’s where the raindrains are, down hill.

So we chose another alternative means to divert groundwater and rainwater off of his septic tank.

This is another option, put in a dry well to a pump. This is a rough backfill, because the area is super soppy. It will need cleaned up better when dryer weather is back.

This system just sits plugged in and waiting. Costs nothing to run when water levels are low. But when water levels come up and it starts raining hard, the pump will kick on and send the water away from the septic.

 

 

Ground Water Intrusion causes massive damage when septic alarm is ignored

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Here is a video of another, “less expensive” riser installation on a septic system.  This homeowner simply took the lowest bid without asking questions.  And honestly, thought, “We are putting a collar on a septic tank.”  How hard can it be.  So he took the lowest bidder not realizing we have to be concerned about high ground water tables.  Now this has created a lot of problems downstream in this septic system.

Now this started taking on ground water back in november of last year.  This is when the homeowner’s septic alarm started to sound off that it was getting too much water.  The homeowner simply “silenced” the alarm.  Thinking it does this whenever it rains.  Stupid septic system.

Now the damage has been done.  You see, he has a sand filter.  Below is a video of the sand filter.  He said it started smelling really bad, but never was out there when the pumps came on to see this happening.

So if you look closely, you can see the color black.  It is stinky and slimy.  This is a bacteria that moves in when septic is surfacing above the ground.  It will always be present in surfacing sewage.  It is one thing a septic inspector is looking for.

Now the bad news.  If he would have called us when the alarm first started to sound, he would have saved a lot of money.

So some sand filter education.  A sand filter is just a huge, in-ground, pool filled with different grades of sand down to the bottom.  At the bottom the water is collected and pumped out to the drainfield.  There is an alarm in this sand filter that warns of a high water even.  This was the alarm that was ignored.  Now the sand filter went completely under water.  Two things happened.  One the sand filter is an aerobic component.  It needs oxygen to breath.  Actually the bacteria in the sand filter need oxygen to breath.  Also remember from the “how it works” page, that the septic tanks are the anaerobic environments.  Now since the sand filter went under water for two long, it went septic, and the bacteria died.  Therefore the sand filter died.  Now we could pump it out and have it dry out, and the bacteria would come back.  But the next problem is impossible to fix.  When the water is pumped out, the sand that was floating in all the water, compacts down as the water recedes.  Making the sand filter surface it’s water, instead of the effluent going down, it goes up, and surfaces.

So please remember.  A Service call is about $125.00 plus whatever parts are broken.  And may some additional labor.

But now this homeowner needs a new sand filter.  Which can run $5,000 to $7,000.  I truly feel bad for my customer’s when this happens.  This is why I have spent so much time on this website trying to educate, and inform homeowners that the power to save money on their septic system, lies with them.  Don’t forget to have their systems inspected and repair/pump what needs done, before this happens.

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

 

 

 

Septic Tank leak repair

Monday, March 19th, 2012
Inside Septic Tank Repair

Inside Septic Tank Repair

Here I am inside a septic tank. I know, good times.  However, this homeowner was quoted $4,000.00 to replace a septic tank.  He was never given the option to repair the septic tank.  Now it’s easier and less messy to have it replaced.  But a homeowner needs to know all of his options.  He was really hurting for money due to our downed economy.

When he went to the County permitting department to apply for a tank replacement permit, he was told he may want to call First Call Septic first before spending all this money to see if it could be repaired.  He was told if First Call Septic can’t fix it, then it can’t be fixed.

When I arrived, I could see this was a two part clam-shell like tank.  It’s an easy fix.  Just have to clean the septic tank out.  Im not going diving to make this repair.  Then apply the high strength sealer.  It works great.

It’s always good to get a second opinion when dealing with septic system component replacements.  Because in many cases a repair is possible and much more affordable.

 

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Poor Septic Riser Installation

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Here is an example of a very poor riser installation.  Now this homeowner saved about 100 bucks when he put his riser installation out to bid.  Without asking why this bid was about 100 bucks cheaper he simply assumed all septic work is the same, and only the price is the difference.

Leaking septic tank riser

 

This company didn’t use a proper custom seal for the area between the septic tank and the abs riser material.  Remember, these are unlike materials.  They don’t weld or glue together at all.  We have to use a 2 part epoxy designed for septic installations, remember the gasses, and for the unlike materials.  But then we also have to use a custom seal.  For that we use bentonite clay.  That clay puts a barrier around that seal that’s clay.  It never gets hard, brittle, cracks, or breaks.  It’s clay.  Now this stuff isn’t that cheap, but multiply 7 risers and inlet and outlet pipes and it adds up to about a 100 bucks.  Hence the 100 dollar difference.

 

But now the bad news.  The septic system is taking on so much ground water, that the drainfield is backing up sewage and ground water all over the place.  Ground water is above the septic tank, but below the riser.  So you can’t see it, until you look into the riser and down into the tank.  Also that tank seal is about 6 feet down.  It will now need an excavator to redig it back up, under water mind you, so we’ll be pumping the water out to reseal it under water.  I cannot explain to you how difficult and expensive this is.  To redig these seals will be around 800 bucks.  Now consider that the next time three companies shoot bids.  Their could be reasons that the lowest bid is the lowest.  But in this case, it was the most expensive, cause now we have to dig it back up and reseal.  And that competitor is out of business.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie