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Author Topic: Septic failure  (Read 652 times)

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Offline deadeye

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Earlier this summer I started seeing signs of my septic system failing.  Things progressively got worse and now it looks like I will need to replace the drain field.  I have a 22 year old "gravel less" system.  These systems are known to fail after 15-25 years.  Basically I have three options (4 if I include digging in an additional drain pipe myself).  Unfortunately all three fixes include bringing the holding tank up to current code. I have a 1000 gallon tank and will have to either replace it with a 1500 gallon tank or add an additional tank to bring it up to 1500 gallons.  After that one option is to replace the existing drain field however that is usually only done if there is no other option as it requires complete removal and filling and then it becomes a class 3 system which would require frequent pumping.  I have enough other space so that's out.  The second and third options are somewhat similar.  One is a simple gravity system (like I have now) however this requires an extensive drain field (2 to 3 times my existing drain field) to meet the current codes.  The second is a pressure system which uses a much smaller drain field by using a pump to spread the liquid out faster.  Of course this also requires power to the pump.  I'm leaning towards adding a 600 gallon tank and putting in a pressure system.  I don't know the costs of either system at this time.  Anyone have any recent experience with septic replacement. 
***I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.***

Offline glenn57

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we redid your up north last year. used a track hoe and dug a new hole!!!!!! :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

seriously, i am guessing its your home in big lake?????????? i know when we sold my inlaws house we had to redo the septic system also, i think it was around 5 grand but not  sure, andwe have city water and sewer in town.
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Offline MN RACK ATTACK

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Hey DE, Since I am in the business of selling these sort of products to the contractor, here are my suggestions.
Yes you will have to upsize the tank.
Graveless was good for about 10 years so if you got more than that, good for you.
If you plan on doing it yourself, you will need someone to design a new system, you can install it yourself but you will need to have it inspected by a licensed inspector.
It may be the easiest to work with any excavator buddies you may have.
My personal suggestion would to go with an gravity system and use Infiltrator chambers. No need for a pump that only has a 5 -7 year life span anymore since the manufactures have cheapened them up to keep the cost down. The chambers are put in with no rock.
here is a link on the chambers.
https://www.infiltratorwater.com/products/quick4-high-capacity/
let me know if you have any more suggestions


Offline LPS

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My system failed and I got a complete new mound system.  That is required here.  The whole thing with 2 tanks all of the fill needed, pumps etc.  About $8,000.  They did it all.  I had to get an electrician to wire it all up and that was $600.  Ran it on an extension cord for months which worked great until he got here.  The fill settled around the tanks so I brought in more dirt to fill that the next spring.  Just used my little trailer so no charge on that.

Offline deadeye

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Correction on tank size.  I looked at the inspection report from when I bought the house and it indicates the tank is 1250 gallons. Of course, like most things in reports who knows if he just took a guess.  A guy from the County zoning told me the codes indicate a minimum of 1000 gallons or 400 gallons per bedroom.  I have a 3 bedroom so that would make 1250 up to code. One thing everyone agrees on is I do need a licensed septic guy to draw up a design that must be supplied with the permit application. 
***I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.***

Offline glenn57

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Good luck with however you proceed deadeye. :happy1: one if my coworkers who lives north of deer river had to deal with that in the dead of winter. He said it wasn't no fun.
2015 deer slayer!!!!!!!!!!

Offline Gunner55

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we redid your up north last year. used a track hoe and dug a new hole!!!!!! :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

seriously, i am guessing its your home in big lake?????????? i know when we sold my inlaws house we had to redo the septic system also, i think it was around 5 grand but not  sure, andwe have city water and sewer in town.
  :scratch: Maybe you should've made the new hole bigger, now that your about to be retired? :evil:          ;) :rotflmao: :rotflmao:
« Last Edit: September 23, 2020, 01:54:08 AM by Gunner55 »
Life............. what happens while your making other plans. John Lennon

Offline Dotch

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We have a system here exactly like what MN Rack Attack describes. Put in back in '07 or '08 during our remodeling project. No trouble thus far. I was a little surprised that the People's Republic of Steele Co. allowed us to go with a gravity system. I was sure they'd come up with some BS about gleying &/or mottling in the clay subsoil indicating the water table had been that high once upon a time. This in spite of the fact we live on top of a hill. Apparently the terd gods must've been smiling on us the day they did the boring. We'd heard horror stories from others who had similar situations & were forced to install a mound system, on top of a fricking hill no less! :bs: Our system is nearly invisible. The tank is slid into the sidehill and a garden surrounds it. The 3 parallel lines of the chambers down hill from it are hard to see other than the 3 inspection standpipes. Correct that. Standpipe. I blew one of them away shooting striped gophers. Yes, out the window. And I ran over another one with the lawnmower. They gave me a choice of a mound system or a mound system with an electric pump. Told them if the electricity goes off, that's a bad deal for us. If the gravity goes off, that's a bad deal for everyone!  :shocked:   
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Offline Jerkbiat

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We have that same system to like you Dotch. Ours was out in 07 when we started building here on the lake. Been good so far. Need oto have our tank pumped again.
Hey look your bobber is up!

Offline deadeye

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Update. Well it's been quite a trip so far.  Of the half dozen people I contacted that work in this field, only two called back and came out. One described what and how he would correct the issue.  Very detailed and sounded fine.  He indicated he would be able to do it in late October.  He was going to do the "plan" and then get back to me in a day or two with the details.  After not hearing from him for several days, I contacted his office and his phone multiple times and have never received a call back. WTF.  I then called 3-4 guys recommended by the guy who pumped the septic.  NONE of them returned my repeated calls. WTF.  I called my son (who seems to know someone in ever occupation) and ask if he knew anyone. He gave me a name and number of a guy (I actually know him because he was a friend of my oldest son and was at our house numerous times in the past).  At any rate, he builds houses and uses a licensed guy to do the plan and had a guy that could do the work this fall.  Through discussions with the licensed planner I learned he also installs septic systems and will include a bid with the "septic plan".  When he came out to do soil borings and check the layout for his plan, we also spend 2 hours going over what he would do (put in a second 1500 gal two compartment tank installing it backwards to add 500 gal septic and a separate 1000 gal pump tank for water. Pump set to pump at 300 gallons leaving me a 700 gallon reserve in case of a electrical outage or pump failure.  This also would be a pressure bed train field.   I go his bid and plan later that day and because he said he would do it sometime next week, I decided to go ahead with him rather than starting over with another installer, IF I could even get one to do it this fall.
   :crazy:
***I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.***

Offline LPS

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Ours was done last fall and what a good feeling going into winter having it done.  I got some straw bales and put it on the drain field to help insulate since no grass was there to trap snow.  I won't do that this year cuz the grass is nice and thick and will trap more snow. 

Offline glenn57

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Deadeye, guess I'm a bit surprised that there isn't city water and sewer out in your neck of the woods. :moon:
2015 deer slayer!!!!!!!!!!

Offline deadeye

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This is out my office window this morning.



***I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.***

Offline deadeye

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It's done, $13,500 later.  I'm really glad they got it done yesterday.  Now you would never know we did anything in the back yard.  :rotflmao:













***I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.***

Offline mike89

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a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work!!

Offline LPS

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Nice to have that done before winter. 

Offline Jerkbiat

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Looks good. :happy1: Is that a gravity system? thought you said you had to put in a mound. Gravity much better. Need some black dirt now.
Hey look your bobber is up!

Offline Steve-o

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... and just in time!

Offline Dotch

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Looks like they did a nice smooth job on the earthwork. Now you can read in peace while seated in the oval office.  :happy1:
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Offline glenn57

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 :happy1: :happy1: yep looks like a job well done.

could use the piece of machinery in that second picture to dig a new outhouse hole and fish gut hole up north!!!!!!! :rotflmao: :rotflmao:
2015 deer slayer!!!!!!!!!!

Offline Tom7227

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« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 04:08:32 PM by Tom7227 »

Offline Dotch

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We're preparing a property for sale in the near future. It has a mound system installed in 2002. Luckily it passed inspection except there was a plastic cover that was cracked. It has been replaced since. When the system was installed we had to cover some areas with straw to keep it from freezing up. When I looked at it this past weekend couldn't get over how huge that mound is. It's at least 25' long. I much prefer the looks of your setup deadeye.  :happy1:   
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 10:16:51 PM by Dotch »
Time itself is bought and sold, the spreading fear of growing old contains a thousand foolish games that we play. (Neil Young)

Offline deadeye

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Tom7227,
I was about to answer your questions and your post went by by.  The County water board issues the septic (SSTS) permits and require a septic plan completed by a licensed SSTS. Subsurface Treatment System.  I'm sure the County follows State guidelines for the SSTS plan.
I had a "gravel less system that was acceptable by the state when installed in 1998 (year house was built). I don't think the question of how long I plan to stay in the house (sell or die), factor in to the decision as the current system failed and needed replacement/upgrade.  No mound required as the mottled soil is >3 feet below the pressure bed.  Gravity system could be an option but would require a much larger and deeper drain field due to back yard contour.  Costs would be about the same.  Although I have never heard any rumblings regarding connecting to city systems, there is that possibility because the lines are not that far away.  I currently live in the Township but city limits are less than a block away.  Because the system failed, my only other option would be to pump the tank every couple weeks for years hoping to connect to city sewer.  The cost ended up being $12,000 Plus $600 for the septic design plan. or $12,600 total.  I was able to soften this a bit with a grant from the County.  There's a laundry list of requirements and documents that need to be met and produced to qualify and get approved for a grant.  Along with knowing about the program, income requirements and the County having the money, I also needed to produce 12 different documents to obtain the grant. 
***I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.***

Offline Leech~~

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$13,500 bucks! an't that the sh!ts@#&#  :moon:
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 06:08:38 PM by Leech~~ »
Cooking over a open fire is all fun and games until someone losses a wiener!

Offline LPS

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