septic tank/soakaway problem (long and prob boring)(12 Posts)
This may be a bit of a long shot but we have no idea where to turn to for help with this so any advice at all would be greatly appreciated.
We have our own tank in a field we don't own which is also the soakaway for 2 other tanks (that we kinow of). On boxing day water started coming up one of the drains at the front of the house so we figured there was a block somewhere and called out british gas as we have plumbing and drain cover with them. Guy turns up next day says we're not covered for this problem and we need to pay £145 for them to clear the block to the tank. So DH agrees to this and they turn up with another truck. They then say there's no block but the soakaway is full and won't take anymore water and there's nothing they can do. Suggestions are to speak to the farmer or wait for it to dry out (in the constant rain!)
So we speak to our neighbours who share the field with us and they don't have a problem, we contact the farmer (owner) who can't see how there could be a problem if the others don't have any issues. Water is coming up the drain everytime we shower/washing machine/dishwasher etc.
To make it more confusing we're not the closest house to the field and are on a slight incline and the drain that overflows is not the one at the back of the house nearest the field either. Confused.com!
You need to check your house deeds to see who is responsible for paying for it. We had a house with cess pit in our garden which 1 other much smaller house fed waste into as well. The deeds said the cost was shared equally and we used to arrange it and pay and bill the other house.
I do advise you get your own drain rods, saves a fortune! But a revolting job
Can your local council empty the septic tank? It may cost a bit, but should sort your problem.
Tank was emptied in April and on checking it it looks fine. According to the deeds we are responsible for the tank and pipes from our house but the field is shared but if the others have no problems they're unlikely to want to pay for any investigation into the field.
Whole thing is a nightmare
Sounds awful. Is it a recent problem or have you been there ages with no problem and it is suddenly doing this? It may be that it needs emptying twice a year? Are you all using products suitable for use in septic tanks? You do have to be more careful as the bacteria, which are responsible for liquefying the waste, can be affected by some cleaning/laundry products, and you need to be vigilant about not putting wipes, tampons etc down toilet. Everything that goes in needs to be easily degradable.
These are just some things I remember from ours, am aware all septic tanks are different.
If its been really wet the ground will be saturated and that's why uou're having a problem. Don't know about the financials of it but technically you can have it pumped out to alleviate the immediate problem, solving it long term will involve improving either the size of the soak away or it's permeability possibly involving digging it up and replacing the surrounding soil with sand/rocks to give the water somewhere to go.
It will be affecting you rather than your neighbours because your drains must be deeper than theirs, water always takes the easiest route, and distance doesn't bother it unfortunately.
We've lived here just over 2 yrs now and had no previous experience of sceptic tanks (city dwellers). Prior to that this house was part of a bitter marital breakdown and sat empty for almost 2 yrs (maybe it was sceptic tank related!)
I did research it a bit before we moved in so have been careful of what we flush and what products we use, there was a blockage last year that the drain co said was baby wipes so I can assume from that our predessors weren't so careful.
I think it has rained at some point everyday for the past few months so no wonder the ground is wet. Will give the farmer another call tomorrow and see if I can get any further with him - at least if there is draining etc to be done the cost should be split between all the users.
Thanks for the input, it's been really stressing us out.
there is a septic tank for your house, and two other tanks for other houses, do you mean?
does anyone share your tank?
is your house downhill of any others?
Is the drain that is overflowing a rainwater drain (should not go to the septic tank) or a foul drain (including kitchen?)
does your washing machine empty into the overflowing drain?
what size is your garden, downhill of the house?
there is a septic tank for your house, and two other tanks for other houses, do you mean? Yes
does anyone share your tank? No
is your house downhill of any others? No, there is a slight incline uphill
Is the drain that is overflowing a rainwater drain (should not go to the septic tank) or a foul drain (including kitchen?) Seems most affected by the shower
does your washing machine empty into the overflowing drain? washing machine goes to another drain which also overflows
what size is your garden, downhill of the house? Hmmm size would prob be 11-12ft but is pretty level with the house. Drains are right at the front of the house there is also another one right at the back - closer to the soakaway field. It is full but not currently overflowing.
I know you had the tank emptied less than a year ago but have you looked to see if it's full?
Try calling the local waterboard out, tell them you have an overflowing manhole. It probably isn't their responsibility (don't mention on the phone you have a sceptic tank) but if you can get them out then they may tell you what the problem is even if they don't do anything.
Otherwise you can get CCTV drainage companies and it may be worth getting a camera down the pipe.
Lilpud, have you managed to resolve your problems about the septic tank?
have you had the pipes rodded? Could you have a blockage or tree roots in the drains to the tank?
It sounds like with all the rain that the water table is high and all the pipes we call them leach lines are full of water, it happened to us a few winters ago due to heavy rain, but as soon as the rain stopped the water all drained away quickly.
Could your leach lines (is that what you call soakaway?) be filled with fine dirt/silt, we've had that happen too after a long rainy season.
Other than that I'd also check for tree roots in the pipes tank and leach lines.
Seeing no one else is having a problem. You all have separate tanks and pipes right?
Dh has a set of rods for cleaning pipes out and has saved us a ton of money over the years, but we did have to pay for someone to come out and get tree roots out of the pipe right where it enters the tank.
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