septic system knowledge and experiences

Hi folks, I have purchased an investment property with a slow septic system and could use some advice from those with experience and/or knowledge on the subject of septic system repair or replacement.

I have read of a system that introduces air into the tank to refurbish the field lines to normal drainage capacity. Is this a viable system?

Is it possible that the system is being filled by rain water and just needs to have the ground around and above raised so as to prevent this from happening ?

Your thoughts, knowledge and experiences would be very helpful to me as a new investor to reduce the cost and headache of this problem. Thanks Ekim

I have had several homes of my own with septic systems and currently live with one on this residence. I have never heard of what you are proposing to do.

Most septic systems run (work ) on gravity. When that is problematic a pump is normally the fix and the standard install when a house is on hilly terrain.

The majority of septic system problems are caused by LAUNDRY SOAP and COOKING OILS being put into the drainage field. This detergent and oil will turn into a think GEL. Over time, it limits the systems ability to leach water away from the field of perferated pipes.

Most of the quick fixes I’ve seen never work for long. It’s probably worth it to hire a civil engineer to come out and look at your system.

Don’t run screaming for the hills…it doesn’t cost that much. The benefit of this is you have a guy who has no FINANCIAL interest in the resolution of your problem. A guy who services septic systems HAS an financial interest in seeing you use HIS method to repair your system. A civil engineer will simply tell you whats wrong and give you some ideas as to what WILL work and what WON’T. Doing it the other way means you find out what works AFTER you paid for it!!

These systems are very simple. Water runs from the home into a tank. The tank has a baffle in it to prevent solids from entering the field. The fluid then enters a D-Box or distribution box. This sends material into 2, 3, or 4 perferated pipes that are laid in crushed stone.

I’ve seen guys CAREFULLY dig up the area around those pipes and replace that crushed stone with NEW stone. (the old stuff is COVERED in slime) While they are in there, they also replace the perferated pipe with new. It’s labor intensive but material costs are less than $1000. Tanks and D boxes almost NEVER need replacing. I had one done with the help of my landscaper and a Bob Cat. His crew hand dug the material out from around the pipes and the system has worked flawlessly for 10 years.
The landscapers spread the old loam back over the area and reseeded.
Cost me a days labor for my landscaper and 5 of his guys. $1500+ $1000 for material = $2500 total

Hi Catdaddy, thanks for your comment, I found a site " Aero Stream " that shows a solution to my delima but I need more evidence that it really works.

Hi Jake, your fix is something more like what I had in mind. Another alternative is an Aerobic system at twice the cost, however, the air remediation system is less than half of your costs ( if it works , would be the ideal ).

Meantime, County rules and restrictions are a consideration. Thanks for your input and if there are more situations out there I would welcome more thoughts. Ekim

PS. I am in Montgomery County in Texas

I won’t buy a place where the septic system won’t pass inspection.

If I already own a place and the septic starts to give trouble, there are a couple of things to try.

One of the septic pumpers in your area will have a machine that back flushes the leach lines to blow out all the tampon applicators and gunk that your tenants have put down the toilet (bacon grease is a big favorite).

You can have someone come and drill holes and blow compressed air into the ground around the leach field to break the soil up where it’s become compacted.

Pumps and masticators only work if the leach field is uphill from the tank.

You can run new lines parallel to the old ones. Cost abput $5,000, and if drainage is the problem, that might not work.

You can put in a new sand filter system for about $30,000.

But if the drainage in the local soil is really bad, or there is a high water table, there is not much you can do to make a septic system work. To work, the fluids MUST be able to sink into the ground.

Hi Tatertot, I like that name, I bought the place to help a neighbor out of a pinch. I knew there was a problem with the septic being slow but I built a remedy into the price. That said, I would like to try every avenue to save the $3500 - 5500 if possible.

As of today I have discovered that there is a leak somewhere in the water supply line or active commode dumping into the tank or field line. I have shut off the water to see if the tank will drain properly, however the problem has been evident for some time and the field lines are probably saturated. There is no evidence on the topography so I think with the water off I should see some real results tomorrow afternoon, IF IT DOES NOT RAIN TONIGHT. Thanks for your input.

I will let you know how this turns out as soon as I get to a finale. Ekim

Do you know when the last time was that the tank was pumped?

It’s possible for the solids to fill the tank and get high enough to flow into the leach lines. If that happens you need to get the lines flushed out. Also, with the tank full of solids, the tank won’t hold much water.

Any leak in the plumbing that flows into th septic tank can cause problems with over filling, so I hope that’s your answer.

When I was a kid, we lived on a farm and our septic system was constantly giving us problems. My dad used a sharpened rod and found that the leach line was both short and in poor repair (clay pipe from the 50s). He rented a trencher, added sand and gravel, added pvc perf pipe, more sand and gravel and covered it up. The system has been working without problems for almost 40 years. It has not ever even been pumped out.


1500 in labor? here you can rent a backhoe for $300 and have fun playing in the dirt all day long and fix the problem yourself. :beer


Um, not knowing exactly what you consider slow and how things are where you live, are you sure your system is vented properly?