Failed Septic - Seepage Pit


Old 02-16-17, 10:38 AM
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Failed Septic - Seepage Pit

I have a very old septic system which I have pumped regularly and kept up with additives. I have sensed that it was getting "sluggish" lately and since I smelled a sewage smell after doing some laundry outside above the tank, I had it pumped.

A few weeks later, I noticed water coming up from the tank lid.

A septic company came out to snake the outlet to the seepage pit and found that to be clear.

Next we uncovered the top of the pit and found it to be full. I noticed a LOT of scum on the surface and a lot of junk in the pit.

The advice from the septic company is that I need a whole new system. They are pumping out the put and the septic tank which they say will buy me a couple of months.

Is my only alternative here getting a while new septic system to the tune of $20-$25K?

Any suggestions are welcome!
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Old 02-16-17, 10:43 AM
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You probably don't need a whole new system but probably need a new drain field. Some will add a new field along with a valve so you can switch leach fields as needed.
Old 02-16-17, 11:39 AM
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You need to check your septic tank to be sure that there is still a baffle at the outlet pipe. This is one of the few instances where pumping out a septic tank again in short order makes sense (here to be able to inspect the inside).

The scum and junk in the seepage pit (next stop past the septic tank) suggests that the baffle in question is damaged or missing.

If your town still permits seepage pits, a new seepage pit a few feet beyond the existing seepage pit will probably solve the problem at less cost compared with a drain field (leach field).

The septic tank itself would probably not need replacing unless it has cracked, letting raw sewage into th e soil before reaching the seepage pit.
Old 02-16-17, 12:34 PM
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(this is so weird - I type so slow the thread changes by the time I'm done -LOL. Just saw that Allan posted. I'll read that for sure.)

Iím no expert for sure but I think I agree with mark. I donít see why you would need an entire new system Ė but I guess it depends on the layout of your property. I also have a seepage pit with the septic tank draining into the seepage pit.

But I also have a secondary seepage pit connected to the first. Iím not sure how that happened Ė whether the secondary pit was original design or was an add-on. I think the first pit has an outlet pipe to the second pit. I donít know whether that pipe was an add-on. The first pit is always full of liquid up to the outlet pipe. Septic pumper guy never said that was bad Ė but I never really asked him.

Iím wondering if somehow you could just pipe your seepage pit into some new drain. I guess thatís kind of what mark is talking about with the drain field.

Maybe you could start by asking the code authority in your area what configurations are allowed: multiple seepage pits, drain fields, etc. Might be worth something. Maybe they would say something that would give you a good lead.

Also I think there are ways you might be able to resuscitate the pit Ė but Iím not sure. I think Lawrosa has a long thread on this forum where he talks about how he did it. I think so Ė but my memory might be failing.
Old 02-16-17, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by zoesdad
". . . Septic pumper guy never said that was bad Ė but I never really asked him . . ."
Around here, the people they send out on septic tank pumping missions are usually nice talkative fellows; but they don't double as Waste Water Disposal System Experts. I'd seek the opinion of a Civil Engineer, or a Waste Water specialist so that your question doesn't trigger having the system under question automatically deemed a "failed system".

Seldom does an entire system fail all at once. The OP needs a 2nd "arms length" opinion from someone with some kind of credentials as a Site Technician.
Old 02-16-17, 04:25 PM
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Problems in the septic tank often hasten failure of the leach field or seepage pit. So when the latter needs to be refurbished, the city mi9ght mandate the upgrading of the septic tank, notably to a two chamber model.

The second chamber, which is smaller than the first, is not porous i.e. is not a seepage pit. It cuts down on grease that could migrate to the seepage pit or leach field. The second chamber also allows for further decomposition of the waste water.

There are methods of rejuvenating seepage pits (or leach fields or cesspools) but any given chemical used will be hit or miss. It depends on how much the walls and soil around have become impregnated with grease or biomat.
Old 02-16-17, 05:31 PM
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Apparently primary to secondary pits were, and maybe still are, allowed where I live, so I donít think itís a failed system if the primary sends effluent to the secondary Ė as long as the secondary can handle it. The formal load test when I moved in tested tank-to-primary-to-secondary, so it must be legitimate. At least it was 15 years ago.

Thatís why I brought it up Ė just in case there is any possibility malangon can do the same.

I think this is the thread I was thinking of, which was started by Lawrosa (Mike) Ė who also lives in NJ (same as malangon) and who also knows a lot about the regulations for these things. Itís a long thread, but I think there is good information there that might help malangon .
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