Septic line clean, effluent not getting to distribution box


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Old 10-23-17, 02:58 AM
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Septic line clean, effluent not getting to distribution box

I cleaned out my septic line and added 2 cleanouts that oppose each other about half way down the line. The line is open but I can get the effluent to reach the distribution box. I can feel air coming out at the distribution box, but no water. Wondering if the opposing cleanouts are causing the problem. When I open the cleanout the effluent comes out of there easily, but when I seal them the water doesn't seem to want to make it up the hill to the distribution box as if it gets stuck right where the cleanouts are. As a side note I replaced an old 1/2 hp pump with a new one. I'm considering removing the cleanouts and going back to a straight line.
 
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Old 10-23-17, 03:39 AM
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Was the new pump primed ?
 
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Old 10-23-17, 04:45 AM
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What type system do you have? What is your pump doing in the system?

Normally cleanouts are installed on gravity powered lines which tend to be large 4" pipes. If you have a multi chamber system with a pump and your pump moves the effluent from the pump tank that is usually moved through a much smaller line like 1 1/2" or 2" and there is a distribution manifold but not a traditional gravity powered distribution box.
 
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Old 10-23-17, 12:14 PM
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Pump and setup

I primed the pump and the pump works great to about 150 feet where I placed the cleanouts. Basically I pump from my tank about 250 feet with the last 75 feet going up hill to the distribution box. From there it drains into a mound system. I had a friend suggest putting the cleanouts in but in my mind it didn't feel right. The line is 1 1/2 inch all the way to the box. There's really only 2 things that are different, the pump and the 2 cleanouts. I'm really feeling like those are my culprit, but I'm new to septic systems. The pump is a 1/2 horse power which is same as the old one. Just a different brand.
 
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Old 10-23-17, 04:04 PM
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Normally you don't have clean outs on the pressure/output side of the pump. By that point the effluent has already gone through the septic tank, it's outlet filter so no chunks should make it to the pump tank. Then there is the macerating action of the pump.

You keep saying distribution box. What does yours look like? Do you have a series of valves (distribution manifold) and pipe rising vertically with a cap on top or do you have an olde fashioned distribution box where you have a pool of liquid and open, gravity fed discharge pipes?
 
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Old 10-23-17, 05:31 PM
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Distribution box type

Thanks for the replies I really appreciate it. My distribution box is the older kind, square concrete box with gravity fed outlets to the drain field (mound). My line empties in there. The line exiting the box is running as I cleaned that out with my sewer cleaning pressure hose. I just can't get the water effluent to get to the box beyond those cleanouts. Now that I'm learning there was a reason I couldn't find cleanouts prior to working on it. It's such a long run that it was hard to clean the whole line. So I figured I'd take the advice I received and throw some cleanouts in. The effluent seems to get stuck where those are and I have the sense it's almost like it caused an air lock. If I'm thinking about it correctly? I feel like I should take them out and make the line one straight shot again from the tank to the box. Again it's a rather long run around 250 feet or more with the last 75 feet or so going uphill. The system worked fine until the line clogged and burned the old pump out.
 
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Old 10-24-17, 07:52 AM
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I think you have some sort of problem not really related to your clean outs. I have never seen a situation where clean outs cause a clog or blockage. I wonder if you have a crushed pipe that just happens to be near the clean outs. I have an excavator (track hoe) so I'd just dig it up and see what's going on. You may want to hire a plumber that has an inspection camera. They can go in through the clean out and see what and where the problem is. But in my situation I can dig up the area and fix any problem and be done for lunch. Bringing in someone else with a camera only slows things down as the camera can only identify the problem and a fix will still need to be done.
 
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Old 10-24-17, 10:43 AM
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Cleanouts

Appreciate the reply. I did run the cleaning pressure washer through the whole line. I then ran water from the box on the top of the hill all the way to the tank. Water flows through the whole line. When I close the cleanouts and make them air tight and turn the pump on I can feel air coming out at the box but the water doesn't get there. And the cleanouts are close together and face one another. They are about 2 feet apart. When this all started I did clean the pipe and got some thick returns so I feel like the line is open all the way since I was able to pass the pressure washer hose all the way up and down. The whole thing has me perplexed. I can rent a digger, which is what I did to expose the line before
 
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Old 10-24-17, 12:20 PM
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If you can get water to go through the pipe freely then it's not clogged. I think you have a pump problem. Maybe it can't generate enough head pressure to make it the whole way. Double check the specs on the new pump you installed.
 
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Old 10-24-17, 01:07 PM
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Pump and setup

Dumb question, I replaced a 1/2 hp pump that burned out with a different brand 1/2 hp pump. The one big difference is the old one was a Gould Pump with a 1 1/2 inch outlet. The new pump is a Coleman from menards and has a 2 inch outlet so I had to put a reducer on it. Not sure if that would screw anything up. I also am not sure what all the differences are between them in regards to figuring out the strength it pumps at 300 or so feet. I saw some calculations online but now I'm wondering if I should just get the exact pump that was in there before and not dig out those new cleanouts just yet. Those are are really the only things that have changed, the pump and the cleanouts.
As a side note I did replace the line that came right out from the tank. When they installed it they had 2 straight 90's coming out of the tank. 1 going down about 5 feet and 1 going out to the line. It was impossible to snake it or use the jet cleaner. So I changed that out. But the effluent pumps through there wonderfully out the cleanouts. It just won't make it up the hill to the box. Hence my assumption the cleanouts were causing some sort of airlock or messing up the flow, even though i make them air tight.
 
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Old 10-24-17, 01:29 PM
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How many years did it take to burn out the 1st HP Pump ?

Depending upon that length of time, I may have recommended 1 Full Horse, especially if this one needs to be replaced for any reason.

Just to prevent a recurrence of the same issue.
 
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Old 10-24-17, 02:08 PM
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Pump

The old pump was there before we bought the house. Several years apparently. When the line got a bit clogged up it burnt out. Curious, if the pump is bigger could it overwhelm the distribution box?
 
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Old 10-24-17, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Jchap44
". . . if the pump is bigger could it overwhelm the distribution box? . . ."
Shouldn't, it would be controlled by the same float switch that activates/deactivates the pump when the proper levels are achieved.
 
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Old 10-24-17, 04:05 PM
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The pump is controlled by the liquid level in the pump tank. When the tank gets to it's full level the pump turns on and runs until the tank is down to the turn off point. It is totally controlled by the tank level and not by anything going on downstream.

You have to be careful with your style distribution box. That is a design that I have not seen used with in a pump system. It can be overwhelmed by too much volume so I would not just double the size of the pump on a whim.

Look up the specs on the Gould pump you used to have. You don't have to get the same exact one but you do want one with a similar performance curve. Horsepower is only half of the equation. The pump design is the other half. There are pumps designed for dewatering and move a large volume of water at low pressure while another with the same horsepower can have a pump designed for higher pressure and lower volume.
 
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Old 10-24-17, 06:04 PM
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Diagnosing

Try this:
Run some water from the distribution box, downhill to the clean outs.
If you can see the water (put a bit of food coloring in it) the the pipe is not blocked and the problem is that the pump is not strong enough.
If you can't see the water, there is a blockage uphill of the clean outs.
An air lock only applies if there is a change in slope (down to up) if one end of the pipe is open. With an open ended pipe, with enough power, a pump can push water through it.
 
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Old 10-24-17, 06:04 PM
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Pump

I should have know that before I asked. Yes I have a float for the pump and one for the alarm. A guy from the septic company set the floats up. I didn't know that about the pumps. I will do a comparison and likely post them on here as I am so new to this I'm figuring it out as I go. Should I post what the cleanouts look like as well?
 
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Old 10-24-17, 08:46 PM
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Diagnosing

So with regards to diagnosing I did run hose water from the box to the cleanouts. I can most definitely hear the water going by and also hear it make it to the tank. Leads me to believe the whole line is open. I couldn't really see the water as the cleanouts are put in using 2 long turn wye's. The y's face each other and around about 2 feet apart. But I can hear water flowing through easily.
 
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Old 10-25-17, 04:50 AM
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Here is a link to what I found on your Coleman pump. Depending on exactly which model you purchased it could be your problem. Model 50-ACCP has a maximum head of only 15ft and the other versions of that pump only do 20 or 25 feet.

What is the elevation difference from the liquid level in your pump tank to the distribution box?
 
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Old 10-25-17, 05:18 AM
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Coleman pump

Thank you for all the replies. My pump is the 50 ASSP model. The elevation from the bottom of the tank where the pump is to the box I am guessing to be a good 25 feet.
My old Gould pump was the PE51P1 model.
 

Last edited by Jchap44; 10-25-17 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 10-25-17, 08:45 AM
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Your old pump could pump up to 40 ft. and was useful up to 30-35 feet. So, even the highest pressure Coleman pump comes up about 10 feet short on head pressure capacity.

Here is the info on your old pump.
 
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Old 10-25-17, 09:14 AM
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Pump

I'm starting to get the feeling I need a different pump. Perhaps I should try that before digging out those cleanouts.
 
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Old 10-26-17, 11:49 AM
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New Pump

Well it was the pump after all. Got a new one with a maximum head of 37 feet. Plenty for the job. I appreciate all the responses. This was a tremendous help. Thanks again!
 
 

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