Some days when I think of the Septic systems it always makes you think of Ole Erma Bombeck and that book the grass is always greener over the septic tank. Well I have come to determine that it might only be greener over the septic tank if its broken and leaking. But the grass really should be greener over the leach field if the septic tank is working properly.
The Grass Really is Greener over the leach Field!
I have had the pleasure ( or more directly the nightmare) of living in an older home that was a remodel project from day one. I will probably write a series on this house as it has been a trial and tribulation that is amazingly unreal. But I do have to say what doesn’t break you makes you stronger. Maybe not financially though when it comes to a home.
But the education this home has given me has been a total gift when it comes to dealing with houses. I really couldn’t have asked for a better educator!
One of the things we really never think of when we buy a home is the health of the septic system. We have the home inspector check if the drains work and the toilet flushes. Well all must be well if that is done. Usually in Idaho we have the septic tank pumped so they hopefully find it and pump it and generally they say all is well and off we toddle into the world of home ownership. Never totally having a clue if the septic tank is truly doing its job.
So in my instance I buy my lovely fixer upper. And it needs a lot were not even going to touch everything that it needs but lets just say for starters we take care of replacing most of the plumbing. Change some rooms and put in new plumbing to take care of the new position of some of the conveniences aka new toilet and tub. So I tend to that and I continue to have “problems” an occasionally clogged pipe an occasional odor in the house that smells like septic. Have the plumber come and I chase down having lines snaked out. Tear out a wall looking to see if they “forgot” a trap when they put in the new pipes. Have the plumber tell me that a lot of homes with basements have an “odor” that just can’t be cured.
If that thought isn’t enough to just about gag you I don’t know what is. As there was days that it really stunk! I carried on with this pattern for about 4 years. Pump the septic on the advice of a plumber snake out a line here and there open windows to let the stench out at times. And none of it was ever consistent it wasn’t like it stunk every day or that it clogged all the time I’m talking an occasional here and there just enough to slowly beat you up as a home owner.
Well being an active Real Estate agent and an active blogger on Active Rain I came across a company Lateral Concepts LLC that was blogging in my area that specialized in looking at septic systems. I have to be honest I had talked to so many plumbers etc. and No one had recommended a service like this that I was a little skeptical. So on my last clogging and a you need your septic pumped routine I decided to give this company a call. As frankly I’m getting to my wit’s end. I had this tank pumped a year ago. Its only 2 of us living in the home we can’t be that full of poo.
So we get the tank pumped out as he can’t look at things without the tank pumped down. And we dig it up as most tanks should have two lids ( LOl I learned something new there) 2nd lid heads to the leach field so you can check on it. So he checks out my line from the house to the tank. Were dirty but there is a path to the tank. So the house can drain. Then we start on the checking of the leach field. That is a joke for starters as my older tank does not have a 2nd lid. Well it does now! He can get about 6 inches into the leach field with the scope. Guess what is not working! There should be many feet of space for that tank to drain. I am not certain of the exact and I am sure it’s going to be subject in length to your ground and the size of your home. but lets just say that 6 inches of grime just doesn’t cut it for a leach field. I had always wondered why my lawn dried out so in the summer LOL.
So Moral to the story I have a new leach field. They had to come in and dig up a new leach field put me down new piping into the septic tank and head me off into a new direction. Because Yes the water should skim off the septic tank and go somewhere preferably not back into the house! If the leach field is working well I was told that I should not have to have that septic tank pumped for at least 4 or 5 years. Wow isn’t that an amazing thought since its been an annual job for the last 3 years,. I now have clean outs and spots where you could get a scope down it at any time and be able to check on it. I truly don’t expect to have a problem with it for a very very long time.
As for now my basement no longer stinks! Oh you might smell the cat box once in a while but the sewer smell is gone. Doesn’t burp back on us every time the washing machine runs even the clothes smell better out of my washing machine. I know that sounds crazy but seriously it is better. No clogged drains in almost 6 months. I may not know what to do with myself if that problem goes away for good.
And I just have to say Brad at Lateral Concepts was amazing to deal with. He orchestrated the whole repair for me. Recommended the excavator who was amazing! First person in the trades that I have ever had that showed up when he said he was going to show up and just plain rocked out the job. I am totally impressed. If you ever need someone to call for that type of work call or email for his number he is amazing! Recommended the plumber that did the piping. Frankly it was done in a long morning. Wonderful service sometimes out of the stinkiest moments you find a gem.
Learned a lot about pipes this little experience. I think we all take it for granted that issues like I just got to experience are for the folks that live in the country. We forget that every time someone parks a car over the line heading to the city sewer or that beautiful tree in the front yard wraps its roots around the line that any little tap or stranglehold on those pipes can at sometime create an issue or cause damage.
Talking to Brad he reminds me that it’s not just for the older homes that even some of the newer homes have issues. I know even talking to one of the plumbers that I had out over the years. He tells me oh Yea a lot of the homes in this area have this problem. it’s just because you have a basement. Maybe it’s because the leach field is clogged, or maybe it’s not draining right. Ground settles what if the house does and the leach field doesn’t . One thing I have learned is water does not run up hill. And I am 6 months out now and low and behold the odor has not returned to my “basement”. Fancy that!
So moral of the story is the grass really is greener over the leach field that is working. And if that septic needs pumped more than every few years the problem really is not the septic. It is just the symptom to a much larger problem.