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cchheett
Lamb Of God
Premium
join:2001-04-02
Eagle Creek, OR

Need suggestion for drain field "smells"

My drain field is making a bad smell and I can see the a little pool or water/sewage that is coming out the ground. I talked to the guy who is going to fix the problem, but he wont be here for a week or 2.

My question is can i buy lime or something to put on the ground to make it smell better, and if lime would help what kind of lime is it. Is it some kind of garden lime or the lime you would use like cement. Just dont know what type i should buy at Home Depot. Thanks for any suggestions that would lessen to the smell.
--
A.B.Mult.Horror


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
When was the last time you had the tank pumped?


jack b
Gone Fishing
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Mix some powdered lime in a bucket and flush it down the toilet. Rinse, repeat.

What does your guy plan on doing to "fix" it?

Septic liquids flooding on the ground surface indicates that your system has failed and needs to be replaced.

Pumping the tank now will help keep any additional effluent from flowing out to the failed leach fields, at least until it fills up again.
--
~Help Find a Cure for Cancer~
~Proud Member of Team Discovery ~


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

1 edit
reply to cchheett
Effluent coming to the surface indicates the ground will not percolate the liquid into the subsoil. The mechanics of your system appear to be working as the liquid is getting from the tank to the drain field as designed. Pumping the tank will alleviate it for a day or two until the tank fills back up and liquid again is discharged into the drain field.

Have you had a lot of rain or is your yard (drain field) holding water? Sometimes adding one or more lines eliminates the problem if you have the room in your yard.

Any good septic contractor should be able to advise you and give you the information you need. Best is to get several companies to look at your problem and make a recommendation.

Any comments you see here for the causes and fixes are at best just opinions as only those trained and working in the field can give you the information you need to address your problem.

As for addressing the smell just buy some burnt lime at HD and spread it over the area. That will help some.

Most likely you will need to get a permit from the AHJ in your location for any work to the septic system.


cchheett
Lamb Of God
Premium
join:2001-04-02
Eagle Creek, OR
reply to cchheett
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I noticed the smell 6 days ago and I had the septic pumped. IT was fine for a few days then it came back. I will look around today and see what a few other contractors will say.

I'm still a little confused on what type of lime i need. IT was mentioned that I should get "burnt lime" and "powered lime". I don't know what the different stuff is.
Sorry I know nothing about this stuff
Thanks for any more help.
--
A.B.Mult.Horror


bbrcat
RIP Lisa
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-09
NH
kudos:3
reply to cchheett
Any heavy trucks/equiptment gone over your field lately?
--
Team
Discovery


jack b
Gone Fishing
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
kudos:1
reply to cchheett
said by cchheett:

I had the septic pumped. IT was fine for a few days then it came back.

Pumping will only make it "go away" for as long as it takes the tank to refill.
Once the tank fills up again, the effluent still has no place to go because the leach fields are shot.

Or as bbrcat alludes, maybe you'll get lucky and it's only a collapsed tile pipe or something...
--
~Help Find a Cure for Cancer~
~Proud Member of Team Discovery ~


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by jack b:

said by cchheett:

I had the septic pumped. IT was fine for a few days then it came back.

Pumping will only make it "go away" for as long as it takes the tank to refill.
Once the tank fills up again, the effluent still has no place to go because the leach fields are shot.

Or as bbrcat alludes, maybe you'll get lucky and it's only a collapsed tile pipe or something...

Once the tank fills up again, the effluent still has no place to go because the leach fields are shot.

The drain-field is not necessarily shot. From time to time during a Northeaster or Hurricane my drain-field floods and there is no place for the effluent from the tank to go other than to mix in with the flood waters. As soon as the water goes down the drain-field functions just fine.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to cchheett
You should also insure that the baffles in the tank are intact.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by John Galt:

You should also insure that the baffles in the tank are intact.

I don't think older tanks have baffles. Mine doesn't and the one at my previous house didn't.


jack b
Gone Fishing
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
kudos:1
reply to Jack_in_VA
nevermind...


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

I don't think older tanks have baffles. Mine doesn't and the one at my previous house didn't.

Probably rusted/rotted away...

quote:
Baffles are critical to the success of the septic tank, and the septic tank will not function without them. Influent baffles restrict and redirect the flow of the incoming wastewater to prevent short-circuiting. By doing so, baffles control the flow of the settleable and floatable materials. Effluent baffles prevent floatables, scum, or suspended solids from flowing into the drainfield.

Baffles come in many sizes and styles, the simplest just a bend and extension in a pipe. Baffles can also be concrete or fiberglass partitions attached to the ceiling of the tank. No significant difference has been found between using plastic and concrete baffles [Burks and Minnis]. More elaborate baffling systems can include pipes, screens, and weirs that direct and/or filter the flow.

Baffles often work better in conjunction with effluent filters that prevent suspended solids from leaving the tank. The advantage of effluent filters is that they filter the effluent of large suspended materials. The disadvantage of effluent filters is that they plug up. A monitoring device should be used with an effluent filter to avoid backup into the house.

Another type of baffle is a gas-deflecting baffle. Gaseous products of anaerobic digestion are generated in the solids at the bottom of the septic tank and large bubbles can belch up from the solids layer. When belching occurs, the gas disrupts the solid layer and can allow some solids to migrate to the outlet pipe and be carried to the drainfield. If this happens often, the soil absorption area can become clogged with solids. To prevent this occurrence, the outlet pipe can be fitted with a deflector (gas-deflecting baffle) to prevent the gases from traveling up the pipe. The deflector can be a 45° bend or a conical device manufactured to fit over the outlet pipe. The use of other baffling devices can also reduce the problems caused by belching gases.
»www.cefns.nau.edu/Projects/WDP/r···#baffles
--
»www.archive.org/details/Meatpies_1984



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

4 edits
I don't think older tanks have baffles. Mine doesn't and the one at my previous house didn't.

Probably rusted/rotted away...

Something can't "RUST" away that was never there to start with.




Baffles are critical to the success of the septic tank, and the septic tank will not function without them.

I would not characterize the inlet and outlet as a "baffle".

I guess my septic system has not been working since 1954 when it was installed, or my former system that was installed in 1972. Neither had baffles and were constructed exactly like the images show.
The bottom image is exactly what my tank looks like except the inspection pipes are actually manhole access to each end. There is no access in the center.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8

1 recommendation

Those pipes are functional baffles...


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Inlet "Sanitary Tee Inlet"
Outlet "Sanitary Tee outlet"

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
Called baffles from an extension service of a university in your area of the country.




»extension.umd.edu/environment/wa···tic.html


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

2 edits

1 recommendation

Also called sanitary tee, sewage influent tee, effulent tee etc. Depends on which site you're on.

Robbin I am a licensed Waste Water Treatment Operator in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I know what a baffle is. I know what solids and sludge are. I know how to keep them from the drain field.





John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Inlet "Sanitary Tee Inlet"
Outlet "Sanitary Tee outlet"

That's what the component parts are called..their -function- is to act as a baffle to prevent the short-circuiting of the flow to the outlet and drainfield.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by John Galt:

said by Jack_in_VA:

Inlet "Sanitary Tee Inlet"
Outlet "Sanitary Tee outlet"

That's what the component parts are called..their -function- is to act as a baffle to prevent the short-circuiting of the flow to the outlet and drainfield.

John there are no compartments. Just a dip tube on the inlet and a sanitary tee on the outlet. Otherwise the tank is a rectangular box.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to Jack_in_VA
I am confused by your post Jack. I did not doctor the image I uploaded and I credited the source. Are you saying that the University of Maryland is wrong?


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
No it depends on what site you are on. Haven't you noticed the difference in the descriptions?

I have never in my experience in waste treatment ever called a sanitary tee a baffle. A baffle is the wall in the tank to make it multi-sectional.


grobinette
Southeast of disorder
Premium,Mod
join:2001-01-27
Springfield, VA
kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to Jack_in_VA
Excuse me but I thought that this forum was to help people who had questions about home improvement.

Bickering over semantics and who is right or wrong isn't really helping cchheett See Profile is it?


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

I have never in my experience in waste treatment ever called a sanitary tee a baffle. A baffle is the wall in the tank to make it multi-sectional.

The OP should make sure that the baffles (or their functional equivalents) are in place and operating correctly.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to grobinette
said by grobinette:

Excuse me but I thought that this forum was to help people who had questions about home improvement.

Bickering over semantics and who is right or wrong isn't really helping cchheett See Profile is it?

Agree. Depends on what Google image you choose.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to John Galt
said by John Galt:

said by Jack_in_VA:

I have never in my experience in waste treatment ever called a sanitary tee a baffle. A baffle is the wall in the tank to make it multi-sectional.

The OP should make sure that the baffles (or their functional equivalents) are in place and operating correctly.

The OP's Septic repair company should be able to determine any tank problem very easily. Op could have any number of problems why the drainfield is not taking the water and bubbling up to the surface.

Here flooding (high tides) in low elevation lots are the main reason. If the drain field is in the water table the results are very predictable.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
said by Jack_in_VA:

The OP's Septic repair company should be able to determine any tank problem very easily. Op could have any number of problems why the drainfield is not taking the water and bubbling up to the surface.

The OP should take the time to get fully educated about septic systems so he doesn't get taken for a ride when the vendor decides he needs for a new boat for him, or a sunroom for Mama.
--
»www.archive.org/details/Meatpies_1984



hortnut
Huh?

join:2005-09-25
PNW
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to cchheett
Use a fine lime - the smaller the particles the more surface area there is to adhere to the smelly stuff and hopefully neutralize it. Pass up the pellitized products, they are for convenience and will not have the same amount of surface area.

Lime for Agricultural or Lawn use should be fine. Should be able to find it in a Feed Store.

These people are not too far from you just off Hwy 224 and on the way to Home Depot and they may have other ideas as to solutions to the smell.

»www.clackamasfeed.com/products.htm They show that they carry Lime.
5734 Southeast 130th Avenue, Clackamas, OR 97015

Should have something like this on the label-
Fine-sized:

95% passes 20-mesh screen

60% passes 60-mesh screen

50% passes 100-mesh screen