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nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
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reply to TheSMJ

Re: Is this well pit worth restoring?

Oil heat is a rarity here in the Midwest. It's much more popular on the East coast.
Of the few rare Midwestern exceptions that do use oil heat, most of the tanks are above ground or in the basement.
Almost everyone in this region uses NG, propane, or electric.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


Tig

join:2006-06-29
Carrying Place, ON
Reviews:
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·TekSavvy DSL

2 edits
reply to TheSMJ

said by TheSMJ:

Oh, that reminds me...

The seller also mentioned where the septic system was and of course has no idea if it was ever removed/abandoned properly or if I have a empty 1000+ gallon tank burred a few feet under the front lawn. I have absolutely no interest in ever using the septic system again (if it's even still there). I'm only interested in what state the tank is in if it's still on the property, and whether it's in danger of collapsing. I might be able to use a metal detector to find the leech field hardware, and then follow the plumbing to the tank's exact location.

There's also a dry well somewhere on the property that the basement floor drains used to empty into up until just a few years ago. I have a feeling it has something to do with a sinkhole that formed on the side of the front lawn close to where the septic system is/was. I'll dig into the pit a couple of feet and see what's in there.

Before plastics, clay pipe was used for septic. I doubt you'll find any sort of metal hardware to detect, other than perhaps the pipe that feeds the tank. You should be able to spot where this pipe exits the home through the basement wall. Then, take a guess about 10' straight out from the home and drive a piece of rebar down into the ground a couple feet to see if you can hit the lid. Although, my old septic was covered with a corrugated steel panel. It was a noticeable sink hole and rebar would have just poked a hole.
I'm curious, how does the well pit, water level compare to the basement level?

TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI

said by Tig:

I'm curious, how does the well pit, water level compare to the basement level?

The bottom of the pit is ~4 feet above the basement floor. However, the basement is dry.


Steve
I know your IP address
Consultant
join:2001-03-10
Yorba Linda, CA
kudos:5
reply to TheSMJ

said by TheSMJ:

I had no idea where the well was, but the house did have what I thought to be a cistern in the back yard, with a 2x3 foot trap door covering it. In the pit is about a foot and a half of crystal clear water with some large paver stones and what appears to be the base of an old pump on the bottom.

I predict that when he gets to the bottom of this, he'll find a safe


Jtmo
Premium
join:2001-05-20
Novato, CA

1 recommendation

reply to TheSMJ

Be careful of the old septic tank, my neighbor decades ago walked across ours and the lid broke. She damn near drowned and would have if my brother and Dad had not heard her screaming FIRE, FIRE! Why Fire? "Would you have come if I had yelled SHIT?
True story, and don't ask how many showers and baths she took. And NO lawsuit, those were the days.


TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI

1 recommendation

said by Jtmo:

Be careful of the old septic tank, my neighbor decades ago walked across ours and the lid broke. She damn near drowned and would have if my brother and Dad had not heard her screaming FIRE, FIRE! Why Fire? "Would you have come if I had yelled SHIT?
True story, and don't ask how many showers and baths she took. And NO lawsuit, those were the days.

That's precisely the type of situation I'm trying to avoid by verifying the tank was removed, crushed and reburied, or filled with sand.

Drowning in a pool of other people's shit isn't quite how I plan to go out.

Could you even imagine the smell? *shudder*


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

said by TheSMJ:

said by Jtmo:

Be careful of the old septic tank, my neighbor decades ago walked across ours and the lid broke. She damn near drowned and would have if my brother and Dad had not heard her screaming FIRE, FIRE! Why Fire? "Would you have come if I had yelled SHIT?
True story, and don't ask how many showers and baths she took. And NO lawsuit, those were the days.

That's precisely the type of situation I'm trying to avoid by verifying the tank was removed, crushed and reburied, or filled with sand.

Drowning in a pool of other people's shit isn't quite how I plan to go out.

Could you even imagine the smell? *shudder*

Good Grief living in a sanitary bubble.

There are plenty of people who work with and in septic tanks. How do you think they get pumped out? Yes they have to be pumped about every 5 years now.


Jtmo
Premium
join:2001-05-20
Novato, CA

Cleaning them is one thing, drowning in them is another.



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

said by Jtmo:

Cleaning them is one thing, drowning in them is another.

Unless someone leaves the access cover off that's not likely to happen. You do realize it's a concrete tank?

TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI

said by Jack_in_VA See Profile
Unless someone leaves the access cover off that's not likely to happen. You do realize it's a concrete tank?

:



Not always. Sometime they're steel.



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

said by TheSMJ:

said by Jack_in_VA See Profile
Unless someone leaves the access cover off that's not likely to happen. You do realize it's a concrete tank?

:



Not always. Sometime they're steel.

Some of the newer ones are Fiberglas. Never seen a steel one as they wouldn't last very long here on the coast.

kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
reply to Jack_in_VA

I hadn't pumped mine in the nearly 30 years I've lived here, and don't aim to till something happens. Why fix something that ain't broke.



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

1 edit

The EPA and Chesapeake Bay Act requires pumping every 5 years and documented.

Illinois must be very lax on polluters. Be sure to read the table for pumping.

Septic systems and their maintenance


kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL

Maybe in your part of the woods. I've talked to guy that was pumping the neighbor a few years ago and mentioned it. If it meant a sale I'm sure he would have said something ......



nunya
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join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
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reply to kherr


Why fix something that ain't broke.


Pumping a septic tank isn't a "fix", it's part of ongoing maintenance. They have a finite capacity for solids. Depending on what your household habits are, the time period varies. Every 5-10 years is the norm.

If you wait too long, the leach field will be compromised and the system will be ruined. $220 for a maintenance cleanout is way cheaper than $5,000 for a new system.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
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reply to kherr

said by kherr:

Why fix something that ain't broke.

Do you take the same approach with changing the oil in your car?


DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2
reply to cdru

said by cdru:

You might also check local codes to see if restoring/repairing/redrilling/whatever is even an option, from a legal standpoint. Many cities prohibit water wells after municipal water becomes available to prevent contamination, monitoring a shared common aquifer, etc.

Up here, no one can touch a well but a licensed well driller. Contamination of the water table and all that.
--
Need-based health care not greed-based health care.


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

said by nunya:


Why fix something that ain't broke.


Pumping a septic tank isn't a "fix", it's part of ongoing maintenance. They have a finite capacity for solids. Depending on what your household habits are, the time period varies. Every 5-10 years is the norm.

If you wait too long, the leach field will be compromised and the system will be ruined. $220 for a maintenance cleanout is way cheaper than $5,000 for a new system.

+1

5 to 10 years but ours is 5 years by law. No exceptions. You must provide proof of pumping.

kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to nunya

I found the access lid a couple of years ago and thought I'd give a peek, and it was like 10% full. It was made of brick and figured not to disturb it any more then I had to less it would fall apart. I looked for evidence to see what direction the outlet was but didn't see anything. In my diggings of the yard (which is very small) I haven't found any signs of the leach field. It must be filtering through the bricks into the ground. With digging a foundation for a garage and the trench for the electric to it, I haven't found a clue as to how the thing is set up. No pipes or remnants of pipes.

As long as it works for now is all I care. Unfortunately tying into the sewers is not an option. I checked into that last year and it'd be about $10,000(not counting the tap fee) with a pit outside and to trench about 50' feet. The bulk going to hand dig to weave the pipe through the water and gas mains that it would have to cross. Injector pumps last only 5~7 years and there's no place to put the pit if you still want to put a vehicle in the back. Then the pipe would go down the center of the driveway, which isn’t good. I’ve always been careful as to what goes down the g/d. Not much you can do. It’s been there for 70 years, another 20 isn’t going to hurt it.


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

Sounds like you may have a cesspool and not a septic system.



Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1
reply to cdru

said by cdru:

said by TheSMJ:

But then again, that sure would be a crappy place to die...

...but not nearly as bad as a septic tank.

Agree! My aunt used to have a septic tank that just had a wooden roof cover over it in the yard and one day they had to pump to clean it out and I got a look down in it..

Not a place you want to fall down into, I'd say it was maybe 10X10' square and no clue how deep.

They since changed to a covered unit which is smaller and filled up the old location..

Speaking of that I don't know why they downsized and not only that the tank is much closer to the house, like 20 Ft vs 50 Ft.

Never seen the new one opened but it's under ground with grass over it so not sure how it's cleaned out.
--
It's NOT Ni-kon It's NE-KON!




LG is NOT Lifes Good It's Lucky Goldstar!


scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to TheSMJ

My septic system hasn't been pumped out since we moved in at the end of 1995. I don't think I've seen any house in my subdivision pumped out either.



Toadman
Hypnotoad

join:2001-11-28
Ex Ohioan
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T Midwest
reply to TheSMJ

In MI the health department keeps all drilling records and some are even online. If you haven't called someone yet Keller well in Brighton comes highly recommended.
I have yet to figure out the watering obsession in Lower MI.
--
This post is made with meat biproducts.


garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric
·callwithus

said by Toadman:


I have yet to figure out the watering obsession in Lower MI.

No kidding! When I lived outside of Buffalo most lawns were allowed to go dormant in the summer. Here, it seems like it has to look like May until the end of October.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online

said by garys_2k:

said by Toadman:


I have yet to figure out the watering obsession in Lower MI.

No kidding! When I lived outside of Buffalo most lawns were allowed to go dormant in the summer. Here, it seems like it has to look like May until the end of October.

That's what we do. Grass gets watered every other day.

TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI
reply to garys_2k

said by garys_2k:

No kidding! When I lived outside of Buffalo most lawns were allowed to go dormant in the summer. Here, it seems like it has to look like May until the end of October.

That didn't stop you from installing an in-ground automatic sprinkler system!

Peer pressure is a bitch.

IF I get a sprinkler system, it would only be for the front lawn and only because the water would be free anyhow.


dark_star

join:2003-11-14
Louisville
kudos:1
reply to TheSMJ

HarryH13 is right!

If you have no confined space safety training you have no idea how easy and painless it is to die in a low oxygen atmosphere. At a minimum, after you remove the cover, ventilate the space with a strong portable fan for an hour before you enter it.

Unless you're wearing a harness (I already know you won't), a helper is useless. If you got into trouble, he'd crawl in to “rescue” you, and will just make it a double funeral. There are many OSHA recorded cases of “rescuers” piling up in confined spaces, until the supply of brave fools runs out.

About your original question, since the male half of the owners is dead, try asking the neighbors. If they are long term, probably at least one will know the condition of the well when its use was terminated.


Tig

join:2006-06-29
Carrying Place, ON

Dup

Double post


Tig

join:2006-06-29
Carrying Place, ON
Reviews:
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reply to dark_star

Re: Is this well pit worth restoring?

I was looking for a link an incident from a few years ago. A family member climbed in and then collapsed, one by one the family joined the rescue in the hole. They all died.
Extreme example, but I'd hate to see you as the topic of one of our disrespectful hindsight on a tragedy threads.


TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI
reply to TheSMJ

Someone else would be there in case something happens. More than likely my dad. I could also fit a box fan over the trap door while I'm in there.

If this was any deeper I might be worried, but I stand at least a foot an a half taller than this thing is deep, and its not very wide. If someone had to go in after me they wouldn't even need to put their head below ground level in order to pull me out.