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Thread: Temporary septic repair, more harm than good?

  1. #1

    Default Temporary septic repair, more harm than good?

    So my septic/leach field is getting up there in age. 25 years ago when we bought this home we had the system inspected. The septic guy came out and looked in the tank and also dug 3 holes into the leach field. It looked pretty good, no standing water in the holes and the sand wasn't all filled with organic matter.
    After 10-15 years I noticed the grass very green around one of the holes. 3 years ago it was wet around that hole. I figured time was ticking and a big bill was coming. That being said, both of my children went of to college and I was hoping perhaps the reduced usage my dry out my field so for the short term I covered the area with some sand. Maybe 4 inches deep in a 6 foot circle. Fast forward a few months and due to having extra from another project, I covered the area about a foot deep over roughly the entire area of the leach field.
    My concern is that I may have done more harm than good. Any informed folks out there that could give me an opinion on this?
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    8,505

    Default

    I'm not so sure covering over your field with sand/dirt was all that helpful (assuming that is what you did -- not sure). It is the water pathway out of the pipes that gets slowed down, so all adding dirt on top is doing is hiding the water. It still may flow too slow to keep up with heavy usage, so instead of puddles in the yard you'll get backups into the low point (bottom floor bathtub or shower closest to the house exit) or toilets that don't flush well.

    All septic systems are a ticking time bomb. 40 to 50 years and they go off. You can do a little here and there to string it along, but at some point you'll get backups with heavy usage (especially the washing machine). Are you planning to sell soon? If not, start saving for when the first backup happens. I'd also research what it is going to take to repair/replace it. Rules have most likely changed and tanks and fields may need to be larger. Setbacks may need to be increased. IF you don't have sufficient space, or adding tanks is a huge expense (e.g. cranes), then maybe sell before it fails. Or be nice to the next buyer and fix it before you sell, especially if you think you are going to want to be there quite a while longer.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

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