Septic Tanks ... I mean Thanks? WARNING: Long story! : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Well, don't it always happen like it was s'posed to?

I wasn't able to read Leska's message about sewers backing up yesterday afternoon, I think the forum was just too busy. But my imagination did a good job of envisioning the horror of it!

Shortly afterward, we went out to the truck for a run to Sam's Club and my husband said "Oh, S***!!!" Naturally I asked him what was wrong.... Okay, it was funny for a second when it turned out that his expletive was more literal than figurative, BUT an overflowing septic tank is not funny for long.

We were able to reach a "licensed septologist" who came out within the hour. Husband helped him dig down to the concrete lid, and, well the rest is history, I guess.

My reason for posting this is:

At first I was OH NO!!! Especially in light of the fact that we'd been putting a lot of money into preparedness, but I soon saw the pluses....

I hadn't thought of getting it done (according to previous owners at time of sale, wouldn't need it done for ages...) and we probably wouldn't have included getting the tank pumped out as part of preparedness. It was a cold (not hot & ripe) but not freezing day, and it was forced on us. Plus, it overflowed out the tank vent pipe, not backed up into the kitchen sink (EEYUCKK!!). Not to mention that we now know the condition of the tank and that it will really last. I just couldn't help thinking what a mess ;) we'd have had if it was post-Y2k and we couldn't get someone to pump it for us!

Just the pumping cost $100, but it could have been a lot more if the tank was metal & rusting, or was damaged.

Something to think about!

-- Arewyn (, November 08, 1998


Wow! Synchronicity, huh. Glad your imagination did not become reality for you :) Sounds like now you are even better prepared.
I've been reading aghast at what is now going on in Central America; they're ruined in every way, and the sewage & garbage & muck running everywhere, with its attendant stench & disease, is affecting morale as much as the starvation. I pray, 4 months after Y2K, the entire world is not embroiled in something even remotely similar.
Thanks for posting, Arewyn!

-- Leska (, November 08, 1998.

Arewyn, you may not be ready to celebrate yet. If your septic tank was backed up, then the finger system would have to be completely blocked. Pumping out the tank is only temporary. If it is a 1000 gallon tank, the problem will be back in a few more weeks. The person who pumped the tank should have told you. In all likely-hood, you will need to replace the tiles or dig up the pipes in the finger system and replace them. Check with the Man who pumped the tank. Herb

-- Herbert Johnson (HERB87@JUNO.COM), November 08, 1998.

I feel for you! There's a website called "All Septic System Website." It has a lot of useful information on your septic system. Herbert is correct about your leach fields that may need to be replaced, and it's an expensive endeavor. Here in California, it's a State law that when you purchase a home that is on septic, the septic must be pumped and inspected before the close of escrow. That's one law that truly protects the consumer.

-- Bardou (, November 08, 1998.

By all means have the drain field checked out. If it's been in place a number of years and you've got any sort of plants or shrubs, they could be doing a root number on things.

You trouble may not be over yet...but we all hope so !


-- jd (, November 08, 1998.

Thanks for your posts! I will call the pump people this morning to ask about the leach field & finger thing. I hope it's okay, but the house is 100+, and so far, no repairs have been simple! You know what I mean, go to hammer a nail in & find out the boards need replacing, etc. Oh well, guess that's what we get for loving history & oldies but goodies!

-- Arewyn (, November 09, 1998.

If the house is that old - watch out for a "small" gotcha if you do any carpentry or woodwork - about twenty years ago they began using "samller" 2x4's and 2x8's - the industry standards were modified so the actual board you buy now is smaller than it was then.

If you are replacing a piece of wood - anywhere - measure it very carefully in length width and depth - because you may have to custom fit its replacement. Shims or filler strips can be used sometimes.

Consider finding and saving nails - they were possibly hand made, and will become valueable antiques over time and to restoring work in other projects or historical sites.

Collecting or historical accuracy aside, unlike wood - if possible, try not to reuse the old nails - you really want your new connections to be firm and at full strength, not relying on older nails.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 11, 1998.

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