Septic Tank Issues

Well, we are having septic tank issues. I really wish our town would get sewers. Where I grew up we always had sewers. To be honest I didn't know what a septic tank was until we started looking at houses. I was 25. I digress. So Saturday night a toilet was running. Who knew? We don't know for how long it was going but it was at least 2 hours. Hubby found it running after we watched a movie before bed. Thank goodness he did. I would hate to think of what it would have been like if it was running all night. Hubby went down stairs into the cellar and low and behold we had problems. I will spare you the pictures. Thankfully Hubby got the toilet to stop running and the problem did not get worse. 

It was about 10:30pm at this point and we were not going to put in an emergency call to have them come at that hour and pump out the system. I don't even know if they would come out at that hour.  So I texted my son at work to not use water when he got home and to fill him in on what happened. Hubby went around shutting water off.  I grabbed wipes and put them in both bathrooms. We would have to wait until the morning.

I don't like to use disposables because there is way to much garbage on this planet. I do keep some for emergencies like this. So out came the paper plates, cups and plastic ware for breakfast. I didn't make a big breakfast because I didn't want to make a ton of dirty pots and pans. We survived with bagels and fried eggs. 

YD had plans to go out.  My son had to go to work again. They needed to take showers. I closed the drain to the tub and got one of my 5 gallon buckets. I put it in the shower and explained that you let the water warm up in the bucket. You then take a Navy shower. For those of you not familiar with Navy showers you turn the water on to get wet. Shut water off. Put shampoo and soap on your body. Turn water on and rinse off. Shut water off. Takes about 2 minutes of water. Apparently that is how you are taught to take a shower in the Navy to conserve water. It also works well for septic issues.  When my son was done I bailed the water into the bucket and poured it on my plants. Then it was YD turn. When she was done I did the same thing. 

Pots and pans were done in a big Rubbermaid tub. It worked fine. Not the easiest way to do dishes but it worked. I then dumped that water by my peach tree. My plants all got free waterings today. This would also work well if we were under water restrictions. Good to know.

Meanwhile, Hubby was calling places to see who could come pump out our tank and overflow. Some places charge extra because it is Sunday. I am not paying $200 extra for that. We would wait another day to Monday if we had too. He called 3 places and the last one could do it Sunday and for the regular price. It would be $100 to dig each cover out. No Thanks! We can dig our own covers out. Hubby did it in no time. They came around 3pm and were gone by 4:30. Hubby had been thinking about getting septic tank risers (ground covers) for our system so that if something ever happened when he was away I wouldn't have to dig them out or pay to have them dug out. He recently looked into it and had priced it out. So we knew what it would cost. It was on our list of things to do in the near future. One of the workmen mention it to Hubby with a price that was less then Hubby had seen. So we took them up on it. They will be coming back to install them on Monday or Tuesday depending on the weather.. They put chemicals in the system to loosen everything up so they said to use minimal water for the next 48 hours. So we will be eating on paper plates and taking Navy showers for the next few days. I will not be doing laundry either. 

Hubby ran to Home Depot to get a new flapper for the toilet. A very easy fix to stop the toilet from running again. We are hoping this is the end of our septic tank issues. 

Thankfully we have an Emergency Fund for events like this. Otherwise we would have had to charge it on a credit card. It cost $625 for both tanks to be pumped and another $300 for the ground covers and installation. Total is $925. Because we had the money set aside it was a headache not a true emergency. 






Comments

  1. What a headache! We had ours pumped out last week (we live in NC) for $160. We have covers that have handles on them, that are easy to find... no digging. I was surprised at how inexpensive it was to have it pumped.... I won't put it off for so long next time. lol

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    1. That is a great price. Ours was about average for where we live. The price is based on how many tanks. We had 2 pumped. We usually do it every 2 1/2 to 3 years. That is what the county recommends, every 3 years. This is the first time we have had a problem since we put our new system in 10 years ago. Our old system was bricks and they were the original system. We were having problems then so we upgraded it to rings. Hopefully it was because of the running toilet and we won't have any more problems.

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  2. Don't you pump your system regularly? Where I live, the county requires you to have regular maintenance on your system. I believe it's every 18 months you have to have a licensed company come in and do an inspection. You then get a form to keep for the county. Funny, as the county really doesn't have any way to enforce that, of course, but the statute is there.
    We have our system pumped annually. We initially went every three years, but as the kids got older, and took more and longer showers, created more laundry, etc., we decided to have it done annually. While here, the company checks EVERYTHING as part of their service, including switches to pumps, etc.

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    1. We had it pumped out last April, before our son graduated from high school. We get it pumped every 2 1/2 to 3 years (that is what our county recommends). We have never had a problem since we put our new system in 10 years ago. The toilet has been having issues. I have found it running a few times lately. Hubby thinks that was the problem. Hopefully it is fixed now. They service man just left. The covers are all done.

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  3. What a bummer. Thank goodness you knew how to handle things and no get all bent out of shape about it. some people wouldn't have a clue.
    Glad you got it cleaned.

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    1. We are all good now. They said not to run the dishwasher or do laundry for 48 hours so that means I can tomorrow. We are still using paper goods all bought on clearance. I don't care if it is baby cups or Halloween plates.

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  4. Ouch on the expense of having to get that done. I am glad you did not have an even bigger problem though.

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  5. As a Navy vet, I know all about those showers! Lol We've had septic systems for over 20 years. Do you use a septic system treatment (Rid-X, etc) each month? Another thing we've always been told to be careful with is the use of bleach as it can kill the good bacteria.

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    1. I didn't know you were a veteran. Thank you for your service. My Daddy was in the navy before I came along. We do use a treatment. I use bleach very sparingly in the wash. The septic guy said the toilet running probably did it.

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