Summer Septic Fun

Last fall just as we were closing the lake down for the season, shutting off the water etc. the septic field decided to stop accepting any new contributions from the holding tank. This is a bit of a problems as in order to winterized the system you need to pump down the main tank into the field. Well, after a little digging around it was clear that this was not going to be resolved in a single day. So, a workaround was performed and we planned to deal with it in the spring.

Fast forward to the spring of 2013 and opening weekend where were expecting to have to deal with the situation, but first verify the problem. I run the hose into the field for over 1/2 hour and no problem! The system is not backing up. Not sure what has happened but glad I didn’t have to figure it out. I watch the system for a few weekends and keep an eye on it during our 2 week July vacation and all is good.

Now it’s late August and as I’m doing one of my random routine checks on the septic system, I notice its backing up again! This time we excavate the pipe into the field and expose the header pipe and notice that its disconnected from the tank system and has a crack in one of the pipes. I decide we need to amputate, so a big section of the pipe system is cut out. This section is quite clogged with “material” so I get that out of the way and having this section of the pipe removed gives me better access to the rest of the pipes in the main portion of the field. I flush these pipes until the water runs clear and get a lot of gunk out of the system. Into Kenora for some new pipe parts but we can’t get exactly what we need. Plan B, pump out the main tank and use it like a holding tank until repairs can be made.


This weekend I’m back with the parts. The new sections of pipe go together fairly quickly and I’m using a rubber connector to hook up to the existing pipe still in the ground. The Home Depot guy gave me a great tip about using the connectors that make it much easier than what I was planning on doing. The pipes are in place and all hooked up and now for the moment of truth. I run the hose into the main pipe and wait and watch. In a few minutes one of the 3 rubber connectors is leaking! A few choice phrases were uttered and I realign the pipe and re tighten the rubber coupling. Again, it’s still leaking! More unkind words. After the 3rd failed attempt at fixing the leak I dig around the pipe a bit more to try and get a better view of what is going on. Well this particular pipe is moe into the main field that the other pipes where connections were made and the “leak” is actually water coming out the hole in the pipe just like it is supposed to do, so there really isn’t a problem at all.

After running a typical flow into the field for an hour it is not backing up, so it appears we’re back in business. We’ll need to watch this for the rest of the season, but it’s looking promising right now. If there is a reoccurrence it will mean digging up each of the 4 main pipes the make up the field and replacing the pipe and gravel etc. A messy job but nothing too bad compared to the $30,000 estimate for a new septic system.

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