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Country Discussion Topics
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Odiferous Septic System
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Rocky    Posted 12-08-2001 at 19:33:56       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We bought a small farm that has been a second home for three years. We installed a 1500 gal septic tank and lines. We are only at the farm on weekends mostly (usually two to four people). The tank and lines are not very deep and are in high clay content soil. When we have heavy rains and the ground is soaked (water standing in the fields), a strong odor eminates from the area of the tank and lines. Most of the area is grown over in weeds but I don't think the lines are clogged or backing up. I assume the problem is the clay in the soil. The county health inspector had us install a "curtain drain" around the lines. When the rains stop and the ground begins to dry there is no more oder. Obviously, I am a city boy and have no clue about septic systems. Is this odor common under heavy rain soaking conditions? Does the oder mean its time to have the tank cleaned out (with only weekend use)? Do I have a problem or one about to happen?

buck    Posted 12-08-2001 at 21:40:38       [Reply]  [No Email]

What you are experiencing is very common in areas with high clay soils (soils that do not perculate well) your system rids itself of the waste water in two ways one is down through the soil and the other is by evaporation into the air. In your case most is probably by evaporation due to soil conditions and the shallow depth. this is why the system is more nose friendly in dryer weather. there are two things that MAY help and prevent damage to your system. one would be to keep vegetation over the drain lines in a condition that encourages evaporation (short grass as in a lawn with sunlight) and two would be to add a filter on the outlet end of septic tank to prevent solids from flowing into the drain field. Your local septic man can give you details on the filter and infact your system may already have one as they are becomming common/required in many areas

Burrhead    Posted 12-11-2001 at 18:29:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yeah keep the grass short helps and if the smell is too bad you may want to sprinkle some lime on the top of the field lines.

Looks64    Posted 12-18-2001 at 17:48:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
Both answers are very good, but I wanted to put in another tip as well, if I can. When I was growing up, the folks used to flush a crumbled up cake of yeast (or a packet of dry powdered yeast) down the commode about once every month of two, especially during warmer weather, to speed the breakdown process. This seemed to help with the odor problem, too, I thought.

BTW, I have never posted here, but wanted to say hi to a friend. Hi Clem, so glad to see you here.

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