Building my own septic system...?

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by Livingston, May 8, 2016.

  1. Livingston

    Livingston New Member

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    okay....my yard was puddling but my bathroom worked okay still. I dug and dug because I hoped the problem would lead me to a solution. As it turns out my old farm house has a homemade septic part brick and part concrete. It's really small. I'm guessing my field lines are collapsed by tree roots because the bathroom was added onto the house in the forties. Then the toilet stopped up even though we don't put in tissue. So my girls agreed to wash up in the kitchen which drains to a gray water system and I made a five gallon bucket toilet to put in the laundry porch (which also drains to the gray water). As I've found out septic work costs more than I will have any time soon and I need to make a one-woman system. Any ideas for me to look into?
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    many old places have those sorts of systems. a plumber should be
    able to snake and inspect the line to see where the blockage is
    happening.

    dry composting (read the humanure handbook, it's free on-line :) )... i think this is much better if you have the space and abilities to manage it.

    i believe in most places you can not occupy a place without a working
    toilet/septic system. often building your own means having to hire a
    licensed contractor and the work must be inspected before it can be
    used. these will depend upon your local regulations.

    you can find a lot of information online about various options.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  3. Livingston

    Livingston New Member

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    I do have a compost toilet system as a back up... the old five gallon bucket with a toilet seat and wood shavings getting dumped into my non-edibles compost heap as needed. But the sink and shower are no longer usable either if they can't drain. I looked into it. I would have to get a permit to make a new system. And inspections. Ugh so much money:confused:
     
  4. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Livingston,
    I don't remember where you're located and I wouldn't advise anyone to "break the law", but sometimes one has to do what one has to do. ;)
    Have you seen these septic systems made from 55 gallon drum barrels? Definitely a do-it-yourself option, especially if you can completely separate your greywater from the toilet (blackwater). Everything I've read (and how I do it here) pipes greywater directly to the soil via a gravel-filled distribution trench.
    Rule number one of plumbing "waste" water is to ensure your pipes are sloped at a minimum of 1/4" per foot (don't know how that works out in metric).

    https://www.wikihow.com/Construct-a-Small-Septic-System
    make sure to read this review and the comments about the previous article
    https://joelsgulch.com/55-gallon-barrel-septic-system-3-year-update/
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i would try snaking first to see if you can get through the obstruction.

    a plumber will have a way to cut through tree roots if those are a problem.

    might be the cheapest option for now...
     
  6. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    As has been mentioned by 9Anda1f and songbird, the first thing to do in your situation is find out what went wrong, Power Snakes can be rented if you don't have the funds for a plumber to come out.

    If it is root obstruction, the Power Snake will find them, it will stop turning, at that point you put it out and remove what is stuck in the head and reinsert to continue.

    If you don't find roots, it becomes time to dig, and repair or replace what you find broken.

    If it is just field lines, they are actually fairly easy to replace with new piping, not super expensive either. Good field lines have a gravel lined trench, the holey pipe, with the holes facing down, and a sock that slips over the pipe to keep tiny stuff from clogging the field line pipe. once you have laid that in the trench, more gravel should go over it before the fill dirt goes back in.

    IF you need to build a whole system, a Tank can be 55 gal drum(s) or even a "Tote" can be used for the tank. The inlet (from the house) should be in the upper 1/4 of the "tank". The field line feed comes out the opposite end of the tank and should be placed 1/4 up from the bottom of the tank. Field lines come off a main feed pipe( usually 6" to 8" ID) it has a T fitting at the end. Other lines come off to either side along this main feed pipe. Most systems use 6 field lines to disperse the affluent.
    Digging a system by hand can be done, it just takes some time. US plumbing code suggests that a 1" drop over 10 feet is the optimum for fall rate. This keeps all the solids moving in the water stream so you won't get backups or clogs.

    in metric measurements I would shoot for a 1cm per Meter fall rate.
     
  7. Livingston

    Livingston New Member

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    Actually my sweet neighbors had a crew out here today while I was at work teaching and now everything works again! They said I couldn't pay them back. It was a thank you for helping them out over the years. This is a miracle.
     
  8. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    sweet! :) did they say what the problem was?
     
  9. Livingston

    Livingston New Member

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    My field lines were blocked up. They don't go at all the direction I assumed. I thought they went down the lush green west side of my house but they cross a deeply rutted driveway and off into the woods.
     
  10. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Those are good friends you have there! I am glad your problem is solved and in such a wonderful way.
     

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