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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    East Georgia
    Posts
    74

    Default 30 year old septic tank - never been pumped.

    I built this old house in late 1980. At the time, suburban Georgia didn't have sewers so we went with a normal septic tank. They put sewers in about ten years ago and said we couldn't maintain the septic system and would have to hook up to the county sewer when the tank needed service. Well, still not hooked up.
    Secret? Maybe. We have put Rid-X in once a month but I really believe that installing removable screen traps in all the drains and the wash machine hose has prevented pounds and pounds of kitchen and laundry debris from filling up the tank. When the screens clog up we just take them outside and wash them in a bucket of water and replace them.
    Who knows? Maybe the septic tank will outlast all of us.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,360

    Default Re: 30 year old septic tank - never been pumped.

    Ideally a septic tank never needs cleaning. It should degrade all the materials on its own. The usual culprits are grease and non bio-degradable materials.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,161

    Default Re: 30 year old septic tank - never been pumped.

    Around me in MD, when public sewers come through, you are required to hook up within a certain period of time, if not immediately.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: 30 year old septic tank - never been pumped.

    I wish I could get off my sewer system and have a septic tank. I live in Jefferson county in Alabama and the average sewer bill is 85 to 100 dollars a month just for sewer not counting water

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: 30 year old septic tank - never been pumped.

    Despite the best of intentions, all septic tanks need to be pumped eventually. In addition to accidental grease or oil discharges from the kitchen, many foods and almost all pharmaceuticals contain ingredients that neither humans or septic systems can digest. Even washer and other screens won't catch all of this.
    I don't know about your area, but here it costs $310 to pump a 1000 gallon residential tank. It seems like by doing so you might get many more years instead of the possible trouble and cost of hooking up to the municipal system.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    East Georgia
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: 30 year old septic tank - never been pumped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougars1996 View Post
    Despite the best of intentions, all septic tanks need to be pumped eventually. In addition to accidental grease or oil discharges from the kitchen, many foods and almost all pharmaceuticals contain ingredients that neither humans or septic systems can digest. Even washer and other screens won't catch all of this.
    I don't know about your area, but here it costs $310 to pump a 1000 gallon residential tank. It seems like by doing so you might get many more years instead of the possible trouble and cost of hooking up to the municipal system.

    Good luck.
    You're right. But, I can't have it pumped since the sewer went in. All the septic companies are allowed to do in my case is destroy the tank and hook up the sewer. The sewer rate here in east Georgia is 50% of the water rate.
    We compost most kitchen waste and the local trash company recycles cooking grease. By not having a dishwasher we can control most of what gets into the septic tank.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: 30 year old septic tank - never been pumped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougars1996 View Post
    Despite the best of intentions, all septic tanks need to be pumped eventually. In addition to accidental grease or oil discharges from the kitchen, many foods and almost all pharmaceuticals contain ingredients that neither humans or septic systems can digest. Even washer and other screens won't catch all of this.
    I don't know about your area, but here it costs $310 to pump a 1000 gallon residential tank. It seems like by doing so you might get many more years instead of the possible trouble and cost of hooking up to the municipal system.

    Good luck.
    I think the OP"s problem is that he can't have it pumped. Maybe pumping isn't included, but it sounds like if anything is done to it, even repairs, he's required to connect to the city sewer system.

    But, I'd rather apply $300 towards installed the new connection and not having to mess with a septic system. IF he ever goes to sell the home hell have to connect to the sewer and it will be a major negative for any potential buyer. Sort of like still having a fuse box or undersized electrical service.
    1925 Two-Story Stucco Beaux Arts Neoclassical

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,096

    Default Re: 30 year old septic tank - never been pumped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief View Post
    You're right. But, I can't have it pumped since the sewer went in. All the septic companies are allowed to do in my case is destroy the tank and hook up the sewer. The sewer rate here in east Georgia is 50% of the water rate.
    We compost most kitchen waste and the local trash company recycles cooking grease. By not having a dishwasher we can control most of what gets into the septic tank.
    You're doing well so keep doing it When they ran sewer in Mom's neighborhood they allowed you one septic service before you had to hook up to sewer. Back then the waste cost was 20% of the water bill, and they promised it would never exceed 25%, which is why the people allowed the government to do the sewer lines in the first place. Twenty years later waste water costs twice what the fresh water does and they're looking or another increase

    I normally do not recommend doing business with the 'fly-by-night' types, but here I make an exception. If you need your tank serviced you may find someone willing to do an in-and-out no-paperwork job for cash. It's a far better option than sewer so long as the system is in good shape. And yes, no matter how careful you are all septic systems will eventually need pumping because there are some things which the microbes cannot digest, and even then they have their own excretions which they cannot digest. A well-designed septic system should go 20+ years between pumpings easily, but most systems are designed minimally and are actually undersized. Going too big can also be a problem.

    As long as nobody is drawing potable well water nearby, a septic system is actually better for the natural environment than a sewer. The only reason for a sewer is to make waste management easy for the customer when a proper septic system is not feasible. The best basic reference on this subject is still Max Alth's "Wells and septic systems". It will allow you to understand what is going on but it isn't so good with sizing new systems this many years later.

    Phil

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,096

    Default Re: 30 year old septic tank - never been pumped.

    Quote Originally Posted by motoguy128 View Post
    I think the OP"s problem ...IF he ever goes to sell the home hell have to connect to the sewer and it will be a major negative for any potential buyer. Sort of like still having a fuse box or undersized electrical service.
    Not always. These are two entirely different subjects- one is grandfathered in so long as it is in good shape because it is still safe, while the other will not be seen as safe because it isn't. Electrical problems can destroy a house (the bank's collateral) while a bad septic system will not, and that is usually how they look at the situation. Laws vary by locale but you can generally sell with a septic system without first changing to sewer.

    Phil

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: 30 year old septic tank - never been pumped.

    Sorry OP, my misread on the original post. I would connect to the city system. My septic failed this summer. 23 years old, but constructed of low-quality thin-walled pipes which were crushed as the ground heaved and settled due to our record rainfalls. Basically, the tank wasn't draining.

    The result was a raw sewage discharged into my basement, because this older system was completely sealed outside (no vent pipe or chimney leading to the septic tank cap). Depending on the geography you have, this could happen when your tank or leach field finally clogs up due to age and solids in the tank.

    I would connect to the city sewer.

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