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  1. #1
    ROBERT J MOUNTAIN's Avatar
    ROBERT J MOUNTAIN Guest

    Red face EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    Has anyone seen a septic tank exposed like this and with the electricity above ground? I could really use some help tonight.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    Robert,

    You would get more responses in the technical forums part of the board, many do not even look here - because this part of the board is for non-technical 'stuff'.

    But ...

    That looks like a lift station.

    Is there also a light/alarm/some method of warning when it is not working (there should be, if it is a lift station).

    Is the drain field raised above the house level? Usually that indicates poor soil percolation, meaning fill needs to be brought in, the drain field raised, then the discharge from the septic tank lifted (pumped up) to the drain field.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    ROBERT J MOUNTAIN's Avatar
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Robert,

    You would get more responses in the technical forums part of the board, many do not even look here - because this part of the board is for non-technical 'stuff'.

    But ...

    That looks like a lift station.

    Is there also a light/alarm/some method of warning when it is not working (there should be, if it is a lift station).

    Is the drain field raised above the house level? Usually that indicates poor soil percolation, meaning fill needs to be brought in, the drain field raised, then the discharge from the septic tank lifted (pumped up) to the drain field.
    There is an alarm in the home for the system and the drain field is slightly uphill from the house.


  4. #4
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    In this area, the top of tank is generally (if not required) to be exposed.

    We employ a PA Septage Management Officer to conduct all of our Septic Inspections to PSMA standard.

    Pennsylvania Septage Management Association :: Home Page


  5. #5
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT J MOUNTAIN View Post
    There is an alarm in the home for the system and the drain field is slightly uphill from the house.
    I hope that the septic drain field is not uphill from the home! This s*it does not like to run up hill.

    I'm with Jerry, that looks like a lift station. It is a large holding tank with a shreder pump. When the tank fills the pump turns on and pumps the crap up and into the local sewer system.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I hope that the septic drain field is not uphill from the home! This s*it does not like to run up hill.
    When I lived in Virginia and was putting in a septic field, the local code guy wanted us to put it on top of the hill behind the house - about 50 feet higher than the house! The hill was very steep and rocky, and how he expected us to get the pipe below freezing all that way is beyond me. I had to go to his superior to be allowed to put it in the meadow in front of the house, but it was still slightly too high for gravity, due to high water table, so we had to put in a pump. What a pain.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    When I lived in Virginia and was putting in a septic field, the local code guy wanted us to put it on top of the hill behind the house - about 50 feet higher than the house! The hill was very steep and rocky, and how he expected us to get the pipe below freezing all that way is beyond me. I had to go to his superior to be allowed to put it in the meadow in front of the house, but it was still slightly too high for gravity, due to high water table, so we had to put in a pump. What a pain.
    OK, well is it possible that this lift station is pumping the effluent up into a leach field? I have never seen that but I guess it is possible. One of the "I don't know", things!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    The electrical indicates it is a lift station.
    The exposed part of the tank is not the tank but an extension ring on the access port of the lift station tank.

    In our area, The lift station tank is usually a 1000 gal concrete rectangular shaped tank with manholes (Identical to a septic tank). It is common to see extension rings if the tank is installed at a lower elevation.

    The grade should be finished to approx 6inches above the ring and cover.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: EXPOSED SEPTIC TANK

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I hope that the septic drain field is not uphill from the home! This s*it does not like to run up hill.

    I'm with Jerry, that looks like a lift station. It is a large holding tank with a shreder pump. When the tank fills the pump turns on and pumps the crap up and into the local sewer system.
    Scott,

    What I was explaining to Robert is that, in many areas, the percolation of the ground is not sufficient to allow for a drain field to be installed 'in the ground', suitable fill needs to be brought in and a raised drain field created so that adequate percolation into the soil can be achieved.

    In doing so, the drain field is now above the level of the house. Thus the need to install a lift station (lift pump) at the outlet of the septic tank. Instead of the discharge from the septic tank draining directly into the drain field, the discharge is 'lifted' up to the higher drain field by the 'lift pump', hence it is a 'lift station'.

    It serves the same purpose as a municipal lift station except that it is on a much smaller scale.

    When the pump is needed to come on and pump the discharge up to the higher drain field and it does not come on, the reservoir fills to the point that an alarm is raised, usually a red light out at the lift pump/lift station and usually an alarm within the house to notify the occupants that sh*t is about to start backing up unless they take immediate action and get that lift pump working again.

    That is different than what you were describing.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    Robert,
    Jerry has it down as usual. We have lift pumps on the septic systems for both of my wifes business. Both have alarms to alert for problems. The only thing I can add is if its flat ground you will see a large mound of dirt (drain field size) sitting on top of ground near the lift station.

    To clarify for RR, that's one wife with two business.


    Last edited by Rick Vernon; 09-28-2007 at 04:36 PM. Reason: Clarification
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  11. #11

    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    There is another system similar to that with no drain field, solids stay in the tank & liquids are pumped into municipality sewer.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: EXPOSED SEPTIC TANK

    Quote Originally Posted by John Goad View Post
    There is another system similar to that with no drain field, solids stay in the tank & liquids are pumped into municipality sewer.
    That's similar to what Scott was talking about.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    Robert,

    Don't mind the inspector drift of these other guys.

    The short answer is yes. The tank is not actually exposed, that is a riser and cover that allows access to whatever kind of tank is located below. Doesn't matter if it is septic tank or a holding tank. Around here, septic tanks have two chambers and therefore, two hatches. Holding tanks for pumping generally have only one chamber. Allows for maintenance without having to dig holes in the yard.

    As far as pumping. Once again, around here it is not uncommon to pump uphill to the field, even a standard field. The system that Jerry P. is referring to is usually referred to as a "mound system" (in my area).

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  14. #14
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    4 Bedroom / 2.5 Bath Home / 5 Years.

    Tank was so full (solids) to the point a shovel could barely penetrate the surface.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    I suspect that tank full of hard solids as shown had a crack that allowed fluids to leak out.


  16. #16
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
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    Default Re: EXOPSED SEPTIC TANK

    I do not know what the final outcome of this was.

    The PSMA Inspector opened the lid and had me photograph the tank / shovel as the shovel was standing straight up without assistance.

    Adds new meaning to the term "Full of ----"


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