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Build Your Own Home, Issue #009 -- Septic System Advice
July 01, 2005

Septic system Advice

This monthís issue of the Build Your Own Home Newsletter is going to cover some of the issues concerning Septic Systems. Many of the new homes that are built by Owner Builders have septic systems because of their rural location. I cover many of the key points about Septic Systems on the Build Your Own Home Septic Systems Page..

The key focus of this Newsletter is about things that I wish I had known prior to owning a Septic System. If I had known then what I do now it would have saved me considerable time and money. Also in the near future I will be adding another page on Build Your Own Home about the care of Septic Systems.

OK, letís get started! Recently I had my Septic System pumped out because it was starting to carry over sludge into the clean water tank. The time between cleanouts of the system is greatly affected by the solids that are introduced into the system by you and your family. I will cover this and other items in more detail on Build Your Own Home later.

I want to give you pointers that I learned after the cleanout of the system. The best advice that I can give you is take pictures of your system as it is being installed. This will make it much easier to find the lids to pump out the system when it needs it. Another key point is you can never have to many clean outs in your sewer lines. I added three so that if I ever have any blockage in the lines it will be easy to clean out.

Another item that affects aerobic septic systems and traditional drain field septic systems is tree roots. They will find their way into your system and drain field lines and can plug them up totally or at least slow drainage down significantly. When my system was opened up the roots had made their way into the tiny cracks in the covers and I suspect they have made their way into the lids or inlet lines. I assume this because during the rainy season I noticed excessive water pumping out of my clean water tank even when we were not using any water in the house. This can only mean that when the water table is high, water is leaking in around the seals in the lids or inlet lines in one of the three tanks in the system. How can this be prevented?

When the system is installed Copper Sulfate granules can be sprinkled around the soil near the inlets and lids in the soil above, so when it rains cooper sulfate solution will carry into the surrounding soil. This will inhibit the growth of tree roots in the area. You can also use Copper Sulfate in a traditional drain field system by flushing it down the toilet. It does not harm the natural bacteria if used properly, and will carry out into the drain field lines keeping the roots from growing into them.

Follow all labeled instructions and warnings on the container of Copper Sulfate. It is a dangerous poisonous chemical!

Copper sulfate can be found at hardware stores and farm supply stores or feed stores.

I wish somebody would have told me this prior to the installation of my septic system! Now I have to dig up around the lids and inlet lines and remove any roots that have penetrated the seals and reseal them. Then as the soil is replaced I will put Copper Sulfate in the soil to stop the roots from doing this again.

Another item that I would suggest if you have an aerobic system is purchase a spare air pump. It is only a matter of time until yours will fail and without a replacement in a timely fashion the bacteria in your system will die, and oh what a stinky mess.

I purchased a rebuild kit for my air pump and a spare pump. The spare cost me about $400 dollars and the rebuild kit was around $200. My pump failed 6 months ago and I put the spare in service and rebuilt the original. This way I always have one ready to go. It is also much cheaper than calling the repairman out and paying premium for service.

Stay tuned; hopefully I will have the root mess cleaned out and the tanks resealed soon. I promise to give you a full report as soon as I have time. Also I will be putting up details of sealing my pond on the website soon. I took many pictures and what a job it was!

Remember our RSS feed that keeps you informed of any new pages that we put on Build Your Own Home. If you don't know what RSS is I have put up the What is RSS page to let you know all about it. This is a really cool way to get up to date information on anything without the Spam and the viruses.

I would also like to pass on a link to a really useful tool  for designing and laying out anything from kitchens, to landscaping, to your whole house go to

I would like to thank you for making one of the most popular sites on the internet for DIY Home Construction.

All the best,

George Stevens

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