Septic System Rescue: DIY Fix for Hopeless Cases



This is what my septic system looked like during the height of failure. The sewage is about 24” above the outlet of the tank and threatening to spill out onto the lawn. 

June 2011 was a bad time at my place. That’s when I discovered the sewage level in my septic system was sitting 6” above the top of the concrete tank as I opened the ground level access hatches. That’s at least 18” higher than the outlet of the tank and it would get worse – bad news for a septic system that was installed back in 1989, and bad news for my financial situation.

A local septic contractor came quickly when I called, and after one look he started telling me when he’d be able to come out to rebuild my leaching bed. “I’ve never seen anything work to fix systems clogged this badly, other than rebuilding the leaching bed”, he explained. I braced myself for a repair bill that could easily run into five figures (plus all the disruption to my yard), then I realized something.

Have you ever heard the story of how Thomas Edison tried thousands of different materials before he discovered that a carbon filament was just the thing to make the first light bulb? When things get as bad as my septic system, it’s actually good in one way. With nothing to lose, it gave me a chance to try fixing my septic system myself. And in the end, just like Thomas Edison, I discovered many things that don’t work before finally finding what I consider to be the ultimate solution. The septic system that was pronounced hopelessly dead has been working perfectly for more than 3 years, even with 7 people living in the house.

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