Plumbing in the Home/Septic field lines


Home was built in mid nineties with septic tank for waste water.  Recently have experienced water on surface of ground above tank.  Had tank pumped and cleaned for the first time.  After several weeks water is on surface again.  Probably cost $2500+ to install new lines.  Are there chemicals available to clear lines in lieu of new lines??
If so where can I purchase them.

Dear Ernest,

   Unfortunately you have been taken in by one of the longest running deceptions around.  Having a septic tank pumped out is often one of the worst things to do.

   The only purpose for pumping out a tank is to remove non-biodegradable sludge from the bottom of the tank... for most households it would take almost 50 yrs for the sludge to build up to a level of being a problem.

   I'm attaching a picture which shows the basic septic system design.  The most common problem which causes a system to back up is in the leach field or distribution system where the liquid leaves the tank.  In the tank, bacteria dissolve the solids in the waset and convert them into liquid... they also remove ammonia and other contaminants.  Having the tank pumped removes those bacteria and disturbs the balance in the tank and can take months for that to be reestablished.

   The leach field or distribution part of the system can be clogged by grease or small particles over a period of time, or can be clogged by roots growing into the system.

   Sometimes treating the system with an acid wash can be effective in cleaning out that section, and since the tank was recently pumped this would be a good time to do it.  If that fails, then you will need to take other measures to provide for the flow in the distribution system... these can become expensive depending on what is needed.

Good luck.

Plumbing in the Home

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Thomas Ambler


I am experienced at troubleshooting and solving all types of plumbing problems. Issues related to specific manufacturers fixtures and specifications though are beyond my field of expertise. I have dealt with problems in both rural and urban areas, and with water supply and drainage systems. Plumbing issues can be very obscure... such as odors, stains or occasional seepage. I have even had to chase rats from a customer's sewer line.


I have 25 years experience dealing with plumbing systems (which also includes hot water and steam heating systems). My main expertise is in diagnosing and solving problems. I have worked in construction and installation of new systems but do not regard myself as an expert in that area.

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I completed high school and one year of college. I served 4 years in the Marine Corps and have education in electronic and electrical troubleshooting and repair. I have attended classes on installing and repair of oil burners, and I have EPA universal certification for air conditioning and refrigeration. I am now enrolled as a full-time student at Everest college to re-train for a new career. Any donations of financial support would be greatly appreciated.

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All of Denny's Restaurants in NJ, Several Burger King stores, I have done work at two different homes for Bruce Springsteen. I have also worked for Jim Johnson (of J&J) and his family, Whitney Houston, Steve Forbes and many others.

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