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Look for "black rust"

Posted by Dodgeman on May 17th, 2000 01:02 PM
In reply to I really need to explain myself better when I post... by James on May 17th, 2000 12:06 PM [Go to top of thread]

First of all, the tank is supposed to fill up before it starts to drain out to the leech field. If at that point, you are not getting drainage to the field, one of two things has happened. Either your field has totally plugged up, which is unlikely, as it should still drain out, even if it is slow. To check, if your leech field has vent standpipes at the far end of the field, take the covers off and look for standing water in the bottom. If there is standing water, then the field is probably plugged. More likely, since your system was installed in the 70's, the outlet pipe from your tank to the leech field is made of cast iron. I suspect this cast iron pipe has closed up with "black rust". The solution is to dig down at the outlet side of the tank and uncover this 4" cast iron pipe. Punch a hole in the top of it with a chisel or ball peen hammer. (Do this with the tank pumped out) Then rod out the cast iron pipe with a length of flat bar to loosen the black rust. Flush out with a garden hose. It may be
tempting to get into the empty tank to try and do this but DON"T - THE FUMES CAN KILL YOU!! Besides, you cannot get to the outlet pipe as there will be a baffel in the way. Anyway, to seal up the hole you made in the pipe, Take a short length of plastic 4" drain pipe (the kind with a smooth wall about 1/8 inch thick) Cut it lengthhwise, and snap it over the hole you made. Seal it first with silicone, and then band clamp it in place. This may sound like a big project, but the hardest part is digging down to the outlet pipe.
Good luck,

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