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Old 06-06-2022, 09:43 PM   #1
Cooter
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Default Aerobic Septic Question

Last month my wife came home to a flooded bathroom and the septic alarm going off. I tested the pump and the sprinklers didnít go off. I pumped it out some to get us by until the septic company could be there the next day. Guy comes out, pulls the pump and itís clogged. Cleaned it out put it back in and it clogged again within a few minutes. He told me it needed to be completely pumped out, but they couldnít get here until the end of June. He took the screen off the pump and removed one of the sprinkler heads and said that would keep it going until I could get it pumped. Itís been working fine until Sunday.

I got home and noticed the toilets werenít flushing very well. Went to the overflow pipe behind the house. Pulled the cap and it was full of water. I pumped it out directly from the overflow pipe and noticed there was still a little water coming from the tank side of the pipe. I thought there might be a clog between the overflow and the first tank. Rented a drain snake this afternoon and thereís no clog. When I test the pump, the sprinklers come on so I donít think itís the pump. I pulled the lids off all 3 tanks. The solids tank and the third tank are swirling and gurgling like I think theyíre supposed to. The middle tank where the pump is, the water appears to be low. Itís well below the pipe that I put the chlorine tablets in. Right now Iím pumping in directly out of the overflow between every major water usage. Baths, showers, etc. any ideas whatís going on? I donít know anything about septics and my wifeís not gonna be happy if we have to do all this pumping until they can get here to pump it out.

I took some pics (sorry for the gross factor) but Iím not sure where to go from here.


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Old 06-06-2022, 09:49 PM   #2
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I don’t know if your having the same issue but mine is very sensitive to the type of toilet paper we use. It happened to us about 3 times until my septic guy said to use “ Angel Soft” septic safe. We were using charmin up to that point. Switched toilet paper and have never had another issue.
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Old 06-06-2022, 09:55 PM   #3
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I’d find another company that can pump it out now so they can see what’s going on. When was last time it’s been cleaned? You should be able to get someone out to pump in a couple of days max. End of June for a pump out is unreal.
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Old 06-06-2022, 09:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrican View Post
Iíd find another company that can pump it out now so they can see whatís going on. When was last time itís been cleaned? You should be able to get someone out to pump in a couple of days max. End of June for a pump out is unreal.
The system is about 4-5 years old and itís never been pumped out. Iíve called two other companies. One told me the same thing, other one hasnít called back. Iím going to call the one thatís scheduled tomorrow and explain whatís going on. Maybe they can move it up in an emergency. I wasnít too concerned about the time until this problem started yesterday.
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Old 06-06-2022, 10:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mtltx View Post
I donít know if your having the same issue but mine is very sensitive to the type of toilet paper we use. It happened to us about 3 times until my septic guy said to use ď Angel SoftĒ septic safe. We were using charmin up to that point. Switched toilet paper and have never had another issue.
We use Charmin. Constantly on my kids about the amount of toilet paper they use. 😡

Will give it a try. Thanks
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Old 06-06-2022, 10:14 PM   #6
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Sounds like a clog between the first and 2nd tanks
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Old 06-06-2022, 10:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtltx View Post
I donít know if your having the same issue but mine is very sensitive to the type of toilet paper we use. It happened to us about 3 times until my septic guy said to use ď Angel SoftĒ septic safe. We were using charmin up to that point. Switched toilet paper and have never had another issue.
This ^. We had the same issue and switched Scottís Septic safe, never clogged again.

Funny I had to replace the main pump last week because I heard the gurgling noise from the toilet and checked the tanks, they were completely full. I used a 5 gallon bucket to remove enough water to get us through the night. New pump installed and itís good to go.
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Old 06-06-2022, 10:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Sounds like a clog between the first and 2nd tanks
Thatís what Iím now thinking. If it is, will the pump out solve that?
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Old 06-06-2022, 11:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Thatís what Iím now thinking. If it is, will the pump out solve that?
Yes. They should pump it out and clean tanks and lines in between.
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Old 06-07-2022, 06:48 AM   #10
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We had to have our pumped at 3 1/2 years. They say every couple but that has never had to be done in my experience. Sounds full to me.
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Old 06-07-2022, 07:50 AM   #11
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I've never heard anything good about aerobic systems...Including my BIL's....
Last time, I had a "regular" septic system. I had it pumped
once, in 15 years... And really, the only reason I had it pumped,
was the lid got a large crack in it..And I just had it done, while it
was open...
Good luck, OP....
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Old 06-07-2022, 12:59 PM   #12
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They will pump the tanks only- you will have to unclog it
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Old 06-07-2022, 04:48 PM   #13
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What tank is your pump in? Should be in the last one (number 3). Both tanks 2 and 3 should remain "full" at all times. The tank with the pump should be the least full.

If pump is working as it should, and you are still backing up, you have a clog somewhere before 3rd (pump) tank.
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Old 06-07-2022, 05:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeanMachine View Post
What tank is your pump in? Should be in the last one (number 3). Both tanks 2 and 3 should remain "full" at all times. The tank with the pump should be the least full.

If pump is working as it should, and you are still backing up, you have a clog somewhere before 3rd (pump) tank.
I believe some of the clearstreams brands have the tanks out of order with the pump in the middle chamber.

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Old 06-07-2022, 06:39 PM   #15
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When they pump your tank, leave the aerator off. Use your garden hose to refill.
When it is full, turn it on. It will save wear and on the aerator.
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Old 06-07-2022, 08:50 PM   #16
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When they pump it stay close to make sure they get “all” the solids and not just the liquid. I have heard of them making a quick buck with a return visit if it’s not done properly the first time.
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Old 06-07-2022, 08:58 PM   #17
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Check the first tank where the PVC goes into the second tank to see if the filter is clogged. If you put a stick with a hook on it down the PVC tube and pull up the filter should come up. Clean that and see if your water will transfer to the pump tank. The filter is just a smaller piece of PVC with slits cut in it.
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Old 06-08-2022, 12:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeanMachine View Post
What tank is your pump in? Should be in the last one (number 3). Both tanks 2 and 3 should remain "full" at all times. The tank with the pump should be the least full.

If pump is working as it should, and you are still backing up, you have a clog somewhere before 3rd (pump) tank.

The pump is in the middle tank.
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Old 06-08-2022, 06:57 AM   #19
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Is this what you have?

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Old 06-08-2022, 06:59 AM   #20
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https://www.clearstreamsystems.com/manuals/

Scroll down to the NC3, and download. That's where I found the pic, and it's better quality.

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EDIT:
attached PDFs.
Where are you pumping from?
Attached Images
File Type: pdf nc31.pdf (53.8 KB, 45 views)
File Type: pdf nc32.pdf (503.2 KB, 37 views)

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Old 06-08-2022, 08:15 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palmetto View Post
https://www.clearstreamsystems.com/manuals/

Scroll down to the NC3, and download. That's where I found the pic, and it's better quality.

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EDIT:
attached PDFs.
Where are you pumping from?
That looks very similar to mine I believe. Right now Iím pumping straight out of the overflow pipe a few times a day when there is standing water in it.
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Old 06-08-2022, 08:17 AM   #22
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As far as pumping companies, I have had good luck with porta potty type companies. Make sure you tell them that it is all open.
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Old 06-08-2022, 08:26 AM   #23
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Also make sure the downward pipe on the exist of the trash tank is intake. If not that would let floating solids in the pipe.
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Old 06-08-2022, 08:36 AM   #24
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Also make sure the downward pipe on the exist of the trash tank is intake. If not that would let floating solids in the pipe.
Thanks for the information!
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Old 06-08-2022, 09:22 AM   #25
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Ok, I get that you are pumping from the overlfow, but according to the diagram, what are you calling the overflow? OR are you referring to a cleanout between the house & tank?

This is what I gather....
1. your first (solids) tank is full and backing up into your house.
2. your pump tank is not full.
3. your clarifier/aeration tank is full.

That would mean the pipe from your aeration tank to pump tank is clogged.

I would have them pump the tank completely out. Then stick a hose into the internal pipes to flush them out. When they are done pumping out, you will need to put clean water back into the tanks.

You dont want to leave a septic tank empty. I have always heard they can pop out of the ground if it was to rain really hard.
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Old 06-08-2022, 10:47 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palmetto View Post
Ok, I get that you are pumping from the overlfow, but according to the diagram, what are you calling the overflow? OR are you referring to a cleanout between the house & tank?

This is what I gather....
1. your first (solids) tank is full and backing up into your house.
2. your pump tank is not full.
3. your clarifier/aeration tank is full.

That would mean the pipe from your aeration tank to pump tank is clogged.

I would have them pump the tank completely out. Then stick a hose into the internal pipes to flush them out. When they are done pumping out, you will need to put clean water back into the tanks.



You dont want to leave a septic tank empty. I have always heard they can pop out of the ground if it was to rain really hard.

Yes, Iím pumping it out at the cleanout between the house and tank. Your points are correct with my issue.

I spoke with the company I have an end of month appointment with and they are going to see about moving my pump out date up.

Thanks again for the great information!
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Old 06-08-2022, 10:59 AM   #27
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My septic guy said to never get an aerobic system. He told me they cause too many problems.
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Old 06-08-2022, 12:48 PM   #28
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My septic guy said to never get an aerobic system. He told me they cause too many problems.
A lot of people have no other option due to soil type or the layout of the property. I really didn't want to go with Aerobic on our new home built we are about to start, but I would have had to knock down every tree behind the house plus haul in all new dirt because of too much clay.

Our septic guy said that Aerobics made now are 1000x times better than they used to be and probably 80% of the systems he installs are aerobic, so I am hoping for the best.
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Old 06-08-2022, 02:25 PM   #29
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Just had mine pumped out and cleaned yesterday. 4.5 years since the last pump out. Only use angel soft tp. 650$ and he did clean out the pipes in between tanks.
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Old 06-08-2022, 02:50 PM   #30
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My aerobic system is 14 years old, and I have pumped it out twice. The only other work I have done is changed out the diaphram in my air compressor, and changed out my submersible pump. The original pump lasted 13 years.

Last year I started using Accelerator by Dr. Pooper. Flush it down the toilet once a week. It has really decreased the amount of solids, and my septic guy has been impressed.

https://doctorpooper.net/collections...ts/accelerator
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Old 06-08-2022, 02:59 PM   #31
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I've lived in this house a little over 4 years and have a service contract for the clear water system. Until last year they came out and serviced the system 4 times a year. Now they are only coming out 3 times a year, but the price keeps going up.

So far, I have not done anything other than change out 2 sprinkler heads.


My system apparently only has 2 tanks, since there are only 2 lids.
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Old 06-16-2022, 08:05 AM   #32
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If you have a Clearstream, they use a bottom suction pump. I’ve seen installers set them on a block in the bottom of tank to get them out of the sludge level.
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Old 06-16-2022, 08:28 AM   #33
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In...

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Old 06-16-2022, 08:48 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
I've lived in this house a little over 4 years and have a service contract for the clear water system. Until last year they came out and serviced the system 4 times a year. Now they are only coming out 3 times a year, but the price keeps going up.

So far, I have not done anything other than change out 2 sprinkler heads.


My system apparently only has 2 tanks, since there are only 2 lids.
There is probably a solid tank that the lid is covered with dirt. My old house they had to dig it out to pump it.
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Old 06-16-2022, 09:17 AM   #35
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Quote:
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There is probably a solid tank that the lid is covered with dirt. My old house they had to dig it out to pump it.
Yup that's how my current house is as well the first tank doesn't have an exposed lid
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Old 06-25-2022, 09:58 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Palmetto View Post
My aerobic system is 14 years old, and I have pumped it out twice. The only other work I have done is changed out the diaphram in my air compressor, and changed out my submersible pump. The original pump lasted 13 years.

Last year I started using Accelerator by Dr. Pooper. Flush it down the toilet once a week. It has really decreased the amount of solids, and my septic guy has been impressed.

https://doctorpooper.net/collections...ts/accelerator

I ordered the Accelerator by Dr. Pooper from Amazon after your recommendation and have been using it about 5 days. The first 6 days, you add an ounce a day. The second day I started noticing a sewer smell in the master bathroom. I assume the wax gasket under the toilet must be leaking, although I have never seen a sign of a leak or smelt the sewer smell before. This morning the alarm for my Clearwater system started going off. I went outside and silenced the alarm and call the Company that installed the system and I have the maintenance contract with. Of course, they are closed on the weekend.
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Old 06-25-2022, 10:01 AM   #37
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As I was typing, they called me back and will have the service guy stop by today. He didn't think the Accelerator by Dr. Pooper would be the cause of the problem, but said the additives were unnecessary. If anything, pour some buttermilk down the drain every once in a while.
I will post the results of the service call.
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Old 06-25-2022, 02:06 PM   #38
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Quote:
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My septic guy said to never get an aerobic system. He told me they cause too many problems.
He's right, but some County's require new construction
have an aerobic system.
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Old 06-26-2022, 07:43 AM   #39
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As I was typing, they called me back and will have the service guy stop by today. He didn't think the Accelerator by Dr. Pooper would be the cause of the problem, but said the additives were unnecessary. If anything, pour some buttermilk down the drain every once in a while.
I will post the results of the service call.

The service guy replaced the "linear aerator diffuser". They will be sending me a bill, I just searched them and it looks like they can be bought on Amazon for anywhere from $200 to $600.
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Old 06-26-2022, 08:10 AM   #40
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Man Keith that's just bad luck!!
We've been using it, along with several others for about a year with good results.


When you say diffuser, are you referring to the air compressor itself?

If so, it's almost always the diaphragm that goes bad. Cheap to replace. I've had mine done twice over the years.

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Last edited by Palmetto; 06-26-2022 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 06-27-2022, 09:33 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Palmetto View Post
Man Keith that's just bad luck!!
We've been using it, along with several others for about a year with good results.


When you say diffuser, are you referring to the air compressor itself?

If so, it's almost always the diaphragm that goes bad. Cheap to replace. I've had mine done twice over the years.

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Yes, they replaced the entire compressor.

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Old 06-27-2022, 02:41 PM   #42
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Keith, I've had to replace the compressor once in about 25-30 years. That said, the diaphram has been replaced about 3 times. I've replaced the (3) sprinklers twice in that same time (Rainbird). My system uses the tablets and my service guy has offered to replace that with the bleach system for around $300. I've resisted since I don't think I NEED to.
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Old 06-29-2022, 08:36 PM   #43
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Keith, I've had to replace the compressor once in about 25-30 years. That said, the diaphram has been replaced about 3 times. I've replaced the (3) sprinklers twice in that same time (Rainbird). My system uses the tablets and my service guy has offered to replace that with the bleach system for around $300. I've resisted since I don't think I NEED to.

Well, I just received the bill today. The aerator was $550 plus $63 for a bucket of chlorine tablets.

I have a service contract that gets me a discount on parts. I'd hate to see the price of the aerator without the discount! Four years ago it was $160 a year with a service call every quarter. Now I'm paying $220 a year for the annual service contract, but they only come out 3 times er year. Does that sound about right?
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Old 06-29-2022, 09:15 PM   #44
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Well, I just received the bill today. The aerator was $550 plus $63 for a bucket of chlorine tablets.

I have a service contract that gets me a discount on parts. I'd hate to see the price of the aerator without the discount! Four years ago it was $160 a year with a service call every quarter. Now I'm paying $220 a year for the annual service contract, but they only come out 3 times er year. Does that sound about right?
I pay $260 a year and they check quarterly.
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Old 06-30-2022, 01:13 AM   #45
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I pay $260 a year and they check quarterly.
I quit paying. To me its a brother in law rule. They dont do anything but "inspect" it. They said they were going to turn me into the TRA. Ive never heard anything from TRA about it. Ill spend that 300 dollars on a service call if I need it.
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Old 06-30-2022, 10:08 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by DedDuk View Post
I quit paying. To me its a brother in law rule. They dont do anything but "inspect" it. They said they were going to turn me into the TRA. Ive never heard anything from TRA about it. Ill spend that 300 dollars on a service call if I need it.

I've thought about that too, but haven't for the same reason. I'll call them about the bill and see if I actually received the discount for having the contract. I am paid up through May 2023.
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Old 06-30-2022, 01:30 PM   #47
Big_gun
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Check you toilets etc for leaks... had a leaking toilet that filled my entire system until shorted out my pump switch in my tank... I used a submersible pump and pumped out my tank to replace my pump and float switch, had it pumped out at same time, probably year or two ago and my service guy stated last week I am at 10% solids... id keep calling looking for someone to pump it out
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Old 06-30-2022, 05:45 PM   #48
Keith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_gun View Post
Check you toilets etc for leaks... had a leaking toilet that filled my entire system until shorted out my pump switch in my tank... I used a submersible pump and pumped out my tank to replace my pump and float switch, had it pumped out at same time, probably year or two ago and my service guy stated last week I am at 10% solids... id keep calling looking for someone to pump it out

Both toilets were leaking through the tank into the bowl. I had my son change out all the guts in the bowls about 2 months ago. One of them is no longer leaking, but the other one is. That is the one where I smell sewer gasses since I added the Dr Pooper treatment. I don't know why it is still leaking through, everything in it is new, including the flapper, fill valve, flapper seal and gasket between the tank and the bowl. Could the wax floor gasket cause this? That's the only thing that hasn't been changed yet, but I feel like this is the source of the sewer smell.
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Old 06-30-2022, 06:46 PM   #49
Olphart
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My opinion, if you've replaced all that other stuff, then yes, I'd change the floor ring. It may be broken enough to let in the odor, or the concrete around it may need repair.

I told you what my situation was as I have a guy I trust doing my repairs, testing, etc. He used to work for me at the city. I pay $170 annually for 3 tests/reporting on our system to the county health department. I know I'm getting a deal, so take that for what its worth as a comparison. I wouldn't want the county health department fining me for not having a contract with a licensed service rep and reporting me to TCEQ. I fired the one I started out with as his son wasn't leaving documentation of any inspections for me.
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Old 06-30-2022, 07:33 PM   #50
FLASH_OUTDOORS
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Originally Posted by merlin View Post
Sounds like a clog between the first and 2nd tanks

This 100%.

And second of allÖ.I have come to the conclusion that there are liberal sissyís that know more about septics than actual septic guysÖÖtake EVERYTHING they say with a grain of salt.


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