Recently, our septic pump failed and had to be replaced. Roots growing into the tank were causing damage to the septic system.
Here at Happy Haute Home, we talk about it all…the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is one of the not so attractive posts, but very important information for home owners living in the country.
Why Have a Septic Alarm?
We have had issues with our septic system since moving in 3 years ago. The alarm would frequently sound, sometimes in the middle of the night! The alarm is on the other side of our house and difficult to hear especially during night hours. I also worried about the alarm going off while we are on vacation – my solution – silence the alarm! Like forever! Ok not a great solution right?! The alarm is there for a reason and turning it off is a big no no.
What is a Septic System?
If you live in the city, you don’t have to deal with septic tanks and the issues that come along with them. Being on a public sewer system is nice. Up until 5 years ago..I never had to think about sewers either…but it’s one of the joys of country living 😉
Let me explain why this issue “stinks”. A septic tank is a large, underground concrete container that is used mainly in suburban and rural homes as a personal sewage facility. Household waste water from toilets and drains travels through pipes and enters one end of the tank. The waste water decomposes through bacterial activity before exiting the tank’s opposite end and moving into a filtration process.
Septic systems take up a large portion of land, and are often located close to tree roots and other underground vegetation. Tree roots are attracted to the water in a septic tank, and they enter the tank through its drainpipes or cracks in its concrete, creating blockage and other potentially hazardous problems. You can see tree roots at the bottom of our tank in the above picture.
When Tree Roots grow into a Septic Tank
When we moved into our current home, our septic was an immediate issue…with the alarm going off frequently. We had a septic company come out multiple times to look into the issues. We had a huge and beautiful willow tree located about 20 feet from the tank. The roots from the tree were growing into the tank! The company we were using cleaned the roots out of the tank and sadly we had to chop down the willow tree. BUT we didn’t remove the stump from the ground, instead we ground it down so it was no longer visible.
Our state requires yearly inspections of septic systems. I knew we wouldn’t pass our inspection this year due to our ongoing problems and the alarm going off.
Three years later, we finally addressed the issue again, as it wasn’t going to pass inspection. During the inspection we learned that our pump wasn’t working at all and needed to be replaced. The cost of the new pump was pricey, as we have an alternative septic system. And since I had disabled the alarm, we didn’t know the pump wasn’t working…my bad.
Remember those roots I talked about earlier? Apparently they were still alive even though the tree was cut down! And were still creeping into the tank 🙄
How to Fix the Problem of Tree Roots Growing into a Septic Tank
How to fix this situation? Kill the tree roots, cut the roots out of the tank and replace the pump. Ditto! To kill the roots, my company had to locate the stump, use a sharp object to grind lines into the stump and pour killing solution into the stump.
The 2 day job was involved. The workers have to wear special protective suits when they enter the septic tank. After removing all the tree roots, they installed the new pump. Programming the pump was also very involved and required quite a bit of time.
Tip: Remove large trees growing within 30 feet of the septic system. Also remove as much of the trees’ root systems as possible. Trees should be at least 50 feet from the septic system.
How to Repair Broken Septic Risers
So after all that, you’d think we were done with septic repair…NOPE! Our lawn mowers damaged the side of one of the risers and water was leaking into the tank. Another issue…ugh.
Let’s fix that too while we’re at it! 💸
They added a new insert to put over the damaged riser.
Then fitted a new riser for the side tank.
Cut it down to size so it doesn’t stick up too high…
And Voila..almost done.
They caulk it well so water can’t enter the tank.
The job is complete. I’m happy to report that the alarm is reconnected and has not gone off in over a month 🙂
Home ownership is wonderful isn’t it? Even though we have constant repair work and continuing renovations, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Ok…maybe fewer repairs would be nice but I love being a home owner.
How about you? Can you see yourself selling your home and moving into a maintenance free apartment or rent a home?
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