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SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SEPTIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS
SEPTIC D-BOX INSTALL REPAIR
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SEPTIC DYE TEST PROCEDURE
SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS
SEPTIC INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
SEPTIC LIFE EXPECTANCY
SEPTIC SUPPLIES & PARTS
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN ALTERNATIVES
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN BASICS
SEPTIC SYSTEMS, HOME BUYERS GUIDE to
SEPTIC SYSTEM SAFETY WARNINGS
SEPTIC TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE EJECTOR / GRINDER PUMPS
SEWER GAS ODORS
SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SOAKAWAY BED FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS, SEPTIC
VIDEO GUIDES: Septic Videos
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WASHING MACHINES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS
WASTEWATER TREATMENT BASICS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This document describes how to inspect the condition of a septic tank, providing special considerations for inspecting home made or site built septic tanks. Inspecting home made septic tanks is a key component in onsite wastewater disposal systems and can involve special risks of collapse or early failure since often home made septic tanks are constructed too small, or are built using marginal materials or have unsafe tank covers.
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The photo at page top shows a home made septic tank which was being excavated after discovery of sewage effluent in the drainfield.
This article series answers just about any question about septic system design, installation, inspection & maintenance or repair procedures: defects in onsite waste disposal systems, septic tank problems, septic drainfield problems, checklists of system components & things to ask.
Site built systems, in my experience, are often under-sized and worse, dangerous. There is a serious risk of collapse of old rotting wood covers, collapsing concrete block dry-laid tank or "cesspool" walls, etc.
The septic tank shown in this photograph was "home made" using concrete blocks stacked to form the tank sides (and maybe bottom) and covered with a poured-concrete lid which has been tipped over and can be seen on-edge in the left side of this photograph.
The home made septic tank was so small that it would need to be pumped more frequently than normal to protect the drainfield.
In this particular case the home made septic tank was found to be completely filled with solids, and the leach field was found to be filled with solid waste as well. An improperly-conducted septic dye test failed to detect this condition even though even a small and inadequate test, had dye and water been run into the main waste line, would certainly have caused a backup - which is what happened within hours of the new buyers moving into the home to which this septic non-system was attached.
While building your own septic tank is not an impossible task, proper sizing of the tank, and construction of materials to be sure that the tank and its cover are safe from collapse, are critical considerations.
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