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Septic Hydro Jetting

RedBagRedBag Posts: 72
edited November -1 in Off Topic
Yesterday we had our Septic Tank pumped. I was expecting a $200-$300 bill but got a whole lot more. Our house is 25 years old. We bought it 5 years ago. When I purchased it part of the deal was I wanted the tank pumped and a septic system inspection done. The inspection was a waste as all they did was diagram how the system was laid out and noted that there were no visible problems from above ground. We were not there when the pump out was done (mistake) and it now appears if anything was done it was not much.
Yesterday when they opened up our tank it was full right to the top with solids. I should note that we were not having problems we were just having it pumped because it was time. They cleaned out the tank and based on what they found it’s likely they tank has never been properly cleaned and definitely not in the last 10 years. The whole bottom was nothing but baby wipes which did not come from us.
Anyway they want to repair/change the rear baffle Tee and reset in concrete. Along with that they want to Hydro jet the field lines and do an oxidation treatment. Cost for the additional services would be $3065. My first question is does that price seem reasonable? My second question is about Hydro Jetting the field lines. In theory it seems to me like that could also cause problems as it may push waste into my drain fields? Is Hydro Jetting the way to go for field lines that may or may not be blocked? Most everything I find on the Internet is by companies that provide the service so its hard to get a good feel. This may all be legit. I was just curious of anyone had any experiences with this?


  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,057

    I have looked into it as a maintenance option. Quotes have come in around 1 to 1.5K. Frome my understanding it can backfire on a blocked system by causing gravel and debris to get into the drainage pipes.

    "Sometimes, the high pressure from the water stream can stir up the soil and gravel near the perforations and bring more obstructions into the system. This method can (and should) be used not just as a last effort to save a failing septic system, but as a first effort to prevent trouble."

    From a website



    Caledon, ON


  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,701
    would definatly fix the baffle, you dont want solids in the field. since you have no drainage problems i would ask the neighbors if they have had any problems, some places drain so well that there is never going to be a problem with drainage. get it pumped more often
  • PineTreePineTree Posts: 53
    Having a similar problem, there are "septic elbows" you can install in place of the baffle. Mine was floating around so more solids went into the drain tile. This summer I am having a "septic party" and a keg of beer, some food, and some REALLY good friends/family are coming to tear up the yard, for hopefully cheaper or around the $3000- and replacing the leach field totally. I do know someone with a back hoe who will be cheaper. I have never heard of the hydro jet option.
  • RedBagRedBag Posts: 72
    Yea I don’t even understand how the system was working if it was filled to the top with solids. I did not see it my wife was there. She said he pulled the top off and stuck a shovel in it and it was just like someone had filled the thing up with a backhoe. Will definitely fix the baffle. That part is $1,600. The Hydro Jetting is $465 and then it’s another $1,000 for the oxidation treatment.
    The neighbors had theirs done as well as we got a discount to get them in on it as well. Their system has not been done in at least ten years and could be longer. Theirs appeared as it should have though with a layer of solids, liquids, and scum. A single lady lived there for a long time so she was probably not stressing the system much. Their baffle was gone as well though so they need additional work too.
  • RRPRRP Posts: 12,809
    All 97 homes in our subdivision are on individual septic systems. I have yet to hear of anyone who hasn't had to have the rear baffle replaced! There must be some problem in the design that that is such a common problem. BTW the pumping is done by several competitive companies so it's not like one company is scamming us all!

    As for your tank being full that would almost say to me you have a potential field blockage problem.

    Also could it be the tank capacity was too small for your home? I know a few neighbors who have had to have extensive work done have reverted to dual tanks to supposedly be trouble free "forever".

  • RedBagRedBag Posts: 72
    Do you happen to know about what the cost was that people were paying to replace the rear baffle? I’m in Georgia so it’s a totally different market but it would be nice to have a comparison.
    As far as the tank being full I think that is a result of it never having been properly pumped. I’ll have it pumped again in 2 years just to see where the levels are at and that should tell me if we are properly sized or not. As far as blockage in the lines I think it’s possible but the system was working fine…or at the least there were not any visible problems.
  • RRPRRP Posts: 12,809
    I saw your reply to fishlessman about it costing you $1,600 and I'm still wondering if we are talking about two different things. I - as well as my next door neighbor both paid for - by 2 different companies - for what we were told was replacements of the rear baffle T that had been crushed or deteriorated. I saw both ours and our neighbors when the men dug the shallow hole to replace them. In both of our cases they just used sledge hammers to further remove the baffles and replaced them with super sturdy plastic units. Sorry I don't have pictures and sorry that I am not more knowledgeable. The other thing I kinda hate to tell you is neither I nor my neighbor paid more than $200 for the replacement! $1,600 sounds like maybe you want to get another estimate...sorry...

  • RedBagRedBag Posts: 72
    No need to be sorry. That is exactly why I was asking. They were ready to do the work when they were pumping the tank but I decided to wait becuase I wanted to check the price and I questioned all the services they wanted to provide. Thank you for the response. I will shop around.
  • civil eggineercivil eggineer Posts: 1,547
    Solids always float on the top in a septic tank and the grey water is below the solid cap. The procedures mentioned sound like a load of crap to me and you would be better off waiting for your drainfield to stop taking water then add more drainfield. The elbow (Tee) on the discharge side does need to be in place to prevent solids from entering the drainfield. The whole thing sounds like a snakeoil salesman to me.
  • RedBagRedBag Posts: 72
    We got a quote from a 2nd company. They charged us $800 to come out and change the rear baffle Tee. This involved them coming out digging up the tank again, pumping the tank again(it has to be empty to do this) and changing the baffle. This was half the $1,600 the first company wanted to change the baffle and they already were out with the tank dug up and pumped. In other word they would have made another $1,600 for less than an hours work and less than $100 in parts. We passed on the hydro jetting and the bacteria treatment which the 2nd company also said was unnecessary. I strongly suspect the first company has their people on commission.
  • civil eggineercivil eggineer Posts: 1,547
    Furthermore, there is no need for a "bacteria" treatment. The bacteria are naturally occuring in all waste whether you like it or not. I'm not sure why your discharge tee was damaged...probably a result of them cleaning the septic tank sometime in the past. The oxygen thing you also mentioned is pretty much BS. The conditions inside a septic tank are anerobic (adsence of oxygen). By introducing aeorobic conditions you would have actually harmed the bacteris that do the dirty work. The biggest problem with septic tank/drain field systems are the drainfields eventually plug up in many soil types. Adding additinal drainfields are generally pretty easy unless you have a manicured yard above.
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