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My house was built in 1978 and is on a septic tank system.

when I was clothes the...
my house was built in 1978 and is on a septic tank system. when I was clothes the water backs up in the bathtubs, and the toilets wont flush. online information said it could be a wet vent problem or a drain field line. a person came out and wants to dig up my backyard to put in an entire new drain field line at quite an expense. I would like to be certain of the problem before I incur this expense. any suggestions?
JA: How long has this been going on? And how severe is the problem?
Customer: off and on for a few years. I had the septic tank cleaned last year. sometimes it works fine but the problem keeps returning, plus a sewer gas smell permeates my house
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: no am elderly and will have to contract it out just would like to know if its a vent problem or a field line problem
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: the kitchen and bathroom sinks drain fine but the dishwasher wont drain and when I use the kitchen sink the water also rises in the tubs and the toilets wont flush for a day or so. a dishwasher repairman said the dishwasher fine but its a drain problem
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Answered in 1 minute by:
2/14/2017
Mike R.
Mike R., Plumber
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 2,886
Experience: 20 years of plumbing experience, including high end homes and service work.
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Hi, I'm Mike and I have 20+ years of experience as a plumber. I'll be glad to assist you today.

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Do you know if the septic tank is full again?

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Have you ever used any septic treatment like Rid-X?

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I don't think the tank could be full again, because I am the only occupant. I had a guy go up on the roof to vacuum out the vent up there and he said its clear. I have used quite a few products to unstop the drain from the house to the tank and everyone has told me that's not the problem. I have trees in my backyard that is why the guy wants to run a new field line. I have only used rid x a couple of times but I have a container of it here on hand
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I am unclear if this is a vent problem, a wet vent problem, a clog from the house to the tank, or a drainfield problem from the tank to the drainline

Septic treatment products are not a quick fix but are good for the system over an extended period of time. Using other drain cleaning products are not so good for the septic system so best to stay away from those. It is very likely that the drain pipe from the house to the septic tank is the issue considering the age of the home. There is not a vent issue that is causing the problem either. It is almost certainly the main drain pipe from the house to the tank. It has likely broken or collapsed at some point along the way and filled with roots or dirt. The best thing to do would be to prepare to have that pipe replaced after inspecting the septic tank is not full. Once this is repaired then use the septic treatment as the directions say on the bottle. This older septic leach field will need to build up it's bacteria again after using drain cleaning products. To be clear is is certainly not a vent problem. It is most likely the drain pipe from the house to the tank and this can easily be determined by having the septic tank inspected. If the septic tank is full and needing to be pumped then it is the leach field. If the tank is not full then it is the pipe from the house to the tank. The broken part could possibly be repaired if it can be located but the best fix will be to have the whole pipe replaced since just repairing it is a band aid on a larger problem and it very likely will break again and cause more expense.

Mike R.
Mike R., Plumber
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 2,886
Experience: 20 years of plumbing experience, including high end homes and service work.
Verified
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