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Manufactured home installed 1996 but septic tank is from 1973. I live on a hill and have had no septic back ups. Two weeks ago my toilets started bubbling and it appeared they were sucking air. I put drain cleaners down shower and sink drains. All appeared to be okay until I ran a load of washing. There was water backed up in the tubs and it contained lots of laundry soap and lint. The water eventually drained out with various gurgling and bubbling sounds. I put 1,000 gallon septic treatment down the toilet yesterday. Last night I heard gurgling noises and there was clear water in both tubs again. Over a 12 hour period all the water slowly sucked back out of the tubs. My husband told me to go open the clean out pipe and run a hose down the pipe. When I opened up the clean out pipe clear water came out (about ten gallons). I shoved the hose down about 25 feet and it was running full force but it seemed like all the water coming out of the hose was draining back out of the clean out pipe. Do I need my septic tank pumped?

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2 Answers

We had a similar problem - a construction truck had driven over the outflow pipe from the tank, crushing it, so water flow out of the tank was constricted.

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This sounds like your leach field is possibly blocked. That's the disaster scenario where you not only need the tank pumped, but the yard dug up and a new field placed.

Water from your laundry coming up in your tub is a sign that it's not draining to the septic system. This is either because there is a block in the system before the tank or because the tank is unable to accept any more water as it is plugged on the discharge / leach field side.

When I opened up the clean out pipe clear water came out (about ten gallons). I shoved the hose down about 25 feet and it was running full force but it seemed like all the water coming out of the hose was draining back out of the clean out pipe.

... and that's the sign that it's doing option #2: the tank is full and failing to drain.

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Right on Jeff. At this point, Lori needs to open the tank and have it checked for a plugged leach field. This is normally done by pumping down the tank level a bit and watching for back flow from the pipe leading to the "D" box and leach field. Think it may be time to call a pro. Also could be a plugged "D" box. –  shirlock homes Nov 5 '12 at 10:53
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Also look for signs of back-up on the grounds around the septic tank. Soggy ground, foul smell etc. –  shirlock homes Nov 5 '12 at 10:55
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