Our home was built in 1957. We have had problems for years with having a wet drain field and keep having our septic pumped. Today (of course my husband is away), I have done a couple of loads of laundry and the water has now pushed into the shower in the laundry room. It looks like it is from the sewer because there is toilet paper with it. We just had our septic pumped last year and 2 years before that. Having a new drain field put in is going to be very expensive and I have been looking online for what to do that we can afford, and have come across septic aerator systems.

Can we put this in with our older septic system?

Another question I have is that people are saying they have two tanks; I think we only have one tank. Is this what was done years ago?

  • As a tangent, do you filter the lint from your laundry drain? It can clog drain fields.
    – Edwin
    Dec 15, 2013 at 8:03
  • I would consider adding to and /or replacing your field tiles . A friend did that and found a beer can ( put in at construction) was the problem . Jul 6, 2017 at 15:44

2 Answers 2


The airated water treatment systems (AWTS) are a two tank system usually new ones have a inner and outer tank in the same unit. It is possible to buy a two tank seperate system and you could use your old septic tank as the first tank then run the outlet into the awts unit. http://econocycle.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=7&Itemid=13. an example of a two tank system is on this page.

Although all of this is possible if your dispersal field has failed it will still need replacing as this system only Improves the quality of effluent leaving the tank. The other option may be to connect to the council sewer if it is now available in your area? you can run the sewerage straight to sewerif avalible or install a maceration pumpIin your septic and pump upto the sewer if it is nearby but you are unable to get fall.

  • We live in a rural area and don't have public sewer. Thank you for your help. Much appreciated!
    – user13082
    May 19, 2013 at 3:57
  • in that case I would recommend just keeping the septic and replacing the field- it doesnt have to be overly expensive but there are a number of options that will make the price vary quite substantially. eg get a few quote or diy if you can get away with in your council area
    – UNECS
    May 19, 2013 at 4:08
  • 2
    A Klargester biodisc (no affiliation, but a satisfied user for 10 years) produces effluent that doesn't need a dispersal field - it can just drain to a ditch. Jul 16, 2018 at 16:05

9 years the later, hoping your problem has been resolved. As I saw the 2013 date after I formulated a response, I decided to practice stating it anyways.Sewage backup can be most upsetting. Here are opinions of mine.

When sewage comes up out of your shower means that there is a complete blockage as the raw sewage has no where to go. It could have been leaking up through the dirt covering your stone trenches, creating a foul smelling wet area. It could have leaked up out of your small concrete box called a distribution box. This box is below the septic tank and used if you have more than one trench. It could have leaked up out of your septic tank, from the cover they open up to pump it out. Lastly, it was coming up out of your shower drain. Yes, your leach field trenches (aka. Septic field, Aerobic Field, Septic Bed, ...) may be at fault. Is that area soggy and wet? Possibly it may be usefull to have a septic contractor, a person with a back hoe, see if the trenches are flooded first, then check the piping to them, then to the septic tank. Yes, a new field can be a great cost, if a different reason can be found and fixed, the day might be saved. Also, as a note, removal of tree roots in sewer lines can be fixed cheaper than an entirely new trench. A last note people get scared when they see the septic tank is full of liquid, it should be, by design, it holds liquid so it can digest, settle out and then flow out.

Septic tanks have the purpose of retaining settalable solids. The solids accumulate at the bottom of the septic tank. Through anaerobic action (no oxygen) they decay, bacteria eats solids away, they get smaller. As those decay at the bottom the water/liquids above settle out. Septic tanks have an outlet that is several inches lower than the inlet. Septic tanks once filled, first time uses, stay full always until pumped out. Pumping them out ensures that the thickness of collected and decayed solids doesn't reach a depth which would allow raw solids to flow out the outlet. Flow out the outlet should be limited to settled water/liquids referred to as effluent. Effluent is considered as a Secondary waste, a waste which can be further treated by passage downward though a few feet of drier soil. This effluent needs to be adequately spread out over many square feet of earth which can absorb this effluent that flows out, while not saturating, ponding, that area. Long trenches were designed to help get the area needed for the amount of water a home uses. Pipes with holes help spread the water down the trench(es) and the trenches are filled with stones to help water/effluent spread out.

Septic Fields were first standardized for use cica 1960s. Part of the early Clean Water regulations. At that time, their adoption included the consensus that it would be about 30-Years time until all residences would be serviced by Municipal Sewerage Collection and Treatment systems, replacing use of all septic field systems.

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