BACKGROUND: We have a septic system. Sewage was flowing out into the yard. The clean out was found to have the cap missing, which was replaced. Once the cap was replaced, the sewage began to back up in the house. When we would wash dishes, sewage would bubble up into the bathtub, the toilet would not go down, the bathroom sink would drain slow and gurgle. First plumber ran snake, said it was not clogged by us, but that the piping was laid wrong. Next plumber dug up where piping runs to septic tank, said there was grease clogging, also another fitting (? I don't really know proper terminology) was broke off--so said it wasn't draining right.
QUESTION: How long would it take for grease to clog system enough to back it up? We have lived here two years and never put grease down drain. Could this be from previous inhabitants? System has not been serviced since we've lived here, could that be problem? thank you
Sewage backing up into your yard or house does not have a direct relationship with "how long it would take for grease to clog system enough to back it up". In your situation, there are two most common causes of the back up. the first possibility is that your "out-going line/lines is/are clogged", and the second is that your "outlet baffle on the out-going side of your sewage tank is clogged" or "not functioning properly"
To determine what's responsible for the blockage, your "Distribution Box" (D-box) needs to be dug up. If the distribution box is dry, then know that the blockage is in the outlet baffle. And if the Distribution Box is flooded, then the out-going pipe/pipes connected from the Distribution Box and leading to the Sand Filter or Drain field is/are clogged. Determining the culprit and clearing the blockage either in the outlet baffle or in the out-going lines will fix your problem. Also, check if outlet baffle has fallen off, or if it has cracks or holes. Malfunctioning septic tank baffles could also be responsible.
Information on a sewage system
In all septic tanks it's very common to have a layer of thick crusty / greasy substance floating at top of a septic tank. This substance is the good enzymes that devour the bad stuff.
All septic systems have a line from house to tank, then on the direct opposite side you will have a discharge line from the tank to what is called a distribution box or D box. This box will be located within 3 ft of the discharge line. On the opposite side of the distribution box, you will find out-going line/lines (between 1 - 3 pipes or more). The out-going pipe/pipes feed into the Sand filter(in confined space buildings) or into the Drain Field/Leach lines(in buildings with large yards). Either way, the sand filter or the drain field are in place to drain off the liquids that flood all septic tanks. Without either of those in place or properly working, it will cause your septic system to back up in your home. So if the D-box is flooded, rooter out the pipe/pipes from the D-box to the sand filter/drain field. And if the D-box is dry, then check your septic tank's outlet baffle for clogs. Also make sure that the 2 septic tank baffles(outlet baffle and inlet baffle) are functioning properly and there are no holes or cracks in them
You may have to dig around to find the D-box. This D-box gives you access to the out-going pipes and the baffle, one of which is the culprit for the problem you having.
Recommendation: You need an experienced plumber/sewage systems specialist to fix the problem. We do not service your area at the moment but Roto Rooter in your area should be a good hand on this problem. Locate Roto Rooter in your area and have them fix the problem.
Answer provided by plumbers at Portland Plumbing Plus LLC
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