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  • 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

    i have just had my 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank (of 20 years) pumped and the guy who pumped it pointed that the the baffle is coming loose from the side walls of the tank? the seal on the side of the baffle is leaking.... also there is only one opening in the baffle? a 3" hole near the top of the baffle... he recommended that i drill 3 additional 3" holes near the bottom of the baffle and he also said that i should repair the baffle... is this something that i should do? should i crawl in there and patch in with a fiberglass repair kit? with a good fan to clear the fumes... or should i leave the tanks with just the one whole between the chambers? the first chamber was about 1/2 filled with sludge and the 2nd had much less sludge in it... any advice is appreciated

  • #2
    Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

    do not climb into a septic tank, ever. Call a professional with the proper personal protective equipment. The fumes even with a fan going could be enough to quickly overwhelm you.

    as for the holes near the bottom, they seem like they might defeat the purpose of the dividing wall between chambers, unless they're only designed to relieve pressure between sides?
    No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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    • #3
      Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

      Please Please Please Do NOT UNDER ANY circumstance enter your septic Tank. Get a qualified septic contractor to make the repair for you they know all the precautions and all the tricks to do this safetly

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      • #4
        Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

        DO NOT ENTER THE SEPTIC TANK! IT COULD COST YOU YOUR LIFE!! That being said, if by baffle you are talking about the wall between the two chambers of the septic tank, it should have holes in the middle only. This allows the "clear" water to flow from the primary side of the tank to the secondary side. The septic tank works like this: the raw sewage comes into the tank via main sewer line from the house. Any fats, oils, greases, tp and other lighter than water material float to the top forming a scum layer, heavy solids settle to the bottom becoming sludge. In the middle of the tank is the clear zone. In the scum layer, bacteria breaks down most of the organic solids into mostly clear effluent that makes its way out of the septic tank to the drainfield. What doesn't break down falls to the bottom settling in the sludge layer. You want to keep the sludge out of your drainfield at all costs. Sludge will ruin your drainfield. Your tank with the divider wall in the middle allows the process to happen twice further reducing the chance of sludge to enter your drainfield. If the hole to pass from one chamber to the other is near the top, the effluent needs to flow through the scum layer. This will bring scum from the first side through to the second. Not an optimum use of a two chamber tank. If you put a hole near the bottom of the tank, the sludge will pass through to the second chamber making the divider wall totally useless. Now if the hole at the top has a "T" attached to it with a pipe hanging down about 12" on the primary side, this will work the same as a hole in the middle of the divider wall. This is what I think about when talking about a "baffle". There should be one of these where the main comes into the tank and on the outlet end of the tank. The inlet baffle prevents the scum layer on top of the tank from blocking the inflow from the house. The outlet baffle prevents the scum from skimming off the tank and flowing out to the drainfield. I'd check again with your pumper for a more detialed description of what you have and what the problem actually is before having any repairs made. If the divider wall is coming loose it you had better get it fixed asap as it could compromise the structural integrity of the tank.

        I hope all of this makes sense as it's late here and I'm tired.
        www.ClinkscalesSeptic.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

          thanks for your help!!! you are correct in that i have a oval shaped tank with a divider wall in the middle the wall... the 3" hole in that divider is about 3/4 of the way up the wall... closer to the top... when we pumped the secondary side of the tank first we could see water leaking around the sides of the divider wall coming from the primary side of the tank.... i do not have any baffles or elbows at all on either the inlet of the outlet of the tank... i live in the mountains and the tank services only 1 toilet... nothing else goes into the tank... the sink... shower... washer... dryer etc.. they all are fed into the garden/orchard etc... should i try and take a fiberglass repair kit and patch the sides of the divider wall? the septic had not been used in over a year and was full of water and sludge only.. no fresh waste... it is very clean at the moment.... (the reason that the tank has not been used is we lost the cabin due to a wild fire and are almost finished rebuilding) it is over a hour and a half to the nearest town.... thanks again...

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          • #6
            Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

            The tank should be repaired. There should be an outlet baffle installed at least. I cannot recomend that you go into the septic tank unless you are certified in confined space safety and have all the gear and follow the protocols. If you are not then find someone who is. Even if the tank is very clean the sewer gasses can still be in the tank. They displace oxygen leaving you with none to breathe.
            www.ClinkscalesSeptic.com

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            • #7
              Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

              http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegrap...001028,00.html

              IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME NO JOKE..... This isnt like call a plumber instead of fixing your toilet yourself this is like dont clean a loaded gun kind of thing

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              • #8
                Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

                sewer gas is no joke, I think at this point we're done trying to answer your question, since it seems like you're still considering going in there despite the warnings.

                Good luck to you
                No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

                  Better off replacing the whole tank. Do it all the time. Here we prefer concrete.

                  J.C.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

                    Replacing the tank would be my standard option if it were a primary residence. Since it's a cabin with limited use a new tank would be a little over kill if the old one can be repaired safely. If there is no one qualified to enter the tank then a replacement might be necesary.
                    www.ClinkscalesSeptic.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

                      You most certainly need a baffle at least on the out let side, one on the inlet side would be good too, both are required by your city/county entity. If you continue to use it that way then the scum off the top will clog your leech field. If that happens then you will be spending a lot more money on repairs than just an outlet baffle
                      ANYONE CAN TAKE THE HELM WHEN THE SEA IS CALM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

                        1. DO NOT ENTER THE TANK ! WE Had a very experianced Septic Guy That Knew better DIE beacuse of that ...

                        That being said See #2

                        2. Fiberglass is Useless to Repair Fiberglass ! You Will Need Marine Epoxy Resin (NOT POLYESTER)

                        Dave
                        Last edited by NoeEttica; 06-28-2009, 06:06 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

                          Fiberglass tanks were and are a bad idea, not quite as bad an idea as, say, orangeburg pipe, but a bad idea nonetheless. Most I see are at least starting to collapse. Most have leaks in the bottom that are evident as little geysers coming up into the tank when you pump them. Most all have cast in fiberglass baffles at the inlet and outlet which are cunningly designed to preclude any access to the lines. Junk. If yours exhibits any signs of leaks or collapse, don't bother with repairing, replace with concrete (with an effluent filter! cheapest field saving technology ever!). Even if the thing seems solid except for the baffle between chambers I'd question putting any $ into a repair of what is basically junk. Any effort put into action other than replacing with concrete is a delaying tactic. Might be an appropriate tactic depending on your situation; it can be a tough call, but in my mind it's akin to wrapping it in duct tape and calling it fixed.

                          Rant over and on to practical advice;

                          The baffle is there to minimize scum and sludge form getting to the secondary chamber. If it's still doing that, some small leaks around the sides wouldn't bother me much, especially if your outlet baffle (or better yet, T, which you can put an effluect filter into) is in good shape, and I'd not put $1k into fixing it if $5k buys me concrete. $300 if the rest is super solid and nice I'd consider, but I don't know how anyone can do confined space work for $300. I'd fill the secondary (or more appropriatly both) with water after pumping if it has to come up 3/4 before it spills to take the pressure off the baffle and keep from blowing it out altogether. Most have a passage at the bottom of the baffle so this wouldn't be necessary, but you may have an oddball.
                          Last edited by Ace Sewer; 06-30-2009, 01:50 AM.
                          This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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                          • #14
                            Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

                            Use Your head ,Send in the Wife, Hold the Lantern above
                            I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 1000' gallon fiberglass septic tank with a loose baffle

                              Originally posted by toolaholic View Post
                              Use Your head ,Send in the Wife, Hold the Lantern above
                              Or a neighbor or a brother in law or your IRS auditor.
                              ANYONE CAN TAKE THE HELM WHEN THE SEA IS CALM.

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