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  • Another (yes, another) jetting question...

    We were out this morning to dig up a septic drain field to diagnose the reason for failure. I had told the owner that we might try jetting the laterals as he is looking to stay as cheap as possible and hopefully buy another year or two on replacing it.

    The field comes out of the tank about 10' or 12' and tees into the field, which consists of three 35' laterals on 10' centers, with the ends looped together and a tee in the center line so everything is connected, sort of like an absorption bed except it's in separate trenches. I explain this so you guys will know how much pipe were talking about. It adds up to about 155' of 4" pipe.

    We cut out one of the T's at the end of the center lateral and found heavy sludge, the pipes were 3/4 full, which is what I was hoping for. Now we have positive proof that the perforations are clogged and that jetting will probably help.

    However, this thread is not a question about drain fields. I have given as much information as possible so you jetter guru's out there will be able to provide me with a solid answer. We are going to be jetting this field in the morning using a subcontractor with a US Jetting 4018. However, as most of you know by reading my previous threads, I'm tired of leaving all this jetting money on the table and want to do it myself, so my question is as follows:

    I have always thought I would need a fairly large trailer jet for this type of work, something in the range of what my subcontractor uses. Lately I had almost decided to start with a large cart jetter. Given the specifics of this job, I'm having some doubts about whether I'd be really happy with a cart.
    155' of 4" pipe 3/4 full of sludge is a lot of sludge. Really, what kind of luck am I going to have with a 6 gpm @ 4000 psi cart jet? I realize it's going to do the job with enough time, but if it would take me half a day to do with the cart I'd better go with the trailer. Like I said, this particular job is scheduled with a sub, but it's far from the last time I'll face similar situations, so if I'm going into jetting I've got to use the situations I encounter to make sure I get the right equipment when I do.

    Rick, Ratz, Cuda, Trent, anyone with experience, let me know what you guys think.

  • #2
    Re: Another (yes, another) jetting question...

    I answered on the drain forum lol.
    Seattle Drain Service

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Another (yes, another) jetting question...

      We did many jet jobs just you as described. We used a 13hp honda with a 3-4 gpm pump mounted on the pump truck. We would put the suction hose in the d-box and jet each line. Never took more than 1 hour. The lines were never long only about 30-50' long. If we were having trouble with some line we would send the camera down and take a look. Usually it was only more hard sludge so we kept at it. If the line was broken or crushed we would just dig up that section and repair it. Our success rate was very good do to having sand fill with no clay here in southeast florida.
      We actually wore out two of these small jetters during our time of jetting drainfields. Thats how many we did. Hope this helps.

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      • #4
        Re: Another (yes, another) jetting question...

        i'll answer on this forum

        a new us jetter 4018/ 4000 psi @18 gpm will set you back approx 40,000 depending on the options and bells and whistles. even used is still 20,000+

        so unless you can warrant the expense, stick with the 5,000 cart.

        6gpm at 4000psi will do a nice job on the 4'' sludge.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Another (yes, another) jetting question...

          Originally posted by Cuda View Post
          I answered on the drain forum lol.
          Ya, I posted this one everywhere. Sorry, you try to dodge me one spot I'll run you down somewhere else!

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          • #6
            Re: Another (yes, another) jetting question...

            Originally posted by niteowl View Post
            We did many jet jobs just you as described. We used a 13hp honda with a 3-4 gpm pump mounted on the pump truck. We would put the suction hose in the d-box and jet each line. Never took more than 1 hour. The lines were never long only about 30-50' long. If we were having trouble with some line we would send the camera down and take a look. Usually it was only more hard sludge so we kept at it. If the line was broken or crushed we would just dig up that section and repair it. Our success rate was very good do to having sand fill with no clay here in southeast florida.
            We actually wore out two of these small jetters during our time of jetting drainfields. Thats how many we did. Hope this helps.
            Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
            i'll answer on this forum

            a new us jetter 4018/ 4000 psi @18 gpm will set you back approx 40,000 depending on the options and bells and whistles. even used is still 20,000+

            so unless you can warrant the expense, stick with the 5,000 cart.

            6gpm at 4000psi will do a nice job on the 4'' sludge.

            rick.
            Thanks, guys.

            Rick, as you know from previous questions I have posted on here, I'm quite sure I CAN justify the trailer, but I'm still experiencing that nervousness that one gets just before you pull the trigger, so I'm looking at it from all angles, from the bare minimum to whole hog.

            We have passed up enough work in one year to make half the payment on a big package that would include a large trailer, a cart to go in our drain trailer, and large and small push cameras. That is only the work that we have come across on the jobs we were on, without advertising or pushing jetting. We know that owning the equipment will bring us far more through word of mouth and by being able to advertise jetting, and it will grow from there, but........... Here we are again, scared to squeeze the trigger.

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            • #7
              Re: Another (yes, another) jetting question...

              My cart jetter works fine for jetting drainfields. It's 3,000 psi and about 4gpm. My nozzle is one forward and 4 back. I'm going to get one with no forward jet to flush better. I'm not sure I'd get the huge trailer jetter yet. You can still call on your buddy if you need a big one. I'd spend the money on a camera and cart jetter. I wish my jetter had a little more gpm than it does when it comes to doing drainfields but it does work fine. I'm also using 1/4" hose. I think 3/8" would flow alot more and do the job quicker.
              www.ClinkscalesSeptic.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Another (yes, another) jetting question...

                I had a Harben unit with a 300 gallon tank. I now have a 3500psi at eight gpm in a van. I do have two Warthogs. I was going to get a another 16 gpm machine, but after using a friends from water cannon I thought this would work. I didnt use the 16 gpm most of the time anyway, it was too much for four and six inch. I havent gotten every line open but only a hand full many which were broke. You dont need 16 gpm for jetting a septic. I like the van. A trailer didnt work that well in Wisconsin. Its too cold to use everyday. I get referals from guys with trailers when its cold. That unit works everyday 1 to 4 jobs a day. PS I wish it was 14 buck a foot.

                We have super sized farm work here. I thought 16 gpm wasnt big enough for me anyway if we wanted to do a good job job on large lines filled with sand. My wife still think I smell like farm way to much.300 gallons isnt going you last when that thing is putting out big numbers. I think if you pull the jetter with your vac truck and filter the water that would work.If a line is bigger than 12 inch I just refer it to a buddy with a combo truck.

                I would start with a 8 10 gpm unit with a tank from the farm store and get a Warthog or a Rootranger. If your going to buy a bigger unit a Harben with take barckish water AKA dirty water just fine. This comes in handy because no dont have to run portable water. I still look on ebay and in the cole stuff for a used unit.

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                • #9
                  Update

                  Well, guys, the jetting went good this morning. However, I think this particular septic was the exception to the rule. It looked like the lines had probably sludged shut at the far end of the field, then worked back from there. I am suspicious that the far ends were totally dry because some of the chunks coming back out of the perf pipe were so hard they sounded like rocks going up the vac hose. We ran the 4018 wide open for almost an hour before we were satisfied that the lines were clean. There were times when it would not advance the hose for a minute or more while it chewed on stuff. Don't know if they poured concrete down there or what.

                  Anyway, by the time we were done we were no longer getting our jetting water to flush back, which obviously means that the perforations are open and the drainfield is taking water again.

                  I'll let you know what we decide to do on a jetter. Incidentally, our buddy made the comment that he's just too busy, working from 6am to midnight most days, and he picked up a major maintenance contract on a methane digester that keeps him almost busy by itself. There's a chance of we do get the right equipment that we'll be able to fill the gaps for him and keep it busier.

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