• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Haasl
  • Pearl Sutton
  • paul wheaton
  • r ranson
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Leigh Tate
  • Carla Burke
  • Greg Martin
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the sand badge in Homesteading. (Note that this BB is part of a four-part choose your own adventure called Little List. You must complete four Badge Bits in the Little List.)

In this Badge Bit, you will check the status of a septic system.

(source) (source)

Some articles on inspecting septic tanks:
  - Do-It-Yourself Septic System Inspection Field Guide
  - How to Inspect Septic Tank Condition
  - Inspecting Your Septic Tank
  - Checking Your Septic System
  - Septic System Inspections

To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
  - you must check the status of a septic tank

To show you've completed this Badge Bit, you must provide:
   - a before picture of the stick you are using to check the septic tank
   - an after picture of the stick used to check the septic tank
   - a description of the status of your septic tank
Posts: 43
Location: Hartwell Georgia USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not exactly what was laid out in the requirements... Actually better because you can see the actual level. Status description... Less than it was before we started putting naturally occurring enzymes and microorganisms in there, but still too full!!!
[Thumbnail for 20190604_174322.jpg]
Before the lid was pulled off
[Thumbnail for 20190604_174400.jpg]
After lid was removed to check the level
Staff note (paul wheaton) :

need a stick test. (i would also suggest not adding enzymes and microorganisms - they tend to work well in the short run, but then if you stop buying it, you need to get your tank pumped)

Posts: 2167
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
hugelkultur kids forest garden fungi trees foraging books bike homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Approved BB submission
I just finished inspecting my septic tank. The tank did not need to be pumped. There was only a light sludge layer of 1 inch and a scum layer of no more than 0.5 inches. The tank is old and is 1200 gallons but only a single chamber. I think it is the original septic tank which would mean it was installed in 1964. But a 150 gallon pump chamber was added in 1987. As old as the system is it seems to be working great. It was last pumped almost 3 years ago.

In my area I'm required to inspect in every 3 years due to water quality issues in a Puget Sound inlet that I'm within the watershed for. But the county provides free training and certification so I can do the inspection myself.

The stick I used is a pvc pipe with velcro on the end of it. The pipe was made by the county and I won it as part of a raffle during the training. There was another stick for measuring the scum layer but I did not use it because the layer was so thin that I did not want to have to clean another stick when it was obvious how thick the scum layer was.

All in all the system is working great, the pump is working, and the alarm is working. I got my report submitted to the county without any problems through their online system. No costs to do this other than my time.

But the one issue I did discover is that one of the lids to the riser is having problems and will need to be replaced.

Attached are pictures showing the "stick" before I put it in the tank, while it was in the tank, and after.

Before my next inspection is due I'm hoping to replace my whole system with a new tank plus a subsurface treatment wetland. At the moment the drain mound that my system drains to is located almost 200 feet away on my neighbors property. I would rather keep the whole system on my property so the water remains where it can help my homestead.

Hope this counts!
[Thumbnail for stick-before.jpg]
[Thumbnail for stick-during.jpg]
[Thumbnail for stick-after.jpg]
Staff note (Nicole Alderman) :

I certify that this BB is complete!

Posts: 176
Location: NW Washington - Zone 8a : 10 to 15 (F)
cattle goat foraging earthworks chicken cooking building solar sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Approved BB submission
My septic tank was professionally pumped 3 years ago. Being in Washington, and being a conventional gravity system, I am required to file an inspection report every three years, so it is due.  I took the Septic 101 and 201 training last week so I could be certified to do my own inspections. With 4 inches of scrum and 6 inches of sludge in the first compartment of the tank, and 0 inches of scrum and 1 inch of sludge in the second compartment, it is not needing to be pumped.
Before shot.
Before shot.
After shot.
After shot.
Down the hole for the second compartment.
Down the hole for the second compartment.
Staff note (gir bot) :

Mike Barkley approved this submission.

Getting married means "We're in love, so let's tell the police!" - and invite this tiny ad to the wedding:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic