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Thread: Leveling Ground

  1. #1

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    Leveling Ground

    Serious question here. I know it's a lot to ask in Chit Chat, but I'm taking my chances.

    I purchased a home 2 years ago that was built in 1962 just outside of the town. A side effect of this was that it had a cesspool system rather than a sewage treatment system. In the 90s it was partially collapsing but the prior owner (luckily I'm only the second owner) was able to fix it. Well the fix was collapsing, so I bit the bullet and replaced the cesspool with a sewage treatment system.

    It has been working great, I can actually flush the toilets or take a bath when it rains (which is a lot in S. Louisiana) without worrying that the toilet won't flush or the tub won't drain. The side effect is that the ground yard is all jacked up ranging from my backyard up, going to the side of the house, up to the front where the sewage drain is located.

    By jacked up I mean that there is about 1.5 feet of dirt and sand to back fill where the plumbers did their work. They did this several months back and told me that eventually it would settle, but guess what... it hasn't. And it isn't because of a lack of rain, it's rained every day for the past couple of weeks.

    Do y'all have any recommendations on leveling the ground? I'd like to use my backyard again.
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    Re: Leveling Ground

    What did they do? Put in a septic tank and drain field?

    Is this dirt humped up over the installed components of that? It almost sounds like they couldn't set things at the proper depth and Dixie-rigged the whole thing by just setting them high and shoveling on a some dirt.

    If so, adding 18" of new fill between them might be the only way this can ever be leveled. That could bring about new issues such as flooding the house when it rains. Or maybe as the ground water rises the new "system" will just rise out of the ground like a New Orleans graveyard.

    Ok, I admit nobody would do anything like that. But we'd need more details because my imagination has clearly failed here.

  3. #3

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    Re: Leveling Ground

    To be honest, I don't know what they did. This is what comes up on my invoice:
    1. Sewer Plant Sale & Installation
    2. Modad Poly 600 with aerator and state tags
    3. Includes tank installation and trench discharge pipe to front ditch culvert where machine can fit.
    4. 2 year warranty on treatment system and aerator.
    5. Septic Pumping of old cesspool
    6. Cut and removed concrete and trench out of patio to install drain pipes to three discharge locations.
    7. Cut and remove concrete to access old cesspool for pumping, demo, and filling
    8. Plumbing and materials to install drain pipes form three discharge locations to tank
    9. Hand digging required where machine will not fit
    10. Concrete patching of trenches made for drain pipes
    11. Sand as needed for back filling and finishing
    12. Add in Chlorinator tube that is now requested from Board of Health. Tablets will not have to added at this time but, the tube is requested to be installed for future changes.
    13. Cast iron pipe was deteriorated going into slab. Had to rent small jack hammer and break chain wall around pipe for repair and have good pipe to connect new hub
    14. Tub drain pipe did not come out of slab as expected. had to break extra concrete to access tub drain and connect into system
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    Re: Leveling Ground

    This picture doesnít really do it justice, but hereís what my backyard looks like: https://postimg.cc/tsDXvKc0

    Last edited by dday9; Jul 16th, 2021 at 04:40 PM.
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    Re: Leveling Ground

    That's an interesting size problem. You can spend the money to pay someone or get out the shovel and rack. Spread the dirt around evenly then rent a lawn roller or compactor. There are also, soil/lawn leveling rakes/tools. Money or muscle, lol

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    Re: Leveling Ground

    Sometimes I like to stop and think about what our (great)^n grandparents (where the value of n takes us back 300 years or so) would think about us today.

    I imagine they would be in absolute awe of all of the "macro"-advancement we as a human species have made, and, at the same time, in absolute shock at the "micro"-decline we as individuals have experienced. I would imagine they wouldn't need to ask for help on how to get rid of dirt back in their day. (No offense, dday ).

    Also, I imagine taking them on an airplane ride and them seeing someone with a horse on the plane.

    Them - "Aha, I get it, they are taking their transportation with them so that once they arrive across the ocean they have their own horse to ride!"

    Me - "Ah, not quite. They have their horse with them because it helps them keep the sadness monsters away."

    Them - (Wishing they could go back to their own time and shoot every human male's nuts off)

    That's my contribution to this thread. Good luck dday.

  7. #7

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    Re: Leveling Ground

    I'm sure I could get a shovel and move it around, I'm just wondering:
    1. would doing so hurt me in the long term (e.g. continued sinking of the ground)
    2. would I still need to call 811 (call before you dig) to get the parish to come out and make sure I'm OK to move my own dirt around, even though they just came out to mark for the plumbers to dig
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    Re: Leveling Ground

    I get an error when I try to view the image.

    Without seeing the image, I'm inclined to agree with Dilettante. You need a certain depth of drainage for a leach field. We ran into that issue with an office building, as the water table was not very far down, since the office was built on a spring line (in a desert...but there's still a spring line). They had to raise the area sufficiently to meet code. With as wet as I always expect Louisiana to be, that seems kind of likely. Also, what he said about the whole system springing out of the ground isn't being facetious. We have a hatchery where the ponds have drains in the sides to let water IN. If the ponds are empty, those drains have to keep running water into the (mostly) empty pond or the entire concrete pond, which is a couple hundred feet long and fifty feet wide, will pop right up out of the ground.

    So, I'd say that it is time to get creative. Out here, we have a place called Tates Rents, where you can rent a backhoe for super cheap. Heck, when I saw how cheap they were, I was tempted to get one just to go joy riding. Even a small one could make quick work of any large scale leveling, especially if it had a dozer blade, as some do.

    What you might need to do is think about adding MORE dirt, but it would be really nice to find out how far down the current system is. Also, if you think you will go below the old level of the yard, then you DEFINITELY want to call 811. I found out that the cable line to my house was buried about two inches down, and the sewer line, while not much deeper, didn't go quite where they said it did. Fortunately, I was able to repair both of those, as I hadn't damaged either very much. However, if you haven't called the dig line, most states will probably hold you liable for any damage, whereas if you do call them, and still break a line because they screwed up, it's on them. It's too minor an inconvenience not to do it.

    The big question is whether or not you can elevate the yard in a way that doesn't drain water towards the house, and still allows you to get out the doors. That all depends on the elevation profile, and the height of the doors.
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    Re: Leveling Ground

    I think before calling 811, you should call the people that did the work and find out what depths things are at and what soil is safe to move. I doubt that 811 will know that. I don't know anything about La. regulations, are the contractors you hired required to file what work they did with the county/perish?

  10. #10
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    Re: Leveling Ground

    I think talking to the people that left the yard in that condition is something to consider.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Leveling Ground

    I think before calling 811, you should call the people that did the work and find out what depths things are at and what soil is safe to move.
    Yeah do that, as if that is just a lot of soil piled up then there is no reason you cant just rake it around a bit and get a roller or compacter over it and level it off.

    If you are able to do that then you can either get some new turf or paving over it depending on what you like
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    Re: Leveling Ground

    Rolling it sounds nuts to me.

    I'm sure it isn't made using clay tiles but even plastic pipes have joints, and anything perforated has holes you might compact full of stones, clay, etc.

    I'd expect that to void any warranty from the contactor, possibly be a code violation, and likely diminish effectiveness.

    But this sounds like one of those wacky UK-style systems that uses two digester chambers, a collection tub chamber, hopes for the best, then trickles in some chlorine as it dumps the wastewater overflow into the storm drain at the street.

    If so, there may just be simple piping involved. Just don't disturb the grade since most of it moves by gravity with the assistance of a mini-liftpump. Or is this some sort of hybrid system with no electrical pump embedded? Halfway between a septic tank and a "UK home treatment plant" setup?


    I suppose you need to at least have a talk with the contractor by phone.

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    Re: Leveling Ground

    Sometimes I like to stop and think about what our (great)^n grandparents (where the value of n takes us back 300 years or so) would think about us today.
    They were relieving themselves in big holes they dug out back. They would think indoor bathrooms are amazing.
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