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Does anyone know about Septic Systems and Sewer Flies?
August 6, 2010
1:31 am
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Grandmatotwochicks
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This is so disgusting, we have a septic system and our down stairs bathroom has been full of sewer flies!  we cannot figure out where they are comming from, tomorrow my hubbie is going to dig up the septic and put a smoke bomb down it to see if there are any broken pipes, the smoke will come out of the wall's if there our leaks, then we are going to bug bomb the house!  I am sooooooooo grossed out over this, I have not slept for two nights! very disgusting situation, I was just wondering if anyone else has ever had this problem with SEWER FLIES?  not sure if this is where I would post this or not, but most people who live in the country  are not on a sewer line.  The septic system has not backed up, there is no odor comming from it, so its been a mystery, and I have used a lot of bleach to kill them, I do know that bleach is not to good for the septic, but at this point all I want is for the sewer flies to go away!vomitvomitvomit

August 6, 2010
8:29 am
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Pete
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Not sure what you add besides yeast to counter the effects of the bleach, but you REALLY need to do it, immediately!  If you do not like the flies, you seriously will not like what happens if you do not have a properly functioning septic system!

Do not know, but would guess that the original issue was more about the health of what is in the tank than a mechanical problem like a broken pipe, although, doing the check on that is a good idea just to be sure.  A properly operating septic system should NOT be producing flies, much less have them coming up into the house.  Adding bleach to the system will likely make the situation even worse.

There is probably something more than Rid-X and the like to add.  For that, our neighborhood hardware store is an invaluable resource.  They know exactly what we need for things like this.  Between now and being able to find the best additive, I'd be dumping every bit of yeast I could find in the house to get some good bacteria in there to start neutralizing the effects of the bleach and get things headed in the right direction.

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

August 6, 2010
9:24 am
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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August 6, 2010
9:35 am
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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My father in law had an excavating business… my hubby grew up digging drainfields.  This website sounds just like what he would recommend.  If you have only put a gallon of bleach in, you probably have not hurt anything….

 

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extnews/newsrelease/2006/030906/11avoidu.htm  I hope you find the source of the flies soon!

August 6, 2010
9:46 am
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Miss Judy
West Central MO
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Miss Judy said:

Here's another site to add to your list. Of course they are selling products http://www.pestcontrol_products.com/drainflies.htm


 

oops! it wasn't correct. here is the right one   http://www.pestcontrol_products.com 

scrool down to about the middle of the page and click on drain flies. hope you get the problem solved.

August 6, 2010
11:07 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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I've heard of people that are on city lines having them too and that's why the broken pipe question is an issue.  Good thing your husband is checking for that. I think I've mostly heard of them coming out of the kitchen drain, and ok yeah, that is pretty gross I'll give you that but I don't think you've done anything icky so don't go there!  I think they live on any built up scummy drain gunk that lives in all our pipes, not just related to septic systems.  I'm not sure the best way to clean all that out, but if you get rid of that batch you should be rid of them quite well.

I think before I went to heavy duty cleaners, I'd try something like several bottles of lemon juice, one for the kitchen drain, and a half a bottle or so for each of the other more used drains in the house.  I suppose vinegar might be good too, but I think I'd prefer the lemon juice especially since for this I'd definitely go for the very generic sort.  I don't have a garbage disposal of course, but when I did I ran lemon peels to help clean and deodorize it, now I just keep cheap lemon juice on hand to run down my drain after doing dishes etc…  I too try not to use much harsh stuff, but of course I do use bleach for the laundry, but only sparingly and only once a week at the most.  If I really need to blast a load with heavy bleach, which I do at times because of the well water, I take it to a laundromat.

Pete is right about making sure your septic tank stays active.  I've been told by the septic guy (I had a minor problem this spring and decided it was time to get it pumped out while I was at it) that the additives are only rarely needed and because I've read up on it since then, I have to think he was right.  I suspect that with a LOT of bleach, it might be a good time to do it though. 

I know you're totally grossed out GmaToo2, but this too shall pass, and us country folk have dealt with such things and will do so again since that trade off of living out where we do makes us pay now and then no matter how we try to wiggle out of it.  …that's what I told myself when I was hanging upside down trying to reconnect the pipe to the sump pump in the third pump-out tank this spring anyway!  Having the main tank and that one pumped out helped, but I still whimpered a little while I was getting it hooked back up! I think the Septic guy was tempted to do it for me, but I have that determined streak in me and I did get a look of respect from him even though I cried like a girl… hey!  I AM a girl!!!!  But I got it hooked back up too.

Located in N.E. Ohio

August 6, 2010
1:44 pm
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rileysmom
Rural Montana
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EEK!  I've never heard of drain flies!  We've been on a septic for lots of years.  I've added yeast about once a month, right after we have chlorinated our well.  I'm not crazy about doing it but the water gets funky smelling. 

August 6, 2010
2:00 pm
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Flatlander
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I don't really get it, we once had a septic tank in another house we lived in, (now we have a lagoon.)

Never heard from flies coming out of  the tank itself, because if they did..you would smell it first..simply because the system is “closed” by a water trap.

If you do have a very bad smell in your basement bathroom, Could it be that you have a floor drain in your basement that has gone dry? pour some water in there, but than again, you should smell it also.

Don't use bleach it is not effective, and it will screw up your sceptic “flora”.

They nest in moist areas, mostly in  your not often used drain (shower or sink?) but can also be found behind the toilet is it moist there because water is dripping from condensation on the water tank connected to your toilet?(don't know the proper name for that sorry)

Or do you have plants in that bathroom? look under the flowerpots, lino or moist in corners. etc.

Most likely they nest somewhere there and not in your sceptic tank.

Good luck..and yes they are gross…. but harmless

August 6, 2010
3:20 pm
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sparrowgrass
Iron County MO
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Hope a newbie can chime in.  I work for U. of Missouri Extension, and we get septic tank (and sewer fly) questions a lot.  I can't quite figure out how to post a link, but http://extension.missouri.edu/explorepdf/envqual/EQ0401.pdf will take you to a PDF that will tell you more than you want to know about how to maintain your septic tank.   No need for additives–just a waste of money according to our researchers, and no need for yeast.  The bacteria you need are added every time you “make a deposit”.  Using bleach in reasonable amounts won't hurt the septic tank.  There are lots of bacteria/yeasts in the tank, and it would take more than one or two gallons of bleach or other cleaners to get rid of them.

 

Sewer flies live and lay their eggs in your drains–they look like fruit flies, maybe a teeny bit bigger than fruit flies.  Boiling water is a good cure–most other things don't work.  Unless you have major plumbing problems (and odor would be your first clue) the flies are NOT coming out of the tank–they are coming from the drain, between the sink and trap–the curved piece of pipe under the sink.

I see sewer flies in my house in the early spring for couple of weeks, then they disappear til next year. 

I just haven't been the same since that house fell on my sister.

August 6, 2010
3:59 pm
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Grandmatotwochicks
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I am sitting here with tears in my eyes.   I appreciate all of you so much!  THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR IDEAS and support!  I really do feel that this is a big family that I can go to for support.  Hubby has bought some drain cleaner to clean out all the gunk, which  is what these flies like, and has talked to a man that works on septic's for a living.  We will see if we can get rid of them, kind of like war,warrior gearing up for the big battle.  Thank you all so much again for all your support.kiss

August 6, 2010
5:03 pm
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Pete
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That's very good general info, sparrowgrass, but I can tell you that the septic system here works much better with the occasional introduction of yeast.  Doesn't matter much to us whether the majority do or do not, we have to do what works here.

After a couple of clean outs over a period when none should have been needed we took the advice of our septic guy and use yeast a couple of times a year.  According to him, it does help with systems like ours, and our experience has proved it to be good advice.  It's been almost 20 years since it had any attention!  Nothing else changed during that period of time except that for a few years we had an extra three people making deposits.

Of course, it may also help that we don't use bleach and some other nasties because of allergies.  We have now also eliminated hair conditioner, something which in the past had really gunked up the drains.

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

August 7, 2010
1:37 pm
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rileysmom
Rural Montana
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I sure learned a lot from this post!  I'm glad to hear that a little bit of bleach won't hurt, especially with chlorinating the well.  It's good to know that a simple treatment of boiling water can fix the problem of flies.

This septic field is different than our 1st one.  No gravel in the field lines and the plastic “tubing” is like a half pipe open down to the ground.  Maybe the soil here is different?  But, it works and yes, the grass is greener over the field lines!

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