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Battery powered water sensor system

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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Father of a miniature Wookie
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 7283
 

@tasan I built a similar thing for my RV, sensors everywhere a leak was possible and a 12V valve on the main supply. This was in an RV where the design of the sinks and toilets were such that there was no overflow protection.

In your case the first task is to discover why this is happening and I am reasonably sure it's the cellar drain is simply too low. My cellar drain in my old house was NOT connected to the septic, it simply went out the side of the hill. It was there only to catch any hot water tank or clothes washer leaks. NO connection to the separate sewer lines.

I think I gave you the links before, but if you want an alarm system this is what I had LINK

My bet is still that the previous owners did not actually pump out the holding tank.

At the moment, if water flowing in is resulting in water entering the house, then the holding tank exit is blocked. You need to replace the exit filter and/or blockage.

Good luck.

First computer 1959. Retired from my own computer company 2004.
Hardware - Expert in 1401, and 360, fairly knowledge in PC plus numerous MPU's and MCU's
Major Languages - Machine language, 360 Macro Assembler, Intel Assembler, PL/I and PL1, Pascal, Basic, C plus numerous job control and scripting languages.
My personal scorecard is now 1 PC hardware fix (circa 1982), 1 open source fix (at age 82), and 2 zero day bugs in a major OS.


   
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TASan
(@tasan)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 46
Topic starter  

@zander I will be sure to check all of this out!

But it's the municipality that is responsible for emptying the tank and not the owners of the tank. The emptying is automatically provisioned when it's time, based on the intervals set for each household based on tank size.

Beyond that, it's of course the owners' responsibility to ensure the tank does not get full before this interval comes around. But the municipality has in their logs that it was emptied on December 30th, 2022.

There is no reason for me to doubt the previous owners when they say that this has not happened in the last 43 years, and I don't think it's a height issue. If the outlet from the house was blocked in the tank, and we continued using water, then the pipe would eventually backflow up.

I do doubt that the tank was properly emptied though, but that is on the company hired by the municipality to do the job. Still awaiting image proof!

Thanks again for the links. Will be sure to check them out, but did want a system that can sound an alarm not only on the sensor itself but also on another unit 🙂

Interested in learning about electrical engineering!


   
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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Father of a miniature Wookie
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 7283
 

@tasan 2 quick points. Yes if the outlet was blocked, it would back up, BUT it would come out the LOWEST point, which is the basement floor drain.

The alarms I pointed out go off locally, and via WiFi on your phone.

I think you are overthinking this. When you have a tank with an inflow and outflow, and when you put water in the inflow if it doesn't go out the outflow it will back up and escape at the lowest point available which is the basement floor drain.

If you have a replaceable filter on the outflow it may need replacement every 12 to 18 months. It's past due if last done Dec 22.

First computer 1959. Retired from my own computer company 2004.
Hardware - Expert in 1401, and 360, fairly knowledge in PC plus numerous MPU's and MCU's
Major Languages - Machine language, 360 Macro Assembler, Intel Assembler, PL/I and PL1, Pascal, Basic, C plus numerous job control and scripting languages.
My personal scorecard is now 1 PC hardware fix (circa 1982), 1 open source fix (at age 82), and 2 zero day bugs in a major OS.


   
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TASan
(@tasan)
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Topic starter  

@zander Maybe we are talking past each other. That's exactly what I am trying to say. It did back up the lowest point , the basement floor drain. I don't believe there are any filters, or if there are, they have never been changed.

As for the alarms, I did not catch that they are Wifi also. That's good 😊

Interested in learning about electrical engineering!


   
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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Father of a miniature Wookie
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 7283
 

@tasan Ok, I was afraid you were not understanding. The fact you are getting backup at the first point of exit, i.e. the basement floor drain guarantees that the septic tank exit is BLOCKED. This could be due to either a filter that is way too full, or if no filter, then debris is clogging the exit pipe OR maybe the field is damaged.

NORMALLY there is a distribution box a few feet before the field. If you can find it and open it up you will be able to determine if the water is not getting to the distribution box, or if it is not getting past the distribution box. If it is the former, a hydro snake from the box back to the tank will clean it out but if it's the field that is full/flooded the repair will be lengthy and costly. I had the latter happen due to a broken distribution box that over a 10 or more year time filled up the field with 'fines'. After letting it rest (a new field was built elsewhere) for about 6 months, it started working again.

if it was me, the troubleshooting procedure is

1. Determine if the outlet pipe in the tank is free. This will be messy.

2. Open the distribution box and determine which direction the blockage is in.

3. Use a hydro snake to clean the pipe between the box and the tank if that is blocked (REALLY MESSSY), or

4. Determine if the field can be saved otherwise a new field may be needed.

When mine went 'bad' I was quoted $20,000 to 'fix' it. I did it myself for $5,000. It can be done but you need to be innovative and use modern materials and techniques. My new bed is made of inexpensive lightweight plastic not expensive trucked in gravel.

Good luck.

First computer 1959. Retired from my own computer company 2004.
Hardware - Expert in 1401, and 360, fairly knowledge in PC plus numerous MPU's and MCU's
Major Languages - Machine language, 360 Macro Assembler, Intel Assembler, PL/I and PL1, Pascal, Basic, C plus numerous job control and scripting languages.
My personal scorecard is now 1 PC hardware fix (circa 1982), 1 open source fix (at age 82), and 2 zero day bugs in a major OS.


   
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TASan
(@tasan)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 46
Topic starter  

@zander The pipe into the house has been cleaned and inspected with a camera. Awaiting results.

The pipe into the field was also cleaned with a hose. Yes, very messy indeed. It seemed a bit clogged up.

More info on the backflow: When I went down to the basement one day, there were clear marks on the floor that there had been a backflow that was at least a few centimeters above the floor for about 4 m2. But it had receded.

So there was at least a temporary blockage either in the pipe out of the house, or the pipe out of the tank. But given the height differences it's probable that it was the former. That is, water not being able to get into the tank in the first place and just backing up the pipe.

When I went down it wasn't flooded, but it had been just a few hours earlier.

I think a full rehabilitation of the pipes, lining them with a UV cured sleeve and putting a fiberglass tank inside the concrete tank, and doing something with the field tank would be a way to go?

It's just that the municipality has already dug down pipes to connect us to the main sewage system. They did so in 2018. It's just not yet decided if or when they will connect us, because they will need several pump stations and there is a lot of bureaucracy... So spending a lot now only to be connected in a few years is not fun. But total breakdown of the system is not fun either...

Interested in learning about electrical engineering!


   
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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Father of a miniature Wookie
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 7283
 

@tasan Thanks for the additional info. If a camera could be put through the pipes, there is no blockage.

Lining the pipes is a bad idea; the pipes would be too small if you could even get the resin to work in such a contaminated environment. The tank is already smaller than current code so lining it is out of the question.

WHOA

inside the concrete tank, and doing something with the field tank would be a way to go

Why do mention TWO tanks? A traditional septic system consists of a settling tank connected by pipe to the house on one end and connected to a distribution field on the other. The ONLY time I have seen two tanks was when one was a part of a very modern above ground system using peat. There are a few other alternate systems, which is yours? 

I am including a picture of a typical 2 chamber settling septic tank. Pay attention to the outflow end. Notice the T pipe that ONLY allows water from under the surface to flow up into the outflow pipe. That is also where the filter (as noted on the picture) goes. If you do not have the T pipe and a filter, that scum can easily plug up the pipe. It may be that there never was a T pipe so after many years the outflow pipe is sufficiently narrowed to the point where a now larger family with young kids vs the old couple is pushing the now narrowed pipes beyond it's ability to carry away the water.

Screenshot 2023 09 19 at 12.44.33

 

 

 

 

 

First computer 1959. Retired from my own computer company 2004.
Hardware - Expert in 1401, and 360, fairly knowledge in PC plus numerous MPU's and MCU's
Major Languages - Machine language, 360 Macro Assembler, Intel Assembler, PL/I and PL1, Pascal, Basic, C plus numerous job control and scripting languages.
My personal scorecard is now 1 PC hardware fix (circa 1982), 1 open source fix (at age 82), and 2 zero day bugs in a major OS.


   
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TASan
(@tasan)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 46
Topic starter  

Sorry, I was trying to say field "pipe" 😅

There is no blockage right now, but there could be rust or cracks in the pipe making stuff like toilet paper snag and then release after some time. That's what I'm told at least.

Hmm, OK so lining the pipes is not a good idea? I'll at least have to get someone with the proper expertise to come look at the system.

Adding some pictures of before and after emptying now in September. Don't know if they get large enough:

processed 4754157E 3991 48CE BD8C 0863131E3028 5C0829D0 DBDC 4221 B106 069A7BFCC622
processed A28AD1B8 9775 4E12 888C AC9D687D46BA 0EB04A2D E063 43A6 B3A8 7F8820F18F1E

Interested in learning about electrical engineering!


   
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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Father of a miniature Wookie
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 7283
 

@tasan Can you possibly see the outlet? Is there a T pipe and filter? I have never seen a pump out done with a tiny, flimsy hose like that. That is the same hose we use on most RVs over here. My current RV has a much heavier hose, and the pump-out folks have a hose that is probably 6"/150mm in diameter. The hose must be stiff so you can push it down through the sludge to the bottom of the tank. The hose in your picture is NOT capable of doing that. Look at my pictures; the hose has to be stiff enough to maneuver into the corners. That hose is a joke. 

You still need to show me a picture of the exit T pipe, which is crucial to proper operation. Could you look at the picture, especially the red arrows showing water flow? If you do NOT have that, then the scum you have on top will block the pipe. 

Screenshot 2023 09 19 at 13.39.27

First computer 1959. Retired from my own computer company 2004.
Hardware - Expert in 1401, and 360, fairly knowledge in PC plus numerous MPU's and MCU's
Major Languages - Machine language, 360 Macro Assembler, Intel Assembler, PL/I and PL1, Pascal, Basic, C plus numerous job control and scripting languages.
My personal scorecard is now 1 PC hardware fix (circa 1982), 1 open source fix (at age 82), and 2 zero day bugs in a major OS.


   
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TASan
(@tasan)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 46
Topic starter  

On the picture with the hose the inlet is to the right, the outlet is to the left. Yes, it's shaped like that, but I have a hole in the top of each. Probably rusted through? Not heard about any filter.

I'm not going to comment on the hose. I don't know enough about that, but I would say probably about 100mm diameter and did get the job done?

Added some images of me measuring the tank to find out the size. Yes, that is another hose because the company had not communicated and another truck came the day after.

PXL 20230908 094149774
PXL 20230908 094151752
PXL 20230908 124212658

Interested in learning about electrical engineering!


   
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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Father of a miniature Wookie
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 7283
 

@tasan Those pipes appear to be rusted through. HOWEVER that can NOT be the input and output, they are normally 8 ft apart. The input can be seen from the inspection port closest to the house, and the output from the inspection port closest to the field. The two inspection ports should be between 4 and 6 ft apart, look at my picture. You MIGHT be seeing the middle pipe, but my septic didn't have that, the separating wall was just an inch or so lower than the inlet.

Any metal including stainless put into a septic will rot in a very short while, I already made that mistake. All the pipes need to be sewer rated plastic, the tank can be cement or plastic or fiberglass but cement lasts the longest.

Screenshot 2023 09 19 at 12.44.33

First computer 1959. Retired from my own computer company 2004.
Hardware - Expert in 1401, and 360, fairly knowledge in PC plus numerous MPU's and MCU's
Major Languages - Machine language, 360 Macro Assembler, Intel Assembler, PL/I and PL1, Pascal, Basic, C plus numerous job control and scripting languages.
My personal scorecard is now 1 PC hardware fix (circa 1982), 1 open source fix (at age 82), and 2 zero day bugs in a major OS.


   
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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Father of a miniature Wookie
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 7283
 

@tasan I sent you a private message

First computer 1959. Retired from my own computer company 2004.
Hardware - Expert in 1401, and 360, fairly knowledge in PC plus numerous MPU's and MCU's
Major Languages - Machine language, 360 Macro Assembler, Intel Assembler, PL/I and PL1, Pascal, Basic, C plus numerous job control and scripting languages.
My personal scorecard is now 1 PC hardware fix (circa 1982), 1 open source fix (at age 82), and 2 zero day bugs in a major OS.


   
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