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Q I have two 500-gallon septic tanks tied together. The septic system is in black gumbo earth and when it rains the septic tanks fill up and the toilets will not flush. The house is about 18 years old. We keep the ground level around the house with bank sand so there will be no standing water. In spite of all this, plus pumping the tanks twice a year, our troubles continue. Any advice? Earl Swindle Houston The septic tanks should not need pumping more than once a year. The problem lies in the leach lines which have become plugged up with soap film and solids over the years. You should have new leach lines dug in a different location, assuming you have the space. The length and type of leach field is dependent on the absorption capacity of the soil. It would be wise to have a local soil engineer perform a percolation test and then recommend a solution to you.

If you have a question about designing or maintaining your home, send it to the real estate editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115.


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