In a startling fashion, I was alerted to a problem with the septic system the other day when I heard a very frightening, "Glug, glug, glug" from the toilet after a flush. Curious to know whether or not something had become lodged in the toilet, I waited for the toilet to settle then decided to test flush to see how bad the blockage was. To my dismay, the toilet began to overflow!
I frantically dried up the water and tried to stop it. After the water level went down a bit, I broke out the plunger. I began to vigorously plunge, until there was nearly no water left in the bowl. I put the plunger aside in the bath tub (as to not disturb my newly dried floor)...when I noticed a fowl inch of water in the tub. Oh no!
At 9:45 at night the toilet has backed up into the tub! I desperately sought immediate assistance from Google's search engine and anyone who was on Google Talk at the time. A friend and colleague of mine indicated that many clogs occur at the "T" in the septic system intake from the house when it is a main line clog. I began to dig to uncover the access point, but I could not find it. I gave up at 11:30 PM and went to bed.
The next day I was able to enlist my neighbor to my cause. We sent a garden hose down the clean out underneath the house, but hit a blockage "hard as rock". We then found the access, but couldn't see the blockage, so we popped open the manhole. We still couldn't see the blockage, so I got my camera (ewww, right?...don't worry the smell was the worst part).
After lowering the camera down in, we rotated the screen to get a look at what we were dealing with. After concluding the cement pipe did not cave in, we took a 4' metal pipe I had laying around and inserted it to break up the blockage. Once we finished a bit of mushing, my neighbor graciously went back under the house and ran the garden hose down and we flushed out the remaining debris.
The best part? I just saved a ton of money by switching my car ins..plumbing service to "DIY" (Do it yourself).