Helpful Tips / Dos and Don’ts

Environmental officials and community leaders agree – septic systems and other onsite wastewater treatment systems must be operated and maintained to function correctly. In this way, small onsite systems that serve individual homes are no different than large centralized wastewater facilities serving entire communities. But unlike large community systems, individual home onsite wastewater systems have no operator to monitor them and no staff to keep records or perform regular maintenance. In most communities, it is up to system owners to initiate maintenance.
With over 52 years of experience in septic system maintenance, our trained personnel have the necessary qualifications to operate and maintain your septic system.

Anyone can service your onsite system, but not just anyone is trained to look at the components of your system and advise you on trouble areas.

Most homeowners take the simple act of using water in their home for granted. It is not until the water does not go down the drain, or water surfaces in the yard, that it is realized that there is a problem. By the time onsite system problems become noticeable, they may already be a threat to public health and the environment.

Regular maintenance and inspections cannot only help avoid backups and extend the life of your system, but also protect the water quality of our drinking water, streams, lakes and ponds.

Dos

• Spread out laundry over several days. While there may be convenience to doing your laundry all in one day, septic systems are not designed to handle that much water at one time. Also refrain from using both your washer and your dish washer at the same time.
• Use biodegradable soaps and cleaning agents, and trend towards liquid laundry detergent. Powdered laundry detergent can cause a buildup of soap and solids in the tank which can create backups.
• Conserve as much water as possible. For example, try to run full loads in the dish washer, and spend less time in the shower with the water running. Additionally, check the house occasionally for leaking toilets and faucets. We can provide you with a toilet leak detection kit.
• Minimize the amount of bleach and other harsh cleaners and chemicals used. Normal use of these cleaners should not affect your system, but excessive amounts can cause bacteria to die and prevent the system from operating properly.
• If your system has a splitter (diverter) box, make the adjustment to alternate the usage of your leach lines once yearly.
• Keep a record of your septic system.  Type, location, installation date, and most importantly service and repair records.  We have file folders available to our customers to keep these records all together. It is important that you know the different components of the system that you have, and the maintenance requirements of the system.
• Pump your septic tank or tanks every two to three years. If the tank is not pumped periodically, the solids are carried into your secondary treatment, whether it be leach trenches, mounds, sand filters, or other components. Once this occurs your treatment area can clog with the solids and cause system failure. Pumping your septic tank regularly is much less expensive than replacing your septic system.

Dont’s

• Don’t flush wipes of any kind down the drain. While they may say flushable, they do not break down in the septic tank, can cause damage to aerators or pumps, and cause blockages in pipes.
• Don’t flush anything down the toilet except toilet tissue and whatever you have already eaten. This should be a strict rule.
• Don’t pour cooking or any other kind of oil or grease down the drains or toilet.
• Don’t put any paints or solvents of any kind down your drains, not even water-based paints.
• Don’t neglect your septic system, it is your onsite wastewater treatment plant. Having city sewers comes with a sewer tax. While you have the benefit of not paying that tax, you have the responsibility to maintain your treatment plant.
•Don’t rely on the wide range of septic tank additives to be a substitute for the routine pumping of you tank. There are no products, at this time, that can be used without also periodically pumping the tank.
•Don’t use a garbage disposal.  Garbage disposals add solids and grease which cannot break down in a septic tank and build-up quickly which can cause backup or system failure. If you absolutely must use one, try to limit your use as much as possible and make the choice to pump your septic tank more often.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.) How often should I have my septic tank pumped?

It is recommended that your system be pumped every two to three years. If you have a garbage disposal and use it more than sparingly, than your systems should be pumped every one to two years. Older homes with small older systems may require pumping more frequently. Ultimately, it comes down to the type of system that you have, and the water use and habits of the people in the house.

2.) How close do you need to get to the septic tank?

Our trucks carry approximately 200’ of hose. More hose is available at an additional cost.

3.) My drains are gurgling. What is wrong?

In most cases you probably have a plugged main line, or your septic tank is flooded or overfull. But, in some cases a vent problem could cause gurgling.

4.) Can you drive on your leach field?

It is not recommended that you drive anything larger than a lawn mower over your leach field, drip zone, or mounds. The heavier the piece of equipment driving over the leach area, the more the soils will compact, or if it is wet, the more ruts that will be made. There is also the chance that the piping could be damaged.

5.) How long does a septic system last?

There are many factors that go into the life expectancy of a septic system. The engineering of the system, the types of soils it goes into, the installation, the usage, and maintenance all play critical parts to ensuring the long life of a system. However, if the system is engineered, installed, and maintained properly, it should give you many years of service.

6.) What are the signs of a failing system?

If you are noticing wet areas in your leach field, or have effluent bleeding to the surface, these are both signs of failure. Gurgling and slow drains, problems flushing the toilet, bad septic odor, and greener grass are a few other signs of possible issues that should be looked at.

7.) Can I plant trees on my septic system?

It is not recommended that you plant anything with a substantial root system within 10 feet of your septic tank or leach field. Septic pumpers also appreciate it if you do not plant vegetation that has thorns next to the tanks.

8.) Why is my high-water alarm sounding?

If your alarm is sounding, it normally means your lift station pump is not working. There are several possible issues, including the pump has failed, the float is no longer working, an electrical problem, or in some cases there is an issue with another component that will not allow the pump to activate. This is called a fail safe system. If you can go out and look in the lift station, and the water is above the pump, that tells us that it is not pumping. There are other rare occasions that the alarm float will fail and there is not a problem with the pump.

9.) Can I flush wet wipes?

Absolutely not. While the package may say flushable, that just means it will pass through a toilet. It can still cause blockages in your pipes, break equipment like your aerator or pump, and fill up your septic tank and cause it to need to be pumped more often. Wipes do not breakdown the way toilet paper does, so it is best if you do use wet wipes, to throw them in the garbage and save yourself the headache.

10.) Can I use a garbage disposal?

Like the wipes, it is preferred if you do not use a garbage disposal because it creates issues with your septic. The food particles that get cut up do not degrade in the septic tank, so it is required to be pumped more often. They also cause more grease to go down the drain which can clog pipes, and causes issues with your soil absorption area, binding off the soil and reducing the amount of water the soil can take.

 

pumping the septic tank

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