Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a septic system?
A. A septic system is an individual Sewage Disposal System (ISDS). They are designed to liquefy solid content through bacterial action.
Q. What is the purpose of a septic tank?
A. The septic tank is to trap the biological content introduced by the occupants of the property.
Through baffling in the tank, the content is separated from the fluid and allowing the soil treatment area to see primarily liquid.
Q. How often do you pump?
A. It depends on how the system is being used. If there is a large amount of content going down the drain, pump more often. When a minimal amount of content is introduced, pump less often. If a large amount of disinfectants or anti-bacterial agents are being introduced into the system than pump more often. Introducing disinfectants or anti-bacterial agents into the system could shorten the life expectancy of the septic system.
On average, we recommend to pump the tank out every 2 years for a family of 4 to 6. Every 3 years for a family of 2. Every 5 years for a part time or vacation home.
Please contact the office with any questions on this.
Q. What is a bellied line or a line with a negative fall?
A. This is generally a point in the drain line that had settled downward from lack of bedding at the time of installation.
Q. How can I prevent my drain line from clogging?
A. A drain line can clog several ways. The most common ways would be content introduced that should not be flushed such as, wet wipes, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, oils or greases, to much paper or hair, etc. Preventing these items from going down the drain will help prevent the line from clogging.
Q. How can I prevent my drain line from freezing?
A. There are 2 ways to freeze:
*The first way is standing water in the line such as a belly, clog, broken line, etc.
*The second way is slow moving water like a dripping faucet or leaking toilet. This is the same as how an ice sickle develops. A small amount of fluid moves slowly down the drain line, once this fluid comes in contact with the cold pipe it will freeze. This process will continue which will develop an ice blockage.
Q. How do I check for leaks in my toilet?
A. The easiest way that we have found is to simply introduce a generous amount of food dye into the back of the toilet (at the tank). Allow the toilet to sit for 6 hours or over night. If the colored water in the tank works it’s way into the bowl without the toilet being flushed, that toilet is leaking.
Q. How can I fix my leaks?
A. For a dripping faucet, the best advice we can give is to contact a local plumber. For a leaking toilet you can contact a plumber as well. However, there are a couple of self help steps that you can do to fix the toilet.
1) Check the fluid level in the tank in conjunction to the over flow pipe just right of the water tower and float system. If the fluid is to the top of the over flow, you may have a bad water tower or the float is set to high.
2) Turn the water off at the base of the toilet, flush the toilet and clean the flapper, located at the bottom of the tank, and where the flapper seats using rubbing alcohol or a wet wipe of some sort (please make sure to throw the wet wipe or paper towel in the garbage and not down the toilet). This will remove any mineral or calcium deposits from the flapper. These deposits prevent a proper seal which would cause the toilet to leak.
Q. What is an effluent filter and what does it do?
A. An effluent filter is a component that is designed to trap and filter out approximately 75% of the biological material that would normally go to the soil treatment area and plug the soils. This unit is installed and attached to the outlet line inside the tank. Therefore, keeping the damaging content in the tank where it belongs. An effluent filter is the only component that we recommend that will work regardless of how the system is treated.
Q. Should I be using a bacteria additive?
A. In our opinion, there is only one reason to use a bacteria additive. That is to introduce more bacteria in a bacteria depleted tank.
When a person creates a bacteria free environment in the home or building, than allows the anti-bacteria agent to go down the drain, this will begin a bacteria free environment in the tank. The objective is to create a bacteria free environment in the home or building and a bacteria filled environment in the tank. Adding more bacteria into the system can help prevent premature failures.
A healthy septic system generally does not need any further bacteria additives
Q. Should I use yeast in my drains and system?
A. Yeast is a bacteria that would digest starches only. A septic system has several different products that would need to be digested. By introducing just yeast into the system as a bacteria additive would not benefit the system at all.
Q. What chemical can I use that would be safe for my septic system?
A. 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water.
1 part ammonia to 2 parts water (glass cleaner)
These 2 products are not disinfectants however, they are good cleaners and very safe for the septic system.
When looking at a product to use with your septic system, read the warning labels. If the product states that it will hurt you or your family, the product will most likely hurt your system.
Q. What is a riser?
A. A riser is a convenient component that would give easy access into the tank at the grade level. Risers will prevent the need to unearth the lids every time the system is serviced.
Q. What does a baffle/tee do?
A. A baffle is a component that is designed to help with the settling and trapping process in the septic tank. A baffle could be constructed of many different materials. PVC, Clay, Concrete, Metal, Etc.
*The inlet baffle is generally designed as a directional baffle. It will direct the content straight down into the fluid. This will help maintain the majority of the biological content away from the outlet chamber.
*The center and outlet baffles and designed to collect the clear effluent and send it to the soil treatment area while keeping the solid content in the tank.
Q. What is the purpose of vent/observation port?
How do I check for leaks and why?
A. The “vent” or “observation” port is a little window into the ground. The port allows you to monitor how the soil treatment is working. A soil treatment area is as called an absorption bed. If the fluid is beginning to collect in the “vent” or “observation” port, this is generally the first indication of over saturation (a leaking toilet or faucet, ground, etc) or aging issues.
* A person can simply check the port using a flash light and a long stick (use as a dip stick). Insert to the bottom and remove. Record the amount of water showing on the stick. If there are any questions please call 1.866.959.6889 for further help.
Q. Can I drive on the field or tank?
A. It is not recommended to allow any type of compaction (Driveway, Horses, Dog run, Etc) over any component of a septic system unless the system was designed for compaction.
Q. What do I do when I see sewage coming out of the ground by my field?
A. Check the utilities in the building for leaks. Call 1.866.959.6889
Q. Why does it smell outside my home?
A. An outside smell can come from several areas. The most common is sewer gases coming out the vents on the roof of the building or gases escaping from the tank lids.
Q. Why does it smell inside the building?
A. The only way to have sewer gases in the building is through an open drain. Add water to all unused drains such as floor drains or guest restrooms.
Q. How do I prevent roots from growing into my drain line?
A. There is no true way to prevent root 100% without exposing the drain line and replacing it.
Q. What should not be flush down the toilet?
A. The simple answer is anything that does not break down. A few examples:
* Cotton based material (feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, wash clothes, etc)
* Paper towels.
* Heavy or super soft toilet paper.
* Paint thinners.
* Harsh cleaners (bleach, disinfectants, etc)
* Diamond rings
Q. Why is the tank full? I just pumped it a year ago?
A. A septic will operate at a full level at all times. The water will enter the tank at the top and exit at the top. The fluid level needs to be at the base of the outlet line at all times (unless the tank was recently pumped or never used). A family of 4 will use, on average, 1000 gallons in 1 week. An average 3 bedroom septic tank is 1250 gallons. It does not take very long to fill a tank.
Q. Should I use my garbage disposal?
A. Our opinion is that a garage disposal will not harm your septic system if maintained properly. When a person uses a disposal 2 to 4 times through out the week it will introduce non digested solid content into the tank. The non digested solids will not break down as fast as desired. Recommend to pump the tank out 6 months earlier than normal schedule.
Q. When my leaching field fails what are my options?
A. Replace the system or rejuvenate the soil treatment area. Call 1.866.959.6889
Q. Are water softeners’ bad?
A. We recommend to have the water softener discharge external the septic system.
It has been found that water softeners can create a gas in the tank that would corrode the tank to the point of failures and even collapsing.