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Frequently Asked Questions


Most Frequent Questions & Answers

When the septic system is backing up and not accepting waste, there are many possible causes. It is important to remember, that pumping the system is the first step in diagnosing the system, to know what repair will be necessary to return the system to operating condition. Pumping the system will not fix the problem. It allows our technicians to see inside the system empty, to diagnose the cause of failure. 

Common points of failure include:

Clogged inlet-

When toilet paper, sanitary napkins, or other debris become clogged inside of the inlet to the tank, it can cause the system to back up. This is typically fixed by jetting the system

Clogged baffles-

Debris can buildup inside of the tank, on the baffle that separates the 2 sides of the tank internally. This can be fixed by pumping the tank and cleaning the baffle.

Clogged outlet-

Debris buildup inside of the outlet, or the filter on the outlet, can cause your system to backup. This can be fixed by replacing the filter on the tank, and cleaning the outlet to the drainfield.

Saturated Drainfield

When the soil conditions become too wet to accept the additional water generated by your home's septic system, oftentimes a new drainfield must be installed, in an area where soil conditions allow for water to be absorbed. Your entire system depends on the soil absorbing the wastewater created, so soil conditions are the deciding factor in if a drainfield will operate properly.

Tree Root Interference

If your yard has trees, your septic system is often going to be among the roots of these trees. When roots grow into or through your pipes underground, your system can become clogged. Often, these lines must be replaced, and/or trees removed to correct the issue.

If your system is backing up (clogged), a pump-out will not fix the issue.

When your system fails, the first step in diagnosing the problem to fix it, is pumping the system. Once the tank is opened up and pumped empty, our trained technicians can diagnose the system, and identify the cause of failure. 

Once the problem is identified, we can quote the repair, and most repairs are able to be completed same-day to get your system back to operating normally immediately! 

Pumping your septic system every 3-5 years should be done as maintenance. This helps prevent buildup of solids inside of your tank, but should not be considered a solution to a failed system.

Signs of septic failure can include many things such as wet spots in the yard, very green areas in the grass, foul odors, slow draining toilets, toilets not flushing, drains and showers backing up, sewage buildup inside the home, and much more. If you suspect your septic system is failing, it is time to call a professional to come and inspect the system and diagnose it. Proper diagnosis is key to repairing the system properly, to ensure many more years of life to your septic system.

A standard septic system processes many of thousands of gallons of water per month (look at your water bill).  Your tank is 1,000-1,500 Gallons. All of this water is too much to be held in the tank. It has to go somewhere.

Where does all of the water go? Your tank separates the solid waste from the liquids (urine, shower water, etc) and sends the liquids to the drainfield. 

Enzymes inside of the tank (healthy bacteria) feed on the solid waste inside of the tank. As the enzymes decompose the tank, the rest of the waste (in liquid form) is absorbed inside the soil around the drainfield.

The drainfield accepts liquids into the soil, where natural bacteria consumes any remaining waste, and clean water goes back into the soil.

In areas where sewer is unavailable, a septic drainfield is used to absorb wastewater from your home or business back into the soil around it. The drainfield disperses the waste underground to be absorbed through the soil. This includes water from showers, sinks, drains, toilets, etc. This system processes between 5-10 thousand gallons of water monthly, depending on the home and its usage. The soil filters the wastewater and the water rejoins the soil as clean water.

Your septic system is comprised of a few components, including the tank and the drainfield. The first stage of the process, when wastewater leaves your home, it enters the tank. Once inside the tank, solid waste is separated inside the tank, then the liquids move through to the drainfield. This tank houses beneficial bacteria which feed on the solid waste, to avoid buildup inside the tank. If your tank does not get pumped every few years, this buildup can damage your system and cause failure. Flushing wipes, feminine products, and other things not meant to be absorbed into the soil will also cause premature failure in your septic system and lead to expensive drainfield repair.

A lift station holds sewage from your building, to pump it uphill to the municipal sewer, where gravity flow cannot be achieved. When it fills up, floating sensors tell it to activate the lift pumps, which lift the sewage out of the station and pump it into the municipal sewer. Over time, these lift station pumps may become clogged by silt, buildup, flushed items etc.

When this occurs, your lift station may fail. A trained professional must manually pump out the sewage so that the station can be accessed, and assess the situation for repair.

Your lift station will have an alarm. Your alarm will often be in the control panel, next to the lift station outside of your building. Often you will see a red light illuminated, accompanied by a buzzer. If either of these are present, your lift station may need repair.

Regular maintenance and inspection of your lift station can help to avoid costly repairs. One of the first steps is preventative, including not flushing any items such as wipes or feminine products. These can clog the pump system and do not degrade. Proper maintenance of the grease trap will also help to ensure your lift station continues to function without failure.

Your lift station should be inspected quarterly, to find potential failures before they occur, potentially saving you money.

Every system is different. In areas that can be connected to sewer, there will either be a lift station to pump waste uphill, or a sewer pipe to allow wastewater to gravity flow downhill through the sewer line into the municipal sewer system.

In areas with no existing sewer service, a septic system will be installed. This system will include a septic tank, septic pipe from the home to the tank, and a drainfield. The drainfield consists mostly of chambers underground that house the wastewater.

A typical new construction sewer pipe installation can be as little as a few thousand, up to much more for lift station installs.

A septic system with drain field can start at a few thousand, depending on the size of the home and the water consumption.

If your home or property is on sewer and does not have a septic system, an easy way to tell is to look for a sewer lid style cap with an electrical panel near it. This panel will be the lift station control panel. The lift station pumps sewage uphill to the municipal sewer. If your building or home is downhill from the street, you are likely on a lift station. If your building or home is uphill of the street, there is likely just a sewer line.

Unless you have risers that give us ground-level access to service the tank, then yes we will have to dig to expose the lid to remove it.

Typically servicing the septic tank should take 1-2 hours from beginning to end.

Well, you shouldn’t be. Wet wipes cause serious problems inside a septic tank. We typically have to manually remove them to haul them off, which can take a while.

Buying or selling a house? We provide Septic Inspection Letters!