What is a Septic System?
A Septic System is a private sewage treatment system, commonly used in rural areas where there are not municipal sewage systems to hook into.
The design and construction of your septic system is influenced by your location, characteristics of the surrounding land and soil make up. All septic systems require careful attention to design, construction, operation and maintenance.
Communal System layouts can be created for larger developments such as trailer parks.
Why Should I Maintain My Septic System?
When septic systems are properly designed, built and maintained they reduce or eliminate most human health or environmental threats posed by pollutant in household wastewater. They do require regular maintenance to ensure they work properly through their service lives.
Proper maintenance of your septic system will save you money. Failing septic systems can be very expensive to repair or replace and poor maintenance is often the cause. Have your septic system inspected regularly. Typically a septic system will require pumping every 3-5 years.
A small drip from your faucets can add unnecessary water to your septic system.
Estimated Septic Tank Maintenance Schedule*
*ONLY to be used as a guide
Contact Mike Clark Excavating & Septic Pumping to establish a maintenance schedule and we recommend you record your service calls.
Winter Pump Outs
Cold weather and minimal snow can lead to lines freezing from your house to your septic system. Material can be placed over your tank to maintain temperatures above 12 C
Sulphuric Acid Attack
Serious signs of erosion could cause the ground to collapse under the weight of a person around outlet portions and inspection lids. Sulphate or sulphides form a hydrogen sulphide gas and sulphuric acid in the air space of your septic tank which reacts corrosively with concrete. Sometimes called crown rot, the sulphur attack is the main reason for failure in concrete septic tanks.
What Not To Flush
- Washing coffee grounds and other food items
- Grease and cooking oils, contribute to scum layers
- Disposing of plastic, paper towels, facial tissue, tampons and sanitary napkins.
- Household cleaners such as bleach, disinfectants, drain and toilet bowl cleaners should be used in moderation, they can kill necessary bacteria disrupting the operation of you septic tank
- Toxic waste, hazardous household chemicals
- Paint, varnish, paint thinners, anti-freeze also destroy helpful bacteria and the biological digestion that takes place in septic systems
System Additives and Cleaners
Many products on the market claim to help septic systems work, but the truth is there is no magic formula. While they claim to rejuvenate and/or eliminate pumping maintenance, it is misleading and can be very costly.
- Every septic system should be inspected by a professional in order to access can help increase better percolation in a leaching bed
- Biological products are safe when introduced properly and monitored
- Beware of companies who solicit products by phone or insist that regular pumping maintenance is no longer necessary, regular pumping maintenance is the only way to guarantee your septic system will work trouble free for many years.
Pump Up Systems – Troubleshooting a Back-up
Sewage pump positioning is important to avoid back-ups. An experienced installer will position the septic tank first. In the event of a pump failure this will allow a septic pumper to pump the tank and pump chamber providing a temporary fix.
Choosing the Right Contractor
Septic System Inspections
Regular inspections are important for the proper maintenance of your septic system, and can identify ongoing or potential problems. Inspections can help to ensure a long, useful lifespan for your septic system.
Time of Sale Inspections
Buyers, real estate agents and financial institutions commonly request that septic systems be inspected prior to finalizing a sale to protect against unexpected costs.
At the time of sale an inspection should involve pumping the tank and examining the leaching bed for any signs of problems. This type of inspection may be conducted by a licensed septic system installer, a licensed sewage hauler or a professional environmental engineer.
Some municipalities have initiated re-inspection programs of existing septic systems to address water quality concerns. These programs are conducted by the local enforcement agency to determine the integrity of the system. This type of inspection could involve assessing the condition of the tank, as well as examining the bed for signs of problems.
Be Wary of Contractors who:
- The best contractor may not be the lowest estimate
- Find a contractor that is a certified installer
- Ask for References
- Evaluate all aspects of the estimates, including scope of work, warranties, references, time frames, and price.
- Trouble shoot, try to anticipate problems and inconveniences and come up with an agreement about how to handle these concerns before work begins.
- Obtain a written contract that includes price, payment terms, sales tax, permit fees, the specific time frames for work and completion dates.
- Ask who does the "locates" for phone, hydro and gas.
- Provide credentials that cannot be verified
- Offer a special price only if you sign up today
- Only accept cash
- Refuse to provide a written contract
- Ask you to get the permits
- Offer exceptionally long warranties
- Can only work on weekends or after hours
- Make you and offer too good to be true
- You don't know where they live