Septic System Maintenence
SEPTIC SYSTEM CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Far too often, many homeowners with septic systems take an “Out of sight, out of mind” approach to their system and its maintenance! Systems are hidden underground, and until the system either shows signs of failure, or completely breaks down it can be easy to forget about.
WHY SHOULD I MAINTAIN MY SEPTIC SYSTEM?
- Save money (failing systems are expensive to repair or replace)
- As a homeowner, you are responsible for maintaining your septic system
- Maintaining your septic system protects your investment in your home
- A failing septic system can contaminate groundwater that might be a source of drinking water
- Prevent spreading of infection & disease (poorly treated sewage from septic systems can cause ground water contamination and contamination of drinking water wells)
Lack of proper maintenance is the major reason septic systems fail.
A well maintained and properly used septic system will not necessarily need a regular pump out. If your system requires constant visits from a septic tank pump out contractor, your system is either overloaded or has another potentially serious problem.
COMMON SEPTIC SYSTEM PROBLEMS AND HOW THEY OCCUR:
Your septic system works by allowing waste to flow from the septic tank, where the solids are separated from the liquid, through the leach field where it seeps into the soil. The most common problems which occur in a septic system generally involve either a backed up drain field, or a clogged septic tank.
Sludge and Scum Build Up: Sludge build-up can cause poor functioning and clogs in septic systems. It is a given fact that sludge builds up in all septic tanks. This sludge is the incomplete decomposition of human waste and other organic and non-organic matter deposited into your septic system. In a well maintained system, the anaerobic enzymes break down the sludge and bio material into compounds that bacteria then digest and convert into liquid effluent. As well, other enzyme and bacterial processes convert much of the organic material found in the scum layer into additional liquid effluent. A lack of these enzyme/bacteria combinations allow the scum and sludge layers to build up and clog the septic tanks drain line, causing sewage back up into the home.
Clogged Leach or Drain Lines: The entire septic system is built around the simple principle of capturing waste, separating solids from liquid waste for bacterial digestion, and moving the liquid to the drain lines for absorption by the soil. This free flow of liquid through the system is vital for it to function correctly. When sludge, scum or non-organic solids are forced into the drain lines or leach field, they can and will build up, clogging the lines. Solids and other material that enter the leaching pools before being converted to liquid form will plug the drain pipe holes, or congeal in the surrounding soil, effectively sealing the waste inside the system causing it to fail.
An Overloaded Septic System: Most septic
tanks are designed to handle a specific amount of waste in a given period of
time. Adding too much waste water into the system at one time
or, over a short period can flood a septic system. Excessive water and
waste from toilet flushing, dishwashers, and washing machines can fill up the
drain lines and septic tank faster than the leach field and soil are able to absorb
them. When this occurs, the drains and toilets will back up in the home and
hazardous waste water may even begin to pool above the ground. As well, a
large amount of waste water entering the septic tank at one time can act to
stir up the untreated sludge and scum, and force the clogging material out into
the drain lines with the excess liquid. This, of course, leads to clogged lines
Garbage and Non-Biological Waste: Any
materials that cannot be decomposed by the microbes in the septic tank should
never enter the system. Caustic chemicals and excessive use of
anti-bacterial cleaning products can cause the healthy biological process in
the tank to stall or fail. Cigarette butts or feminine napkins will
accumulate in the tank or worse yet, flow through to the drain lines and clog
them. Grease and oils add to the scum layer and can also clog a drain line. A
common sense approach by the entire household as to what should and should not
be flushed down the toilets or poured into a sink drain can go a long way
toward extending the life of your septic system, and easily prevent costly
How to spot common
problems with your septic system:
- You smell foul odors around the drains in the home or outside. These odors are usually the first sign that the septic system has a problem.
- Spotting murky pooling water, soggy soil, or grey/black mud on the soil around your septic system.
- Slow draining, or drains backing up in house. This can indicate an overloaded, full or clogged septic system.
Give us a call and we can help you now before it turns into a nightmare. It could cost thousands of dollars if you wait until there is a problem. Let us set you up with the proper maintenance program before it is too late. No matter if you are a single residential house or a community with 5 – 100 homes we treat everyone with the respect and honesty they deserve. We are proud members of CAI (Communities Association Institute), NAWT (National Association Wastewater Technicians), Peconic Green Growth and recently joined LILWA (Long Island Liquid Waste Association). A&A Sewer and Drain Maintenance Inc. is part of Suffolk County new pilot program that is introducing a waste water treatment plant for residential homes and commercial properties that reduces the levels of nitrogen that is leached into the ground from our septic systems. Hope to hear from you soon.