Septic Do’s And Don’ts
SEPTIC DO’S AND DON’TS
3 STEP MAINTENANCE
It’s incredibly important for you to keep your septic system well-maintained. The average cost of a septic system replacement is $26,000! To limit your risk of ever having to pay this large sum, the most important “do” for your septic system is to keep it maintained using our 3-step maintenance regimen.
1. Regular Septic Pumping Service
The first step in our 3-step septic maintenance regimen is to get regular pumping service.
2. Bacterial Additive Products
The second step is to use bacterial additives in your septic system. These bacteria ensure that your system is able to break down the solids that enter your system and keep your system working properly.
3. Septic System Filter
The third step is to use a septic system filter. This will ensure that solids remain in the septic tank, as they should, and do not clog your leach field, the most expensive part of your system. A septic system filter works much like a coffee filter. It catches suspended solids.
Septic System Do’s and Don’ts
Septic System Do’s
- Do spread laundry use over the week rather than many loads on one day.
- Do make a permanent record of where the key parts of your septic system are located for future maintenance (i.e. septic pumping service or field repairs).
- Do have septic pumping service regularly.
- Do keep the records of septic pumping service and septic system maintenance.
- Do use water-conserving devices where possible. Low flush toilets and showerheads are commonly available.
- Do have manually cleaned lint traps on your washing machine.
- Do check any pumps, siphons, or other moving parts of your system regularly.
- Do remove or prevent trees with large root systems growing near the leach field.
- Do keep surface water from upslope or from roof drains away from the leach field.
- Do check your interceptor drain regularly to ensure that it is free flowing.
- Run water regularly in seldom used drains such as sinks, tubs, showers, etc. to avoid noxious gasses from building up and causing odors inside.
We suggest detergents, cleaners and toilet paper for use in Septic Systems:
Detergents should be concentrated, low-sudsing, low (or no)-phosphate, and bio-degradable. Any type of septic system should use liquid detergents.
- Amway S-A-8
- Arm & Hammer
- Fresh Start
- Seventh Generation
Environmentally Friendly Laundry Detergents:
- All Free and Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Bi-O-Kleen Laundry Powder
- Cal Ben Seafoam Laundry Soap
- Charlie’s Soap Laundry Detergent
- Country Save Laundry Products
- Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
- Earth Friendly Laundry Products
- Ecover Liquid Laundry Wash
- Ecover Ultra Washing Powder
- Ecover Wool Wash Laundry Liquid
- Healthy Living Fresh Laundry Concentrate
- Mountain Green Ultra Laundry Liquid
- Mrs. Meyers Laundry Detergent
- Naturally Yours Laundry Detergent
- Oxy Prime Laundry Detergent
- Planet Ultra Liquid or Powdered Laundry Detergent
- Planet Delicate Laundry Wash
- Restore Laundry Detergent
- Seventh Generation Laundry Liquid
- Seventh Generation Laundry Powder
- Sodasan Soap Washing Powder
We recommend using single ply toilet paper because it breaks down in the septic system faster and better then higher ply count toilet paper.
- White Cloud
We recommend using non-chlorine, non-ammonia, non-antibacterial, non-toxic and bio-degradable cleaning products. Most all-natural cleaners are septic safe.
Septic System Don’ts
- Don’t overload the septic system with high volumes of water.
- Don’t connect basement sump pumps to the on-site septic system.
- Don’t connect backwash from water treatment devices directly to the on-site septic system without professional advice.
- Don’t use a garbage disposal. Chopped up food particles do not break down in the septic tank and can make their way out into your leach field lines causing clogs.
- Don’t allow large amounts of fats, chemicals, or solvents to enter the septic system; don’t allow any plastics to enter.
- Don’t enter a septic tank without proper ventilation. A second person is required to be present above ground and other requirements by law are met for confined spaces. Sewer gasses can be fatal.
- Don’t allow vehicles or heavy equipment to drive over or park on the leach field. This may compact the soil and crush the piping.
- Don’t plant anything over the leach field except grass. Especially do not cover the septic tank or leach field with asphalt or concrete or other impermeable material.
- Don’t put in a separate pipe to carry wash waters to a side ditch or woods. These “greywaters” also contain disease- carrying organisms.
- Above all else- DON’T wait for signs of failure. Check the septic system regularly.
Do Not Flush
The best thing to do for your septic system is to be sure not to flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper (preferably 1 ply toilet paper).
Even if items are marked as “septic safe” do not flush them. For example, some baby wipes and cat litter may be labeled this way. It is not good for your septic system to flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper because it does not break down in the septic system correctly.
No Flush List
- Coffee Grounds
- Disposable Diapers
- Sanitary Napkins
- Fats, Grease & Oils
- Photographic Chemicals
- Pills & Unused Medication
- Backwash Water from Water Softeners
- Kitty Litter
- Plastic Materials
- Paper Towels
- Dental Floss
- Other Chemical Wastes
- Waste Oils
- Sump Pump Discharge
Odors coming from outside the house can be an indication that your septic system is overfull and you need septic pumping service. A vent pipe may also be installed to help release odors from the septic system.
Sometimes when drains are not used the noxious gases can build up and cause odors. For example, if you have a shower downstairs that gets little use you may notice that at times there is an odor coming from that area. Running the water regularly in those drains will help keep odors at bay.
Toilets And Slow Drains
Garbage disposals are not a good thing to have along with a septic system. Chopped up food particles from the garbage disposal make their way into the tank and do not completely biodegrade before they can get out into your leach field lines. These lines can then become clogged with food and cause a back-up.
Having a filter will be a good way to help prevent this from becoming an issue. Filters are placed on the outlet line of your septic tank and keep the hair, grit, grime, and food particles from escaping into your leach field lines and causing issues.
Here are 3 Tips for Preventative Maintenance
One of the most important messages we can communicate to business owners is that you need preventative maintenance. I know, I know… you have heard it all before and so many expenses are competing for your hard-earned dollars. You may feel that invisible plumbing issues and future emergencies that MIGHT happen are not really a priority. But trust us when we tell you to change your way of thinking before it’s too late. To help you out, here are 3 easy ways to incorporate preventative maintenance into your business plan.
Routine Pump Service
Solid waste builds up over time, and must be removed or your system will clog or even suffer damage. We get a lot of emergency calls from folks who didn’t see the value in this basic requirement, and end up wasting a lot of time and money trying to remedy the situation.
Use Bacterial Additives
Your septic system uses bacteria to break down waste and ensure effluent is filtered properly. However, certain chemicals (especially in cleaning products) often enter your septic tank and kill this beneficial bacteria. To replenish the lost bacterial, we recommend an additive like CCLS to keep your system functioning as it should.
Install and Clean a Filter
A septic filter attaches to the outlet of your septic tank and stops solid particles from entering the leach field. This is a great way to stop clogs and damage to your leach field. Wind River carries a variety of filters, and it’s simple for a technician to fit one to your septic system. During your regular pump service, our technician will clean the filter as well.
Enjoy Trouble-Free Septic Facilities
When you realize preventative maintenance is much simpler and cost efficient than a septic emergency, wastewater management becomes pretty simple. Take measures to integrate these 3 things into your business, and you’ll notice a dramatic difference in the performance of your septic system. For more tips on septic care, Contact Wind River Environmental or Request Service now.
What Happens to Your Septic System When You Don’t Use Bacterial Additives?
It seems strange to think of bacteria as a cleaning agent, but that’s exactly what it is when it comes to your septic system. Bacteria in your septic tank breaks down waste in your wastewater before sending it on to the leach field. Without the help of bacteria, solid waste becomes too plentiful and clogs up your system. So what happens when there is a shortage of this germ-killing bacteria?
Why Would There Be A Shortage?
People often use products that kill this beneficial bacteria that cleans their wastewater. These mostly include common household cleaning products that contain anti-bacterial ingredients like bleach and ammonia. When you wash these chemicals down the drains, they enter your septic tank and kill off the good bacteria. This is detrimental to your septic system because it has now lost its ability to break down waste, thus increasing your chances of backups and damage. To prevent this, you should be using natural cleaners like vinegar or tea tree oil that clean without harsh results to your septic system or the environment.
Help Your System Out
Another way to prevent a shortage of bacteria is to replenish it. This is where an additive like CCLS comes into play. Bacterial additives quickly replace bacteria that may have been destroyed by the use of harsh chemicals, and they are an inexpensive way to keep your system running efficiently. But remember, additives are just additives. They are not meant to take the place of septic maintenance. Even with a healthy amount of bacteria, you still have to pump out your tank every 1-2 years. Have one of our Wind River techs evaluate whether an additive would benefit your system. We can determine if your system needs a bacterial boost during or in between your regular service appointments, and schedule accordingly. Contact Us or Request Service Today.
The Difference Between Epoxy Pipelining and Structural Pipelining
Pipelining is one of our most innovative services because it eliminates the need to excavate when making pipe repairs. Usually, only 2 access points need to be created to access the damaged pipes underground. This enables us to solve most drain line issues without tearing up your landscaping or replacing entire pipes. It’s a win win for everyone because it saves valuable time and money. Today we’re looking at two pipelining solutions offered by Perma-LinerTM, so read on to learn more.
For drain lines without damage, epoxy is a great material for preventing corrosion and leaks. With this eco-friendly method, epoxy is used to coat the inside walls of pipes. This relining is safe, durable and preserves the life of the existing piping.
With Perma-Liner’s Cured-In-Place Pipe (CIPP) system, a new pipe is essentially created inside the old one. A resin tube is inserted into the damaged pipe and positioned using water or air pressure. It is then cured to form a corrosion-resistant, water-tight seal. This method works best in pipes with a diameter of at least 2 inches, which would be able to accommodate the new pipe.
Can You Benefit From Pipelining?
We are always looking for ways to improve wastewater repair methods, and this one is a true home run. Wind River is proud to be one of the few companies in the New England area to offer these groundbreaking (or should we say non-groundbreaking) pipelining services. Before paying excavators to do any digging or purchasing expensive drain replacements, let our technicians determine whether you are a candidate for one of these trenchless solutions. Contact Wind River Environmental Today or Request Service Now.
Installing a New Septic System? Consider These Things.
If you’re looking to install a new septic system, you may find it to be a bit more complicated than expected. There are several things to consider, and we advise you to seek the help of a certified professional to make sure it’s done properly. Let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll be taking into account.
First Things First
Before any work can be done, you must apply for the proper permits so you can legally build a system that is safe for you and the surrounding environment. Your soil also has to be tested for pH to make sure it leaches properly. Additionally, your town may have regulations regarding the size of the tank or where it must be installed. Water consumption is a big factor when choosing the appropriate size, and most homes use tanks that hold at least 1000 gallons. An experienced company can evaluate your soil and will be familiar with the rules in your area, so consult one such as Wind River Environmental.
Parts and Materials
In addition to size and location of the tank, there are decisions to be made on the materials. Will you go with a concrete or plastic tank? How much piping will you need? Will you need a pump chamber? You may if your property doesn’t support a gravity-fed system. If so, what’s the difference between turbine pumps and centrifugal pumps? The soil can also determine the type of design your system will have. If the soil is coarse or sandy, your system will likely need a pressure-type design versus a gravity design. What kind of gravel will work best with your soil? Where is the main line from your home that will connect to the septic system and how should you handle the landscaping? Again, allow a professional to help you with these decisions.
Did I Mention, You should Use a Professional?
As you can see, a septic system cannot be flippantly thrown together. Because there are so many choices to make, we strongly advise employing the help of a certified expert. The technicians and engineers at Wind River have graduated from Wind River University, and have extensive knowledge of septic systems. You can rely on our guys to give you trustworthy advice, and they’ll install your system with expertise and diligence. Once your septic system is up and running, you can also count on us to handle the future maintenance so it performs efficiently for years to come. We want to be your sole provider for all your septic needs, so Contact Us or Request Service Today.
From Massachusetts? Make Sure You Know These State Septic Mandates
Today’s topic is for the Bay Staters who own or use commercial septic systems. We just want to remind you to stay up to date on your septic maintenance. The penalties for missing required services could be a fee or something more serious like shutting your business down.
Each town has its own rules, so make sure you are familiar with the regulations in your area. On average, Wind River provides pump service to most businesses every year or every other year. In some towns, the local Board of Health may send you a warning letter if you go more than 3 years without pumping your septic tank. Obviously, areas like wetlands will have stricter regulations since a failing septic system will affect them to a higher degree. Regardless of what your town’s regulations are, you should stay on top of them so you don’t suffer the consequences of a clogged system or a non-compliance penalty.
Let Us Help
To help out our business owners, we can keep track of all this for you. We’ll design a routine maintenance plan especially for you, while staying within the regulations of your Board of Health. You won’t have to remember any dates, because we’ll just contact you when it’s time for service. We’ll even file any necessary paperwork and give you access to digital copies on our customer portal so you won’t have to deal with paper clutter. If this sounds like it could save you time and hassle, Contact Us or Start A Septic Maintenance Plan Now.
How Your Septic Distribution Box Works
Understanding your septic system begins with one of the most important parts of the tank, the septic distribution box. The distribution box is a component of the leach field system. The job of the distribution box is to evenly distribute the wastewater into the leach field (also known as the drain field). How does the septic distribution box work? Gravity plays a major role in helping the distribution box do its job. The water flows downhill where the distribution box is placed. This allows the water to flow into the box from the septic tank and then onto the leach field. Once the wastewater flows out of the septic tank it will move into the septic distribution box and out to the leach field lines. The size and shape of the box depends on the type of septic tank you have. A distribution box is most commonly made out of concrete or plastic and has several openings for the leach field lines where the wastewater can flow out. Concrete boxes often work better since the material is sturdier than plastic. A concrete distribution box can also be located with a probe rod during inspections. The distribution box openings are often fitted with flow leveling devices that rotate. This is to make sure that the leach field lines are receiving an equal amount of wastewater. The distribution box is a major part of the septic system being able to function properly is very important. If the distribution box isn’t working the right way you will soon be dealing with leach field failure. Distribution boxes are most often worn down by time due to weather, like flooding and freezing, and improper care of the septic system.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Septic System?
If you are outside of a city, you most likely have a septic system that treats and disposes of your wastewater. If you’ve maintained your septic system, you will be able to keep it for approximately 20 – 30 years. If your septic system is aged for this amount of time and if you notice that it not working properly, or if the leach field is clogged, it is time to call a professional for an estimate on a repair or replacement.
What Is Involved
It is important to know what is involved in installing a new septic system and how much it will cost. A thorough examination will be made by your certified septic installer to determine what parts of the system need replacing. Costs may vary widely depending on type of septic tank is installed, and if an enhanced or alternative system needs to be installed, and if a new leach field has to be prepared.
Types of Septic Systems
Septic tanks may be made of steel, concrete, or fiberglass. Concrete is used most frequently, and is in a medium price range. They are usually durable, but need regular inspection to be sure no cracking has taken place. Steel tanks are not recommended, as they corrode, and frequently need cover replacement. Fiberglass will not crack or rust, but the light weight of the tank means it can float or shift in the soil.
If you need a completely new system, including leach field, considerable excavation has to be done. This may affect the landscaping of your yard, and you may have to replace sod and plants after the system is complete. Keep in mind that the cost of labor may exceed the cost of the actual tank and equipment needed for the septic.
Remember that you get what you pay for. A complete system may cost somewhere between $15,000 to $50,000, but you will get a finished product that will last for years, maintain the value of your home, and meet your family’s needs.
To learn more, view our Septic Pumping Installation page here.
If it is time to get a professional to look at your system, contact Wind River Environmental for an evaluation. Or you can request our specialized service. As professional plumbers, they will give you the peace of mind that the ultimate in expertise and quality materials will go into your home.
Restaurant Management 101: Why Does My Drain Keep Backing Up?
There are a number of reasons why commercial kitchen drains continue to back up. It’s essential that you understand why this happens and implement regular cleaning services by a professional drain cleaner. Clogged drains can cause the shutdown of a restaurant, which equates to a loss in revenue along with a likely expensive repair. To avoid this major headache (for you and the customers that love your food), your best bet may be to call an experienced plumber to check it out.
Why Commercial Kitchen Drains Clog
Sludge, greases, meat fats and other oils can quickly build up in drains. As these substances cool, they begin to harden and stick to the drain pipes. This can lead to major sanitation problems as the end result is clogged pipes or even an entirely clogged septic system. In addition, food gets put down the drain on a daily basis due to leftovers.
Keep in mind that while a commercial grade grease trap is effective, it will be ineffective if the drains aren’t professionally maintained. A grease trap cleaning service will determine how often a cleaning is needed by calculating the daily use of the grease trap.
Toilets and drains in restaurants can also become clogged from non-maintained septic systems. All of the wastewater from a restaurants flows into the septic tank, and it should be pumped by a professional on a regular basis to prevent backups and major, costly repairs to the system. How does a backup happen? The solid material settles at the bottom while the liquid flows into the leach field. Both lines and tank become filled with sludge.
Professional Drain Cleaning and Septic Pumping
Today, professional companies use tiny video cameras to diagnose grease problems in the system lines. This helps determine where there is a root issue, break or crack in the line. For soft blockages, professionals use high-pressure water jetters to clear the lines. For hard blockages, a snaking method is used to clear the lines.
These professional cleaning companies also offer preventative maintenance plans to avoid breakages, overflows, clogs and backups. Customers can choose a plan that best meets their needs, including jetting the lines once a quarter, pumping the non-hazardous waste systems and complete inspections. Preventative maintenance is the best defense against clogs and septic tank problems.
Understanding Your Septic System Leach Field
The septic system leach field (also known as the drain field) is the third component to your household septic system.
The wastewater from the septic tank drains into the distribution box and then gravity helps to pull the water into the leach field and distribute it evenly in to the leach lines.
The bigger a leach field the more wastewater it will be able to absorb and hold. If you have a larger septic tank it is important to keep your leach field large enough to hold all the water being sent out.
The leach field in most homes is a constructed with many trenches of piping. The leach field trenches are about 100 feet long, 18 inches wide and go in a straight line with a flat bottom. They are often laid out in parallel lines with your distribution box at the very beginning.
You should also never place your leach field in an area with standing water or near drinking water sources such as wells, streams, lakes, roads, or other homes. The leach field works by being both the disposal and the final treatment of the septic tank wastewater.
This is the place where the purification happens biologically. The wastewater will flow into the soil and is used up by plants or flows into the groundwater to be a resource. It is very important that your leach field is built correctly so you don’t have any back-ups or clogs during the process.
One of the main problems with a leach field is clogs. This occurs when the biomat builds up in the leach lines and hardens over time.
You can tell this is happening if you see standing water over your leach field or septic tank. If you notice this happening it is time to call in a professional for an inspection right away.