Maintenance, Prevention, Residential, Septic Pumping, Septic System, Sin categoría, Tips, Wastewater
Common Septic Questions…Answered!
Some may argue that the topic of septic system maintenance is better left untouched. Others would consider septic service an art…okay, we are probably the only people that consider it an art. You might have a lot of questions about how your septic system works and maybe you are a little afraid (or embarrassed) to ask. Have no fear, Wind River has compiled a list of 25 common septic questions are afraid to ask about your septic system!
1) What actually takes place during a septic pumping service?
Wind River does not just “pump and run”. During a proper septic pumping service your technician will note the overall condition of the system and the levels in tank. Noting the levels will help him to understand if there is a potential issue with the system. Then, he will pump the entire septic tank down, removing all of the liquid and solid waste. Once he is done pumping he will check the inlet and outlet tees to the tank to ensure they are still intact and working properly. If there is a filter present, he will clean the filter of any build up. If you are home at the time of service (totally not required if that’s not your thing) he will ask you to flush your toilets so he can make sure everything is flowing properly. Once the service is done he will return the cover the way he found it!
2) How often do I need to have my septic tank pumped?
Experts say you should have your system pumped every 1 to 2 years but several factors should be considered when deciding how often your septic tank needs to be serviced. You must take into account the age of the system, the number of occupants in your home, the use of a garbage disposal and the amount of laundry being done in the home. Every system is different. What is right for your system may not be right for your neighbor’s. If you have a question about when your septic system should be pumped, give us a call!
3) Should I use a bacteria additive products?
Yes! Bacteria must be present in the septic tank in order to break down and digest the organic solids. Today, households use a wide range of anti-bacterial soaps, detergents and cleaning fluids. While these ordinary household products do a great job killing unwanted bacteria in your home, they also destroy beneficial bacteria that your system needs in order to function properly.
4) Will there be odors while and/or after the septic pumping service?
There can be odors immediately after the septic pumping service, but they should not last long. The odors are usually outside and will disperse a few hours after the septic pumping service. If you are experiencing odors in your home, give us a call. This could be a sign of an impending septic back up!
5) My pipes are starting to drain very slowly, is it the septic system?
Possibly. If your septic has not been serviced in more than 6 months, we would want to service the septic first. If the problem persists, a drain cleaner will then be sent out to clear the line to the septic tank.
6) Is it true I can’t use bleach?
Bleach kills bacteria and your septic system needs to have a healthy supply of bacteria in order to help eat away at the sludge in your tank. Many products we use in our homes today are anti-bacterial, so it is important to REPLACE that bacteria by using our bacterial additives.
7) What is a leaching field?
A leaching field is a series of pipes (usually 20 to 40 feet long) that extend out from your distribution box. These pipes have small holes along the sides that leach out grey water from your septic system. The leaching field pipes are laid over dirt and gravel to help kick start the filtration process which occurs naturally. As the water seeps out of the leach field lines, it will filter through the ground entering into the natural hydrologic cycle of the earth.
8) What is a Distribution Box?
A Distribution Box or D-Box is usually a 2 foot by 2 foot cement box that has 2-3 holes in it which the leach field lines attach to. The distribution box does just that, it helps to distribute the liquid from the tank out evenly along the leach field lines. The distribution box does not need to be pumped at the time of the septic pumping during regular servicing.
9) Why do I have ponding over my septic system?
There are a few reasons you could have standing water in your yard. Your septic tank could be overflowing due to too much rain or there could be a break in your main line. If the ponding is concentrated over the leach field that could mean a leach line is blocked with Bio-Mat and needs to be cleaned and jetted.
10) Why do I have more than one cover?
Most septic tanks have two to three covers; one over the inlet side of the septic tank (where the water from your home enters the tank), one in the center of the tank, and one on the outlet side of the tank (where the liquid from the tank exits to your leach field). The inlet and the outlet covers will be exposed at the time of septic service to best inspect the inlet and outlet lines!
11) Is it okay to use a garbage disposal?
No. 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. Garbage disposals, even those marked septic safe, are not considered beneficial for your septic system.
12) What is “proper working level”?
Proper working level is where the water level in your tank meets the outlet T of the tank. As water enters your tank it should push water out of your tank through the outlet pipe. Even after one week of septic pumping service, your septic tank should return to a “proper working level” about 1 foot from the top of the tank. Your septic tank will hold liquid in order for the separation of solids and liquid to happen. Only the liquid (or grey water) should flow out to the leach field pipes.
13) What does a septic filter do?
Filters keep the hair, grit and grime from getting out into your leach field lines. A filter goes on the outlet tee of your septic tank and would act as a strainer, keeping all solid large particles in the tank and therefore OUT of your leach field lines.
14) Why would I have odors inside my house?
There could be many reasons why. You’ll have to answer questions, such as has been more than a year since your last septic pumping service or where are the smells coming from, in order to diagnose the problem. It could be that you need your septic tank pumped or it could be a drain issue. The only way to find out is to call your septic company and discuss your issue
15) If I have a clogged drain, is it safe to use products such as Drano?
Over the counter products are a “quick fix” and will not thoroughly clear the drain. Those products are also harmful to your septic tank and will kill off the bacteria needed to break down the solids in your tank. Most likely your drains will continue to clog if you don’t have a drain cleaner come and snake or jet your line.
16) Are there certain cleaning products I need to use if I have a septic system?
It’s recommended to use non-chlorine, non-ammonia, non-antibacterial, non-toxic and bio-degradable cleaning products. Most all-natural cleaners are septic safe. These types of products will not kill off the bacteria in the system.
17) Is it okay to plant flowers or bushes over my leach field?
No. Don’t plant anything over the leach field except grass. Roots can cause major clogs in your leach lines. It’s also important to never cover the septic tank or leach field with asphalt or concrete or other impermeable material.
18) What is okay to flush down the toilet?
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.
19) Will energy efficient faucets make a difference with my septic system?
Yes! They are made to save water which will help prevent over taxing the system as well as helping the environment conserve water.
20) Is the white pipe that looks like a candy cane my cover?
No. The candy cane pipe is actually a vent pipe for your septic system to help the gases escape while also allowing oxygen to flow into your system.
21) I’m in the process of selling my home – is it required to have a septic inspection?
In most states it is required to have an inspection done on the septic system for a real estate transaction. It’s best to check with your local Board of Health or town hall since it may vary from town to town or state to state.
22) What do I do if I think I need a new septic system?
First call your septic company and have them perform a proper septic inspection. A licensed inspector is the only one who can say that your system is failing. There could be minor or major repairs depending on the reason why the system has failed.
23) If I can’t afford a new septic system, what else can I do?
Septic companies can assess the condition of your septic system and present you with several options. There are ways to extend the life of and possibly repair your system while avoiding the installation of an entirely new system. There are also options through your town or state that might be available to finance the cost of a new system.
24) What are inexpensive ways to maintain a healthy septic system?
The most inexpensive way to maintain your septic system is to service it regularly. You might think that having it serviced every 1, 2, or 3 years might be a lot, but the cost of service is a lot less expensive than the cost of replacing the system or a component.
25) What is the number one cause of septic system-related issues?
Ignoring your septic system. Schedule regular septic pumping service and stay ahead of any potential issues. This is the best way to prolong the life of your septic system.
There you have it! Hopefully we were able to answer some of your burning questions about your septic system. Did this post just inspire you to learn even more? Check out our post about septic system basics!
Wind River Environmental expands coverage in Connecticut
Marlborough, MA and Oxford, CT – 7/5/2018 – Wind River Environmental (“Wind River”) the nation’s largest full-service non-hazardous liquid waste management service provider, announced today that it has acquired the business assets of Oxbury Sanitation.
Oxbury Sanitation, located in Oxford, CT, was founded in 1999 by Andrew J. Turmel. Oxbury Sanitation is a provider of septic tank and grease trap pumping, inspections, and system repairs serving primarily commercial customers as well as residential customers.
William Waite, Branch Manager at Wind River Environmental, stated, “We are excited to be able to continue Oxbury’s legacy in providing excellent service to their roster of commercial accounts in central Connecticut.”
About Wind River
Headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Wind River Environmental and its affiliated companies inspect, service, repair, and install a broad array of non-hazardous liquid waste systems, including septic tanks, grease traps, pumping, and industrial waste systems. The company offers a full array of services to residential, commercial, and municipal systems. In 2017, the company serviced more than 30,000 commercial and 55,000 residential sites. Operating from Maine to Florida, Wind River has over 700 team members all of whom are graduates of Wind River University including over 460+ highly trained technicians. For more information, please visit www.wrenvironmental.com.
Lift Station Cleaning and Repair
Lift Stations Require Regular Maintenance
Lift stations are a necessary part of modern municipal sewer systems. Pumping raw sewage from a lower elevation from a higher one so it can continue along the sewers, these stations need one thing above all else: regular maintenance! After all, more than almost anything else in the modern world, no city or town wants to deal with a day—or even an hour—of sewer problems.
And lift stations are more prone to needing maintenance than other parts of the system. It’s not that the station breaks down; although more complex than most parts of a sewage system, this complexity mostly amounts to a screen to remove coarse materials, pumps to move the wastewater to the intended high point, control and alarm systems, and an odor control and ventilation system. These need to be checked, but they tend to stay working for the long term.
The maintenance a lift station needs, beyond equipment checks, is cleaning! Regular, monthly cleaning. In fact, most cities and counties require monthly maintenance contracts specifically to avoid any sort of buildup problems. There are plenty of materials, like oil and grease, which can get through any screen or filter but are too viscous to be moved uphill via the pump. When these accumulate, they can clog and slow the functioning of the lift station; if not properly maintained, the pump can break, and then you have a serious problem.
Lift Station Cleaning and Wind River Environmental
Wind River’s Vactor trucks are specifically designed for lift station cleaning. These combination trucks have every tool necessary to clean the junk out of the bottom of your lift station: a Vactor-brand water pump capable of 3,000 psi of pressure and a flow of eighty gallons per minute for jetter cleaning, a high-powered Roots Systems blower, a fifteen-foot boom with 180 degrees of rotation to cover every corner, and a six-hundred-foot hose. Add in the 1,500-gallon water tank and 3,000-gallon debris tank, and you can be assured that when Wind River cleans a lift station, none of the oily, greasy garbage that filtered to the bottom will be left when we’re done.
Town Spotlight: Enjoy Living in Bolton, Massachusetts!
All those who love a farm-to-table lifestyle will feel right at home in Bolton, Massachusetts. Just reading about this lovely community makes a person breathe in deeply and release any tension daring to disrupt! Only 25 miles west of Boston, nestled in the picturesque Nashoba Valley, Bolton invites serenity.
The History of Bolton, Massachusetts
With a rich rural and agricultural heritage dating back to the mid-1600s, this area has always been a farming community! Initially consisting of grains and animal husbandry, by the early 1700s, orchards also became part of the community for cider production. However, rich forests and limestone deposits opened opportunities for sawmills an d quarries which were well established by the mid 1700s.
Living in Bolton today, with it’s proximity to Boston and Harvard, offers a respite from big city hustle and bustle, making this a very desirable location. While cost-of-living may rise above the national average, Bolton also offers a lower crime rate, excellent public schools, and strong home values. Residents take great pride in home preservation and maintenance.
The History of Wind River Environmental
This is where we come in. Wind River Environmental has been serving this community since 1946. In the beginning, Dennis Currier used one truck to solve as many septic issues for local homeowners as he could handle. In 1999, the name changed to today’s moniker and continues to stand for quality workmanship and excellent customer service.
Wind River Environmental Septic Services for Bolton, Massachusetts
Here are a few of the residential plumbing and septic services we offer:
- Preventive Maintenance – i.e. septic cleaning
- Septic Pumping and Problem Solving
- Septic Inspections
- Drain Cleaning
Our company is also proud to work with commercial properties and municipalities. Should you need help with your business or any city/county environmental issues, give us a call. We are here and happy to help!
Imagine opening up your water bill and finding that it has jumped 400%. Such a jump would be an intense shock! It could be an indication of a faulty water meter or a billing error. However, it could also be an indicator of a water leak. Carefully monitoring the water bill can help catch possible water leaks, but they may not always be easily pinpointed. If you need help diagnosing leaks, contact Wind River Environmental. Our experts can help ensure that your plumbing is in the best possible condition using the latest technology.
Using Cameras For Diagnosing Leaks
When you suspect a leak in your plumbing, Wind River Environmental can use a camera to inspect the pipes to make sure water can flow smoothly and that there are no leaks. Leaks can be caused by tree roots that break through pipes underground. Cameras can also assess the condition of the pipes. If the pipes are corroded, a camera can be useful to determine if the pipes can be relined or need to be completely replaced.
The Power of Smoke Tests
Another type of test that can help check a system is the smoke test. To do a smoke test on a property, the pipes are pressurized and then a non-toxic smoke is added to the system. This smoke can help identify where leaks or cracks may be located because it can indicate visually where the smoke is escaping.
Fix Any Leaks With Wind River Environmental!
After Wind River Environmental helps to identify leaks with the best technology, our experts have the experience to know how to solve any issues that arise. We can offer advice and provide the necessary services to fix the leaks. Additionally, Wind River Environmental recognizes that the best septic system is a system that the owner does not have to worry about. Preventative maintenance is key, and Wind River Environmental has comprehensive maintenance plans to help keep your septic system worry free! Please contact us today to learn more!
Blog, Commercial, Constant Flow Maintenance Program, Grease Trap, Information, Maintenance, Prevention
Grease Trap Maintenance 101
Commercial grease interceptors, also known as a grease trap, are commonly found in restaurant kitchens, hospital kitchens, grocery store prep areas, and other food service establishments. If you have worked in one of these locations, you may be familiar with what a grease interceptor is. Or you may have even worked in one of these environments and not known there was a grease interceptor there at all. Whatever your background with grease interceptors may be, here is a complete guide for everything you need to know!
What is a Grease Interceptor/Trap?
Grease interceptors can go by many different names such as grease trap, grease pit, or even by their manufacturer names. Some businesses have an interior grease interceptor that is connected to a sink in a food prep area. These traps can be located above or below the ground and are made of metal or plastic. Because plastic doesn’t break down like metal does over time, we tend to replace grease traps that have rotted with plastic options so they last longer.
Some businesses also have exterior grease tanks which are located below ground. These tanks can be made of concrete and are often much larger than an interior trap. Exterior grease interceptors can hold anywhere from 2,000 to over 10,000 gallons of waste!
How are Grease Traps Used?
The purpose of a grease interceptor is to do just that, intercept grease! The interceptor has baffles, or walls, inside the trap that help to separate fats, oils, and grease (also known as FOG) from the water as it moves from the sink through the drain lines. Preventing grease from entering your drain lines is extremely important to keep your lines clear of any obstructions.
Servicing a Grease Trap
One of the most important things you can do is have your grease trap serviced on a regular basis. It is important that you hire a professional company to do this for you so that you know the grease is being disposed of properly.
So how do you tell when a grease trap needs to be cleaned? You should not wait until your grease trap is full as that can cause major issues to your plumbing. Allowing grease to build up in the trap overtime makes it so the grease has nowhere to go except for into your drain lines.
Ignoring your grease trap could lead to a dreaded “fatberg”, similar to what happened in Baltimore, Maryland. To avoid a fatberg, make sure to have your grease trap serviced regularly.
Wind River Environmental trains our technicians to fully inspect the grease trap at every service. This way we can recommend the best service frequency for each individual customer, whether it’s quarterly or monthly. We also consider local regulations which sometimes mandate a certain frequency. No worry trying to remember when your next service is due, Wind River can put you on an automatic frequency and call you in advance before we arrive.
What’s involved in a Grease Trap Service?
Wind River has a 14-point inspection service that we provide at the time of every inside grease trap cleaning:
- Inspect cover
- Inspect gaskets
- Inspect bolts
- Inspect rods
- Inspect baffle
- Inspect baskets
- Inspect for rust
- Check flow of trap
- Check for leaks
- Advise when Drain Cleaning Services are needed
- Inspect strainers
- Inspect screens
- Advise if frequency of maintenance should be changed
- Compile a complete condition report on every visit
Our technician notes the condition of the grease trap, service frequency recommendations, and takes before and after pictures of the trap. All of this information is extremely valuable in keeping good care of your grease interceptor. This information is emailed to you once the service is closed in our system.
Grease Best Practices
Pouring grease down a drain line can cause major backups. As the grease hardens in the line, the line gets narrower. This inhibits the flow of water through the line and overtime can cause water to overflow back up into the sink or onto the floor through a clean out cover.
So what can you do to prevent backups in your restaurant? First start by educating your employees, letting them know the risks of pouring grease or food scraps into the sink. Knowing how to keep fats, oils, and grease out of your drain lines will help you in the low run.
Next, contact a trusted service provider to schedule regular maintenance. Wind River Environmental takes the guess work out of when to service your grease trap by placing our customers on an automatic frequency for service based on the condition of the trap as well as local regulation.
Grease Trap Replacements
Eventually, a grease trap needs to be replaced. Many grease traps are made out of metal which can corrode overtime. If there is excessive rust to the grease trap, it is probably time to replace it. Metal grease traps have a typical lifespan on 5-7 years before it needs to be replaced. The last thing you would want is to have waste water leaking out of the trap into the foundation of your business!
Depending on the location of the grease trap, it might qualify to be replaced with a plastic grease trap rather than another metal trap. The benefit of a plastic trap is that it will not corrode overtime like a metal trap does.
Year Round Septic Tank Maintenance
As the seasons change, many people find that it’s a perfect time to get work done on their home and property. It’s also a great time to take a look at any septic tank maintenance you may need! Septic tank maintenance is popular in the spring as things begin to warm up, and also in fall before freezing temperatures hit and your tank gets buried under snow.
When To Pump Your Septic Tank
First, it’s important to pump your septic tank at least once every two years. Failing to pump your septic tank can result in solid waste getting into the drainage system. This can cause sewage to seep into your soil. Not pumping your tank regularly is the leading cause of a failing septic tank. Two-year intervals are a good benchmark for pumping, depending on the size of your tank and how many people are in your household. Snowfall makes it much more difficult for a pump to access the tank, so it’s a good idea to have this done in the fall, or once things start to warm up in the spring.
Check For Cracks and Insulate Your Tank
Also remember that tanks or the lines running to them can freeze when the temperature dips. This can cause cracks or damage to the system. Not only that, but the bacteria that live in your septic tank and helps to break down the waste prefers a warm environment as well. The bacteria process waste slower when it is cold, so you should insulate with mulch or let extra grass grow over the top of your tank.
Learn More About Preventative Septic Tank Maintenance
Repairing a failed septic tank can cost thousands and is a disaster in the middle of a snowstorm, or any time of year for that matter! Take a little time to do some preventative maintenance and prepare for the changing seasons. Learn all you need to know about septic system basics here!
Spotlight: Delightful Essex, CT – Pretty as a Postcard
Essex, CT is the Perfect Small Town
How many cities can you visit in America where the local inn (the Gris) has been bedding people since 1776? It’s really pretty cool stuff! Essex, CT prides itself, as it should, on being named the “Perfect Small American Town” in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. It is – quite literally- as pretty as a postcard.
The Colorful History of Essex, CT
First settled in 1635, life for the few original families banding together centered around the sea and the church. Slowly but surely, they not only survived but thrived. Shipbuilding was the main economy of the area. During the War of 1812, between President Jefferson’s embargo and the British blockade of the river, ships weren’t selling. To counter this, local shipbuilders began constructing blockade runners known as privateers. They would sneak past the blockade, bringing back contraband to sell to stay afloat.
With such a colorful history and such a beautiful town today, everyone who lives here or even just visits wants to see the area remain clean and healthy forever. That’s where we come in. Wind River Environmental is a non-hazardous liquid waste company dedicated to serving residents, commercial and municipal principalities.
Wind River Environmental’s Services in Essex, CT
Some of the many services we provide include installation and repair of septic tanks, grease traps, and industrial waste systems. From plumbing and drain cleaning to exterior tanks and leach fields, we are a full-service company.
There are a few things you don’t know about us that are at the very core of what makes us stand out. Firstly, we have over 300 team members, and all are graduates of our in-house training program, Wind River University. Secondly, we have more state-certified systems inspectors than any company in the industry.
So when you need help with your septic system, drainage problems, etc, call on us. We are here to serve you 365/7/24 with a live person always answering the phone.
Commercial Water Temperature Regulations and Your Hot Water Heater
Hot Water Heaters: A Critical Part of Many Businesses
For companies that rely on hot water from their hot water heater for everyday tasks, making sure water is at the appropriate temperature in the appropriate parts of the business is critical. Although there are a number of businesses that can be described this way, restaurants are the most common. They serve as a good example of how requirements can change even within the same building.
Hot Water Heaters in Restaurants
The average restaurant has at least four different routine uses for hot water: the sinks in their public restrooms, hand washing sinks for employees, the dishwasher’s wash cycle, and the dishwasher’s rinse cycle. Each of these has a different required correct or maximum temperature. For example, Massachusetts safety regulations require public restrooms to have a maximum sink temperature of 110 degrees. Hand washing sinks for employees, on the other hand, can reach 120 degrees, as they are not considered public and employees are trusted to better know what temperature they can handle. (Higher temperatures are not allowed to prevent accidents; scalding can occur almost instantly at 130-140 degrees.)
For dishwashers, the industry standard is 150-160 degrees during the wash cycle and 180 degrees during the rinse cycle for proper sanitation. In some places, low-temp dishwashers can be used in conjunction with a chemical sanitizing agent. These wash at 120-140 degrees for both the wash and rinse cycle.
These requirements put a major onus on the reliability of your hot water heater and your plumbing system. In most restaurants, the hot water heater must be able to heat water to 180 degrees as well as supply the substantial quantity required all day, every day. A tiny slip in the performance of your hot water heater can throw off the functioning of your restaurant; a failure in the plumbing controls can lead to improperly sanitized plates and silverware, or worse yet, unexpected burns.
Make Sure Your Hot Water Heater is Professionally Installed
Your commercial hot water heater should be top-of-the-line, but it also needs to be installed by experienced professionals who know how to keep it running for years without issue. If you’re in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, or southern New Hampshire and you need a plumber, contact us today!
Blog, Boost, Cesspool, Leach Field, Maintenance, Outlet Filter, Prevention, Residential, Septic System
Your Septic System Basic Questions, Answered!
One in five households in the US have onsite wastewater systems. Prevalent in the Northeast and South, septic systems are alternatives to a residential home being on public sewer. A septic system traps the waste and the liquid makes its way out to the leaching fields where it will filter out into the ground water over time. If you have a septic system on your property and have septic questions about how it works (or you are just really into onsite wastewater systems like we are) read on to learn some septic system basics!
Septic System Basics: Anatomy
Although there are many types of septic systems and the specific design and components vary, the basics of each system are generally the same. The primary function of a septic system is to collect wastewater as it leaves the home, separate the solid waste from the liquid waste, and filter the liquid out into the leaching field. Each component of a septic system plays an important role in the process of separating the waste.
A main sewage line connects the home’s plumbing to a septic tank that is located outside the home underground. A septic tank is typically a concrete or plastic container that is rectangular in size and water tight. When waste reaches the septic tank, solids settle to the bottom of the tank and as the liquid level rises it exits the tank through what is called the outlet line. To prevent a lot of movement in the tank when waste enters, there are typically baffles or “T”s in place on both the inlet and outlet sides of the tank. Preventing movement helps the solid waste and liquid waste remain separate in the tank.
Once the waste is in the tank and the solids/sludge has settled to the bottom, bacteria helps to eat away at the solids. Use of a regular bacterial additive, like CCLS, is helpful to increase the level of healthy bacteria. Over time, however, some solids remain and build up in the tank. This is why regular service is an important part of maintaining a healthy septic system.
The liquid effluent makes its way out of the tank typically into what is called a distribution box. The function of a distribution box is in its very name, to distribute the liquid effluent as it leaves the septic tank to the lines of the leaching field.
The leach field is a set of drainage pipes that are layered with crushed stone and top soil. The layers allow for further filtration of the effluent before it enters the ground water.
Septic System Anatomy – Recap
To recap, the main components that comprise a septic system are:
- Inlet pipe: Directs waste from the home to the septic tank
- Septic tank: Where the liquid effluent separates from the solid sludge
- Outlet pipe: Where the separated effluent exits the septic tank
- Distribution box: Distributes liquid effluent to leaching lines
- Leaching field: Set of drainage pipes that allow for further filtration of the liquid effluent back into the environment’s ground water
Other Septic System Components
Some septic systems have components that are not mentioned above. Septic design and septic installations vary because every property is different. For example, some septic systems require a pump to be installed to help move the liquid effluent from one component to the next.
Another component that you might see is what we call a “candy cane”. A candy cane, which is actually a vent pipe, allows for proper air ventilation for the leaching field. Sometimes vent pipes can also be installed to run through the home’s main plumbing ventilation, but other times a candy cane is necessary to properly vent the leaching field.
Septic System Basics: Do’s and Don’ts
A septic system is a large (and expensive) aspect of your home. Maintaining it properly is vital to prevent any emergency situations like backups in the home or worse, total system failure.
Let’s start with our septic system DO’S:
- DO spread laundry use over the course of the week rather than multiple loads in one day. Running your washing machine over and over throughout a short period of time can overload a system with liquid. If the system becomes too full with liquid with not enough time to allow for proper leaching, you may experience a soggy yard where your septic tank is located or the system might backup into your home.
- DO make note of where the components of your system are located. Key components to note are where the covers are located in the yard and where the leach field is on the property. This is helpful not only when it is time for regular service, but also if there is an emergency or if you are planning to place a structure on the property.
- DO have the system serviced regularly. This one is a part of Wind River’s 3 step process to maintaining a healthy system. Like we mentioned earlier, although SOME solids break down with the help of bacteria, some do accumulate in the tank overtime. Without service, they are left to build up in the tank creating less and less room for liquid effluent to enter which causes it to overload the system.
- DO use septic safe products. Household cleaning products, such as laundry detergent, should be concentrated, low-sudsing, low (or no) phosphates, and bio-degradable. A full list of septic safe products can be found on our website by clicking here!
Now for the DON’TS:
- Don’t overload the system with high volumes of water. This relates back to spreading laundry out over the course of the week.
- Don’t allow fats, oils, or grease (FOG) down the drains. This can clog up your pumping and your septic system.
- Don’t enter a septic tank without proper training and ventilation. Entering a septic tank requires special certification and training. There are very strict procedures on entering confined spaces such as septic tanks and no one should enter one unless they have been specially trained to do so.
- Don’t allow vehicles or heavy equipment to drive across your septic tank and leaching field. This can crush the components of the system.
- Don’t flush anything other than human waste and 1 ply toilet paper down the drains. We have an extensive DO NOT FLUSH for septic list on our website here.
Septic System Basics: Services, Repairs, and Inspections
Wind River Environmental is committed to extending the life of your septic system. We recommend a three step process to help keep your system healthy and functioning properly.
- Regular Septic and Cesspool Pumping Service
Several factors should be considered when deciding how often your septic tank or cesspool system needs to be serviced. You must take into account the age of the system, the number of occupants in your home, the use of a garbage disposal and the amount of laundry being done in the home. Every system is different. What is right for your system may not be right for your neighbor’s. Speak with your Wind River Environmental technician or call our customer service center to discuss the appropriate frequency of septic service for you.
- Bacterial Additive Products
Bacteria must be present in the septic tank or cesspool system in order to break down the organic solids. Today, households use a wide range of anti-bacterial soaps, detergents and cleaning fluids. While these ordinary household products do a great job killing unwanted bacteria in your home, they also destroy beneficial bacteria that your system. In our experience, over the counter solutions are not properly formulated to meet today’s cesspool needs.
a. To ensure consistent periodic introduction of bacteria into your system, we suggest using our CCLS bacterial additive. One quart every other month will likely be sufficient to help your system function at its best. CCLS also keeps the pipes in your home clean, destroys household plumbing odors and reduces odor in trash cans
b. Boost is applied to your septic tank or cesspool by your Wind River Environmental Technician at the time of service. Wind River Environmental Boost introduces enzymes intended to breakdown organic waste such as food products and grease from kitchen waste and garbage grinders. It is essentially a shock treatment for your septic tank, and true to its name it will give your tank the bacteria boost it needs to break down solids.
3. Septic System Filter
If your septic system was installed with a filter, it should be cleaned at every septic service. We recommend that you install a septic tank filter if you do not have one. It is an important tool that will protect your leach field by acting as a strainer, keeping the hair, grit, grime, and larger particles not yet broken down in your tank from getting out into your leach field lines. If you have a cesspool system there is no outlet tee to install a filter, so it is very important to follow the first 2 steps to maintain a healthy system.
At the time of a septic pumping service, our technician does perform a brief inspection of the system. The technician will assess the levels in the tank, inspect the covers of the system to ensure they are intact, clean the filter, and of course service the tank. His findings and any recommendations will be noted on the customer service report.
Sometimes, a more formal and detailed inspection is needed. For real estate transactions in Massachusetts, for example, the home owner must obtain what is called a Title V inspection before the property transfers ownership. The Title V inspection involves exposing the components of the system to fully inspect them and must be completed by a technician who is certified to perform Title V inspections. Wind River employs several Title V certified technicians for our customer’s convenience. After the inspection, a formal report is filed with the town. Depending on the inspector’s findings, the system can pass, fail, or conditional pass. A conditional pass may require follow up work that will then need to be inspected by the town at which point the town will determine if the system has met the necessary requirements to receive a certificate of compliance.
Septic System Basics: Repairs
Septic Build ups (risers): A build up, also known as a riser, is a plastic collar that fits on top of the opening of the septic system. A build up is helpful in the event a home owner’s septic covers are buried deep underground. We are able to cut the riser to size, so the customer can have the cover brought to 6 inches below the ground’s surface or we can bring it “to grade” which is right at the surface of the ground.
Septic Cover Replacements: Wind River Environmental takes septic cover safety seriously. At each service, our technicians inspect the condition of each septic cover. Once the covers to the system are exposed they are inspected for integrity and safety. If our technician discovers a cover which is unsafe, his first action will be to secure and block off the area. He then reports the cover to his manager and customer service and remains onsite until the customer has been notified.
Septic covers are available in a variety sizes and types to fit the system. Our professional technician will always be on hand to consult with you about the best onsite options for your replacement covers. For example, green plastic covers can be used to blend naturally with the yard. If the cover is in an area where it would be weight-bearing, such as a parking lot or driveway, special load-bearing covers are used to ensure safety.
Filters: Like we mentioned in our three step plan to septic health, a filter can be an integral part in keeping solid waste out of your leach field. Depending on your specific system there are several options for septic filters.
Component Replacements: Sometimes components of the septic system require replacement over time, such as the inlet or outlet T’s or the distribution box. Wind River has a team of technicians dedicated to repairs of this nature.
So, what is it going to take to keep my septic system healthy?
The most important thing you can do for your septic system is regular service. Without regular septic service, solids and sludge can build up over time. Adding a filter and bacterial additive, as suggested by Wind River’s 3 step maintenance program, can also help to prolong the life of your system.
Still looking for more information? Here are some additional resources to learn more!