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!
Septic Tips to Understand Your Septic System
If you have a septic system, it’s helpful to know a little about how it functions. The process of treating waste in a septic system isn’t complicated, but being familiar with the details will help you keep yours running smoothly and worry-free. Here are the basic parts of a septic system and some septic tips to keep them in tip-top shape. If it’s service you need, click here to schedule!
The Septic Tank
All the waste water from the home enters the tank through a single pipe. The tank is underground and watertight. While the sewage is in this tank the solids sink to the bottom, separating from the liquid. This is layer is known as sludge. Bacteria in the tank help break down some of the sludge, but cannot digest all of it. One of our best septic tips is to maintain the levels of helpful bacteria with the use of bacterial additives.
Scum, a layer of oils and substances that cannot be broken down, collects on the surface of the liquid. The liquid then exits the tank through another pipe. It’s important to pump the sludge and the scum from the tank periodically so they don’t move into the next stage of the system and end up in the leach field, which can be an expensive and messy repair.
The Distribution Box
The liquid next flows through an outlet baffle into another tank, known as the distribution box. There may be a filter in this outlet baffle, which is very helpful to keep solids from moving through to protect the leach field. The distribution box helps distribute the liquid evenly to the pipes that lead to the leach field. It’s important not to overload one area of the leach field, which can saturate the ground and cause swampy conditions.
The Leach Field
The clarified liquid then flows through pipes that are perforated with holes so the fluid can seep out into the soil. It then filters through the soil and gravel, returning to the groundwater. Another one of our septic tips to keep the leach field porous enough to do its work is to be sure not to build structures, plant trees, or drive over it. If the soil is compacted it cannot process the liquid from the pipes.
Get More Septic Tips From Wind River Environmental
With a little understanding of how your septic system works, you can keep yours working and stay worry-free. Our experienced technicians are ready to help you set up a plan to keep it that way. Learn more about our septic services!
Use a Grease Trap Service Or Face the Consequences
When New York City discovered a 73% increase of non-compliance by restaurants with the grease trap regulations, they instituted a $1,000 per day fine for violating the rules!
While the individual municipalities and localities are using different measures to keep people and businesses up-to-date with grease trap regulations, you’d be wise to know that it’s possible you could face criminal charges for not following the regulations. What’s more, violators can face steep monthly penalties in order to pay for inspections and periodic grease pumping. These fines can start at $100 per month and make their way up to $700 or more each month!
The most important thing a person or business can do to stay within the regulations laid out by your municipality or district is stay informed on what the regulations are. Then, you’ll need to find yourself a professional grease trap service. You can find our services here! Remember, it’s always important to find a professional that serves your area and comes recommended by others who have used their services before.
If you’re uncertain about what regulations you’ll need to follow, you should first check with the EPA, and then check with your local board of health. The information they provide can keep you up-to-date on current regulations.
Having a regular grease trap service come in to do maintenance may seem like a hassle, but the services provided are essential to keeping your future costs down as well keeping your businesses doors open.
If you have any further questions about grease trap services or regulations, please contact us today!
Don’t let FOG Scare You this Halloween – Proper Fats, Oils, and Grease Disposal
Halloween. It’s one of the scariest times of the year with frightening costumes, decorations, haunted houses, and hayrides galore. There’s no telling what could happen at this time of year or how you could get spooked next! No one and nothing is an exception when it comes to terrifying Halloween experiences and the next fright could even come from not properly disposing of fats, oils, and grease.
How should you deal with Fats, Oils, and Grease?
The last thing you want to be dealing with this fall is a major backup occurring at your home or business due to fats, oils, and grease (FOG) being improperly disposed of down drains and pipes. So, in order to save you a ton of time, energy, and money, here are some tips and tricks to remember when it comes to FOG disposal so that you don’t get any nasty surprise treats this Halloween:
- Before you wash your pot or pan that had fat, oil, and grease in it, use a paper towel or napkin to wipe the FOG off of it and throw that away. Then proceed to wash your dish.
- Pour your cooled fats, oils, and grease into a container and then dispose of that container in your trash.
- Make sure you are putting your food scraps in your trash and NOT down the sink garbage disposal when possible.
- Never put fats, oils, or grease down the sink or into the toilet–always dispose of them in the trash.
- Use sink strainers to catch food waste and then throw that waste away in your trash.
It is important to try to always put these tips and tricks into action whenever possible in order to avoid having a blockage which can lead to sewer backups and overflows on the property. When a sanitary sewage line blockage occurs, it alters its effectiveness and reduces the capacity of the wastewater collection system.
Who ya’ gonna call? Wind River!
This Halloween, we want you to be able to enjoy getting scared from things such as people in creepy costumes, visiting a haunted house, or watching a scary movie. However, we do not want you to have to deal with an unexpected fright like a backup in your sewage lines due to not properly disposing of FOG contents. In order to avoid a major backup in your business or home, be sure to implement the best practices tips above. For more information, contact us today!
October’s Messiest Clogged Sink
The award for the messiest drain in October goes to…
A clogged 3 bay kitchen sink!
The water wouldn’t drain from the sink, causing dishes to back up and the business to screech to a halt. After arriving on the scene, we set to work snaking the clogged sink drains leading to the grease trap. A mysterious ball of rubber gloves emerged from the drain and the water began to drain freely once again. The key to avoiding a clogged sink is to prevent large objects from falling into the drain. There are two important facts to take away from this unfortunately clogged sink.
Using a mesh strainer to keep clogs away
Drains are large open holes that suck up huge amounts water and anything else that will fit through the opening. By placing a metal strainer over the opening, objects that normally clog the drain are left in the sink. Strainers are a piece of metal mesh that covers the drain opening. The water seeps through the tiny holes and leaves larger particles behind.
Avoid a clogged sink by being cautious with certain items
Imagine this scenario: giant metal pans and baking dishes pile up in the sink waiting for a good scrub. The dish washer puts on their rubber gloves and begins working. After finishing, the dish washer lays their gloves on the edge of the sink. The water level falls and with it, the precariously perched gloves slip away into the drain.
This is just one way objects make their way into drains. Paper products have the potential to create a clogged sink as well. Some paper products do not dissolve quickly and become trapped in the lines. Avoid placing objects that have the potential to fall into the drain and create a serious clog in the sink.
Contact us for more information about professional drain cleaning and ways to prevent clogged sinks.
How Does Hy Vac Compare To Regular Pumping?
Hy Vac is a system that uses a high-velocity water jet to clean catch basins and exterior grease tanks. Most of the time, normal pumping and cleaning are enough.
Normal pumping will remove the grease and liquid from the trap, but it may leave stuck on material that can build up and eventually cause a back up into the kitchen plumbing. Hy vac will remove that debris and restore a tank or catch basin to its original condition. It will also break up hardened grease.
Utilize Preventative Maintenance First
You can avoid the extra expense and hassle by making sure you do the right preventive maintenance on your catch basin or grease trap. Internal grease traps, for example, should be checked weekly and the grease scooped out and properly disposed of or recycled. Exterior grease traps are better but should be periodically inspected and pumped. The maintenance schedule depends on the size of your establishment, how busy your kitchen is and even a little on the kind of cooking being done, but ninety days is a common requirement.
Another reason to need this treatment is if weather or other circumstances caused outside debris to end up in your trap.
Wind River Does Hy Vac!
If your trap is clogged with grease or debris, then Wind River Environmental can help. We can also use these trucks to remove hazardous sludge or help clean up after a flood – it can be a very effective way to remove stormwater, especially if it is contaminated. Our hy vac trucks can also remove sand, small rocks, etc. So, maintain your catch basin or grease trap properly, but if you need our services we are always here!
What You Need to Install a Commercial Grease Trap
What is a grease trap?
A grease trap is an apparatus designed to trap fatty substances like oil and grease. These substances are commonly found in our favorite restaurants, but they can’t just be poured down a drain because once they reach a sewer, they could potentially create blockages. In most states, businesses like restaurants, cafeterias, and food service providers are lawfully required to install commercial grease traps, which need to be cleaned regularly. These traps can prevent expensive problems down the line.
Requirements for size and installation not only vary depending on what type of commercial business you operate, but they also vary between different cities and states. It’s important to determine what the standard is for an establishment in your area, but finding out this information takes some research and can be daunting for new business owners.
A simple solution to this is to hire a master plumber to take care of the installation. A master plumber will have a better knowledge of what the local requirements for your grease trap are, and what permits are necessary. A master plumber will make sure the installation goes smoothly, and then you don’t have to worry about putting a grease trap yourself.
Why Wind River Environmental?
At Wind River Environmental, we work hard to provide reliable and efficient plumbing services including installing commercial grease traps. If you are opening a restaurant or cafe, and aren’t sure what the requirements are in your area, contact us. Our master plumbers can take care of every aspect of the installation, so you can rest easy knowing that grease won’t cause you any problems in the future.
Signs of an Aging Septic System
Diamonds are forever, but septic systems are not. It’s true that with proper care and maintenance a waste water system will last many years. However, any septic tank buried in the ground will eventually deteriorate. There are many factors that decide how fast a tank will deteriorate such as construction material, environmental factors, and the level of care it is given.
The life expectancy of a steel tank is shorter than a concrete one. Inspectapedia estimates that a steel tank baffles will rust out in 15 to 20 years and may collapse if driven over, but a concrete tank will last 40 years or more as long as the wastewater is not acidic. It’s important to consider the life expectancy of a drain-field, too. Under normal conditions and good care, a leach-field will last for 50 years or more.
Concrete septic tanks are sturdy and reliable but not indestructible. The biggest risk is exposing the concrete to acidic substances. Bacteria breaking down solid waste produces hydrogen sulfide gas. When hydrogen sulfide mixes with water vapors, such as the ones you’d find in a wastewater tank, it turns into sulfuric acid and eats away at the concrete. Keeping vents open and clear of debris will decrease the risk of sulfuric acid formation.
Signs of an aging septic system and the need for maintenance are as follows:
- A thick layer of sludge leaves less room to filter wastewater before draining. A healthy system’s top layer will be dark brown and full of worms. Keeping the sludge level low with regular draining will prevent overflow.
- Solid waste levels should not exceed one-third of the depth of the tank. To remedy this, have the tank serviced more often to prevent excess hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria.
- Crumbly concrete and rust colored streaks are signs of a structural problem that needs addressing immediately.
Septic systems require regular maintenance due to the effects of aging. Contact us today to schedule a septic tank check up!
Preventative Maintenance for Septic Systems
The humble septic tank is the waste water workhorse of many homes across the country. Homes that are not serviced by public sewers must have a way to dispose of waste water and septic tanks do just that. Wastewater septic systems consist of a tank and leach-field. The tank separates the solids from the wastewater and houses the bacteria that decompose the solid waste. The leach-field, also known as a drain-field, is where all the wastewater drains to.
A well taken care of system will last for years and cost very little. On the other hand, poorly maintained tanks will cause pollution, property damage, and health concerns. Follow these simple steps for septic preventative maintenance.
An ounce of prevention will spare a month of headaches. Wind River Environmental recommends a 3 step maintenance plan for keeping your septic system running smoothly.
The 3 step preventative maintenance plan:
- Regular system pumping every one to two years removes the sludge that collects over time.
- Bacterial additives such as CCLS add high levels of beneficial bacteria to the tank to break down solid waste.
- Installing a filter will prevent large particles from settling in the leaching area.
Another part of septic preventative maintenance is avoiding things that harm the system. According to Public Health and Social Services, using too much water and pouring chemicals into the system are habits to avoid. Using too much water at once will flood the tank and prevent solid wastes from separating efficiently. Pouring the old drain cleaners and other toxic products down the toilet is a bad idea as well. These chemicals will destroy the beneficial bacteria that break down solid waste.
Septic systems are delicate systems that require maintenance and care. Having the tank pumped, adding beneficial bacteria, and installing a filter are important steps in maintaining a septic system for years to come.