Septic tank maintenance

September, 2012:

How to locate your septic

Locating your septic system can be a very challenging endeavor especially if you are one of those homeowners who do not want to have anything to do with it. Most homeowners just rely in their septic experts or their old practices in maintaining or inspecting their septic systems. When you talk about the old ways, you just put a cake of yeast or some peelings in your septic tank and walk away. When you leave it to your septic expert, you depend on him for even the slightest thing, which could be very annoying even for a professional. Plus, it would be very costly for you to have everything performed by the professional. There are some things that you can do yourself when it comes to your septic system but initially, you have to know where it is located in your property. How to locate your septic is key in owning a home with as septic tank and drain field.

It is undeniable that the septic system needs to be regularly maintained and cared for. The septic tank has to be pumped regularly because the accumulated sludge will bring forth clogging to the rest of the system if it I     s not removed. It would definitely require less money for the homeowner if the septic system is located. This includes the uncovering of the opening or the manhole itself. It will be easier to treat and inspect as well. The septic system cover should be secure or durable for safety purposes. It should not be easily opened and even concealed so that they won’t be discovered by pets or children.

In locating your septic system, you should consider the following:

1. Take note of the safety warnings such as:

Collapsing old septic systems? If the property you bought has a very old septic system, you should be very, very careful because this could be life-threatening. Keep an eye out for sinking areas of the property, rusted through septic manholes, hand-made covers, wooden covers, and homemade drywells and cesspool. These are prone to collapses. You should make sure that you never work alone especially in cases like this.

Several main drains

Several main drains may be installed when the structure is very bid such as a plaza or a huge building. This is because of more than one septic system installed in the entire property. Some buildings may have only one septic system but multiple waste lines or openings. In a modern household, this would be very unlikely.

Dry wells

Also consider the dry wells that are installed to help the septic system’s water load to decrease.

Bigger main drains

Also consider the main drains that are bigger, about 4-6 inches in diameter. Just follow those drains and you will find the septic system and the opening.

2. Ask the knowledgeable

There is nothing wrong in asking people who are very knowledgeable about the exact location of the septic system opening. If you have bought a house that had a previous owner, then it would be better for you to ask that person about the location of the septic system. But this could only be done to previous owners who were very familiar with the property and those who have not forgotten it. If the previous owner doesn’t know the location of the septic system, there is a huge possibility that the system was not maintained properly and on schedule.

You could also ask the septic pumpers who have handled the septic system of the property that you have bought. These professionals may know where the exact location of the septic system opening really is.

3. Look for soggy areas

Look for wet or soggy parts of the yard and follow that part until it ends. This would most probably where the septic system opening is located. You have to ask the guidance of a septic expert in doing this and let his asses to be sure. Tell the professional you need to know how to locate your septic system.

Odors coming from toilet can mean trouble

Having your nephews over for that weekend was very special because it you were going to help them choose their first dog. In the back of your mind you always knew the odors coming from toilet can mean trouble. Before you left that day, your younger nephew wanted to use the bathroom. A few seconds after he went in, he immediately came out. He said that he didn’t make a poo because the toilet made a poo already. You wondered why he said that. You were very sure that you cleaned the toilet very well. You even turned on your bathroom deodorizer before you closed the bathroom door that morning. When you went inside the bathroom to check, the toilet was emitting a terrible septic odor. It even backed up with septic water. The drains and sinks did the same thing. You knew you had to call the septic expert immediately because odors coming from toilet can mean trouble.

It was a good thing that your next door neighbors were already awake that morning so your nephews were able to use their bathroom. When the septic expert arrived, you told your nephews to watch TV for a while. The expert worked on the septic trouble as fast as he could. He said that even if you adhered to the pumping schedule, there were still other reasons why this:

1. Fat dumping

If you have the habit of dumping fat and grease into your drains, sinks, and toilets, then you would be greatly contributing to its slow death. Even if you use a garbage disposal unit, fats are still fats and they cannot be broken down by the resident bacteria very easily. They just stay in the tank until they enter the drain field where they clog the area. This will then lead to malfunction and failure.

2. Non-biodegradables

Dumping non-biodegradable materials like paint, disinfectants, plastic materials, tampons, and napkins will definitely clog the system. These items will not be degraded by the resident bacteria and will just stay in the system and clog up the tank and the drain field until the entire system fails.

3. Using antibacterial cleaners

Homeowners usually opt for antibacterial solutions to make sure that their homes stay germ-free and disease-free. But these antibacterial cleansers kill off the resident bacteria that breakdown the solid waste materials that come in with the wastewater. As you know, anaerobic and aerobic bacteria are the ones that really enable the septic system to function. If they are killed off, the entire wastewater treatment facility in your home will fail.

4. High water load

High water load or a drastic increase in water load could also cause the system to fail. This may be caused by heavy rains, heavy laundry loads, and an increase in the number of household members. Your septic system is designed to accommodate your household. If the wastewater that comes in is beyond its capacity, it is bound to fail. You should talk to your septic expert about the necessary adjustments that should be made to normalize the water load. A dry well could be installed, the rain gutter could be diverted away from the septic area, and the larger septic tank could be installed to allow a better septic system flow.

5. Pumping out when it’s raining heavily

It’s better not to pump out when it is raining heavily. Just wait for the rains to stop before you have your system pumped out. If you pump out during heavy rains, then the mud and silt will enter the system and clog it.

6. Hardwood plants, vehicles, or construction over the system

There should not be any hardwood plants, construction, or vehicles over the system because these damage the septic components. Just place them away from the system’s area.

7. Not following pump out schedules

You should follow the pump out schedules so that you can be sure that the sludge level is maintained at a normal level and will not be dispersed in to the drain field.

The septic expert corrected the septic failure at an amazing pace. You were able to leave just before lunch. Even if the septic expert repaired the septic malfunction, you knew that you had to do your part to prevent the incident from happening again. I want to tell all readers to remember that odors coming from toilet can mean trouble.