1. How do I know if there is something wrong with my septic system?
Some signs that something may be wrong with your septic may include:
The ground in the area is wet or soggy
Sewage odors in the house or yard.
Slow draining sinks and toilets.
Gurgling sounds in the plumbing.
Plumbing backups in the house.
2. How often does my septic system need pumped or serviced?
Many variables such as the amount of water usage and the number of people using the system contribute to answer this question, but suggested frequency is every 3-5 years.
3. What will happen if I don’t service my septic system?
The primary function of the septic system is to separate liquids from solids. Three layers are formed in the septic tank. Solids settle to the bottom to form a layer of sludge. The grease and foam float to the top to form a layer of scum. And the wastewater is near the middle of the tank. Both the sludge and scum layers remain in the tank where microbial growth helps to break them down and essentially decompose the solids, while the wastewater is clarified and disinfected before flowing out to the drain field.
When the sludge and scum layers become too large and take up too much space in the tank the tank needs to be pumped. If the tank is not pumped when it gets full of solids, the wastewater does not get fully treated and solid material can be carried into the drain field. Solids in the drain field can clog and seal the pipes. When the water can no longer percolate as it should human waste contaminates the ground and waterways, which lead to disease and destruction of the environment.
Neglecting your system until a crisis situation occurs will usually result in drain field failure which would require either drain field replacement or a new system installation.
4. How can I find the location of my septic system?
If a permit was issued for the installation of your system a sketch may be available on your permit. You may contact your installer or your local county health department for a copy of the permit.
A septic inspection done prior to the purchase of your property should include a sketch of your system, if available.
Our service installers or technicians can usually find a tank by using a probe in areas where they would expect to find the tank, such as behind the house, near the bathroom, or approximately 10 feet away from the foundation.
Pipes, caps, or risers may extend out of the ground.
Areas of lush grass growth are sometimes an indication.
Stakes, stones, or other markers may have been left by previous owners to mark the location.
Aerial views of your property may indicate a pattern which shows laterals and tank locations.
5. Does an aerobic system grind everything up and then make it go away?
No. In theory a septic system should dissipate all of the waste in your septic tank through natural bacterial decomposition. Aerobic systems are basically like conventional systems, except they do not depend on as long of a settlement time to remove solids and grease due to the extreme oxygenation process. Since the aerobic system does most of the work of separating the water from the waste inside the tank, more of the solid waste remains inside the tanks. When this happens these solids do not go away on their own and therefore need to be pumped out.
6. How should I maintain my system?
Maguire Wastewater Solutions offers a yearly service contract in which we service your system and keep you informed on the condition of your system. If you are interested call us and let us help you with your maintenance.
Avoid greases, fats, oils, pesticides, herbicides or any other toxins, by properly disposing of these in a waste can or according to your local code.
Do not put home brewery waste or medications into the system. Strong medicines and anti-biotic use may affect the condition of the system.
Never dispose of paints, household chemicals, or automobile fluids into the system.
Never put non-biodegradable items such as cigarette butts, disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products, condoms, hair, coffee grounds, rags, paper towels, bandages, newspapers, or wrapping paper in the system.
Spread out laundry loads or heavy water use days out across the week. Several loads of laundry in one day is not recommended.
Avoid disposing of citrus products such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit etc. into the system.
Remember strong disinfectants or bleaches will kill the bacteria in the system that purifies your wastewater. Avoid using anti-bacterial soaps and heavy cleaning products such as Lysol, Pinesol, Tidy Bowl, 2000 Flushes, and discharge from water softeners.
Hydraulic overload due to excessive water will cause the system to fail. Never divert water from other sources such as gutters, drains, or sump pumps into your system.
Low sudsing, low phosphates, and bio-degradable detergents are recommended. Suggestions are Gain, Arm & Hammer Powder with bleach alternative, Fresh Start, Ultra Cheer with advance color guard powder, Liquid Tide with Bleach alternative, or Ultra Era liquid. Fabric softener sheets as opposed to a liquid is recommended.
Non-chlorine, biodegradable, and non-toxic cleaning products such as Ivory & Sunlight dish washing liquids, Cascade and Sunlight powdered dishwasher detergents, Comet & Biz powdered cleaners, and baking soda are recommended.
Don’t plant trees or plants within 6 feet of the system as their roots will penetrate and clog the pipes. Grass should be the only ground cover around it.
Don’t drive over or park on the system. Also do not fence in or allow livestock over the system.
7. Should I use additives to maintain my system?
The lack of good bacteria in the septic tank is one of the biggest problems with a septic system. The result is that wastewater material is not properly broken down and can cause clogged pipes or backups. Additives are chemicals and usually do more harm than good. However, due to the large use of bacteria killing products used for cleaning, it may be advisable to use an item to boost the bacteria in your system. If this becomes necessary, an addition of standard oatmeal or cornmeal may be added to help restart the bacteria growing process.
8. Will I really save money by maintaining my system?
Yes. Pumping your system costs between $200 - $300, and an inspection could cost $150 - $250. Replacing a system could cost up to $20,000. Preventative maintenance on your part will help you maintain your system for years. If you would like help in maintaining your system our service contracts are an affordable and consistent way to maintain your system affordably.