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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the warning signs of septic system failure?

  1. Gurgling noises in household plumbing, pipes and drains

  2. Unpleasant sewage odor

  3. Sluggish drainage in home

  4. Plumbing backs up

  5. Greener, wet or mushy ground around the septic system

Why Do I Need to Have My Septic Tank or Lagoon Pumped?

Answer:   Septic tanks require pump outs when the solid waste accumulates to the capacity of storage. For most systems to operate optimally, pump outs should be scheduled when the tank reaches 30-50% of total capacity.

How Often Do I Need to Have My Septic System or Lagoon Pumped?

Answer:   The answer depends on these factors:

  • The size system you have

  • The number of people are using your system

  • The amount of water you use

  • The number and length of laterals you have

A qualified inspector can answer some of these questions to help you know for sure, but as a rule of thumb, it’s best to have your system checked at least every 2 years.

Can I Use a Garbage Disposal?

Answer:   Septic systems were not intended for the disposal of food wastes, coffee grounds, grease or fat and in fact, these will harm the operation of the septic tank. However, if you cannot live without this modern convenience, just plan to have your tank pumped more frequently.

Should I Use Additives to Help My System?

Answer:   Even though there are many products and some very convincing commercials out on the market today, every septic system professional, environmental and government websites all have the same answer, “NO!” Using additives to add or help bacterial breakdown of sludge is ineffective and may even cause larger problems. Research actually indicates that biological enzymes and other “miracle” additives do not improve septic system functions. The amount of bacteria or enzymes recommended are so small that any effectiveness is virtually impossible to detect.

What Can I Do to Help Keep My Septic System Working Well?

Answer:   There are lots of things you can do to help keep your system healthy. Conserving water by repairing leaky faucets and toilets, installing low-flow fixtures, turning off the water when brushing your teeth or when shaving reduces the load of wastewater your system has to handle. Avoid washing all of your laundry in one day – space out water use throughout the entire week. Protect the absorption area by keeping livestock (especially horses) off the lateral field. Don’t park cars, boats or heavy equipment on the leach fields so the ground doesn’t get compacted. Divert downspouts or other drainage away from soil absorption areas. And avoid flushing things like sanitary products, paper towels, disposable diapers, cigarette butts – even tissues. Toilet paper should be the only added material a toilet should flush.

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