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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes septic system failure?
  • When the pores of undisturbed soil surrounding the leach field clog due to lack of maintenance, the effluent cannot seep into the ground.

  • What are the symptoms of septic tank failure?
  • A stinky area of wet, soggy soil, sometimes with visible water, may appear. Sewage may back up into the house and toilets may not flush properly.

  • How long does a septic system last?
  • Some last for several decades. Most do not.

  • What kind of toilet paper should I use?
  • There are not many toilet papers on the market, if any, that can't safely be used in a septic system. Toilet paper breaks down very easily and quickly, and that's the important part. However, facial tissue (Kleenex) and paper towels do NOT break down easily, and should never be flushed down a toilet.

  • How do I care for my septic tank?
  • Have regular scheduled maintenance which means pump out every 3-5 years depending on how many people live in the house.

  • What is the purpose of the drainfield?
  • Waste water is passed to the drainfleld via the distribution box. The drainfleld usually contains a series of perforated pipes that lay in a bed of rock. Under the rock layer is a membrane. The waste water is distributed through the pipes into the field. A biomat or slime forms around the laterals, most aerobic digestion and filtration takes place in this biomat.

    After passing through the biomat, the waste water enters the soil where aerobic digestion continues to remove any remaining impurities. Pure water is then returned to the water table.

  • How can I tell if the drainfield is working?
  • From the first day of use the drainfleld begins to deteriorate. Small particles, grease, and soap scum can accumulate and clog passageways. If the tank becomes too full, more of these clogging agents are allowed to pass through to the drainfleld which puts a further strain on the system.

    As the flow becomes more restricted, the water will have a harder time flowing downward and accumulate in the soil above the drainfield. Early signs to watch out for are noticeable changes in the types of plants growing in the area of the drainfield as well as excessive soil moisture.

    If it is allowed to remain wet, the biomass surrounding the drainage pipes become anaerobic. Poor soil drainage and a high water table can also lead to poor absorption of the waste water.

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