Archive for December, 2011

Answer to anonymous question

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Someone just asked me a question via my email engine in the upper right hand corner of my website.  Please remember that your email is optional, I truly understand why you wouldn’t want to give it out.  But remember, if you send me a question with no way to respond, I have to put it here, and then hope you are checking my website occasionally.

I promise.  I am a super small company.  I don’t make any money 0n email address, nor do I even know how.  Your info is confidential with me.

 

With that being said, here is the question:

 

Question:

From: Me

Hi, Im looking to buy a home in Arial, Wa.  An inspector told our realtor that the septic was placed impropperly and needs to be replaced.  So all that needs to be done is taken out and new one in…If it’s average size tank, how much would that cost?

 

Thanks,

 

Of course, I tried to reply to me, but it will bounce as that isn’t an email address.

 

Now I have done many septic tank inspections in the arial, wa area.  There is one that comes to mind, and I truly hope you didn’t purchase this home.  There is one tank up there that the house was built on, and the foundation poured over the top.  Please tell us you didn’t buy that nightmare.  If you want to send me the inspection report via email, I would not charge you for it.

So to answer your question, there is no way of knowing until one of us septic contractors show’s up onsite and assesses the situation.  It could be as low as $4,000.00 and on up.  It all depends, plus you should always get multiple bids.  And be present, and make sure you have a crystal clear understanding of what’s going on.

 

Thanks so much for emailing us,

 

Ronnie

360-686-0505

360-608-6547

ronnie@firstcallseptic.com

 

 

Poor Septic Riser Installation

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Here is an example of a very poor riser installation.  Now this homeowner saved about 100 bucks when he put his riser installation out to bid.  Without asking why this bid was about 100 bucks cheaper he simply assumed all septic work is the same, and only the price is the difference.

Leaking septic tank riser

 

This company didn’t use a proper custom seal for the area between the septic tank and the abs riser material.  Remember, these are unlike materials.  They don’t weld or glue together at all.  We have to use a 2 part epoxy designed for septic installations, remember the gasses, and for the unlike materials.  But then we also have to use a custom seal.  For that we use bentonite clay.  That clay puts a barrier around that seal that’s clay.  It never gets hard, brittle, cracks, or breaks.  It’s clay.  Now this stuff isn’t that cheap, but multiply 7 risers and inlet and outlet pipes and it adds up to about a 100 bucks.  Hence the 100 dollar difference.

 

But now the bad news.  The septic system is taking on so much ground water, that the drainfield is backing up sewage and ground water all over the place.  Ground water is above the septic tank, but below the riser.  So you can’t see it, until you look into the riser and down into the tank.  Also that tank seal is about 6 feet down.  It will now need an excavator to redig it back up, under water mind you, so we’ll be pumping the water out to reseal it under water.  I cannot explain to you how difficult and expensive this is.  To redig these seals will be around 800 bucks.  Now consider that the next time three companies shoot bids.  Their could be reasons that the lowest bid is the lowest.  But in this case, it was the most expensive, cause now we have to dig it back up and reseal.  And that competitor is out of business.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

Septic Riser upgrade installation

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Here is a series of pictures.  Beginning to end of a riser installation.  If you ask, “what is a riser.” Let me explain and then the pictures will show you.  First.  Septic tanks are placed under ground, and access lids are cut into them.

Beginning of riser installation upgrade.

Beginning of riser installation upgrade.

For an inspection or pumping service, the lids must be located, dug out, serviced, and then backfilled.  And in this case, the homeowners have cute dogs that would get all dirty every year after their inspection.  Now these tanks were shallow enough that there was no charge for the digging.  But they were tired of having the mess in the back yard every year for their inspection.  Plus they could see me struggle to remove these very heavy concrete lids.  Now honestly, I think they chose to have the system upgraded cause they didn’t want to see me hurt my back.  And for that I thank them immensely.  Lifting those old concrete lids are back breaking work.

Septic tank exposed.

Septic tank exposed.

Now there is a concrete lid on a concrete riser and you can see the electrical outlet for it.  This is the pump tank.  Or sometimes called a dosing tank.  This is where water is stored to be able to send out a dose to a sandfilter, sandmound, or drainfield.  But they didn’t like the concrete lid as it was not secure.  Any child could open the tank and have a look inside, and the risk was too much.  Just think about it for a second.  Wondering where your little Timmy went, and seeing the tank lid off.  It’s not even worth thinking about.  So she wanted that concrete riser and concrete lid replaced with a secure abs riser and lid.  They are secured by screws and have an airtight and watertight gaskets and seals.

Now the only thing that First Call Septic couldn’t do was put the electrical box inside the pump tank riser.  Now this is possible when done by an electrician.  But I strongly suggest against it.  It is much harder to diagnose pump or switch issues when the electrical box is inside that tank.  Plus, remember, when sewage is breaking down it creates a gas called hydrogen sulfide gas.  Then a bacteria moves in to feed on that gas, and it’s by-product is sulfuric acid, and it eats all metal electrical connections, and creates problems about 15 years into service.  Now sometimes that’s a risk a homeowner wouldn’t mind taking, as they really don’t want to see the electrical box.  And that’s okay, I just want the homeowner to know all the details, and they can make the decision that better suits their family.

Now in this case, leaving the electrical box on the outside made more sense.

Risers installed on the septic tank

Risers installed on the septic tank

Here are the pictures of the risers installed and welded down with 2 part epoxy.  We also use bentonite clay to ensure a water tight seal.  We absolutely don’t want any rainwater or ground water to enter a septic system.

 

Now for the moment of truth.  The finished product.  As you can see it nearly looks like the beginning photo. There is no more concrete lid.  The electrical box remains.  We put a light dusting of bark dust over the lids so they don’t have to look at them.

Septic riser after installation

Septic riser after installation

I actually don’t mind the look of green lids, but now just a broom and then you expose the lids.  Two screws, and you’re in.  It’s great in case of an emergency, and to have a quick look inside.  That is good for when you don’t know if you need to call a plumber, or the septic guy.

 

Now it took four hours from beginning to end of riser installation.  Now this customer was so happy with our work and installation, that she asked to have her name and email address posted on this page.  Her name is Carol Stiff from Brush Prairie, Wa and her email address is kck@turbonet.com.  Thank you Carol for you business, and God bless.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

Update Competitor wrote up system failure Final

Monday, December 5th, 2011

This is the final update on our earleir mentioned competitor wrote up system failure.   This was our first time on site.

Here is the link for the second update for when we came back after our initial repairs.  Reason being.  The tank was missing a lid, but we didn’t want to put any money in that old septic tank, unless we knew the drainfield repairs were going to work.  They worked great, drainfield has been taking waste water and the septic tank is separating water from waste as designed.

Now for the final update on this site.  Drainfield was working well as described above.  But the old wooden top would never work.  Wood rots and people fall in.

old septic tank getting new top lid

Prepping old septic tank to install new lid.

In this first picture you can see the septic tank is in operating level.  That is that the water is at it’s designed operating stage.  You can see the newly cured lid with three precast holes in the back ground.  It was in excess of 800 lbs and took a pretty big excavator to get it into place.

There were large roots in this job, about the size of my arms.  This was what really slowed us down.

Prepping septic tank 2

Prepping septic tank 2

The next picture is another prepping of the old septic tank to a new lid.  That is the tenant overseeing the operation for the homeowner who lives out of state.  I always recommend the homeowner putting someone out there that they can trust.  We have nothing to hide, but I hate it when something comes up and the homeowner isn’t there to see with their own eyes.  What we do here isn’t too much rocket science, and I don’t want anyone thinking that we make this stuff up.  I’d rather have someone there to see with their own eyes.

Placing the new septic tank lid on the old septic tank

Placing the new septic tank lid on the old septic tank

In the next picture the excavator is placing the new lid on the old tank.  This is the last time that this septic tank will see the light of day for a long time.  Hopefully a very long time.

 

 

 

final product.  Repairs on septic system complete.

final product. Repairs on septic system complete.

And in this very last image, is the final product.  We put access risers on the septic tank lid to the surface.  Now this homeowner will have instant access to their septic tanks with an allen head wrench.  These lids are water tight and air tight.   Now it was really wet at the time we made this repair, so the dirt is so lumpy and muddy mess.  But we made it look the best we could.  Also the white stuff is the ag lime we placed down to neutralize the bacteria that escaped during the repairs.

When this homeowner was caught off-gaurd with their system failure report from my competitor he was looking at nearly $17,000.00 to put in a new septic system.  He lives in an area where the ground has a difficult time accepting ground water.  These systems get very expensive.  His total repairs with us was under $2,200.00 including the sales tax.

Now that’s a great deal.

 

So, please. I cannot stress this enough.  People usually assume that all septic service is the same, that the only difference is the price.  Please understand that we run an honest company.   People in our area have told our customers.  If First Call Septic cannot fix the system, it cannot be fixed.  In most cases it can be.  This is one of them.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie