Archive for July, 2012

Septic Tank Additives

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

This is  a great video.

Now I did start recording a bit late.  But here’s how the story goes.  This is a home with two people living inside.  This tank is only 3 years old.  They use a commonly known septic tank additive every month.  They have been using it religiously.

So they started backing up in the home.  They were confused and called us to find out what was wrong.  The septic tank was completely full of solids and toilet paper.  I asked her what she thought the “additives” did.  She said that it breaks down the sewage in the tank leaving a tank full of clean water.  Just like the commercials.

I then showed her the septic tank. She was completely shocked and in awe that there was anything even in there.  This tank was full, and bad.  I asked her what she thought it was doing after she saw the contents.  She said it best.  “Nothing at all.”

She is correct.  We showed her the back of the bottle.  Everyone reads the front, but no one reads the back.  It clearly states that this does not replace regular septic pumping maintenance, and septic tanks need to be pumped every 3-5 years.

She then said, “What’s the point of using this stuff then?”  I said, “Exactly.”  Save your money.  Just clean your tanks.  Remember, septic systems have been around for more than a 100 years.  Those companies have only been around for 30 years.  They were working just fine before them, and in my experience, they don’t do anything besides eating a whole in your purses/wallets.

The second video below this one is what it looks like when the septic tank is all cleaned out.  The sewage crushing machine has liquified the entire septic tank, and is now vacumming out the contents.  This is how it’s done, in case you were wondering.  🙂



Thanks for reading,



Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Here is a video of a clogged inlet baffle.  There are two reasons why this house backed up into the house.  The inlet pipe, abs plastic, was installed too far into the tank, and too close the concrete baffle.  And the second is excessive toilet paper use.

Really exciting stuff.


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Leaking Septic Tanks

Saturday, July 28th, 2012
Closeup of leaking cinderblock septic tank

Closeup of leaking cinderblock septic tank

We found another leaking septic tank.  This septic tank was homemade with cinder blocks.  This homeowner had never had it back up into the house, so assumed everything was okay.  During a routine inspection we had to tell them the tank has never worked like a tank and needed replaced.  The sewage was leaking out the septic tank and going straight to ground water.

Leaking Cinder Block Septic Tank

Leaking Cinder Block Septic Tank

Now I understand that there are those that would say, “well, if the sewage leaks out the tank, or the drainfield, what’s the difference?”

Please remember that there are three types of bacteria and pathogens, in human waste, we need to kill before releasing the wastewater back into the environment.  I know this is a hard concept to get a handle on, but when we release the water back into the environment it is recycled.  It heads back down to groundwater, wells pull it back up and it’s fresh water again.  I’m sorry if that grosses anyone out, but it is the truth and is fact.  We must take care of how we treat our wastewater onsite.

What does Septic Mean?  It means that the environment in the septic tank is void of all oxygen.  Or it’s gone septic.  Why is this important?  Well, we have to remember why we are treating wastewater.  There are three important types of bacteria in wastewater we must destroy before releasing into the environment.

1. Aerobic Bacteria and Pathogens:  Need oxygen to survive

2. Anaerobic Bacteria and Pathogens:  Need absence of oxygen to survive

3. Facultative Bacteria and Pathogens:  These are harder to destroy, because they don’t care if there’s oxygen or not.

Now how do we treat all three.  Well.

1. Aerobic Bacteria and Pathogens:  The septic tank is the best place to destroy these.  See being a septic tank, if you took a dissolved oxygen measurement out of the wastewater, it would read zero.  That’s right, there will be no dissolved oxygen in that water.  So the Aerobic Bacteria perish here.  But let’s not forget the other reason we need a septic tank. It’s to separate liquid from solids and only allow liquids to enter the drainfield.  If you allow your septic tank to get too full, it will lose that ability and will send solids out to the drainfield, essentially plugging it up and needing replacement.  (Now I have been asked this)  If the septic tank is leaking out the bottom why is it that it needs repair.  What’s the difference if the sewage gets out of the septic tank or the drainfield.  Please remember, the sewage needs 72 hours of septic tank treatment for clarification and to kill aerobic bacteria found in human wastewater.  If we simply flush the water down to a leaking tank, it’s going to head straight down to ground water without adequate anearobic, anaerobic, or facultative treatment.  We cannot skip any one of these steps as we can hurt our environment and make others very sick. Oh, and possibly contaminate your very own well water.

2. Anaerobic Bacteria and Pathogens:  These don’t like oxygen and will die in the presence of oxygen.  In a traditional septic system’s drainfield.  It is the drainrock that was installed that they die here.  Pretty much as soon as they hit the drainrock.  Now beneath the drainrock there is soil, but that’s the next and final step.

3.  Facultative Bacteria and Pathogens:  These don’t care about oxygen at all.  They will survive either way.  But through plain old friction alone, in the soil beneath the drainrock, they get hung up.  And die.  All within six inches of leaving the drainrock.

Pretty cool stuff huh?

Now it can be a bit hard explaining to a homeowner that they are experiencing problems.  Here’s why.  A homeowner like this one, will say, But I’ve never had a problem.  We’ve never even had to pump it.  In over 40 years.  And now I get to try my hardest to educate and explain to them that the septic tank was not built as a tank at all, and it’s never backed up or needed pumped because it is just leaking into the ground without the 72 hours of septic tank treatment to kill off the harmful aerobic pathogens and bacteria.  But once I can get them to understand how all this is supposed to work, it doesn’t take much for them to let us replace the tank.  And get their wells tested.


Thanks for Reading,




Veteran’s Day Offer

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

No one took us up on our Veteran’s day offer. So one of my customer’s for many years, Mr. Bradley needed a septic inspection. A little history on Mr. Bradley. He is a World War II Veteran. Senior citizen. He is 83 years old and full of life.

His Uncle used to work in the Septic field many many years ago.
Every time I service his place, I put aside another hour just to talk. Hear old time war stories, and his adventures.

Yesterday, I spent about 2 hours at his place. The inspection only took about 20 minutes, but I am always impressed that guys like him actually existed in real life. A True Time War Hero.
So it was time for me to get to my next job. I told him that I was looking for one Senior Veteran to give my services too, and no one ever claimed it. And since he was my customer for years, I was performing the entire service for free. I would pay taxes, filing fees, and county fees.

Now this is where things didn’t go as planned. He absolutely refused. He was very persistant. I tried to drive off, but he would not allow me to leave. He thanked me for what I was trying to do, but he knew that the truck is expensive to run. 3.5 mpg usually means about 30-60 in fuel per job. He said that’s how I put food on my table, and keep a roof over my head. So I asked him if he’d be happy if he’d meet me in the middle. And this made him happy. I thanked him for his service, and my freedom. We both parted ways, and I will see him again next year.

And this incident really got me to thinking. How things are different in two generations. I mean think about it. I have offered my services for free before. I don’t do it often because I would go bankrupt fast.

And in the other few cases. The homeowners were more than happy to accept my free work, and having my company cover all costs involved. I have no regrets either. But in his eyes, that was unacceptable. I think I may be a bit like Mr. Bradley.

I have had people offer to do things for free for me. Like when my pump went out on my vacuum truck, a close friend replaced a coupler for me. And when it came time for the bill he just told me, no don’t worry about it. I simply told him that he is a super nice guy, but his shop won’t survive giving away his work. Niceness doesn’t pay the light bill and the lease on the shop. And I paid him anyways, and I am sure I paid him more than what the bill would have been. But it’s the way I am .

It just goes to show why I really love my job, I have the greatest clients. And I look forward to talking to each and every one of them.

I’m going to disappear on my motorcycle today. I will be back on tuesday evening. Have a great weekend and enjoy the weather.

Thanks for reading,



Septic Vacuum truck is back online

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

I forgot to post the repair is complete.  It was just an o-ring.  Thank god.

Thanks for reading,