Posts Tagged ‘clark’

Tree Roots in Septic Tank Removal

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Hello there septic system owners.  This blog post is about trees and what they do to your septic system.  But in this case it’s just the septic tank that stopped working.  They can do all sorts of damage.

This client has been warned for many years.  10 years ago roots had started infiltrating the seams of the septic tank.  At that time the client was told it would be a good idea to cut the trees down by the septic tank.  But client saw “Root Kill” for septic systems.

So here’s a little education on septic systems and root kill additives.  Root kill additives are meant to be put directly into the drainfield.  Flushing them down the toilet, into the septic tank doesn’t do any good.  None of the additive will reach the drainfield.  It’s even on the package to add it directly to the drainfield.  And it does work when applied to the inlet line going to the drainfield, from the septic tank.

 

So for over the next 10 years this client added Root Kill into her septic system by flushing them down the toilet.  The roots continued to grow without the client knowing.  Until one day the system stopped working. Below we tried to break up the roots a little bit with tool called the crustbuster.  Of course it didn’t work, but I was willing to try anything to not have to go inside this septic tank.  But it did mix up the sludge on the floor so the vacuum truck to suck it out, and I wasn’t wading up to my knees in sewage.

 

Now the client wasn’t backing up just yet.  But was selling their house.  During a real estate inspection for the buyer, we removed the lids and saw the root damage.  The buyer could see that these roots couldn’t possible be good for the septic system, and could see that the roots have stopped the whole tank from working as it should.  Buyer decided that he wasn’t going to purchase the home until the problem was fixed.  Now here’s a little lesson on Real Estate Transactions.  Once a problem has been discovered about anything, the seller and the Realtor must disclose this condition to any trying to buy the home.  So needless to say, most people would not buy a home with a septic system in this condition.

 

So now comes time for the repair.  We had to take a shovel and chop a hole through the roots to get a hose to the bottom of the tank.  The pumper sucked out the best it could and then it’s time for “Confined Space Entry”.

We have the canopy set up as it’s raining pretty bad.  We have a tripod set up.  This is what lowers me into the septic tank and pulls me out.  I wear a harness that connects to that tripod.  I have blowers pushing fresh air down to me, and I wear an air monitor that monitors the air I am breathing.  Anything goes wrong the guy manning the tripod would crank me out of the hole.

Once lowered in you can see the damage it created.

I was down there for two hours.  Cutting roots with shovels and pretty much wrecking my sawsall.  But they needed to come out.

About half way during this procedure I did need a break.  This job is the worst root job I have had to this date.  I spent over 2 hours down there, and it was exhausting.  I can feel it in my body now about 18 hours since this job happened.  I am sure to be sore.

So when your septic technician let’s you know that you should remove plants/trees/shrubs, he/she is trying to save you money.  Because even though this is a “Job”, or maybe even “Job Protection”, it’s one that none of us want to do.  We are also trying to save you money.  This expense.  This tree root removal job cost the client about $1,600.00 and could have been avoided by simply removing the trees.  And make no mistake about it, if they don’t remove these two trees, we’ll be back.  Because the trees know that there’s free water right there and fertilizer.

 

Most important is that this is a job none of us want to do.  It’s really gross to be wading around sewage with creepy crawly worms and stuff, spiders, and everything else you can image.  I for one came out a different man then when I went in.  I may need therapy to help me forget this job.  It was a nightmare.

Nu-Water Aerobic Treatment Plant

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

The video attached is a video of a Nu Water Aerobic Treatment Plant by Enviro-flo.

 

The reason we need to have this level of treatment was for the stream and high ground water in this area.  We need to protect our surface and ground water from contamination.  The neighbors well is pretty close as well, so in order to have a home this close this homeowner agreed to have annual maintenance to this system.

Now annual maintenance does not mean it needs pumped out every year.  It just needs monitoring to ensure that we are not contaminating surface and ground water.

We take DO (Dissolved Oxygen) measurements.  This tells us how much Oxygen is dissolved into the water for the Aerobic Bacteria.  A low DO reading would indicate that something was wrong, and I would need to diagnose what.

We also take a Turbidity measurement as well.  Turbidity is a measurement of how much particulates are in the water being released into the drainfield.  It is measured in NTU or Nephelometric Turbidity Units.  Basically our meter passes light through the sample as is able to tell how much light makes it to the receiver.  If the sample is foggy, it will be a high reading.  In this case, it’s near drinking water.  .77 NTU or less than 1 NTU.

This system here is Level B treatment.  There is no Disinfection unit to clean or take care of, because this site didn’t require Level A Treatment.

Also, this system is functioning perfectly.  And will continue to do so as long as it is maintained.  It is normal to pump out the first two compartments every 2-3 years or so.  As to not have excessive solids build up in the plant.

Also note: this is a wastewater treatment plant.  Not too unlike a commercial plant like your city wastewater treatement plant.  The commercercial plant has operators there 24 hours a day 7 days a week monitoring it’s levels and ensuring the community and the environment that it is releasing pure water into the rivers and streams.

This client’s plant is a “Residential” version of the “Commercial” plant.  It is agreed that once per year should be okay for maintenance.  But make no mistake about it.  This system was very expensive and will not “Self Clean” or “Take Care” of itself.

The repairs to a plant that is neglected can reach 10’s of thousands of dollars.  And 100% of the time, the client won’t know damage is being done, until it’s too late and toilets no longer flush, or sewage is backing up in the yard.

Annual inspections only run $110 dollars in Clark County, Wa.   All of our rates are clearly posted on our website at http://www.firstcallseptic.com/septic-rates/

If anyone has any other questions or needs advice, please feel free to send me an email, or leave a comment here.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

septic system homeowner inspection video

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

This link is the best video, by far, I have seen for homeowner self inspection.  Just in case you are one of those that want to share in the joy in septic work.  If you have 25 minutes, please watch this video.  If you don’t wish to participate in your self inspection, at least you will see what we are looking at when inspecting your system.


Now this is filmed for those needing explanations at nearly every step.  But this includes Gravity, Pressure Distrubution, Sand Filters, and Sand Mounds.  This video does not include Aerobic units or Proprietary Septic devices.

One thing to note, it did miss a necessary and mandatory test which is called a “Draw Down” test of all pump chambers.   This tells us two things, 1. how the pump is performing, and 2. how the next component is accepting the effluent.

Slow draw downs are not good.  It can mean the pump is not performing at a rate good enough to scour the lines, and keep the pipes clean, and/or the next component could be plugged and need cleaned.

There is a lot of good stuff here.

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

2012 Septic Pumping and Inspection Price Decrease

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Great news.  Clark County Health Department has dropped a couple of fees that we have had to pass on to our customers.  First is the tipping fees.  This may sound funny, but they used to charge us a “tip fee” for every tank we pumped.  That has now dropped.

The second fee was the Filing Fee.  That has also been eliminated.  This is in an ongoing effort to be able to offer affordable pumping and septic services in Clark County.  This applies only to Clark County as well.  Skamania and Cowlitz Counties are still charging us that “tipping fee.”

Now, I am still unsure what a “tipping fee” is, so please don’t ask.   For every tank we pump the county wants so much per gallon of sewage.   That is not discharge fees, which is a completely different fee from the waste water treatment plant.  I never did understand that tipping fee, but if we didn’t pay it, then we got our licenses pulled.  So we did.

Please visit our pricing page to see the most current list of our pricing.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie