Posts Tagged ‘la center’

Lack of Septic Pumping leads to Septic System Failure

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

This septic emergency was because of lack of maintenance.

This client was under the impression that you never need to pump the septic system, unless it’s giving you trouble.  He adds septic tank additives every months.  It’s never giving him a problem before.

Unfortunately, over 8 years, it completely packed with solids.  All a septic tank does is separate liquids from solids and allow liquids to enter the drainfield.  If the septic tank get’s too full, it will allow solids to enter the drainfield, and cause it to fail.  This homeowner thought he was taking very good care of his system.  No garbage disposal.  Doesn’t flush any garbage at any time.  Just toilet paper.  Added septic additives.  He was shocked to see that the system is now failed.  It filled up with water, and the drainfield could not accept any water, and backed up within minutes of pumping the septic tank.  Now the entire system will need to be replaced with a system that’s up to code.

This septic system failure could have been easily avoided by cleaning the septic tank every 4-6 years.

Estimated cost of system replacement $8,000-$13,000 if county allows replacement.  The county may require city sewer hook up because it’s close.  Estimated cost to hook up to city sewer $18,000 to $25,000.  Estimated cost of pumping a septic tank every 4-6 years $380.00.

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 tank backed up due to a clogged filter

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Here is a friendly tip if you’re backed up in an emergency.  This home has a 2 compartment septic tank and an outlet filter that screens the effluent going to the drainfield.  This filter should be cleaned annually.  There is diaper wipes in this tank, so we pumped it out the same day.

In the video I pulled the filter out and put it back in right away, didn’t want to send too much unscreened effluent to the drainfield.  I forgot to video the portion where we wash it off with a garden hose.  It’s simple, just hose it off and put it back.

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

Septic Tank Baffle Inspection

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

This is a Septic Tank Baffle Inspection:  Does not include the rest of the sludge and scum measurements or anything like that.  I was working alone today, and saw that this was a great opportunity to video this part.

These are the baffles that are located within a septic tank. These happen to be made of concrete and the outlet is rotting badly. The outlet baffle is the component that separates liquids from solids. The drainfield can handle water, nothing more, and that is the function of the outlet baffle. This tank needed pumping and you can see how soft the outlet baffle is. It is going to crumble during pumping. It was replaced today with new ABS Plastic baffle, with has no reaction between Hydrogen Sulfide gas and itself. It’s inert. So the repair is a permanent repair. Sorry, I was working alone today, and could not film the repair. But here’s the video.

 

Thanks for Reading,

 

Ronnie

Removing a clog from Septic tank inlet baffle

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Below is a video of a clogged inlet baffle.  This homeowner called us out for a pumping and thought his septic tank needed cleaned.  It did need cleaned, but for other reasons.  The tank was backed up due to a clogged inlet baffle.  And this advice could save you money in a case of a backup.

Just a reminder, this video is not an inspection.  A true inspection will involve sludge and scum measurements, second compartment (if applicable) inspection, and outlet baffle inspection.

Once unclogged, contact your local approved septic inspection contractor for an inspection.

Thanks for reading,

 
Ronnie

 

Interesting business plan from competitor

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

This goes under the heading of: “I can’t make this stuff up”

This story is unbelievable.

Client purchases a home.  There is a deficiency marked on their septic system from competitor.  “Outlet Baffle is broken”

Client calls my competitor who wrote up the deficiency and asks them to repair it.

Competitor tells homeowner that they need to dig up the tank first.  (This is outrageous to me, for one, I know exactly where to dig.  It takes me all of five minutes.  Plus I have to imagine the homeowner dug up the entire tank.  Because they don’t know any better.)  I don’t even charge for digging but to have a client do it, is well, I can’t find the words to describe what it is.

After Client digs up their own tank she calls the competitor that its ready.

Competitor tells her for $50 bucks he’ll tell her where to buy the repair parts and she can fix it herself.

She called us and booked the appointment.  After finding out we would have dug out the tank for free as it would only take us about 5 minutes.  And it took her all day, as she dug out the entire tank, and not just the access lid.

I will post pictures of this project when it is done.  She is scheduled for later this week.

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

What does it cost to pump a septic tank

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Customer uses First Call Septic because our rates are clearly posted.  Visit the Rates Page for more details.

Yesterday I received, what I call, “Tire Kicker Call”. You may wonder what that is.

Person calls in checking prices, but has a million other questions about price. This usually happens when a customer has been burned by another in my field.

Example: What if the tank has lids that need opened? What do you charge now?
Or What if the lid is hard to get off, or is heavy? What’s the charge now?
What if you need to dig up the tank? What’s the charge now?
What if you have to clean the filters and screens?

I don’t get these calls often, but I directed them to my Rates page. I told the homeowner that my rates are clearly posted on my website. Which is a legal document if someone decides to take me to court over a charge.

We are the only Septic Company, in our area, that clearly posts rates on the website.

And I was correct, the homeowner called around, trying to get other companies to “Stick” to their price. Come to find out, there was a hole bunch of possible “Other Charges.”

I told him that as long as he was sure about the digging depth of his tank, he could write the check out now, and put it on the counter. The price will not change.

Now that he’s booked, I am sure the price will change. But he will be shocked as it will be $10.00 less. As he sounds to be senior citizen. I also don’t “Make” Senior Citizens “Ask” for a senior discount. I just apply it at time of service.

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Neglected Septic Pump Screens

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Here is a video of what happens when these screens are not cleaned annually.  And there is no “septic technician” in a bottle.  There’s no magical chemical that you flush that can clean this screen.  It needs to be completely disassembled and cleaned.  There’s no other way around it.

The consequences of not performing this maintenance, will be a pump that is starved and eventually burns up.  And these are not cheap pumps at all.  They start out at about $400 to replace and on up.  And I really mean that.  On up.

Enjoy the video and thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

 

 

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.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

 

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,

 

Ronnie