Posts Tagged ‘battle ground’

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/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

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

 

Septic alarm and what it means

Friday, May 30th, 2014

This is a working model of a basic septic systems pump and alarm for a pressure drainfield, sand filter, or sand mound.  Geogrpahically, these two yellow float switches are located in the tanks with the wastewater.  The light signifies the pump.  When I raise the lower float switch, you must imagine my hand as wastewater.  This is what will trigger the pump to turn on.  The light comes on.  When the lower float is lowered, the light goes off.
Now if something goes wrong with the pump the water levels will reach higher than normal.  When the upper yellow float is raised, it sounds the alarm.  When the water level goes down, the alarm will silence itself.

Now if the alarm is randomly going off, and appearing to reset itself, is an indicator that a pump is starting to go bad or a component is starting to plug up.  I have seen people think that the alarm is malfunctioning and unplug it.  And later cause themselves a very expensive bill.

I hope this demonstration helps those looking at the problem.  And as always, if you have any questions, please email or call me.

ronnie@firstcallseptic.com

360-686-0505

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie

Real Estate Transaction Buyer Beware Septic Service

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Here comes another story of, “I just can’t make this stuff up”

Scenario. Buyer and buyer’s agent call me to inspect a septic system of a house that they are going to purchase. I note that
1. There is an electrical problem that needs an electrician.
2. The alarm float has become detached from the float tree and needs to be reattached.
3. The solids levels in the tank show that the tank does not need pumped; however, there is severe diaper wipe contamination and should be pumped out before putting back into service. Garbage cannot be in septic systems.

*Note: I can only pump the tank and fix the alarm. I am not an electrician. Cost for pumping this tank and fixing the alarm. About $300.00

Okay, pretty straight forward. Right?

Wrong. Seller is a flipper in this county. Buys and sells home that are old drug houses and puts on a coat of nail polish and sells them. Listing agent works for this builder and will protect builders interest at all costs.

Listing agent calls for another septic inspection.

This is the actual notes this septic inspector put into the comment section of his inspection. Also note, he never mentions the diaper wipe contamination.

***Alarm float was installed using a loop method ( unattached ) which is an approved method — BUT I agree with previous inspector attaching alarm
float is better method.
This septic tank is listed on drawing as being a 1000 gallon septic tank on as build drawing, not 1250 as reported on previous report.
Accumulations in septic do not warrant pumping this septic tank as they are at about 30 % of county pumping requirements.
Pumping a septic tank prematurely destroys the bacterial environment within the septic tank requiring the bacteria to regenerate. The only benefit
to pumping a tank prematurely is it helps keep as pumpers in business.
Property owner has electrician scheduled to come repair circuits for alarm and pump chamber***

So lets break this down.
1. Alarm float was installed using a “Loop Method”. I have contacted installers and septic designers. No one has ever heard of this “approved method”
2. He notes that the size of the septic tank is 1000 gallons as per asbuilt and not 1250 gallons as I have noted. Asbuilt is wrong, tank is 6 ft diameter, 6 ft operating depth. After match its 1250 gallons. I can’t argue the math.
3. He noted that the tank should not be pumped as it will destroy bacterial environment. Um, this one loses me. It has garbage in it.

So let’s speculate now. We Don’t pump the tank. 6 months to 1 year later, diaper wipes enter the pump station and clog up the pump. This has happened, just go back in my timeline. I have pictures of pumps eating diaper wipes and sending some out to drainfields. The last time this happened it cost the homeowner over $1,600.

So again, fast forward one year. Buyers are living their lives, following all the rules of septic. But some of these wipes make it to the pump. Call me. I come out and tell them that the tank sent diaper wipes to the drainfield and burned out the pump. And then the next thing happens all the time. They tell me that they don’t use diaper wipes and would never flush those. And I have to tell them that they should have pumped the tank when they moved in.

But that is why they hired me. To tell them what they are getting into. I am not telling them to not buy the house. Just letting them know that their septic system should be pumped out because of the garbage contamination.

I have never got into the politics of my business. I just want to go to work and go home. But now I am getting tired of this type of behavior.

Question that comes to mind is, “why is this competitor not mentioning the diaper wipe contamination in his notes? Is he protecting the “builder/flipper” from spending another $300.00

And in case anyone is wondering…..this competitor is the same as the competitor who made homeowner dig up her own tank, and charged another client for a dead goat removal from her tank.

So here we are. I have been doing this for eight years. And in those years, I have had zero complaints filed with my company. And I have files zero complaints of anyone else. But I feel like I have to do what’s right. I can’t allow my voice to only complain on facebook about these guys any longer.

I am filing a legitimate complaint with the Clark County Health Department today. And let them take it from here.

I really hope that the clients of mine, that he has burned, remember, as the Health Department will be contacting them soon. Don’t lie, don’t embellish the truth. Just tell it like it is.

He’s gotta be stopped.

Sorry so long, and thanks for reading,

Ronnie

For updates on this post, please follow the link to my FACEBOOK PAGE and read all comments.  It gets a bit technical, but if you can follow this, you’ll see the outcome.  Send me an email if you have any questions about this.

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

High Water Alarm

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Last night I was with my friends at Rusty Grape Winery. I received an emergency call from a homeowner. Obviously since I had a drink, I could not respond to the emergency of my customer. The emergency was her “Septic High Water Alarm” started sounding off.
Now, what does that mean? Simply, it means the septic system is experiencing a “Higher Than Allowable” water event. A sewage pump must b

e acting up, or failed all together.
I instructed her to stop running all water. That she was on “Code Yellow.” She didn’t know what that means, and that is the cause of this post. If you’re on Septic and if you ever call your septic guy, you need to know what these terms mean.

Code Yellow – Another term for the old saying, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, If it’s brown flush it down.” Code yellow means you can run a small amount of water. No laundry, No dish washing. Really fast showers, and hand washing. We use this term when one experiences a high water alarm.

Code Brown – Or sometimes Code Red is used. When a homeowner starts backing up inside their house. Usually sewage is backing up in a bathtub or toilet that stops flushing altogether. The system needs immediate attention, and “ALL” water usage must stop. Place kitchen mixing bowls in all sinks so people can wash hands and not put Any water down any drain. Throw it outside. And Absolutely no toilet flushing. Any water being run or flushed will just keep backing up. The Septic System will stop backing up if all water is shut off.

If this doesn’t make sense or needs further clarification, please post.

Please share on your Facebook pages for those friends of your’s that have septic systems may know what to do when these events occur.

I have two emergencies today, so everyone have a great Sunday. 🙂 and Thanks for Reading

Septic Tank Additives

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Sometime last week we experienced an emergency call about a septic system only being 3 years old and needing pumped already.  They have used Rid-X septic tank additives religiously over the past three years. And they thought they didn’t have to pump the septic tank if they used their product.

Here is the cut and paste from their website.  It’s also on the package of Rid-X they were using.

“Q: If I use RID-X®, will I still have to have my septic tank pumped?

A: Yes, the average recommended time between septic tank pumpings is 2-3 years, depending on the rate of sediment build-up, family size, and other factors. Used regularly, RID-X® helps break down the solid waste in your septic tank.This may slow the accumulation of solid waste in the tank.”

And here’s the link to their page.

http://www.rid-x.com/faq.shtml

Rid-X has never said use their product and never pump the septic tank again?  Which is so confusing to me.  I don’t know where/how these things get started.  Even Rid-X know’s you will need to pump your septic tank every 3-5 years depending on use.

Below was the septic system that had used Rid-X every month.  And it backed up in 3 years.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmR5xX-lHYQ

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie