Posts Tagged ‘battle’

Grease down drains on Septic

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Just a friendly reminder to never put grease down your drains. Especially if you’re on septic. Believe me, there’s not enough water in your hot water heater to melt this grease. Not that you would want to anyways, the next step from here is the drainfield. Imagine what grease would do to dirt.

Save your money, we would rather have normal, routine, septic pumping jobs than this. This really does create a lot more work. More work and harder the job, the cost increases. Plus with our treatment plant rules and regulations, this load cannot go to them. It will be rejected, and we’ll have to truck this load all over 2 states to find someone who’ll accept it.

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

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.

Service Call Fee for Septic Bids

Saturday, April 1st, 2017
Here’s another story for the “I cannot make this stuff up file.”
 
Let’s talk fees for a second. Our “Service Call Fee” is $125.00. That fee get’s our truck on site and starts working for emergencies. But then we go by the hour plus parts until we are done.
 
There are other guys out there that’ll do a $75.00 service call.
 
We lose some work to this problem over the phone. One needs to understand the difference.
 
So let me set up this senario that happened yesterday.
 
Client calls up a service call by competitor. It’s $85, super cheap. But when they show up to replace a 2 foot section of pipe underground was bid out at $1,200. And it’s only 24 inches underground.
 
Client didn’t call me because that’s something I don’t really do. It’s the pipe between the house and the septic tank called the “Transport Line”
 
Client calls me up and asks if I do this type of work, I say no. Not really. But he tells me the bid, and my jaw drops. That can’t be right, I must be missing something.
 
I told him I would do it. But be prepared it could cost $600-$800 dollars. I’m shooting from the hip here, as I am not there looking at it.
 
I arrive. Service Call is $125.00 to get there. I dig out the line, 1.5 hours of labor. 2 fittings and a section of pipe and bentonite clay, was about $50.00. We used the client’s own gravel to bed the pipe.
 
His bill was under $400.00. Still far under my “Over-the-phone-shooting-from-the-hip” of $600-800.
 
And way super less expensive than the $1,200 bid from competitor.
 
Food-for-thought. $125 service call isn’t that bad anymore.
 
Thanks for reading,
 
Ronnie

Groundwater intrusion by heavy rains and high groundwater solved

Friday, February 10th, 2017

 

This homeowner did not want to divert water by digging rain drains and ditches. Super nice yard, didn’t want dug up.

One option is to trench the water to off of the tanks and direct water downhill.  Frenchdrains work great for this too.  But in this case, the homeowner’s yard would have been destroyed to his house as that’s where the raindrains are, down hill.

So we chose another alternative means to divert groundwater and rainwater off of his septic tank.

This is another option, put in a dry well to a pump. This is a rough backfill, because the area is super soppy. It will need cleaned up better when dryer weather is back.

This system just sits plugged in and waiting. Costs nothing to run when water levels are low. But when water levels come up and it starts raining hard, the pump will kick on and send the water away from the septic.

 

 

how septic systems work

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Watch this video for a basic understanding how simple septic systems work.

This applies to all Gravity Septic systems.

The more you know

 

 

Thanks for watching,

 

Ronnie

Septic System Inspection Video

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Here is an example of what a video of a septic inspection for a real estate transaction where a video is required.  This buyer called us to inspect this system and didn’t know where the components were, and this house was Bank Owned.


This inspection cost this buyer $135.00, “Cowlitz County” rate.  No additional charges to find the tank, nor dig it out.  Although, this lid was super duper heavy, and I required the homeowner’s assistance to get that lid off.

Thanks for reading and watching,

 

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

Septic tank under deck access hatch

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

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Septic Tank under Deck Hatch Cover

All to often we see a septic tank in the back yard.  And the homeowner would like to add a deck.  A large deck that extends over the septic tank.

That does create a huge problem for the septic contractor.  We need access.  Not just a few boards removed.  If we can only remove a few boards, we are limited in our cleaning ability.  We need room to remove all the waste from the tank. Liquid and solids.

20140708_114907[1]

Septic Tank under Deck Hatch Cover

20140708_114915[1]

Septic Tank under Deck Hatch Cover

Here we can see a deck access hatch cover installed by a general contractor.  It is not a good idea to use a septic contractor to do these types of projects as we are “Specialty Contractors” and are not licensed nor insured for this type of work.  This is why we always refer Bob Putnam for this type of work in our area.  In case the link doesn’t work on your browser his website is http://www.rputnamconstruction.com/.  His email is rputnamconstruction@gmail.com and his phone number is 360-901-0821

 

He has years of experience doing this and other types of work around the house.  He comes with First Call Septic’s highest of recommendations.  He is honest, fair, and does each job with the highest of precision.  Work with him and you’ll see, that there is a difference in General Contractors.

Thanks for reading,

 

Ronnie Tamez

 

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.