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.
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.
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.
Septic Tank under Deck Hatch Cover
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 email@example.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.