- What is a septic system?
- What are the most common septic system problems?
- How do I maintain my septic system?
- How often should I pump my septic tank?
- How can I maximize the life of my septic system?
- What is the Process for having my Septic System Repaired?
Septic systems are self-contained waste water treatment systems, generally installed underground, and contain two major components—the tank and the drain field. The tank, made of concrete or fiberglass, is the watertight box customized with an inlet and outlet pipe. Waste from the home travels to the tank through a sewer pipe where the waste is then treated naturally through a process of separation. The waste water then forms three layers inside the tank; the first being the “scum” layer, which is made of oils and grease that are lighter than water and float to the top of the tank. While the solid waste, which is heavier, sinks to the bottom of the tank, the middle layer contains “clarified” water. Bacteria inside the “scum” layer, and the solids, work in conjunction while breaking down solids. Waste that cannot be broken down by bacteria remains inside the tank until the tank is pumped.
The “clarified” water flows from the tank through a discharge pipe, where the water is then moved through the drain field, referred as an effluent disposal field. The effluent disposal field consists of approved drainage materials, buried less than 6-feet below the earth’s surface. Waste water is distributed throughout the field evenly, allowing for dispersion into the natural earth, where the soil acts as a biological filter to cleanse the water before it returns to the natural water table.
Full Septic Tank: Have you noticed sewage back-up in your bathrooms or kitchen plumbing? Sewage back-ups in the home could be the result of a full septic tank. The solution to your problem is to immediately have your septic tank pumped and the effluent disposal field should be inspected for failure. To prevent future septic disruption and damage, perform regular maintenance and have your septic tank pumped as needed.
Drain Field Failure: Have you noticed wet soil in your yard, lying water where there shouldn’t be, or a foul odor in the area of your drain field? The lying “water” in your yard could actually be the waste water from your septic tank, which is a health code violation in any state. The problem is likely the result of a build-up or failure, in the drain field. In order to keep your family and pets safe from disease, your septic field should be repaired promptly.
Tank Failure: Sometimes septic tanks and the sewer line to the tank can become infested with roots. If this happens the tank and line should be cleaned of all roots. The septic tank and sewer line should be inspected for structural damage. If a repair is not possible, the tank or sewer line should be replaced.
Clogged Filter: Filters are now required on new tank installations by the Department of Public Health, in both Mobile and Baldwin County. If your system is new and has a filter, or if you have been experiencing sewage back ups inside your home, this could be the result of a clogged filter. To resolve the issue, your septic tank should be pumped immediately and the filter should be cleaned.
The importance of a properly maintained septic tank is essential for the health of your family and pets. However, many homeowners often do not know how to perform simple checks to prevent future septic issue inside or outside the dwelling. One Call Plumbing Service offers these tips and information on how you can properly maintain your septic system.
Homeowner must first consider how many people reside in the home, and from this information gauge the amount of waste water generated based on water use of the residents. After estimation, consider the volume of the solids in the waste water, and remember that the use of your kitchens garbage disposal will increase the amount of solids. One Call Plumbing Service recommends that the average household, with four to five residents, should have their septic tank pumped every four to five years.
Although your drain field does not usually require maintenance, One Call Plumbing Service recommends that your family adhere to some simple rules:
Use less water for less stress on the septic system. Flow reduction nozzles on showers and low-flow toilets can help.
Do not drive over, or park your vehicles on the drain field. This includes campers, trucks, or heavy equipment.
Do not plant trees or shrubs closer than 100ft from the field line area.
Do not pour concrete or asphalt on top of the drain field. Grass is always the best cover.
Do not divert any water runoff into the drain field.
Install rain gutters to help move excess water away from the septic system. This will keep it from getting clogged.
The professional plumbers of One Call Plumbing Service empathize with their clients and homeowners when faced with septic tank woes. The septic system itself can be confusing for the layman, and the repair can be equally so. But by educating yourself on good practices and septic maintenance, you will be more equipped to make informed decisions about your system repair. If you are a resident of Mobile or Baldwin County, OCPS is licensed and continually educated on all aspects of septic system repair and Mobile and Baldwin County Health Department Codes and standards.
Mobile and Baldwin County Septic System Repairs Process:
Septic system repairs in Mobile and Baldwin County begin with a perk test. Perk tests must be performed by an approved engineer or soil classifier, a list of both can be obtained from the Mobile County Health Department or the Baldwin County Health Department. Be advised that if your property already has an existing septic system, an existing perk test may be on file. Once the perk test is in hand, or performed for the property, the homeowner is required to submit an application for septic system repair to the Mobile County Health Department, or the Baldwin County Health Department, whatever county the dwelling resides. Once the application has been approved, a licensed septic system installer is permitted install your septic system.
Approved Materials for Field Line Installation:
>Gravel and Perforated Pipe
*System is approved graveless system. Mobile and Baldwin County approve a 40% reduction in the size of the system in most circumstances for using graveless pipe.