ZEITER’S SEPTICS FAQ’S AND TIPS

Answers to commonly asked questions

How often should I have my septic pumped?

If it is a septic tank and field system, we along with many of the local health departments recommend every 2-3 years depending on the number of people in the household. If it is an aerobic unit, it is recommended that you have it cleaned every other year. The Aerobic bugs will produce much more solid waste then anaerobic bugs.

How do I find my septic tank?

There are a few ways- if we have installed it or serviced it in the past we would have it in our computer. If not, a general rule of thumb is to locate the line coming out of your house, go out about 10′-12′ from the wall and try to locate with a probe. The lid is usually centered on the tank and 1 ft. from the front edge. If that doesn’t do the trick we can flush a transmitter down the stool, and this will float into the septic tank and put out a signal we can pick up with a receiver (however, the line must be open).

Why do I need to have my septic pumped?

The first part of a system is a septic tank, which receives the raw sewage from the home. In the septic tank, the solids are separated from the liquids. Solids heavier than the water sink to the bottom of the tank and become part of the sludge layer. Solids lighter than water float to the surface of the liquid in the tank and become part of the scum layer. The tank clear space or clear zone is located between the sludge and scum layers.

As the sludge layer and the scum layer both become thicker, the clear space becomes thinner. When an excess amount of scum and/or sludge collects in the septic tank some of the solids begin to wash out of the tank with the effluent. These excess solids end up in the second part of an on site sewage treatment system, or commonly called a leach field.

These excess sewage solids begin to clog the soil pores of the soil absorption unit so that not as much effluent can be absorbed and treated by the soil. The capacity of the on site sewage treatment system becomes less and less as more solids flow from the septic tank into the soil absorption system and plug the soil pores.

Finally, enough soil becomes clogged so that the soil absorption unit is not able  to treat all the sewage that flows into it each day. Then there is either a sewage backup in the home or sewage surfacing on the lawn depending on the relative elevation of the house and the lawn where the soil absorption system is located.

What are some signs of a failing septic system?

Wet spots in the yard over the septic field, smell/odor, sluggish drains or gurgling in plumbing, and toilets or showers backing up. Some other signs are if the level in your tank is higher than the inlet pipe, and if effluent runs back in from the septic field.

Do you need to add any chemicals or bacteria to the septic tank?

NO. If your septic has been serviced on a regular basis and is working properly. However, some systems/households do not generate enough bacteria on their own, in that case we recommend adding some type of bacteria cultures. We recommend Propump live bacteria cultures.

How much septic field do I need?

Most counties will either do a percolation test or a soil evaluation hole to determine the soil category or perk rate. Residential systems are sized by the number of bedrooms and soil type. Commercial units are sized by the amount of employees and soil type.

Can I plant trees around my septic tank & field?

Yes, but you need to maintain a minimum distance of 10′ or more especially if it is a shallow root type tree such as a Willow or Silver Maple.

SEPTIC TIPS

It’s all about preventive maintenance

  • Be extremely conservative in the amount of water you use. Remember all water drained into the septic system must be absorbed into the ground.
  • Do not direct non-sewage water into the septic system. This includes footing drains, sump pumps, gutters, and down spouts. Direct all surface water away from all areas of the septic system.
  • Do not flush unnecessary items through the septic system such as: oils, coffee grounds, cigarette butts, paper towels, disposable diapers, newspapers, rags, sanitary napkins, sticks, toys, etc.. NO WET WIPES OR DIAPER WIPES even if they say they are flushable. These items quickly fill your septic tank with solids, decrease the efficiency and do not decompose readily and can clog the entire system.
  • Do not drive or construct items such as patios and decks, driveways, swimming pools, or garages over the septic system.
  • Have your septic tank cleaned at least every 2-3 years and be sure to inspect your baffles in the septic tank after each cleaning. Aerobic/Mechanical units should be cleaned every other year.
  • If you have any comments or other questions please contact us at 815-942-2829.