Solving a Problem
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 Solving a Problem

A few weeks ago, my husband and I met with a general contractor. We talked with this professional about building an addition onto our small home. At this time, he informed us about a problem with our septic tank. We learned we would have to relocate a couple of septic lines before construction could begin on our home. Are you considering building an addition onto your house or business? Before you get too far along in this complex process, think about consulting with someone from a reputable septic service in your area. An expert from a septic service can inform you if your current septic tank will be large enough to accommodate the addition. On this blog, I hope you will discover the most common tasks performed by septic services. Enjoy!

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Why "It Seems To Work Fine" Is Not A Good Way To Tell If Your Drains And Septic System Are Okay

Debra Chapman

Some homeowners don't bother getting their septic tanks pumped every few years (or ever) and don't get to drain cleaning unless they're completely clogged. There are a number of reasons for this, most of them inadequate. Of course, getting the tank pumped can be one of those tasks that you keep meaning to do and then having to put off, but if you neglect it because you don't believe it needs to be pumped as often as the professionals say, or because you think it seems to be working fine, you may need to reexamine your thinking. Here's why "it seems to be working fine" is not an indication of drain and septic system health.

Out of sight, out of mind

You can't actually see your drains and septic system, so you can't examine them the way you can with your roof, for example, to determine whether they're still performing well or not. When a septic tank is overused (for example, if you have way too many people living at your house or haven't had the tank pumped in a decade) the tank capacity can't successfully separate the liquid wastes from the solid wastes. Can you tell if this is happening by taking a glance at the leach field? Not likely, especially not at first. You can't see the pipes that are designed to take the liquid waste out to the leach field, so you can't tell if they're holding liquid waste or if they're being slowly clogged by the addition of solid waste overflowing from the tank.

Both septic systems and drains can take a lot of abuse and then fail catastrophically

If your tank is overused and abused, it can start malfunctioning by pushing solid waste out into the pipes that are only supposed to hold liquid waste. And if you flush plastic-containing items like disposable flossers, cotton swabs, and tampon applicators down your toilet, these can float to the pipes and start clogging them up as well. But even if these non-liquid items are getting into the pipes, it's entirely possible for drains and pipes to just keep functioning slightly less efficiently until the blockage builds up through the entire length of the pipe or drain and then starts backing up. At this point if you keep using the system, catastrophic failure could occur. You could end up having to replace all the solidly blocked pipes and/or the entire septic system, not to mention anything in your house that gets contaminated by the septic tank backups.

Septic tank health isn't just about whether or not your toilet will flush. It's your entire human waste (and liquid waste) disposal system, and you need it every single day, so it deserves a little care. Septic tank care is pretty hands-free, since usually all you have to do is avoid abusing it and schedule a tank pumping every few years.


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