How do I take care of my septic system?

The most important way to take are of your septic system is to pump it regularly. Pump your system at least every 3 years (annually if you have a garbage disposal). Conserve water. Don’t dump non-biodegradables or trash down your toilet or sink.
read more

Are failing septic systems harmful?

An uncared for septic system can be dangerous to the environment and you and your family. Inadequately treated waste-water can transfer diseases such as dysentery, hepatitis, and typhoid fever to animals and humans. Failing systems also leak excessive nutrients and bacteria to rivers, lakes, and the ocean, destroying plant and animal habitat, closing beaches, and hurting the fishing industry. We can help you evaluate the health of your septic...
read more

How Does A Septic System Work?

Sep­tic Tank A sep­tic tank is sim­ply a large con­crete or plas­tic tank that is located under­ground in the yard. The tank will hold a min­i­mum of 1,500 gal­lons of water in a new sys­tem. Waste­water flows into the tank at one end and leaves the tank at the other. The tank looks some­thing like this in cross-​section: In this pic­ture, you can see three lay­ers. Any­thing that floats rises to the top and forms a layer known as the scum layer. Any­thing heav­ier than water sinks to form the sludge layer. In the mid­dle is a fairly clear water layer. This body of water con­tains bac­te­ria and chem­i­cals like nitro­gen and phos­pho­rous that act as fer­til­iz­ers, but it is largely free of solids. A sep­tic tank nat­u­rally pro­duces gases (caused by bac­te­ria break­ing down the organic mate­r­ial in the waste­water), and these gases don’t smell good. Sinks there­fore have loops of pipe called P-​traps that hold water in the lower loop and block the gases from flow­ing back into the house. The gases flow up a vent pipe instead — if you look at the roof of any house, you will see one or more vent pipes pok­ing through. As new water enters the tank, it dis­places the water that’s already there. This water flows out of the sep­tic tank and into a drain field. A drain field is made of per­fo­rated pipes buried in trenches filled with gravel. The fol­low­ing dia­gram shows an over­head view of a house, sep­tic tank, dis­tri­b­u­tion box and drain field: Drain Field A typ­i­cal drain field pipe is 4 inches (10 cen­time­ters) in diam­e­ter and is buried in a trench that has a max­i­mum of 3 feet of cover and 2 feet (0.6 m) wide. The gravel fills the bot­tom 2 to 3 feet of the trench and dirt cov­ers the gravel, like this: There are also inno­v­a­tive alter­na­tive sys­tems that are approved by Mass­a­chu­setts DEP for gen­eral use and reme­dial use. This is an expam­ple of a Infil­tra­tor System: The water is slowly absorbed and fil­tered by the ground in the drain field. The size of the drain field is deter­mined by how well the ground absorbs water. In places where the ground is hard clay that absorbs water very slowly, the drain field has to be much larger. A sep­tic sys­tem is nor­mally pow­ered by noth­ing but grav­ity. Water flows...
read more

Is My Septic System Failing?

A sep­tic sys­tem is a series or group of com­po­nents. The com­po­nents have changed over time, but modern-​day sep­tic sys­tems look like this. They have a large tank, a smaller tank (called a Dis­tri­b­u­tion or D-​box) and a leach field. Pipes con­nect each part of the sys­tem. The rea­son I’m show­ing you this dia­gram is a fail­ure in just one of the com­po­nents could pro­duce some of the warn­ing signs of sys­tem fail­ure. But that doesn’t mean your whole sys­tem has failed! I’ve seen many Title V inspec­tions where the just the D-​Box failed and needed to be replaced, or the Tank had cracked and needed to be replaced. It’s not really a pass/​fail on the whole sys­tem. Some­times, the whole sys­tem does need to be scrapped, but you should always make sure you’re talk­ing to a knowl­edge­able pro­fes­sional. With that, we’ll start with 6 things that may tell you your sep­tic sys­tem is Failing. 1. Your Sys­tem Fails a Title V Inspection If you have a state licensed pro­fes­sional out to inspect your sys­tem, and he tells you it’s fail­ing, well, that’s a bad sign for your sys­tem for sure. An obvi­ous one, but I need to get to 6 here. 2. The ground above your leach-​field is wet If the ground above your leach-​field is soft, wet, or there are pud­dles, and itHASN’T BEEN RAIN­ING, that’s a sign of fail­ure. Your leach-​field is designed to absorb all the house­hold water you pro­duce, and dis­trib­ute it into the soil –with­out sat­u­rat­ing or flood­ing it. Once your leach-​field loses its dis­tri­b­u­tion power, the sys­tem can’t func­tion well, and you’ll have ponding. 3. The Ground above your Sep­tic Tank is has Puddles In a sim­i­lar way, if the water is unable to drain quickly from the tank, than the back up will occur near the tank. This could indi­cate a block­age or fail­ure in one or sev­eral com­po­nents, but is a clear sign of trouble. 4. Your lawn looks great where the tank or leach-​field are There’s another word for human waste — Fer­til­izer! Although we don’t think about it much, the waste we pro­duce has a pur­pose in the ecosys­tem, and that results as hav­ing a fer­til­iz­ing affect on our lawns. If your leach field or tank have grass that is notice­ably greener and health­ier than the rest of your lawn, your sys­tem could be over­flow­ing, and deliv­er­ing waste...
read more