Troubleshooting Septic Systems

Don’t Plow The Snow Over Your Septic Tank: Do These Things Instead

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Don’t Plow The Snow Over Your Septic Tank: Do These Things Instead

If you plan to plow or remove snow from over your septic tank this winter, don’t. Although very cold temperatures can freeze the water in the tank and damage its housing, the thick blanket of snow covering the ground over your tank can actually keep it from freezing up. Snow insulates the soil on your property against heat loss. Before you bring out the snowplow, here’s what you should do to protect your septic tank instead. Aerate the Snow One of the things you want to do is keep the layer of snow over your septic tank loose and fluffy. Compacted snow forms a solid layer of ice beneath it that prevents it from absorbing heat. In addition, once compacted snow melts in the spring, the water can saturate the soil around the septic tank and rust or damage it. Aerating the snow saves you problems. Aeration is generally used to improve the oxygen levels in soil by breaking or loosening it up. The more air the soil has, the healthier plants will grow. You can help the snow over your septic tank absorb heat by aerating it. Here’s what you do: Use a large gardening hoe to loosen up the snow covering your septic tank. It’s okay to use a lawn care aerating tool to make this step easier for you. Spread the snow across the tank and areas surrounding it evenly as you aerate it.  Flip or rotate the snow in places to create extra air pockets.  Secure the aerated snow with cones or some other barrier. You want to keep vehicles, people and animals off the snow to avoid compacting it. After you aerate the area, try to keep at least 12 inches of snow over the areas to insulate the tank properly. If it snows during the night and covers the tank too much, use a shovel to remove the excess snow from over the tank until you reach the recommended height. Protect Your Septic Tank’s Pipelines If you know the location of your septic tank’s underground pipelines, aerate the snow over them as well. Sometimes, water can freeze inside the pipelines leading out from a septic tank, because they lack the proper insulation.  Placing mulch and blankets over the pipelines can help protect the tank’s pipelines from freezing temperatures. For the best results, place the insulation down before it snows. You also want to cover the lines evenly and correctly. Here’s what you do: Locate and mark the septic tank’s pipelines with colorful flags and tall sticks or poles. Use only colors that stand out against snow, such as green, red or blue. Place at least 4 inches of mulch over the length of the lines. Spread the mulch out with a rake. Fold the blankets in half, then place them over the mulch. Use bricks or large stones to hold the blankets in place until snow covers them. If the lines freeze over before you have a chance to insulate them, contact your septic tank contractor for repairs. Also, don’t use heating equipment, such as a portable heater or lamp, to thaw frozen pipes in your home. The ice inside your septic tank’s frozen lines can spread to the plumbing lines in your bathroom and kitchen. The thawed pipes can flood your home and damage...

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Tree Roots And Your Septic System: Why They’re A Problem And What You Should Do

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tree Roots And Your Septic System: Why They’re A Problem And What You Should Do

If you have a septic line that’s clogged, and you’ve got a tree growing within ten feet of the lines or tank, chances are the blockage stems from the roots growing into the line. It tends to be one of the more common obstructions with these systems. This needs to be addressed, but there is a right way and a wrong way. Here’s what you need to know about why roots are so harmful and what you should do to fix the problem without damaging your septic line and the environment. How do you know if roots are the culprit? Even if you don’t have a ton of trees in your yard or near the tank, they are notorious for spreading their roots a long way in order to reach a surplus of water. If you notice odors near your house, have a soggy lawn near the tank, and your tubs, toilets, and sinks are slow-draining, the problem could be roots. Another telltale sign that roots are the problem are little patches of green grass growing along the drain field. This happens where the roots have penetrated the line, and water is seeping out in those areas, keeping the soil watered all the times near those spots.  In order to know for sure, a sewer contractor can typically perform a close inspection or use a camera to capture the culprit on film. So, what’s the problem? Roots growing in the septic line. Tree roots growing into your septic line are a problem even before there are signs. You may think that a few small roots are okay and should be left alone. But anything that can penetrate the pipes can ultimately lead to costly repairs. Over time, the roots can completely block the line and you end up having to replace the whole system. Roots growing in the drain field. While a portion of the wastewater gets treated before it leaves your septic tank, the rest of the treatment occurs in the drain field. The water percolates through the soil and gravel, getting further filtered until the bacteria and other contaminants are removed. When there are too many roots in the soil, this treatment process becomes hindered. And so it becomes necessary to have those roots removed as well. How do you remove the roots? Do not attempt to do this yourself. You’ll need to contact a sewer contractor or plumber for assistance. Many products used to treat can’t be purchased just anywhere, and you don’t want to run the risk of using dangerous chemicals that will end up in someone’s well or drinking water. 1. Manual removal. You can have the tree cut down, but that’s a rather drastic solution. Plus, this measure alone doesn’t really do anything to address the roots that are already there. Another option is to have the roots mechanically removed from the line. Drill machines and winches are commonly used. The benefit to this method is that the fix is immediate. But this alone also doesn’t work as a long-term solution because the roots will grow back. In fact, they often grow back faster, thicker, and stronger than before. 2. Chemical treatment. Herbicides and other chemicals that will kill the root and spare the tree are a popular choice. For example, a contact herbicide will only...

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