Christmas

Christmas and Your Septic System

Christmas

Christmas can be tough on your septic system.  There are the Christmas guests who come to stay.   Guests bring extra water usage. Laundry increases as well as showers and bathing.   The dishwasher is always running with all the extra dishes from the great, festive meals and goodies that Christmas brings.

Here are some tips to keep your septic system running smoothly and avoid overuse and costly repairs.

  • Be extra careful with water use during the winter months, shorter showers, smaller baths, etc.  Ask your guests to conserve water and keep showers to a minimum.
  • Fix any dripping taps and leaking toilet valves before winter.
  • Check  that no roof water or surface water (manhole covers should be higher than any puddles) enters the system.
  • Buy a set of draining rods before the holidays or put them on your Christmas ‘wish list’. They are invaluable to anyone with a private drainage system and can save you a fortune when drains are blocked.
  • Fill a plastic bottle with water and put it in the toilet tank.  Make sure it doesn’t interfere with the flushing mechanism.   This will reduce the volume of water per flush.
  • Have your septic tank pumped just before the visitors arrive. This gives the soakaway a breathing space to drain away completely.
  • Spread the washing out, using FULL loads, over a period of days.  Saving all the laundry for washing day is not a good plan.
  • Look at the labels. Only choose eco-friendly cleaning products. Avoid antibacterial soap and detergents.  It can kill the good bacteria in your system.
  • Try  hand washing  the greasy items  in a bowl and throwing the water on the garden. It won’t harm your plants.
  • Use air fresheners in the bathroom.
  • If you do get a fat blockage in the drains, DO NOT use harsh drain cleaning products as they are harmful to your septic tank.   Or better yet, use homemade recipes made from natural ingredients.   Try using draining rods instead or call in the professionals at All Clear Septic and Wastewater Services.
  • Prevention is the key to having a great holiday season.  Be prepared and you can spend the holidays enjoying your family and friends and the magic of the season.  Let Septic Preservation Services take the worry out of your holidays.
  • You can reach us at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com
emergency services

All Clear Septic Consulting and Emergency Services

CONSULTING & EMERGENCY SERVICES

In addition to Title 5 Inspections, septic repairs and cleaning services, All-Clear also provides professional consultations to property owners, both residential and commercial.

We understand that most septic problems don’t occur between 9am and 5pm Monday through Friday, so we also offer 24/7 emergency services to our customers. We’ll be there when you need us anytime of day or night.

CONSULTING SERVICES

Do you have a difficult septic problem? Have you called other services that were unable to solve your issues? All-Clear can help to answer all of your septic related questions and help you find solutions that will get your septic system back on track and running properly. We utilize state-of-the-art equipment that can help us to quickly identify and accurately pinpoint the problems that are plaguing your system. At All-Clear, questions are always FREE. Give us a call at 508-763-4431 to ask a question, call us out for a consultation or set up an appointment for an evaluation or inspection.

EMERGENCY SERVICES

Our professional team of licensed and certified technicians are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just call our Emergency Service Center day or night at 508-763-4431 and we will send someone out to take care of your emergency septic problems right away.

All-Clear also offers a Preventative Maintenance Program that can help you stay on top of your septic system to prevent emergency situations in the future. Ask one of our team members about the various programs available for our customers.

Visit www.allclearseptic.com to answer any of your septic needs.

Thanksgiving

Holiday Tips for Your Septic System

Thanksgiving Fall weather is in the air and Thanksgiving is almost here, you’re probably already making your own plans for this year’s holiday gatherings. When the holidays roll around and family comes into town – you’ll want to make sure that you pay special attention to guests in your home and how they could impact your septic system. Here are some septic maintenance reminders for the holidays.

Have your tank pumped out before company arrives.

If you’re having family in town or having a large event, you may want to consider having your tank pumped out before they get into town. Your tank is used to operating at a certain level based on its size and the size of your home. If you’re expecting out of town guests for an extended stay you’ll want to make sure that your septic system is operating optimally to avoid embarrassing backups or drainfield failures.

Remind them about septic system “rules”.

Although it might be a sensitive subject, try to educate your guests about the rules with septic systems, such as not flushing feminine products or other items down the toilet and putting food solids and grease into the garbage rather than dumping them down the drain. These things will help you to avoid backups and malfunctions and keep your system running optimally, no matter how many guests you have.  Limiting the use of your garbage disposal or not using it at all is a good idea with so many different foods at the holidays.

When you have guests in the town, the last thing you want to worry about is a septic system malfunction.  A regular maintenance check before your guests arrive could save you lots of money compared to a septic repair and also help make their stay more enjoyable.

Also, it might be a good time to review your water usage and consider changing over to High Efficiency toilets, sinks, and Energy Star appliances.  Efficient use of water can improve your septic system’s operation and reduce the risk of failure.

Everyone always looks forward to the holidays and getting together with family and friends.  Do your self a favor and call All Clear Septic and Wastewater Services for a maintenance check to make sure your septic system is ready for the holidays and you can relax and enjoy the holiday season.

Call them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

 

 

drain cleaner

Drain Cleaner and Onsite Systems Are a Bad Combination

drain cleanerPublished in Onsite Installer Magazine

www.onsiteinstaller.com

Written by Sarah Heger

Chemicals used in many drain cleaners kill the essential bacteria needed by septic systems.


Septic systems rely on natural bacteria to treat wastewater. Harsh chemicals used in many drain cleaners kill the essential bacteria needed by septic systems.

Chemical drain cleaners are among the most dangerous of all cleaning products to human health. Most contain corrosive ingredients such as sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide (lye) and sodium hypochlorite (bleach) that can permanently burn eyes and skin. Some can be fatal if ingested. Cleaning products are required by law to include label warnings if harmful ingredients are included which are:

Signal word Toxicity if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin
Caution One ounce to one pint may be harmful
Warning One teaspoon to one ounce may be harmful or fatal
Danger One taste to one teaspoon is fatal
Ideally, the products used on all our homes either have no warning or only a “Caution.”

In a study by Gross (1987), a lab study found significant decreases in concentrations of coliform bacteria at very low Drano concentrations. Just 0.1 mg of Drano per liter of septic tank effluent reduced the concentration of coliforms tenfold; 1.3 mg is enough to kill most bacteria, and at 3 mg/L they are destroyed. Three mg/L corresponds to 11.3 grams in a 1,000-gallon septic tank. Also, there was as a slight decrease in pH at higher concentrations of Drano. This amount could possibly be used by a homeowner in a short time period when unclogging a drain. The bacteria population recovers to its original concentration within 48 hours following the addition of the Drano.

Alternatives for customers
Prevent drains from becoming blocked in the first place by having really good catch basins in all drains from sinks, showers, tubs, laundry, etc. This is easily done with inexpensive metal or plastic drain screens. Large food scraps, along with fat, oils and grease should be collected and disposed of with the solid waste or composted when possible, and not dumped down the drain.

The most likely spot for a sink drain to clog is about 6 inches below the drain opening in the trap. If a clog occurs, many times the plumbing under a sink can be removed and manually cleaned. In other instances a plunger may also help to clear the obstruction or a drain auger or snake is used to manually remove the material causing the slow or blocked drain. If the blockage isn’t near enough to the sink to reach with a snake, look for other places to gain entry to the pipe. There should be clean-out ports that can be unscrewed to gain access to pipes for auguring. If it’s a tough hair or scale-type clog, it may be worth it to call in a professional with better equipment to handle those types of blockages.

As a last resort, chemical drain cleaners may be used, but they must be enzyme-based rather than caustic cleaners. Earth Friendly or Naturally Yours are two brands of enzyme-based drain cleaners. Homeowners can  make their own: Put 1/2 cup salt,  1/2 cup baking soda, 6 cups of vinegar down the drain.  Let stand for an hour or so & then pour kettle of boiling water down your  drain. This can be done every 6 months to a year.  It does no damage and can help to keep drains clear.

All Clear Septic and Wastewater Services can answer all your septic questions.  Call them at 508-763-4431 or visit www.allclearseptic.com

RASEM Red Expo

All Clear Septic and Wastewater at RASEM Red Expo

RASEM Red ExpoAll Clear Septic and Wastewater Services was at the RASEM Red Expo in Raynham last week.  Al Rivet and Liz Alves of All Clear were on hand to answer any questions on septic services.  Al participated in the RED Talks and spoke of all the services All Clear Septic and Septic Preservation had to offer to consumers.  These include Title 5 Septic Inspections, septic functional inspections, septic repairs, septic system assessments, septic maintenance, cleaning and pumping to name a few.  He also talked about the Realtor loyalty program All Clear and Septic Preservation offer to local realtors when they refer a client.  He was able to provide many tips for keeping a healthy septic system and avoiding  a septic system failure.  The talk was very interesting and informative and he and Liz were on hand to any clients or realtors with more information on all the services they provide.  Call Septic Preservation with any of your septic system questions at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com
RASEM Red Expo

frequently asked septic questions

FAQ on Title 5

FAQ on Title 5

What do I need to do to sell my house or build an addition on my home?

If you own a home that has a private sewage treatment system in the State of Massachusetts, you are required to have a State-Certified Title 5 Inspector perform an official Title 5 Inspection on your system prior to selling your home or building an addition.

What is a Title 5 Inspection?

Since 1995, the State of Massachusetts has required homeowners to have their private sewage treatment system check thoroughly by a State-Certified Title 5 Inspector. Here is what you can expect from an official Title 5 Inspection – the inspector will:

  • conduct an interview with the property owner
  • research the paperwork for your property at your city’s Board of Health Department
  • survey the general size of the building or list a summary of the number of bedrooms
  • inspects the connection from the house/building to the system
  • inspects the inlet/outlet of the septic tank
  • examines the integrity of the tank
  • measures the liquid/contents of the tank
  • examines the integrity of the distribution box
  • measures the liquid/contents of the distribution box
  • checks the soil absorption system (SAS) condition
  • checks the relation of the system’s water table to the SAS
  • examines the integrity of the pipes using a special “sewer cam” (SPS specialty service, not required by the state)
  • provides an official 17-page document to the local approving authority and the owner, including all findings and a detailed sketch of the system

Is it possible to get an inspection even if I am not selling my home?

Yes, this type of inspection is called a Voluntary Assessment. All of the same steps in the above inspection detail will be taken, however the 17-page document will NOT be sent to your local approving authority – it is for your information only. A Voluntary Assessment is a great way to find out more about your own septic system.  Septic Preservation Services highly recommends this to our clients as a means of properly maintaining, upgrading and repairing your system to prolong its life. Ask us about additional services we can provide to ensure the proper working of your septic system.

Can I get a Voluntary Assessment performed even if I don’t live in Massachusetts?

Yes, Septic Preservation Services is also certified to perform inspections in the State of Rhode Island.

Should I get my system pumped or cleaned before I get an inspection?

Absolutely not. The State of Massachusetts requires that your system be inspected under “normal use conditions” for a minimum of 2 weeks or more. If your system needs pumping during this period, we can arrange to have it done for you while the components of your system are exposed.

Will my landscaping be affected by the inspection?

The SPS team is very respectful to the landscaping of your home or property. In order to minimize the amount of physical work required to perform your inspection, we use state-of-the-art locating equipment that helps us to locate your system components within a 4-inch radius. We also use a specialized “sewer cam” to let us inspect your pipes without having to dig them up. Any sod that needs to be removed is cut carefully and laid on tarps so it can be neatly replaced when your inspection is complete.

Visit www.septicpreservation.com for all your questions or call 877-378-4279.  We are happy to talk to you and put your fears to rest.

 

Laundry Habits and Septic Systems

 

Laundry habits can directly affect your septic system.  There are many things to consider when buying a washing machine.  Wlaundryashers are high water usage appliances second to your toilet.  Choosing a high efficiency washer can make a big difference in water usage and fuel bills.   Both top-loading and front loading high efficiency washers use less water and cost less to operate, and reduce drying time by extracting more water during the spin cycle.  This is good news for your septic system and energy bills.  Front-loaders have usually received a better efficiency score since they generally use less water than top-loading washers but high efficiency top loaders score high also.

Lint from the washer into the septic system can also be a problem.   Lint is non-biodegradable since it is made up of polyester and nylon which is synthetic.  Over time this can clog up the soil treatment system(leach field) and reduce the life of the system costing the homeowner thousands of dollars.  A laundry  filter can be added to the washing machine discharge hose to which will remove most lint and some detergent scum from laundry wastewater.  The laundry filter is a good investment toward the longevity of your septic system.    Call All Clear for a price quote on laundry filter installation

Laundry detergents also can have an effect on your septic system.  Powered detergents and liquid detergents contain basically the same ingredients.  Liquid forms and pre-packaged packets have become popular recently.  They all perform pretty much the same but packets do not allow you to use less for each load.   Some detergents still contain phosphorous but it has been banned in most places.  A high amount of suds is never a good idea for your septic system.  Try using about half of the recommended amount and see if your clothes are clean.  You can always add a little more to get the desired cleanliness.

Most commercial brands of laundry soap leave a chemical residue on your clothes.  Vegetable-based laundry soap is a better choice.  Powders usually contain fewer chemicals than liquids.  Try pure soap flakes instead of detergent — add 1/2 cup of borax or vinegar to the rinse cycle to remove soapy residue.  Enzyme-based detergents  can be irritating to the skin and are a cause of allergic reactions.  You can also try being creative and making your own detergent.  There are many recipes online.

Septic Preservation Services can help with any questions you may have on this issue including lint filters.  Call them at 877-678-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

 

education

All Clear Septic Dedicated to Keeping Customers Informed

education

Septic Systems make suburban living possible.  There are many areas which are not serviced by a municipal sewage system and therefore a private septic system is the answer.  Many people who have grown up in the city and decide to make the move out to “the sticks” are not familiar at all with a private septic system.  Once homeowners realize how a septic system and its components operate, they can better understand how to keep it functioning properly.

There are many do’s and don’ts on how to maintain your septic system, whether it be what not to put down your toilet and drains, or cleaners that may be harmful to your system.

All Clear Septic and Wastewater Services is proud to offer educational videos and papers to help home owners better understand their septic systems and how to keep it functioning properly.  Visit www.allclearseptic.com and click on the links to view information to better help you understand your septic system as well as tips for everyday living or water usage as well as cleaning products and additives.  Click on the Septic systems 101 for education links as well as FAQ.

All Clear Septic and Wastewater Services also offers a maintenance program to help keep your septic system functioning properly as well as technicians who will answer any questions you may have.

Call 508-763-4431 to speak to an All Clear professional and have all your questions answered or for an appointment for a septic evaluation. We are here to help.

 

gardens

Gardens and Septic Systems

gardensCountry living is a great  lifestyle for many people. While planning gardens and orchards, there are certain things you need to keep in mind.   For example, most country homes require a septic system for disposal of sewage. While septic systems are fairly efficient, the leach field is an essential element in processing and dispersing the waste water. Because of the possibility of bacteria in the soil, only grass, shallow-rooted flowers, bulbs and meadow grasses are planted directly over the septic system. You should never plant fruits or vegetables on or near a leach field.

How do you locate the septic system?   A  septic plot plan  is always  filed with the local Board of Health in Massachusetts, DEM in Rhode Island, New Hampshire DES, and Plumbing Code Enforcement in Maine.   Visit your appropriate agency  to obtain a copy of your septic system.  Measure and mark the perimeter with landscaper’s spray paint. While new construction requires a plot plan, older homes may not have any documents available to indicate the location of the septic tank and leach lines.

2

Locate the sewer lines leading away from the house. There may be a clean-out, risers or manhole cover indicating the location of the septic tank. Generally, the septic tank is located approximately 10 to 15 feet away from from the house.

3

Probe with a metal rod, pushing it gently into the ground to locate the gravel drain field. The leach lines usually are 6 to 18 inches below the surface of the soil. Work your way out and away from the house. As you find the perimeter of the drain field, mark it with landscaper’s spray paint.

4

Measure 10 feet from the outer perimeter of the leach field. Mark the garden’s borders with stakes.    Fruits and vegetables should be planted at least 10 feet from a septic system or leach field to avoid bacterial contamination.

5

Prepare a landscape plan before planting shrubs or trees near a leach field. Non-aggressive shrubs and trees should be planted at a distance equal to the mature height of the plant. Trees with aggressive roots, such as a willow tree, should be planted at least 50 feet from a leach field.

Septic Preservation  can answer all your questions on your septic system and help you with all your septic needs throughout New England. They can be reached at 877-678-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

septic maintenance

What NOT to Allow in Your Septic System

septic maintenanceThe best way to avoid problems with your septic system is to know what NOT to put in it. Most people know that you shouldn’t flush any non-biodegradable materials, but there are a lot of everyday things that we all use that also should not find their way into your system.

F.O.G.s

An easy way to remember the first batch of things that you should avoid putting down your drains:

  • F = FATS
  • O = OILS
  • G = GREASE

If you can avoid putting fats, oils and grease down your drains, your septic system will need a lot less cleaning and pumping. Commercial businesses are required to add a grease trap to food preparation areas to separate this type of wastewater from their on-site septic system, but homeowners should take heed to keep this gunk out of their systems as well.

One way to keep F.O.G.s out of your system is to pour any residual fats, oils or grease from cooking into an old coffee can for disposal instead of rinsing it down the kitchen sink. Oils, which can include body oils, hair oils, baby oil and other non-cooking items, should also be avoided whenever possible and not rinsed directly into the drain. Some hair conditioners and body lotions also fall under this category, so learn to be a label reader and look for products that are septic-friendly.

Chemicals

We use a lot of chemicals each and every day and don’t even realize it. Ammonia in the window cleaner, bleach in surface cleaners, disinfectants for the toilets.    A lot of these household chemicals eventually make their way into your septic system where they can wreak havoc on the natural balance of bacteria and filtration, eventually leading to septic failure.

While it is important to keep your home clean and germ-free, make sure to choose all-natural, chemical-free solutions whenever possible and use toilet bowl cleaners sparingly according to the guidelines on the product labels. Choose laundry soap, stain removers, dish washing liquid, dishwasher soap and other products that go directly into the drain carefully. Look for non-toxic options that are made safe for septic use and follow the directions for usage.

Septic Tank Additives

There are a lot of products available on the commercial market that claim to be safe for use in septic systems. These additives are supposed to help keep your septic system running clean and clear, but can actually damage your system in the long run. Stick to a responsible preventative maintenance and cleaning program, learn about proper care for your septic system and apply all that you have learned to your daily activities, and you’ll never need to add tank additives.

Toilet Trash Can

A lot of people use their toilet as a trash can, flushing things that really have no business being in the toilet, drain or septic system. We’ve already discussed oils, grease, chemicals and additives in your drains, but when it comes to the toilet, some people seem to lose all common sense. Non-biodegradable materials can actually kill off the beneficial bacteria that is used to treat your wastewater. Plastics, disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products, condoms, cat litter, pet food, and pet waste are some of these items.

Poisonous Materials

If you have any leftover household chemicals from a renovation project, make sure to dispose of them responsibly. Don’t pour them down the drain and don’t just throw them in the trash can. Check with your local hazardous waste collection center for information on the proper disposal of paint, paint thinner, solvents and other toxic chemicals that can be dangerous for your septic system as well as the local landfill. Other poisonous, toxic materials that should never make their way down household or garage drains include antifreeze, pesticides, oil and gasoline.

Knowledge is Power

The more you know about septic systems and how they work, the easier it is to properly maintain and care for yours. Preventative Maintenance Programs, such as the one offered by Septic Preservation Services can help you to save thousands of dollars on costly repairs by keeping your system clean and running smoothly. Give Septic Preservation a call at 877-678-4279 for more information about our septic services or visit www.septicpreservation.com