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garbage disposals

Garbage Disposals and Your Septic System

garbage disposals

 

Garbage Disposals are used in many households, but are they safe to use with your septic system.  Good Question!

While many companies that sell garbage disposals will tell you they are fine to use with a septic system, the truth is they really aren’t.

You really shouldn’t be using a garbage disposal with your septic system.  The way that the septic system is set up involves a large tank filled with water and the waste from your home.  The solid waste settles to the bottom where bacteria go to work breaking it down.  Then, there is the water waste layer that has the excess liquid going out to the drain field.  Finally, at the top, there is a layer of scum that has built up.

In order to keep your septic system running smoothly, there are many items that should not be flushed or sent down the drains.  This includes, diapers, wipes, bleach, harsh chemicals and sanitary products to name a few.    The same is true with your garbage disposal.  All the fats, grease, and other waste from the disposal are being added to the septic tank which can can cause problems and clogs and prevent it from working correctly.

Basically, you are overloading the waste that is being put into your septic tank and the naturally occurring bacteria will not be able to keep up with breaking it down.  If you use a garbage disposal, you should have your tank pumped every year, rather than the normal 3-5 year range.  It can wreak havoc with your septic system.

A better idea? Compost.  Composting your kitchen waste is much better for your system and environmentally friendly.  You can buy a cheap plastic composter or even make your own.  Depending on the size, you can add all your kitchen waste as well as leaves and grass and have a great fertilizer ready for your garden or landscaping.

It’s a win win situation for your yard as well as your septic system.  

Visit www.septicpreservation.com for all your septic system questions.  They have a qualified staff ready to help you with all your septic needs from pumping and cleaning to design and installation.  Give them a call at 877-378-4279.

Flooded Septic System Tips

hurricaneWith Two Major Hurricanes behind us,  What should you do with flooded septic systems

With hurricane season still upon us,  it’s a good time to brush up on the proper care of septic systems during flooding events.

Before the Storm

Once heavy rains start to fall and a flood is underway, try  to cease water usage going to the system. Depending on the elevation of the septic tank and floodwaters, the tank can be used as a holding tank. The amount of damage to the system is related to the elevation of the flooding over the system combined with the length of time the system is flooded.

Make sure all inspection ports, lids and covers are properly capped and in place. Pumps and controls in the system can be removed and stored; remember to shut off electricity to the system. There should be no connections between the floor or foundation drains in the house and the system where water can drain through the system.

After the storm

After the floodwaters recede, the system shouldn’t be used until the soil has adequately dried to allow sewage to be absorbed without backing up, which could take several weeks. Homeowners should conserve water during that time.

Now is the time to call Septic Preservation Services to evaluate your system and let you know the condition and what steps you should be taking before using the system.

A comprehensive system inspection and assessment should also be conducted before putting the system back in use. This means opening all parts of the system — sewage tanks, drop boxes, anywhere there is access to system components — and assessing whether sediment or vegetative debris has entered the system. All sewage tanks should be pumped and cleaned out.

The tanks should be evaluated for watertightness and structural defects due to the flooding. Debris in the drop boxes should be removed. If there are pumps and a pressure distribution system, the distribution laterals should be jetted and cleaned. Pumps and controls should be reinstalled, recalibrated and tested.

The evaluation should include making sure wastewater moves between the parts of the system as intended. This may involve running a hydraulic load test on the soil treatment part of the system.

About a month after the system is restarted, Septic Preservation  willschedule a follow-up visit to check for proper operation. Any pumps and controls should be checked and the pump calibrations re-evaluated to make sure they are delivering the correct amount of effluent.

Septic tank manhole covers should be secured and inspection ports should be free of blockage and damage. Make sure there’s no damage caused by animal intrusion in the soil treatment a

Inspections also should include a look at the vegetation over the septic tank, and any erosion damage should be repaired with sod or seeding to provide good plant cover.

If sewage backed up inside the home, homeowners should thoroughly disinfect the house, but they should avoid flushing disinfectants down the drain.

Destroyed systems

Floodwaters can cause components of a septic system to be partially or completely washed away. The owner of such a system shouldn’t assume that soil or other fill can be added and new system components constructed.

Heavy rains can cause slides to partially or completely cover septic system components with rock, mud or silt. These slides can affect the operational integrity of the system, especially the soil treatment systems.

Special care should be taken to keep vehicle and equipment traffic off the soil treatment system to avoid compaction.

If the soil treatment system is saturated or has standing water long after other areas have dried out, there may be a long-term problem related to the flood.

With luck, we won’t have to worry about a major hurricane impacting New England but preventative steps may be able to help save your septic system.

Septic Preservation Services is ready and able to answer all your questions on prevention and are the first call to action in case of a major disaster.  You can reach them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

Parts of this article were published in Pumper Magazine on September 7, 2017.  Visit www.pumper.com for more septic news.

septic system

Bacteria and Enzymes in Your Septic System

septic systemWhat makes a septic system work properly? Billions of naturally occurring microscopic bacteria and enzymes are responsible for a major part of the three-stage treatment that processes wastewater in a septic system.

The wastewater in the septic tank begins the process of decomposition by separating into layers.  Bacteria, which is naturally present in all septic systems, will begin to digest the solids which have settled to the bottom of the tank.  These naturally occurring bacteria will change up to 50% of these solids into liquids and gases.

There are all kinds of additives on the market advertised to improve the biological environment of your septic system, but most experts agree that they are not needed.  The best plan is to keep high doses of cleaners and bleaches out of your septic system which can kill off the beneficial bacteria.

Another important part of the process occurs in the drainfield.  The effluent, or wastewater from the septic tank enters the drain or leachfield and comes into contact with the biomat.  There are organisms living in the biomat which further digest the organic matter in the effluent and from there it reaches the soil where the last part of the process occurs.  Bacteria in the soil further treat the waste. It is important that the drainfield not be flooded.  Many of these bacteria found in the soil and biomat are aerobic or oxygen dependent.  If water floods a drainfield, they may die off and will not be replenished until the flooding is relieved.

Septic Preservation Services can answer all your septic system questions.  Call them at 877-378-4279  or visit www.septicpreservation.com  Ask them about their maintenance program and emergency services.  They have all the answers to your septic needs.

Rhode Island

Septic System Maintenance Tips in Rhode Island

Rhode IslandSeptic systems are very common throughout Rhode Island. If you are a homeowner and have one of these on-site sewage systems, you are probably very aware of the maintenance and diligence that is required to properly maintain a septic system. If you are new to septic systems, it can be a bit overwhelming to get a handle on all the dos and don’ts.

This article will attempt to give you an overall understanding on how septic systems work in Rhode Island, what you can do to help keep your system running efficiently and when it’s time to call a professional to help you service your system. Whether you have a septic system in Cumberland, Woonsocket, Providence or somewhere in between, these tips will help you to increase the longevity and efficiency for many years to come.

How Septic Systems Work

Most of the septic systems found throughout Rhode Island consist of a specific set of equipment, which includes a septic tank, a leaching field and a distribution box. The wastewater that comes from your home is held temporarily within the septic tank, which is where the waste solids become separated from the water. Bacteria decomposes the solids, which are later pumped out by a professional septic system company.

The partially treated water leaves the tank and then moves on into the distribution box. Once inside the box, the water is distributed evenly into the leaching field. The water drains into trenches that are filled with gravel through holds in the distribution box, which are then used to help further treat the wastewater. The wastewater then seeps slowly into the soil of your leach field for a secondary purifying treatment.

Today there are some alternative systems that use different substrates than soil or gravel. One option is to use sand instead of soil. Another is to use peat. Whichever type of system you are currently using, you need to ensure that you properly maintain a septic system so that it does not pollute the groundwater. Don’t just change from soil to sand, peat or any other type of substrate unless you consult with a septic system professional to make sure that the change will work well with your current system.

How to Properly Maintain a Septic System

The best thing you can do for your septic system is to provide proper care and maintenance. There is a lot of responsibility on the part of the homeowner to ensure that the system is not being abused so that it will run properly. Regular visits from your septic system professional to inspect your equipment, check your levels and pump your system if necessary, will help keep things in proper working order.

Water conservation is the number one way to protect your system. Take some simple steps to ensure that you are limiting your use of water. The more you save, the less will end up in your system. Water-saving devices, such as low-flow toilets and shower heads are extremely helpful. Check for leaks in faucets and toilets on a regular basis and refrain from running a load of dishes and clothing unless you have a full load.

Chemicals can be extremely dangerous to a septic system. Don’t ever put any chemicals or paint thinners down your drains. These chemicals will kill off the microbes that naturally occur within your system and prevent it from functioning properly. Other things, such as food waste, fat and grease are also damaging to your system and should not be put down the drain. Unless your system has been designed to accommodate a garbage disposal, you should not use one with a septic system.

Maintain your leach field as well by ensuring that nothing is planted or growing over the area except for grass. It goes without saying that you should never pour concrete or asphalt over a leach field. Parking or driving vehicles over the leach field can ultimately compact the soil and crush the piping, rendering it useless to the treatment process.

When to Call a Professional

If you notice any problems within your septic system, such as drains that drain slower than usual, gurgling sounds or a foul odor around the house, you need to call a septic system service professional. Another sign is a very lush and green patch of grass within the drainage field, signaling that the grass is receiving more liquid and nutrients than usual. The technician will inspect your equipment, test the drain field and check to ensure that it is all draining properly and will check inside your home to make sure your plumbing is functioning well.

In the State of Rhode Island, some locations  require what are known as Rhode Island Town Inspections. These locations include South Kingstown, North Kingstown, Jamestown and Charlestown. The local town ordinances require both residential and commercial property owners to submit inspections of their septic systems on a regular basis.

Septic Preservation Services provides all of these services and more. They are fully licensed to provide Rhode Island Town Inspections and Massachusetts Title 5 Inspections.  SPS utilizes state-of-the-art tools and fully trained and certified professionals to provide the best possible services to their customers at a very affordable and competitive rate. So whether you are in Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts, call  Septic Preservation Services for pricing, information or to set up an appointment at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

hurricane

Hurricanes and Your Septic System

hurricane

Hurricane season is upon us and severe weather could be just around the corner.  How does this affect your septic system?

Flooding and high winds can adversely affect your system.  Here are some tips to guard your system against damage.

Secure your system.

  • Check your risers or septic tank covers if they are exposed to make sure they are secure to ensure that storm water cannot get into your septic system.
  • Check  your electrical pump connections and make sure the water cannot penetrate to avoid damage during a flood
  •  It is never a good idea to park anything over your drainfield, but be  sure not to park automobiles, trailers, or other objects on the drainfield during wet weather, as this can cause damage to the drainfield pipes.

Conserve water and use it sparingly in an emergency.

  • When there is severe flooding in your area, your well water may be at risk from the sewage in standing water. Be aware of any boil-water warnings in your area and make sure you follow.
  • Have a supply of bottled water on hand to ensure you have ample supply of fresh drinking water during and after the storm.
  • Limit your water use during the storm to only essential water use. Put off laundry, dishwashing and showering as long as possible.  Fill your tub with water beforehand for use in flushing the toilet if you lose power and your well pump is not working.

It May Be Wise to have your system inspected after a flood.

  • Hurricanes can mean major flooding in your area.   You might want to have your septic system inspected for for any damage from standing water or fallen objects on the pipes.
  • Check  electrical components  to ensure there has not been any damage to your unit.

Loss of power is always an issue during the hurricane and days following depending on the severity of the storm.  This could affect your sump pump in your basement and cause flooding.  A backup generator is always a great idea to handle and pump out excess water and keep the essential systems working in your home, such as refrigeration and a well  pump to access water.

Septic Preservation Services are experts at storm damage recovery and prevention.  Call them at 877-378-4279 for all your storm related questions and anything concerning your septic system.  Visit www.septicpreservation.com

Septic Preservation Services

Meet Holly Walker of Septic Preservation Services

Septic Preservation Services

Septic Preservation Services

Holly has been a member of the Septic Preservation Team for almost 18 months.  She was brought on initially to help with product descriptions with the online store but is now involved with packaging, pricing and postage, as well as increasing their presence online.

Holly also has taken over  writing the daily blogs  and updating the online calendars to free up time for Bob Silva, head of SPS, and allow him more time for his daily administrative duties.

She has a degree in Medieval History and has worked for 8 years in  Human Resource and recruitment for engineering companies, involving Automotive, Aerospace and Oil and Gas.  While Holly does not possess an engineering degree, she feels her past experiences help her in writing the blogs and she feels she can present the technical matters in  a way that everyone can understand.  She is able to take a colleague’s repair story and research about the fix and the reason for i,t and present it in her daily blogs.

Holly is British and moved to the United States in 2009.  She initially lived in Missouri, Colorado, and then Massachusetts.   She is now living in California, slightly north of San Diego, with her two elementary aged children. She is able to work remotely and stay involved in SPS.   She has enjoyed spending time exploring her new town and state and discovering the best beaches with her children.

Being British sometimes creates problems with the “language barrier”.   According to Holly, ” Although we all speak English, I still find I’m sometimes speaking a foreign language.  For example, I was corresponding with a supplier of ours about their pumps and also the spares kits that they provide to carryout maintenance and repairs on their pumps.  After placing the spares kit onto the website, Bob pointed out to me that in the USA a “spares kit” is not something that would ever be referred to and a “rebuild kit” is the correct term.  It turned out that my contact with our supplier was also British, which I hadn’t realized, and we were both using the wrong term and confusing everyone else!

Holly enjoys being a valued member of the SPS team and helping to spread the word on their great reputation.

Visit www.septicpreservation.com and read Holly’s daily blogs and find out how Septic Preservation Services can help you with all your septic system maintenance, repair, design and installation.

Septic Preservation Services

Meet Jamie Graffam from Septic Preservation Services

Septic Preservation ServicesMeet Jamie Graffam of Septic Preservation Services.  He is a service tech at SPS and has been a member of the team for 3+ years.  He has completed the U.R.I. course for septic inspections as well as several other courses to help him with his service tech responsibilities.

Jamie served 4 years in the Marine Corps after high school and then searched from big business to big business looking for the right fit in a company.  He found that fit with Septic Preservation Services.  He loves being part of the SPS team and particularly likes working outside.

Personally Jamie is engaged to his fiancee Jen, and has two daughters, Keeghan and Kilee.  He is happy to announce that Keeghan will be making him a grandfather early next year.

You never know what you’ll come across in the septic business, and Jamie shared this humorous story with us.

In the course of his duties, Jamie had opened an air box on a septic system, only to find a Momma and a baby snake “I’m not afraid of snakes, but when they catch me off guard, they do startle me a bit”. He removed Mom and took her to the nearby woods to release her, and then returned to remove the baby snake, but as he is kneeling down and catching the snake, his phone vibrates, (fellow SPS team member, Jim Boucher), and really gave him a good scare, (thinking Momma snake had returned to get her baby).  He then realized, to his relief,  it was only his phone.  He answered his phone, laughing,  and had a good story to share with Jim.

Jamie is another member of the skilled and caring team at Septic Preservation Services.  Let them help you make sense of your septic system and answer any questions or concerns you may have.  You can reach them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

Team BBQ

Team BBQ and Camp Out in New Hampshire

Team BBQ Septic Preservation Services provides professional, through, and quality septic services to our customers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and New Hampshire.  We know that our team of inspectors, technicians, engineers, and office staff are the people that make our business a success.  This weekend we had a team BBQ and camp out in New Hampshire where the Septic Preservation Services staff and families all joined together to make our team even stronger.  Our employees joined us from Attleboro, Sharon, Norton, and Foxboro in Massachusetts and from North Kingstown and Cranston in Rhode Island and Biddeford, Maine.

Our staff is always ready to help.  Please call us with all your septic issues at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

Team BBQTeam BBQ

summer gatherings

Summer Gatherings and Your Septic System

When planning for summer gatherings this summer, prevention can go a long way toward averting disasters with your septic system.  Parties, weddings, and any summer gathering can exert heavy use on your septic system.  Careful planning can help you prepare your septic system for the extra guests and extra load.

Here are some tips:

Arrange for a septic tank pumping prior to the event. Heavy volume of wastewater over a short period of time can over saturate the drain field and cause a mess in your yard or backup in to your home. Performing septic tank maintenance right before the event will create added capacity which will be able to handle more volume.

Check  your septic system and make sure it is functioning properly before the event.  Septic Preservation Services have technicians available for a maintenance check.   A problem may not be obvious during regular or modest use, but when you add an additional volume of wastewater over a short period of time, this can cause an already impaired system to fail.

The technician can also check your drain lines and make sure they are clear as well as the flow of water from your home to the tank.  Partially clogged drain lines can fail with excessive effluent running through them in a short amount of time.

School  your guests on what not to flush down the toilet.  A nearby garbage can  and properly placed signs on dos and don’ts may be all you  need.

Better yet, for large gatherings with many guests, such as weddings, graduation parties or family reunions, consider renting portable toilets and sinks.  This will take the load off your septic system and avoid costly and odorous disasters.  Units today are more attractive and reasonable and can take the worry out of your day.

Proper preventative maintenance  is all that is needed to keep a septic system functioning properly for many years to come. When the day is done,  the cost of a little preventive maintenance is well worth  the investment to avoid the potential for backups and septic system repairs or replacement.

Call Septic Preservation Services before your summer gathering.   They have all the equipment and professionals available to maintain and check your septic system and get it ready for your big day.  You can reach them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com for more information.

Low-flow toilets

Benefits of Low-Flow Toilets

low-flow toiletLow-flow toilets are a great way to reduce the amount of wastewater that ends up in a septic system. If you live in an area that relies on private septic systems, as opposed to a municipal sewer system, it is important to do everything you can to reduce water usage to prevent expensive damage to the septic system.

Septic systems are typically used in locations that aren’t connected to the city sewage system.   A septic tank is a large tank, usually made out of concrete, that holds waste materials that are flushed through the residential sewage system. Inside the tank, bacteria works to break down the solid wastes, which are then released via wastewater into a drainage system.

Because low-flow toilets reduce water usage, they are ideal for cutting down on the amount of water that enters septic  systems. Low-flow toilets are also used by homeowners that do not have a residential sewage system, as a means of reducing overall water consumption.

How Low-Flow Toilets Work
Low-flow toilets are designed to use less water than a standard toilet. The average residential toilet uses three to four gallons per flush, while low-flow toilets use around one-and-a-half gallons per flush. Recently, newer low-flow toilets have been produced that use even less water per flush by using a dual-flush system.

Much like septic tank systems, homeowners need to be aware of what gets flushed down low-flow toilets. The only thing that should ever be flushed down low-flow toilets that are connected to a septic tank system is toilet paper and organic waste. That means absolutely no paper towels, feminine products, diapers, newspapers or other paper materials.

The chemicals used to clean low-flow toilets that are hooked up to a residential septic system must also be chosen carefully. Bleach, abrasives, anti-bacterial cleansers and other bathroom cleaners should never be flushed into septic tank systems or washed down the drain. Use natural cleaners, such as baking soda or vinegar, to protect the good bacteria inside the septic tank that works to breakdown solid waste.

Part of a Healthy Septic Tank System
All of the parts of your residential septic system work together to effectively and efficiently process all the waste from your home. Low-flow toilets can be an important part of a well-run septic system. The best way to care for your system is to hire a professional septic system maintenance and inspection service.

A low-flow toilet is very easy to maintain and helps to reduce water usage in the bathroom. The fixture that helps to reduce water usage inside low-flow toilets may need to be adjusted every now and again. This fixture is the fill valve. It is used to maintain a proper level of water inside the toilet tank.

Septic Preservation Services offers a preventative maintenance program, which can be used to keep tabs on the effectiveness of your system, catch potential problems before they get out of control and keep your residential sewage system running properly. Learning about your system and how it should be used and cared for, is another important part of good home ownership. Proper care and preventative maintenance, when used together, can prevent costly repairs and replacements.  Call Septic Preservation Services at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

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