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How to Clean Your Home with Products Safe for Septic Systems

One of the most important ingredients in your septic tank system is the microorganisms that live in the tank. These naturally-occurring microorganisms work to break down waste solids and process the sludge and wastewater in your system. Unfortunately, many of the chemicals and cleaning agents used in our everyday lives are harmful to the microorganisms. Homeowners that have a septic system, should refrain from using dangerous products that could potentially make their way into the septic tank and kill off these helpful microorganisms. Here are some tips that will help you to choose the best possible products for your home that are also safe for septic systems.

Chemical Cleaners 101
Part of septic tank care is knowing what you can put down the drain, and what you can’t. Septic systems in Massachusetts are vulnerable to failure caused by user error. The best way to stay on top of your septic system and ensure that it is working effectively and efficiently to process and remove waste is to get a preventative maintenance program from your local septic system service provider. A professional, experience technician can help to keep your system running in tip top shape and give you advice on proper septic tank care.

To determine whether or not a cleaning product is dangerous to your septic system, read the label. Many cleaning products are required to use the words “dangerous” or “poisonous” on their labeling to advise consumers of the danger associated with using or misusing the product. The word “warning” on a label indicates a moderate level of hazard associated with the product and the word “caution” is dangerous to an even lesser degree.

Your best bet is to choose cleaning products that say “septic friendly,” but they can be hard to find. Choose products that contain active ingredients that are bio-based or natural, as opposed to chemical-based cleaners. For example, citrus, vegetable, pine oils and seed-based cleaners are a better choice than chemical options. Don’t trust advertising claims that call products “green” or even “environmentally certified,” as many of those claims are exaggerated and have nothing to do with being safe for septic use.

Disinfectants 101
Another product that people who have septic systems in Massachusetts need to be aware of is disinfectant. While these products are extremely helpful in reducing exposure to germs, bacteria, viruses and other potentially hazardous and infectious microorganisms, they will also kill the helpful microorganisms inside your septic tank.

Limit the use of disinfectants to surfaces, such as counter tops, trash cans and tables, rather than in sinks or toilets, areas that could cause these products to make their way into your septic system. Natural fruit or vegetable based all-purpose cleaners should be used in these vulnerable areas.

Homemade Solutions
There are a lot of homemade solutions that can be used to clean your home instead of chemical-based products. In addition to being beneficial to septic tank care and being safe for septic systems, these homemade solutions go a long way toward reducing the amount of chemical exposure to your family. Even families without septic systems are turning to these tried and true homemade solutions and are moving away from chemical-based cleaners.

  • Vinegar is a very effective cleaner for most household surfaces. It can be used to remove stains from tile or porcelain, eliminate hard water stains from shower doors and is an excellent choice for cleaning a smelly dishwasher or washing machine. It is the best choice for cleaning a toilet bowl. Just pour two cups of vinegar into the bowl and allow it to sit overnight. Scrub with a brush and flush.
  • Lemon juice is a natural wonder, due to its acidic qualities. It is also a natural disinfectant and will leave your home smelling fresh and clean. It can be used to clean counter tops, toilet bowls, sinks and kitchen appliances. Add two cups of lemon juice to a bucket of hot water and scrub. It can also be used in the toilet similar to the vinegar solution for an alternative cleaning option.
  • Baking soda works to both clean and deodorize your home naturally. It is safe for septic systems and is one of the best cleaners to use for those who are concerned about septic tank care. Just sprinkle baking soda onto counter tops, in sinks, onto the toilet bowl or anywhere else that needs cleaning. Scrub with a sponge or brush and wipe or rinse away with water.

Preventative Maintenance Program
Once you learn how to read the labels and how to avoid using potentially damaging chemicals in your home, the best thing to do for septic systems in Massachusetts is to join a preventative maintenance program with a trusted, professional septic system service company. Septic Preservation Services has been serving customers throughout the Southcoast region since 1995.

In addition to a comprehensive preventative maintenance program,  Septic Preservation Services also offers Massachusetts Title 5 inspections, Rhode Island town inspections, confidential septic evaluations, trouble shooting services, remedial repairs and septic design and installation.  Homeowners with septic systems in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and New Hampshire can trust the knowledge and experience of the technicians at Septic Preservation Services. Call SPS at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com for pricing, information or to set up an appointment for an inspection of your residential or commercial property.

septic system

Tips for Septic System Maintenance

Tips  for Your Septic System

It’s important to keep your septic system running smoothly.  There are many things you can change in your household habits to prolong the life of your septic system and keep repairs at bay.

Conserve water whenever possible as a means of reducing the volume of wastewater that will need to be treated and disposed.  Take shorter showers and turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth and doing dishes.  Turn it back on to rinse.

Make repairs to any faucets or toilets that are leaking.  That is simply wasting water and putting extra water into the septic tank and leachfield.

Make sure that you are only discharging biodegradable wastes into your system.  Avoid using cleaners with bleach and harsh chemicals.  Choose natural ingredients or make your own homemade cleaners with household ingredients.

Use 1 ply toilet paper and avoid using too much.  Do not flush, diapers, feminine hygiene products, tissues, wipes or paper towels.

Restrict or avoid use of your garbage disposal.  They can wreak havoc with septic systems.

Avoid putting grease, oils, fats, paint or excess food down your drains. Throw them away or wash outside.

Take the time to ensure that any down spouts or other surface water is diverted away from your drainfield.

It’s a good idea to keep the cover to your septic tank accessible by installing covers and risers for easier inspections and pumping.

Get your septic tank pumped regularly and have it checked for any cracks or leaks.

You can also have an effluent filter installed to prevent debris from entering your drainfield.

You can also add a laundry filter to your washing machine.  Space out your loads of laundry and dishwashing loads to keep your leachfield from getting flooded.

Call  Septic Preservation Services for  a Voluntary Assessment of your septic system.  You can also inquire about becoming part of a preventative maintenance service plan to take all the guess work out of maintaining your septic system and can help you prevent problems before they even occur!

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

Septic Preservation Services

Full Service Septic Design and Installation

SOIL EVALUATIONS, PERC TESTING AND ENGINEERING SERVICES

Our trained experts at Septic Preservation services can assist with all your septic engineering needs! We can assist with services to improve or repair your property such as soil evaluations, septic design, land use planning, and

Septic Preservation Services preparing a new System for Installation!construction layouts for large or small commercial developments!  We can provide these services in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Hawaii.
 Septic Preservation Services understands the details of septic requirements for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and Hawaii.  We will work with you and local code enforcement to ensure the design of your new or upgraded septic system will meet all required local laws and codes.

Septic Preservation Services offers a variety of septic system problem evaluation, installation, repair and maintenance services. Our trained staff of certified field technicians are available to provide a free, on-site septic system diagnosis and valuable advice based on thousands of successfully rehabilitated systems.

A little bit more about our company… Septic Preservation Services is a licensed, full-service provider who has been in business for over 25 years. We currently service several thousand treatment systems, working in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, but our clientele also extends to New York, Florida and Hawaii. Specific to your area, we have been a service provider specializing in I/A Technologies and have customers who own Singulair, FAST, White Knight and JET systems.

Call today for a Free Estimate at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

septic system

Septic System 101

septic systemHow does your septic system actually work?  If you live in a rural area which does not have a centralized sewer system, you most likely have a private septic system.  Basically nature and technology combines to treat the wastewater from your household plumbing system including bathroom, kitchen, laundry and any other drains your home possesses.

A typical septic system includes a septic tank and a drainfield which can also be referred to as a leach field or soil absorption field.

The wastewater from your home is sent to the septic tank through one main drainage pipe.   The septic tank is a buried water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass or polyethylene.   It holds the wastewater  and allows the solids to settle to the bottom, forming sludge, and the oils and grease float to the top and form scum. Natural organisms in the septic tank will digest the organic matter. The idea is not to let the sludge and scum leave the tank and enter the leachfield.  Compartments and a t-shaped outlet help make that happen.

The liquid wastewater, called effluent, leaves the septic tank and enters the leachfield.  The leachfield is a shallow, covered excavation created in unsaturated soil.  Engineering plans are required for the best placement of the septic tank and leachfield on the property.  The pretreated effluent is discharged through piping onto the porous surface of the leachfield and filtered through the soil.  The soil treats the wastewater  as it percolates through the soil and eventually joins the groundwater.  If the drainfield is overloaded with too much wastewater, it could flood, causing the sewage to flow to the surface or backup into the house.  The wastewater percolates into the soil, naturally removing coliform bacteria, viruses and nutrients.

Maintenance is a key component to keeping your septic system functioning properly.  Pumping your septic tank, generally every 3 years, depending on your household size and habits, is essential.

Call Septic Preservation Services to schedule a pumping or join their septic maintenance program.  They can answer all your questions.  You can reach them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

 

 

septic system odors

Septic System Odors

 

septic system

Septic system odors can have many causes.  Some can be minor, others more serious.  In cold weather, the causes can vary.  Pinpointing the source of the smell is usually the first step.  Downdrafts from the vent pipe on the roof may cause odor, but would vary with weather conditions and wind and subside as the day warms.

There could be a problem with a frozen drainfield, blocked tank inlet or outlet, or other blocked pipes.   Backup may occur in the home if this is the case.  Check the lowest drain in the system first.  Call a professional right away if you suspect this is the problem.

Long, persistent odors and wet spots over the tank and drainfield could mean septic system failure.  Check for effluent outside and wet spots where the grass may be particularly lush.

Does it smell right near the house?   Broken pipes or leaky pipes could account for this.  Effluent could be leaking out of the pipe and running along the pipe trench rather than through the pipe itself.  Blocked pipes could also be the problem forcing the sewage back toward the home.

The best course of action is to call a professional right away.  Septic Preservation Services have 24 hour emergency services as well as trained septic professionals to evaluate the problem and make any necessary repairs, which could save money down the road and prevent septic failure.

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

 

 

winter

Protecting Your Septic System During the Winter Months

winter septic systemHow can you protect your septic system during the winter months?  Freezing can become an issue when the temperatures start to drop. The most vulnerable components are the pipes leading from the house into the septic tank.  Leaky fixtures such as faucets and toilets can keep a steady drip through the pipes which could freeze, blocking the pipes.  Other components which can potentially freeze are the tank, pipes leading to the drainfield and the drainfield itself.

Snow itself is a great insulator over your septic tank and leachfield.  Make sure you do not drive over your tank and leachfield.  Compacted snow can drive down the frost and increase your chances of freezing.  Driving over your leachfield and septic system is never a good idea in any season.  It can lead to damage to your system.    Grass is always a good choice for over your septic system or mulch if grass is not available.  It is a great insulator without deep roots to interfere with or damage your system.

Systems which are in use have a lesser possibility of freezing since liquid is always flowing through the system.  Homes which are used seasonally or sporadically have  a greater risk for freezing since the system is dormant much of the time.

Fixing leaky faucets and toilets before winter sets in can greatly lessen your chances of freezing occurring and also conserve water.  This can save you from costly repairs down the road.

If you suspect you have a problem, call a professional right away.  Septic Preservation Services has 24 emergency services for help with any septic emergency.  They can evaluate your system and make repairs if needed.   They also offer a great maintenance program to keep your septic system running smoothly year round.  Call them with all your questions at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

hair stylist making new haircut to brunette woman in salon

Tips for Commercial Septic System Property Owners

Commercial septic system

Most of the customer care information that you will find online with regard to septic systems is geared toward residential consumers.

Commercial septic system users have a completely unique set of guidelines, care tips and maintenance schedules that they need to adhere to in order to keep their systems in healthy running order. There are many commercial businesses that use septic systems including restaurants, schools, hospitals, beauty shops and laundry facilities.

Wastewater and Water Usage

One of the biggest concerns for both residential and commercial clients is water usage and the amount of wastewater it adds to the system. Commercial systems that discharge less than 10,000 gallons of sanitary wastewater each day fall under the Massachusetts Title 5 regulation and all of the associated requirements. This includes Title 5 Inspections and rules regarding cleaning, usage and pumping, as well as repairs or upgrades of failed systems.

However, commercial systems that discharge industrial wastewater or anything other than sanitary wastewater must first store the non-sanitary wastewater in an industrial wastewater holding tank. These businesses must apply for a permit to use the industrial wastewater holding tank. Any sanitary wastewater from these same commercial businesses can continue to be discharged into an on-site system. The point is just to separate the non-sanitary wastewater from the on-site system for proper processing.

Industry-Specific Issues

Certain types of commercial businesses must address specific issues that are related to their unique industry. For example, according to Massachusetts State Law, printers, photo processors and dry cleaners must be certified under the Environmental Results Program (ERP), which is a program for streamlined permitting and compliance, due to the types of chemicals and industrial waste produced by their facilities. Other types of businesses will have other types of requirements under the law.

Beauty Shops

Under Massachusetts law, these facilities are able to utilize a septic system for toilet waste and regular shampoo water as long as they are using less than the 10,000 gallons per day limit. Wastewater that comes from chemical treatments, such as hair color, perms, straighteners, etc., must be store in an industrial wastewater holding tank with a permit from MassDEP. To faciliate this, beauty shop owners can choose to direct all sinks to the holding tank or use a special sink that has been separately plumbed for use with chemical treatments to ensure that the wastewater goes to the holding tank.

Hospitals

As long as it remains under the 10,000 gallon per day threshold, hospitals can send all sanitary wastewater from sinks, showers, toilets and laundry to a septic system. In most cases, however, hospitals will use much more than 10,000 gallons per day. Lab waste is considered to be industrial wastewater and must be stored in a MassDEP permitted holding tank.

Laundry Facilities

Again, as long as sink and toilet waste are sanitary and under the 10,000 gallons per day maximum, this type of business can send their wastewater to an on-site septic system. However, any wastewater from the laundry itself must be stored in a permitted MassDEP industrial wastewater holding tank. Businesses that offer both laundry and drycleaning services must fall under the regulation of a Dry Cleaner and are required to be certified under the ERP.

Office Buildings

As long as no chemicals or otherwise considered industrial wastewater is being produced, most office buildings are eligible to use an on-site septic system for sanitary wastewater that results from toilet waste, sinks and showers as long as it is under the 10,000 gallons per day limit. In this case, no other permitting or certification would be required.

Restaurants

Sanitary wastewater under 10,000 gallons per day can be discharged into a septic system if it comes from sink or toilet waste. Due to the food preparation and cooking that goes on in this type of business, all restaurants are required by Massachusetts State Law to install grease traps that can handle the wastewater that comes from the food preparation stations in the kitchen. All restaurant grease traps should be inspected on a monthly basis and must be cleaned once the grease level hits 25% of capacity or every three months.

Grocery Stores

As long as they use less than 10,000 gallons of water per day, grocery stores can discharge the wastewater from sinks and toilets to a septic system. Food preparation areas must have grease traps installed and, as with restaurants, should be inspected monthly and cleaned every three months or when the grease level reaches 25% of capacity.

Call a Professional Service

If you run a commercial business in the State of Massachusetts, you should contact a professional septic system service to ensure that you are working within the parameters of local law. Septic Preservation Services has over 15 years of experience servicing, inspecting, repairing and cleaning septic systems for commercial and residential customers all over Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.  Call us today at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com  for a professional consultation and evaluation of your septic system and help you stay on top of it all with our Preventative Maintenance Program.

flushable wipes

Flushable Wipes

flushable wipesFlushable Wipes!  Wipes are everywhere and are the ultimate convenience.  There are baby wipes for changing diapers and general cleanups, kitchen wipes,  make-up wipes, wipes with bleach, floor wipes, pet wipes, bathroom wipes and even flushable wipes.  They make our life easier especially on the go, but should we be flushing any of these down the toilet, even the ones that claim to be flushable?

Studies have been done to test flushable wipes to see how quickly they biodegrade, and while they may break down faster than non flushable wipes, they do not break down as quickly as they should.  Wipes have the potential to plug the sewer line between the house and tank and build up at the inlet of the septic tank.

Wipes can build up in the septic tank and reduce the ability of the solids to breakdown and allow just liquid to discharge to leach field.  This can cause failure of the septic system.  The antibacterial agents on the wipes can also harm the helpful bacteria in your septic tank.

The best advice is to throw all the wipes, even the flushable ones in the garbage.   The only thing that should be put in your toilet is toilet paper.  One-ply is the best and trying to get everyone in the family to conserve the amount of toilet paper being used will keep your septic system running smoothly.

Septic Preservation Services has a great maintenance program and can answer all your septic questions. Call them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

Septic Preservation Services

Risers and Your Septic System

What are risers, and why should I have them on my septic system?

Enclosed septic system with risers used by Septic Preservation Services

Enclosed septic system used by Septic Preservation Services

Risers on a septic system are the access points through which a person servicing your septic system can see inside the tank.  In the image below you see the three tubes rising from the top of the system.  Those are the risers.  The top is generally put at ground level for easiest access.  Some systems do not have risers built into them.  When there are no risers present, anyone trying service the system will have to resort to digging holes in the yard to find the access points to the tank. In some cases it is necessary to bring in excavation equipment if the ground proves too difficult to dig by hand.

If you are given the option to add risers to your system, it would be beneficial to anyone servicing the system in the future if you made sure they are put into place before the system is covered over.  Your servicemen will thank you, especially if you call Septic Preservation Services to inspect or service your tank!

If you need an inspection, have questions or need septic services, please call Septic Preservation Services at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septic preservation.com

winter

Winter and Your Septic System

winterWinter is here to stay.  Winter can cause some strain on your septic system.  With winter, comes snow.  Snow is actually a good insulator to keep  your system from freezing.  Make sure you don’t drive over your septic system.  This is especially true in winter.  Driving over your septic system can compact the snow and drive it deeper into the ground.

Normal use keeps your septic system from freezing.  Beware if you own a vacation or summer house.  With sporadic use or no use throughout the winter, there is a possibility of freezing.  Sporadic use can help keep this from happening.

Regular use and common sense can keep your septic system running smoothly throughout the winter.  Check for leaks in the plumbing so unnecessary water is not saturating the system.  Be careful of food products going down the drain as well as bleach and toxic cleaners.  Use single ply toilet paper and try not to overload the paper products in  the toilets.

When spring thaw hits. try to limit your water usage not to overload the system.  Space out your loads of wash and dishwasher cycles.  Cut back on showers and long, hot tubs. This will help the melting snow not overload your system.

Septic Preservation Services has a great maintenance program to keep your septic system running smoothly.  Call them with all your septic questions.  They can find a solution to any of your problems and answer all your questions.

You can reach them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com