Septic 101

Do's & Don'ts

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Why do Septic Systems fail?
Using Too Much Water

Using more water than the soil can absorb is the most common reason for failure. The sewage is forced to the surface or backs up into the house. This problem is often the result of one of two problems. Either the system is improperly designed or the result of a change in water use habits such as an increase in the size of the family or the addition of a water-using appliance.
Surface water draining from roofs, driveways, and roads onto the soil absorption field area can put an extra load on the system. If the soil is saturated with clean water, even seasonally, it cannot accept any more wastewater. The untreated wastewater will either rise to the surface or back up.

Physical Damage
Driving, paving, or building on top of a soil absorption unit can damage the field. Pipes can shift or be crushed and the soil compacted. Damage of this sort can make it difficult to locate the septic tank and prevents access for regular pumping.
Tree roots can also clog the soil absorption field. Plant the area in grass, not trees or shrubs.
Lack of Maintenance
The septic tank should be pumped about every 3 years to remove the sludge and scum retained in the tank and prevent clogging of the soil absorption field. More frequent pumping is needed if a garbage disposal is used in the home. Biological and chemical septic tank additives are not necessary and do not eliminate the need for pumping.
A septic tank is equipped with baffles at both the inlet and outlet. The inlet baffle prevents short-circuiting of the sewage and the outlet baffle prevents the floatable scum from moving out into the soil absorption field. In time, these baffles can deteriorate and drop off into the tank. The condition of the baffles should be checked when the tank is being pumped. Replace those in poor condition with sanitary tees.

Do additives reduce or eliminate the need for pumping ?
So far, no additive has been proven effective in a controlled scientific study however seeding a newly pumped tank does get the ball rolling.
The bacteria in the septic tank literally eat the solids in the tank turning them into liquids and gasses. When a tank is pumped, many of the bacteria are also removed so we recommend that you add started bacteria to grow, multiply and start feeding on the new waste.

Is my septic system dangerous to my family ?
Remember that your septic tank is buried into a hole in your yard. blah blah blah. Caution not only with children but guests and other family members is strongly advised. There have been many reports of the dangers of septic systems.

Do I need to put something (Rid-X, Septic Helper) down the toilet for the tank to work properly? 
Do not confuse septic tank additives with leach bed additives.  In most cases septic tanks do not need additives.  My research has shown me that bacterial additives, as a monthly thing, are usually a waste of money.  Natural bacteria exists in human waste.  A starter bacteria can be beneficial after pumping to start the bacterial action out properly.  We will give you a starter kit as part of our exceptional service. 

In some cases a quality bacteria should be used (Not yeast or a dead woodchuck).  Yes, you read it right, Iíve heard it all!!  A few such examples where additives might be needed are:

A homeowner that misuses the system by doing many loads of laundry in one day, hydraulically overloading the system with water, creating a washout.

A homeowner that flushes large amounts of bleach or other cleaning products into the system. 

Chautauqua County has many non-year round residents.  If you use your home only as a vacation home, a quality additive should be I introduced when you return.  Bacterial action dies within days if no new waste is introduced into your tank.

          Now, as far as the leach field. There are two additives I suggest.  Both for different conditions.  

1 - A drain field overtime will collect a build up of fine suspended solids that will slow the aerobic activity by reducing the oxygen in the bio-mat of the leach system. This can be prevented or reversed by introducing a product called Septic-Scrub directly into the distribution box. 
2- If you have a water softener, the salt can bind with certain types of clay causing soil to seal.  Septic-Seep is a liquid additive that should be introduced directly into the distribution box.  This product is designed to reverse the blockage in the soil do to the sodium your water softener discharges.

Call Advanced Discount Septic Service Pumping and Maintenance to purchase or have these products installed.


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716-665-7822 Jamestown | 716-595-2526 Cassadaga