October 15, 2018

Tips And Answers

Helpful Tips and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Here at Honey Dippers we know that sewage treatment and disposal isn’t something that most people think about until there’s a problem. And, we’d like to help you avoid some of those problems so that it can stay that way! Here are some helpful tips and answers to frequently asked questions to make life a little easier.

A septic tank wastewater system can contaminate ground water, surface water and your yard with nutrients, bacteria and viruses if not maintained properly and pumped often enough. Follow these tips to help ensure that your system continues to function properly, safely and without septic odors.

  1. Have a local septic tank cleaning service inspect your septic system annually.
  2. Pump out your septic tank regularly. Every three to five years is commonly recommended for a three-bedroom house with a 1,000-gallon tank. Smaller tanks should be pumped more often. This helps eliminate solids build-up.
  3. Do not divert roof drains or sump pumps into septic systems. Drain as little water into them as possible.
  4. Reduce the use of your garbage disposal or have the tank pumped more frequently.
  5. Don’t use your toilet as a garbage can! If you do, you may damage the system and will need to have the tank pumped more often.

How do I determine when to pump?

Many homeowners prefer to give this responsibility to a reputable septic tank pumping firm. They will periodically check your system to determine the rate of solids accumulation & proceed w/ a pumping schedule designed for your specific situation. Some homeowners may wish to measure sludge depth & scum thickness themselves, using a homemade probe. Guidelines for performing this messy operation may be obtained from your local sanitarian in the parish health office. The tank requires pumping if: a) the top of the sludge deposit is w/in 12 inches of the outlet baffle; b) the bottom of the floating scum mat is w/in three inches of the bottom of the outlet baffle; c) top of the floating scum mat is w/in one inch of the top of the outlet baffle or; d) the floating scum mat is more than 10-12 inches thick.

Should I use any special products to enhance the operation of my septic tank

These solvents, yeast, bacteria, & enzymes have not been found to make a significant difference. Some can even cause solids to be carried into the drainfield, causing early clogging & repair. Some products contain organic solvents which contribute to groundwater pollution.

Where is my tank located?

If you do not know where your septic tank is located, you can find it by gently tapping a steel rod into the ground starting about 10 feet from the point where the sanitary drain leaves the house.

What are the earning signs of a failure?

Odors, surfacing sewage, wet spots or lush vegetation in the drainfield area. Other include: plumbing or septic tank backups, slow-draining fixtures (not due to local clogging), gurgling sounds in the plumbing system. 
If you notice any of these signs or if you suspect problems with your septic tank system, contact your local septic tank cleaning service.

Recommendations to prolong the life of your septic system to minimize maintenance costs:

  1. Inspect for scum & sludge depth once each year & never it to escape from the septic tank into the drainfield.
  2. Pump tank at proper intervals (usually every three to five years).
  3. Limit water entering your tank: use water-saving fixtures (faucets, showers, toilets), prevent sump pump connection to tank, drain appliances one at a time, spread clothes-washing over the entire week & avoid half-loads, prevent roof – foundation – driveway drainage from entering tank, minimize amount of water used for bathing & dishwashing, fix all faucet & toilet float valve leaks.
  4. Keep soil over your system slightly mounded to help surface water run off.
  5. Landscape your system properly. Dense grass cover & other shallow-rooted plants are beneficial.
  6. Keep automobiles, all heavy vehicles & livestock off the system.
  7. Mark the boundaries of your drainfield as a reminder.
  8. If your system is equipped with a diverter valve between the septic tank & soil absorption field, allow one side of your system to “rest” at one-year intervals.
  9. If your system is equipped with a dosing chamber, be sure the submersible pump is operating & properly maintained for uniform discharge of effluent into the absorption field, followed by drainage between doses.
  10. Don’t use chemicals to clean or “sweeten” your system except on the advice of your local health department