Things to AVOID
Do not put toxic or hazardous chemicals into the tank. Even small amounts of paints, varnishes, thinners, waste oil, photographic solutions, pesticides, and other organic chemicals can destroy the biological digestion taking place within the system.
Do not put plastics, cat litter, cigarette filters, condoms, tampons, sanitary napkins, paper towels, and facial tissues in the septic system. These items quickly fill the tank with solids, decrease its efficiency and require the tank to be pumped out more frequently. They can also clog up the sewer line into the tank causing waste water to back up into the home. Do not dump grease or fats down your kitchen drain. They solidify and may cause blockages in the system.
What are some of the safety concerns with an aerobic treatment system?
•One point of concern is that the reclaimed waste water be properly disinfected at all times. If the waste water is not disinfected before it is pumped out of your aerobic treatment system, it is contaminated with fecal bacteria. You will find a list of the bacteria that may be contained in contaminated waste water and the diseases that those bacteria can cause under Waste water Disinfection, Chemicals and Additiveswaste waterwaste waterwaste waterWaste water •A major safety issue develops when tank lids are broken, not secured or left off of the tanks, or ill-fitting or improper lids used. Unfortunately, at least one child has drowned in Texas when she fell into a tank with an ill-fitting or improper-type lid. Dogs, puppies, cats and kittens have also drowned in septic tanks because tanks were left open or improperly secured. Boards, bricks, particle board, rocks, etc. are not sufficient or legal to cover the tank openings. •Adding any other electrical device to your aerobic treatment system control box, such as holiday lighting or a swimming pool motor may cause an outage or fire that may affect the master breaker panel in your home. How do I keep it working?
To keep your system working and to avoid costly repairs, some basic rules should be followed.
First, never dispose of household solid wastes and toxic chemicals in your system. Garbage disposals should be avoided or the system should be designed to accommodate the extra waste load. Secondly, conserve water whenever possible. One leaking toilet can overburden your system and cause a problem. Your system must also be properly maintained. If you have septic tanks, they should be pumped every two to three years to insure proper operation. Remember, pumping your tank is like changing your oil. You won’t see immediate results but your system will keep working longer with fewer repairs.
Can my septic system contaminate my well and nearby streams and water bodies?
Yes, particularly if the effluent is not adequately treated, as in a failing system. Untreated effluent is a health hazard and can cause many human diseases. Once this untreated effluent enters the groundwater, you and your neighbor’s wells can be contaminated. Also, if this sewage reaches nearby streams or water bodies, shellfish beds and recreational swimming areas may also be jeopardized.
Can I use swimming pool chlorine in my septic system?
No. There is a big difference in pool chlorine and septic system chlorine. They give off different types of gases and the aerobic chlorine will not kill grass or trees. Be careful when you are filling the sleeve of chlorine. Do not over fill the sleeve or force the chlorine into it.
How often do I need to put chlorine into my aerobic septic system?
How often you refill your chlorine depends on the usage of the system. Check it at least every two weeks to be sure it has sufficient chlorine.
Should I expect odors from my treatment plant?
If your treatment plant is working properly and the blower is running according to the manufacturer’s directions, you should not have any noticeable odors coming from your unit. If you detect a sour or “rotten egg” smells, you should contact your installer immediately. This may be an indication of a blower malfunction or dead or unhealthy microorganism population.
Once installed, the blower will run continuously and the system will operate with a minimal amount of attention. It will take from 6 to 12 weeks after startup to develop an optimum population of micro-organisms. To insure proper operation and minimize maintenance requirements, the following materials should not be permitted to enter the system.
What shouldn’t I flush down the toilet?
Flush only human waste and toilet paper down the toilet—avoid flushing dental floss, cat litter (including “flushable” varieties), hair, Kleenex, cigarette butts, cotton swabs, feminine hygiene products, condoms, paper towels, static cling sheets, diapers, and disposable wipes. These items could clog your septic system components and cause a failure.
Will additives help my system?
No. Adding a stimulator or an enhancer to a septic tank to help it function or “to restore bacterial balance” is not necessary. The naturally occurring bacteria needed for the septic system to work are already present in human feces. According to the U.S. Department of Health, none of these products eliminate the need for routine maintenance and pumping.
Can I plant a vegetable garden over my drain field?
No. Growing vegetables over a drain field is not recommended. Vegetables need watering, and excess water in the soil reduces its ability to treat wastewater. The deep roots of some vegetables may damage drain field pipes. Bed preparation, such as rot tilling or deep digging, can also damage pipes. Plus, there is the risk of contaminating food crops with sewage.
Can cattle graze over the drain field? How about just one horse?
Livestock should be kept off of drain fields. In the winter, livestock trample and muddy the soil; in the summer they compact it. Again, this is not good for the soil’s ability to exchange oxygen. So, sorry, even one horse is not recommended.
Alarms going off (either visual lights or buzzers, or both)
All aerobic systems come equipped with alarms that are programmed to indicate a malfunction in the system. If chlorine is used by the system, you will want to check to make certain that there is a proper supply of chlorine tablets available to the system. You should also check to see if the circuit breaker for the system has been tripped. If so, reset it. If it continues to trip, you'll need to call in CP Dirt Works to determine the cause. If neither of these is causing the alarm to fire, the problem may be with the pump, compressor, vanes, seals, or filters.
Sewage odors in the yard
Odors in the yard, especially in or near the absorption field indicate a malfunctioning aerobic system. The problem may be as simple as a lack of chlorine available to the system or an indicator of a more serious problem within the tank such as excessive buildup of solids or a malfunctioning pump. For health reasons it’s important to quickly determine the cause of the odors and fix the problem.
Do I have to have a maintenance contract?
Yes, it is a Texas law that you must keep a valid maintenance contract in effect at all times. Operating your aerobic septic system without a valid contract could result in fines up to $500 per offense with each day being a new offense.
Is my septic system supposed to run all the time?
Yes, your aerobic system is designed to run on a continual basis. If your air pump is not running call us immediately.
If I have an odor inside my home, isn’t that septic related?
Septic odors inside the home are usually a result of plumbing issues.
How often do I need to have my system pumped?
Usually every 2 to 3 years or whenever an overload occurs. Having company visiting, excessive laundry or any other reason for added water usage could cause an overload to the system.
How do I mute my alarm?
There should be a button marked in your control box to mute the alarm. Remember to UN-mute your alarm once your septic problem is corrected. UN-mute
Is the water safe?
If the chlorine is being correctly maintained and your system is functioning properly, the water supply spraying onto your lawn is designed to be safe for children and pets to walk on. Standing water should never be drunk by humans or pets.
Do I have to add chlorine?
Yes, it is a law that you must maintain chlorine in an aerobic septic system at all times. Violators are subject to fines of up to $2,500 per offense with each day being a new offense.
Where do I add chlorine?
Chlorine locations will vary depending on the brand of aerobic system you have. Typically, there is a 4" diameter pipe with a grate. Usually, the pipe is sticking up out of the ground by your tank lids or inside the last lid of your system. If you are having trouble locating your chlorinator pipe, contact us to speak to a technician for the specific location of your system's chlorinator.
Will my sludge level break down by itself?
No the sludge compacted in the bottom of your septic tanks must be removed by professional septic cleaning.
My sprinkler heads are losing pressure.
The pump is probably stopped up and needs cleaning or needs to be replaced. Broken pipes or sprinkler heads could also cause this situation. The life of a pump is typically 3-5 years.
How do I know when my septic is ready to be cleaned out?
When your septic system's sludge level rises over 8", it is time to clean your septic system. Prolonging the cleaning past recommended time could result in septic failure.
Why does my aerobic septic system smell?
An aerobic septic system has to have air in it at all times or the beneficial bacteria will die causing it to smell. Or, there is too much water running through the system. Common household cleaning supplies or other foreign, non biodegradable material that was added to the system could be the reason your bacteria is no longer active. Leaking plumbing such as, faucets and commodes, can also add excessive water to your system causing it to overload.
Do aerobic septic systems have to be cleaned out?
All septic systems must be cleaned out every 3-5 years.
Is there a difference between pumping and cleaning the septic?
Yes. Pumping is simply removing water and some of the floating solids from your septic tanks. Cleaning is the processes of professionally removing all the water and compacted sludge that has accumulated in the bottom of the tanks.
Follow these important steps to protect your septic system. Adhering to a few basic do's and don'ts is usually all it takes to keep your septic system functioning efficiently.
Time Required: Varies
1.Conserve water to reduce the load on the septic system. For example, do laundry throughout the week instead of all at once; use flow reducer nozzles on showers; install water-conserving commodes. 2.Tree roots that invade your septic system can do major damage. Keep trees at least 100 feet away from the septic system. Trees with aggressive roots, such as willows, should be planted even farther away. 3.A soggy drain field can't handle waste effectively, so design landscaping, roof gutters, and foundation drains to divert excess water away from the septic system. 4.Never flush cat litter, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, paper towels, facial tissues, coffee grounds, cigarette butts, or similar items down the toilet. They'll quickly fill and clog your septic tank. 5.Use garbage disposals wisely. They can double the amount of solids added to a septic tank. Consider installing a top-of-the-line disposal, which will grind waste into smaller particles that break down more quickly when they reach the system. 6.Do not overuse heavy cleaners, especially those containing bleach. They kill beneficial bacteria in the septic tank, so solids can't break down as quickly. 7.Do not pour grease down the drain. It will eventually clog your drain field. If that happens you'll need an extensive (and expensive) septic system repair--and if there's no space for a repair drain field you will have serious problems establishing any type of septic system. 8.Do not pour hazardous chemicals down the drain. They can harm your septic system and will eventually find their way into the groundwater. 9.Do not drive over the drain field, build a structure on top of it, or cover it with concrete or asphalt. A few years ago, there was a home for sale in our area with an above-ground swimming pool built on the septic drain field. That's a definite don't! 10.Do plant grass on the drain field to minimize soil erosion. 11.Some professionals recommend a monthly dose of an enzyme product that adds beneficial bacteria to the septic system. Others say it isn't necessary and won't improve the performance of your system. Bottom line, septic additives are not expensive, so they can't hurt. I know several people who swear that flushing a few packets of yeast each month is a great way to keep septic systems in shape.
1.More water conservation: check plumbing for leaks, reduce water levels for small loads of laundry, and use a displacer to reduce the amount of water needed to flush the toilet. 2.Never attempt to open a septic tank yourself. The gases in it are dangerous. Call a professional pumping company to empty the tank as required.
My aerobic treatment plant has an activated alarm. What does it mean, and what should I do?
An activated alarm usually means that some part of your treatment plant has malfunctioned or that your alarm itself has malfunctioned.
•Check your system’s control box to see that both breakers are turned on. You should be able to silence your audible alarm at the control box. This will not solve the problem, but you won’t have to listen to the alarm. •If your system has an air-sensor hose from the air compressor to the control box, check to see that the hose is connected and not leaking air and does not have any breaks or leaks in the hose itself. •If the high-water alarm is operating properly, it should activate when there is a malfunction with your effluent/sprinkler operation. It also may activate during heavy rains if ground water is running into your tank if the effluent pump cannot pump the water out fast enough to keep the water below the high-water-alarm float. When the rain slacks off and the water in the tank is pumped down below the float, the alarm should deactivate.
If this situation continues to occur, risers to bring the tank lids above ground level may be recommended as a remedy.
•If the problem still has not been solved, call us immediately for service