The Ins and Outs of Septic Tank Pumping
If you have a septic tank, knowing a thing or two about septic tank pumping is incredibly important.
A conventional septic tank needs to be pumped once every three to five years. Pumping removes the buildup of sludge and scum and helps prevent issues like clogs and disposal field failures. Septic tank pumping is not something you think about very often, but it is an essential part of taking proper care of a conventional septic system* (see note). Unfortunately, most people flush and it is out of sight, out of mind.
Why is pumping important?
To understand why pumping is important, you first need a general understanding of how a septic tank works. The purpose of your septic tank is to separate the wastewater from the solid sewage. The grease and oil that remains at the top is called scum, and the solid waste that sinks to the bottom of the tank is called sludge. In between the scum and the sludge remains water that is almost completely free of solids, but contains phosphorous, nitrogen, and other chemicals that act as fertilizer. Through dams and baffles, this water is removed from the septic tank and filtered throughout the septic field (also called a leach field or drain field). The scum and sludge do not leave the tank. The anaerobic bacteria in your tank helps to slowly eat away at the sludge and scum, but it cannot eliminate all of it, and that’s where pumping comes in. Pumping removes the solids, scum, and wastewater that the bacteria cannot handle from your tank.
What happens if you don’t get your tank pumped?
If you neglect getting your septic tank pumped, it can lead to serious consequences. Letting the sludge inside of your septic tank build up could cause it to back-up into your sewer lines. This can lead to sewage flowing into your home. The solid waste can also seep into the drain field and clog it. This is bad for the environment, and will cause foul odors on your property.
How do you know when your septic tank needs to be pumped?
It is important to understand the signs that your septic tank needs to be pumped, including:
- Pooling water – When your septic tank fills up, it can start to pool into the lawn around your tank and drain field.
- Unpleasant odors – The more waste that builds up inside of your septic system, the more likely you are to experience unpleasant odors.
- Slow moving drains – If your drains or toilets are moving slowly or gurgling, it may be a sign that your septic tank is full and needs to be pumped.
- Sewage backups – Have you experienced sewage backups in your sinks, bathtubs or toilets? If so, your tank is overly full and requires pumping..
It’s important to note that pumping is not the answer to every septic tank problem, and in some cases, it’s merely a short-term fix.
Note: Septic systems with a Septic Genie operate differently. The Septic Genie continually grows a thriving colony of special aerobic bacteria which eats all the scum and sludge in the tank and, over time, clears clogged drain fields. Eliminating the scum and sludge leaves just water in the septic tank, eliminating the need to have the septic tank pumped. Learn more about Septic Genie and find out if it’s the right option for your septic system. Call or visit us online today.
Your Guide to Planting Trees Near Your Septic System Part 2
Planting trees near your septic system can be tricky, because some species of trees can cause a lot of damage.
Trees, shrubs and other plant life can enhance the design of any landscape, but if you have a septic system, it pays to be very careful when planting anything. In our last blog, we talked about which parts of your septic system are vulnerable to tree-root damage, as well as how far away you should be planting your trees. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, now is the time! Today, we are going to be going over which trees, shrubs and other plants are safe to plant near your septic system and which trees and shrubs to avoid planting anywhere near it.
Why might it be beneficial to plant vegetation near or over your leach field?
Many homeowners become so paranoid about planting trees, shrubs or anything near their leach field that they avoid it altogether. However, planting the right kind of vegetation could actually be beneficial for the health of your septic system. This is because plants helps to prevent erosion by removing the excess moisture from your leach field.
Which plants are safe to place near or over your leach field?
Your best bet is to plant vegetation that has shallow root systems, such as grasses, annuals and perennials. Spring bulbs, wild violets, hollyhocks, bee balm and deer resistant perennials are all great choices. However, when it comes to planting trees and shrubs, you need to be a bit more careful. Here are some example of trees and shrubs with shallow root systems that are safe to plant near your septic system:
- Japanese Maple Trees
- Holly Shrubs
- Dogwood Trees
- Cherry Trees
- Boxwood Shrubs
- Eastern Redbud Trees
- Azalea Shrubs
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t plant any vegetation that you plan on eating from near your septic system. You might get better growth, but it won’t be safe to eat any of the fruit or vegetables produced.
What plants should you avoid placing near your leach field?
As a general rule, you want to avoid planting any trees or shrubs that are fast-growing and large, as well as those that are known to seek out water sources aggressively. Some trees are pickier about the water sources they will seek out than others, and some trees, like weeping willow trees, will go after the water in the pipes traveling through the leach field. Here are a few examples of some trees and shrubs that you should avoid planting anywhere near your leach field:
- Japanese Willow Shrubs
- Ash Trees
- Birch Trees
- Pussy Willow Shrubs
- Aspen Trees
- Tulip Trees
- Maple Trees
- Beech Trees
As we mentioned in our previous blog, any trees or shrubs that you plant should be planted as far from the your septic system as they are tall. So a tree that reaches 30 feet in maturity will need to be planted at least 30 feet away from your septic system.
Here at Septic Remedies, our goal is to be your one-stop-shop for septic tank care. Please contact us or visit our site to learn more about taking care of your septic system.
Your Guide to Planting Trees Near Your Septic System Part 1
Are you looking to plant trees near your septic system?
Trees are truly incredible. We rely on them for everything from adding beauty to our world to providing us with the oxygen we need to breathe. Trees can add a lot to your home’s landscape, but if you have a septic system, you may want to think twice about planting trees near your septic field. Many different kinds of trees have been known to infiltrate septic systems with their roots, leading a great deal of damage and expensive repairs. Although it can be tricky to plant trees near your septic system, if you do so carefully and wisely, it can be done. Luckily, the experts who brought you Septic Genie are here to help. Here is your guide to planting trees near your septic system:
Which parts of your septic system are vulnerable to damage from tree roots?
There are essentially three main parts to your septic system: the holding tank, the main outlet and then drainage field, otherwise known as a leach bed or leach field. The sewage travels into the septic tank, where it accumulates until it is full. Then, it will empty into the drainage field from the main outlet. The tank itself is incredibly durable and typically impervious to damage from tree roots. However, where tree roots are a real concern is the leach field.
The drainage field is made up of perforated PVC pipes that are laid in trenches that are filled with gravel or crushed stone. Tree roots target those pipes in their search for moisture. This leads to pipes that are either clogged, crushed or otherwise severely damaged. Every part in your septic system needs to be working properly in order for the whole thing to do its job, and when the drainage field pipes are damaged, your entire system will pay the price.
How far from the septic system should you plant trees?
How much distance you should give when planting a tree largely depends on the type of tree that you are planting. Some trees have root systems that are shallow, while others have strong, far-reaching roots that are attracted to the moisture in your septic system’s pipes. We will get into the specific types of trees that should and should not be planted near septic systems in our next blog, but as a general rule, you should leave as much distance between the tree and your septic system as the tree’s height when it reaches maturity. For example, if your have a tree that is 50 feet tall, it should be kept at least 50 feet away from your septic system.
Trees add a lot of life to your landscape, but when it comes to planting trees near your septic system, it’s important to be very careful. As we mentioned above, some trees are safer to plant near your septic system than others, and in our next blog, we’ll be going over which trees to plant and which trees to avoid. Please stay tuned for our next blog to learn more!
Protect Your Septic System by Conserving Water Part 3
If you use a septic system in your home, then water conservation can help you keep it running strong.
Did you know that you can easily overload your septic system if you use too much water? When your septic system is overloaded, the bacteria that breaks down solids inside of it can’t do its job effectively. Water conservation is essential for people who have septic systems in their homes, and in our previous septic tank care blog, we went over several tips for conserving water in your home. Here are the last few steps you can take to save more water at home:
#8. Skip your daily shower every once in awhile.
While it may not sound appealing, skipping your daily shower just once a week can really help you save a lot of water. Most of us don’t really need to take a shower every day, and showering daily can actually be bad for your hair and skin anyway.
#9. Don’t wash your vehicle at home.
Keeping your vehicle clean is important for both its aesthetic appeal and its paint, but that doesn’t mean you should wash your vehicle at home. Save water by washing your vehicle at a car wash that recycles the water it uses.
#10. Keep an eye on your meter or water bill.
In a previous blog, we mentioned the importance of fixing plumbing leaks for conserving water, but not all plumbing leaks are obvious. To spot hidden plumbing leaks, keep an close eye on your meter and water bills. If you notice any spikes in usage, it might be time to have a plumber inspect your home for leaks.
Take your septic tank care to the next level with The Septic Genie! Contact us today to learn more.
Protect Your Septic System by Conserving Water Part 2
Protect your septic system by learning how to conserve more water in your home!
Do you want to avoid problems with your septic system? If so, one of the best things you can do is to reduce the amount of water you use in your home. If you overload your septic system, it can lead to many different problems. In the last Septic Genie blog, we went over several tips for reducing your water usage at home. Here are a few more:
#4. Soak dishes instead of using running water.
If you can’t clean your dishes any other way than by hand washing them, you should do so by filling a sink with soapy water. This uses a lot less water than washing each dish under a running tap.
#5. Consider xeriscaping.
Xeriscaping is landscaping that is designed to reduce or eliminate the amount of water required for irrigation. Our lawns make up for a large portion of our water spend here in the United States, but you can minimize the amount your lawn uses with xeriscaping.
#6. Utilize a rain barrel.
By collecting melted snow and rain in a rain barrel, you can water your plants and clean your house without having to pay for water from the tap. Keep in mind that rain barrels aren’t legal in every state, so check your state laws before installing one in your home.
#7. Turn off the tap.
Many people leave the tap on when they are washing their hands and brushing their teeth, but this is incredibly wasteful. Until you are ready to rinse your mouth, your toothbrush or your hands, leave the tap off.
Stay tuned for our next blog for our last few water conservation tips.