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  • A few dollars spent every few years on proper septic cleaning and care is much less expensive than an unexpected repair bill.
    How often a septic tank needs to be pumped depends on the tank's design and how it is operated. It is recommended to not go more than 36 months between cleanings or evaluations. All septic tanks must be periodically pumped (cleaned) to remove floating scum and sludge that accumulates. If either floating scum or sludge is allowed to enter the soil treatment system it will cause expensive and often irreparable damage.
    The pumping frequency depends on many factors, including the tank size, use and operating condition.

About different septic system types
  • Conventional Septic System
    When you flush the toilet or put water down the drain, it flows through the pipes and into the septic tank through the inlet tee. The top layer of "scum" is made up of light solids that have floated to the top. The heavy solids that settle to the bottom is called "sludge". At working level, the wastewater filters out into your leaching field, leaving the solids behind. The wastewater then disperses into the ground. There is always bacteria in your tank that helps to break down these solids. Pumping your tank is necessary to get rid of the solids and keep your system working as it should.

    If your system is fairly new, there may be a filter at the outlet side of your system. This filter helps to keep solids from escaping into your leaching field and prolongs the life of the system. A typical residential filter need to be cleaned every 6-12 months. You can easily clean this filter yourself by hooking it, pulling it out and rinsing it off with a garden hose.

    Holding Tank Septic System
    With a holding tank septic system, the main septic tank does not have a leaching field as in a conventional system. Your septic tank is a holding tank and once the tank is full, it needs to be pumped. Holding tank septic systems may have an alarm that goes off when you reach a high level in the tank. Once the alarm goes off, you only have a few more days of usage. You should call and schedule a pump for your tank as soon as your hear the alarm to avoid any problems such as backups in your yard or home.

    Pump System
    With a pump septic system, it works almost like a conventional system except that there is a pump that will pump the water out of your septic tank to your leaching area. Pump systems are usually found in areas with a high water table and you may see the leaching field above the normal grade of your yard.

Caution: Overloading your system
  • Overloading with water and solids can clog the soil treatment system. Large amounts of water flowing through the system can flush solids out of the septic tank before it has had a chance to separate the solids, scum and water. Avoid washing too many loads of laundry on the same day. Space heavy water using jobs as evenly as possible throughout the week to prevent overloading. Lack of septic tank maintenance can cause biological overloading. This will result in additional solids going to the soil treatment system forcing the biomat to become thicker than desired. This thickened layer slows the soil's ability to accept water, requiring more soil area than would normally be necessary.

Spring thaw and flooding
Vegetative Cover
  • Good vegetative cover, usually grass, should be planted over soil treatment systems and mowed regularly. Mowing is necessary to encourage growth without using fertilizer. The vegetative cover helps the system remove nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus by using them for plant growth. Do not plant trees or other plants with deep, invasive roots within 5 feet of the soil treatment system. Plants that normally live in wet soil conditions could damage a septic system and should not be planted near it. Consider the mature size of trees and shrubs when choosing plants. Be sure to keep gophers and other rodents out of the soil treatment area.

  • Driving heavy vehicles on the trenches, mound or drip system area before, during or after construction can cause damage. Good soil treatment depends on undisturbed, uncompacted, unsaturated soil to treat wastes; this is especially important in winter. Nothing heavier than a lawn mower should ever be driven over any part of the septic system.

Freezing Protection
What is a water table?
  • Many people understand that a water table has something to do with ground water, but they may not understand fully what a water table entails or the purpose it serves.

    The zone of saturation is the underground depth at which the ground is totally saturated with water.  The upper surface of this zone is called the water table. It is also the level at which groundwater pressure is equal to atmospheric pressure.

    Much of the water present on earth is trapped under the ground. Rain, river and steam runoff and snow melt contribute to the water that seeps down into the soil and eventually into deposits of water under the ground. When water deposits are large enough to be used as a water source, they are known as aquifers.

    The water table can fluctuate depending on the season and weather conditions. When there is an excess of rain or runoff, the water table may rise considerably. During periods of drought, the water table may diminish.

    It’s also important to note that a water table is not a flat line of water. The table actually fluctuates depending on the landscape and human modifications of subterranean topography. The water table may be shallow in some areas and deep in others. In some cases, people may live in areas with a “high water table.” The water may be enough to saturate the ground and contribute to springs where water flows naturally from rock onto the surface of the land. Springs may seep from places where the water table intersects the land surface. Water may also flow out of the ground along fractures. A high water table may contribue to leaks in basements and crawl spaces. That’s because hydrostatic pressure, or the pressure of the groundwater pressing up against the home foundation, can cause the water to find weak points and other areas of entry. In these instances, a method of keeping the water from entering the home may need to be investigated.

    Some people and industries tap the water table and aquifers for use. Underground water can provide irrigation for crops or be used to bring water to a home instead of relying on public water supplies. When a well is sunk to pump ground water, it must be put deep enough to reach the zone of saturation.

If you are unsure if your tank is in need of service, call us at 218-739-4320.

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