Septic systems are most often found in rural areas of Brownsville OR and will consist of a series of pipes connecting it to the home, a septic tank, a filtering system to separate the solid waste from the liquid and connecting pipes that drain off the liquid waste into the yard, in a designated area called the drain field. These systems are often inspected before septic installation and tested afterwards, to make sure that it is operating properly.
Ownership of a septic tank system in Brownsville OR means that everyone understands the importance of having regular septic tank inspection and septic pumping to catch potential problems before they happen. All too often, nothing is done until the worst happens, like the tank developing a leak, or it backs up into an area away from the drain field. Two easy ways to avoid this from happening include monitoring what goes into it as waste and remembering its physical location to avoid accidents.
When there is a septic system installation, the area where the septic tank is placed should be noted so that no accidental driving or parking of a heavy vehicle can occur. While most tanks are buried deep enough to avoid this, as a general principle it should be avoided to prevent damage to the tank in the future.
What are the health department regulations for a Septic Tank in Brownsville OR?
Septic systems require regular inspection and repair for proper functioning. The factors which influence the amount of work required in the maintenance are the size of the tank, the extent of its use by the household and the amount of water used in it. These factors influence how frequently the inspections are needed, but it must be kept in mind that even the best maintained septic systems require regular inspection.
The septic tank inspector is usually a qualified private contractor or a health professional with the local health administration. You can get in contact in one through your local health administration or the municipality. The health department will give you a list of the septic system inspectors who work locally. Most waste experts will require a fee for the job.
Locating the Tank
If you have purchased a new house, or have forgotten where the septic tank is, the first job is to locate the septic tank. Septic system inspectors take a fee for this job - so to save money and time you better find it yourself before the inspector comes.
If you are unable to do it yourself, the waste inspector has a number of methods to find a tank.
Sludge Judge and Tank Inspection
The waste expert inspects the condition and status of the solid waste in your septic system using a device called a Sludge Judge. It is a long pipe that is hollowed out to allow waste to enter it from the bottom. When inserted in the septic system waste, it takes a core sample of the solid waste. The inspector then visually inspects core sample to get an idea of the amount of solid and sludge contained in the tank and how decomposed they are. That then helps him decide whether to pump the tank or not.
The inspector also checks that the tank has remained watertight. He also checks the various components and parts of the system, along with the construction of the tank itself. Septic tank inspections are well worth the money if they help you find a problem early, before it becomes costly.
No one ever thinks about what happens to the waste and water once they have flushed the toilet, that is just a fact of life. For those of us whose homes are on urban water systems, we never will have to think about it. But, for those of us who own homes hooked up to septic systems, it is another maintenance issue that simply cannot be ignored. No matter how new or how old your home is, you need to have a regularly scheduled septic tank inspection and replacement costs may be avoided by spotting issues before they become emergencies.
How a Septic System Works
Most septic systems will include large holding tanks for storage, usually made out of plastic, but older ones may be steel or concrete. These tanks hold all of the household waste, especially the water and waste released when you flush the toilet. At some point the tank will be filled to its maximum level, and will need to have the waste disposed of in some fashion. This is usually done in one of three ways: by being pumped out, having bacteria or chemicals added that will break down and destroy the waste, or by allowing it to be drained into the soil through a leech field.
Like all hard working systems, eventually time will run its course, and maintenance will need to be done. Because septic systems are usually buried underground, it can be hard to tell when it is time for regular maintenance, and that is the main reason why regularly scheduled septic tank inspection and replacement assessments are so important. There can be a lot involved with doing even the basic maintenance on such a system, and being able to avoid major problems or even potential problems will insure that the cost of doing so will not skyrocket unnecessarily.
How Does an Inspection Work? How Often Should It Be Done?
Even if your particular septic system uses a leech field, or has decomposition additives used to break down the waste, it still should be pumped out on a regular basis, so that the service technicians can have a chance to inspect it for maintenance issues. Small tanks will require this more often than larger tanks, of course, and even if your system has water conservation measures in place, it still should be pumped out and inspected at least once every three to five years.
A good and thorough inspection should involve not only a visual check of the tank, connectors and drainage points, as well as the leech field, but the tank should be opened as often as possible, and the inside inspected. There are tests that field service agents can perform to test the function of the tank itself, like adding dye to the water to test for leaks. Any baffles or lids should also be checked for signs of wear and tear, as well as any connections and connecting pipes that the technician can reach readily.
Signs that Replacement is Needed
If you are in the market to purchase a home that is connected to a septic tank system, you should have a proper inspection done right away. Not all prior owners reveal the true facts about the system, or may not even know that it is close to being repaired or replaced. The more you know, the more prepared you will be for potential problems down the road. If the tank in the installed system is steel or concrete, you may want to negotiate getting it replaced right away.
Steel tanks rust, and may develop breaks and leaks that will eventually cause the leech field to be flooded. Concrete tanks break down over time, and if the area where the tank is buried is near the home, chances are something has been driven over it at some point. Even the smallest car has the potential to break down a concrete tank by exerting added pressure at a weak point. If water has reached the surface of the leech field, the leaks are extensive, and it is far past the point where any septic tank inspection and replacement check will help.
Regular septic tank inspections done by a professional plumber can help avert a major disaster caused by a septic system failure. Unfortunately, these are more common than you would think. Because the septic system runs underground, most homeowners tend to ignore it. However, failure to carry out regular inspections of the sewer system can be a health hazard and can also result in destruction of the surrounding property.
Before buying a new home, it is crucial to find out as much as you can about the system. Find out how old the system is and whether or not is has been regularly maintained. Better still, get an inspection done so that you do not start having problems as soon as you buy it and shift in.
What Causes Failure Of The Septic System?
There are several different factors that may cause the septic system to fail. Some of the more common reasons include:
• The septic tank is too small
• The diameter of the drainage pipes are too small
• The drainfield is not large enough or it may not leveled correctly
• The soils in which the system is installed is unsuitable
• Tree roots have entered into the pipes and are causing a blockage
• Faulty surface drainage
The problem is, more often than not, by the time the homeowner realizes there is a problem the damage done would already be quite extensive. To make matters worse, without the proper knowledge and equipment it is almost impossible to determine the cause of the problem. Leaving it unattended or trying to contain the damage by trial and error will only make matters worse. The only way to prevent extensive damage is by calling in a professional to try and resolve the issue.
How Septic Tank Inspection and Maintenance Is Done
When you call a professional plumber to inspect the septic tank and carry out the necessary maintenance, they will come with all of the latest tools.
First they will test for a blockage or seepage by using a sewer camera or by the fluorescent dye method. After determining the exact cause of the problem, they will then use the correct tool to correct it. A sewer snake is usually used to clear a stubborn blockage if that is what is causing the problems. A sewer snake, also called an electric eel, is a long, slender and flexible pipe that is sent into the drain pipe. Though flexible and slender, the pipe is tough enough to dislodge the clog. If the blockage is caused by tree roots that have invaded the pipe, these are usually cut by using a specially designed device called a drain rooter.
Most of us pay ample value to the interiors of our homes, but often, we intentionally or unintentionally choose to avoid things that need attention like proper septic tank installation and maintenance. No matter where you have your home, having the right kind of septic tank installed and ensuring its maintenance is one aspect that you just cannot ignore. Before going in the details of how to choose a company, it is essential to understand the need to invest in such maintenance costs.
Avoid health hazards and damage to environment: In the case of septic tank failure, the local environment can be largely affected. This can lead to further health related hazards for your family and those families living nearby. This is a condition can often be immensely dangerous, and the effects can be there even after a long time.
Avoid the repair costs: Most people don't realise the simple fact that septic tank service is easy on the pocket rather than repairs. In fact, repairs can run in thousands of dollars, and in an unfortunate event where reinstallation is required, you are in for big troubles. Rather than investing so much in a single payment, hiring the services of a professional for cleaning, pumping and maintenance is a safer and better option any day.
Avoid property damage: Apart from the damage mentioned above, you can also face damage to the property values. If you are really concerned about your home and want to fetch a good resale value at a later stage, maintenance and upkeep of septic tank is something you just cannot ignore. Property evaluators may not consider your home to be worth of what you ask if there is any damage related to septic tank.
The main question lies in how to select the right company for septic tank cleaning, pumping and maintenance. It is obvious that a local company must be selected, but make sure that you take a look at the traits given below before choosing one.
Look for a construction company: Rather than looking for company that can offer maintenance, it is essential that you look for a company that is well versed with installation, repairs and other tasks. This will not only bring you the best expertise, but at the same time, you can get emergency services when required.
Look for costs: The costs of annual septic tank maintenance contracts can vary from one company to another, and this is also large dependent on the tank type you have. While looking for hiring a company, ask for quote and compare the same with others.
Look for experience: Always choose a licensed company over a company that is still looking for it. It is important that your company has the right experience to handle repairs, pumping, cleaning and maintenance, and when required, they must be available for service. A reputed company should good at commercial and residential sites alike.
Check online on a few company websites for details on septic tank maintenance.
Where your waste goes after it gets flushed down the toilet isn't something that many of us think about very often, nor should it be. Thanks to technological advances in the last century, plumbing and public sanitation has become much more convenient, hygienic and precise. The vast majority of those of us who live in metropolitan areas have our home sewer lines tapped into the city sewer mains, which means that our waste travels to a public treatment plant to be processed. For homes and businesses that cannot tap into public sewer lines, however, using a septic tank is an option that provides similar results in a different manner.
They are large holding tanks for sewage, almost always located below ground. They are usually constructed of plastic, and are often able to contain many weeks worth of waste. A septic tank can generally allow for the permanent disposal of waste in one of three ways: by being pumped out on a regular basis, by having bacteria or chemicals applied that eats away the waste naturally, or be allowing the waste to be dispersed naturally into the ground through a leech field. In all of these cases, septic tanks usually require less maintenance than you would think after the initial installation is complete.
A tank is generally called for in a couple of different scenarios. The first and most common is in more rural areas that do not have public city sewer systems available to tap into. The tax dollars that we pay as residents of a city go partially toward providing sanitary services, one of which is maintaining a public sewage treatment plant and sewer system. If, however, your home or business is located too far away from existing city sewer lines, it becomes necessary to dispose of your own waste by installing a septic tank system. Generally, permanent tanks are relatively affordable, can be installed in a few days, and are reliable.
Another scenario where septic tanks might be necessary is on temporary, extensive construction projects that will require many laborers over a longer period of time. In this case, portable toilets might be too temporary and inadequate, but actually building a sewer main to attach to the city sewers might be too expensive and time consuming. In this case, a small tank system is a more intelligent solution that can be used temporarily and then removed when the construction project is complete.
If you think that you might need to have a tank system installed at a home, business or constructions site, make sure that you research local contractors to see who offers the best prices and service. Thanks to modern technology, you shouldn't notice any discernible difference between being attached to a public sewer system and using a septic tank.
For those non-city folks that rely on a septic system instead of a city sewer, having a failed septic system is a major headache. It is amazing to hear the horror stories, as well as, the vast amount of mis-information being circulated about septic tanks, leaching systems, septic system repair costs, etc.
With over 30 years of experience in the design engineering of subsurface sewage disposal systems, commonly called "Septic Systems", I've prepared this easy to follow 12 step outline as a guide in replacing a Septic System. There is one very important pre-qualification before you start, you need to retain a qualified professional civil engineer or registered sanitarian. I have to stress the word "qualified", unless you want to enjoy being the leading role in the next release of "Horror Stories from the Leaching Field". Take the time to do a little homework, such as going to your local Health Board office and asking what civil engineers are designing septic systems in your Town and whose design plans are typically approved without having to be sent back for corrections and revisions. Once you get a few names, do a little research on the web, Better Business Bureau, etc. Then you should contact these civil engineers and talk with them about your problem septic system and ask for a written proposal that will outline the tasks and costs. Just like you wouldn't eat a rotten piece of fruit, if you don't have a good feeling about a particular civil engineer, then do not hire him!
Now you are ready to go forward with the 12 steps.
1. A test application is submitted to the local Health office (some States, like Rhode Island, control the testing, etc. so the application would have to go to a State agency.)
2. You hire an excavation contractor to dig the test holes. If you do not know a local excavating contractor, then your engineer should provide you with a few contact names. (FYI - by hiring a contractor for the test holes, you are not making a commitment or obligation to hire him to install the replacement septic system.) This excavation contractor will need to follow local / state safety regulations (such as obtaining a "dig-safe" number and having the underground electric, telephone, CATV, gas, etc. located before the test holes are dug.
3. The engineer coordinates with the Health Agent, excavating contractor and you (the client) to set the testing date.
4. The engineer performs the official deep hole soil evaluation and associated "perc" percolation testing. Soil samples may have to be obtained and taken to a lab for further testing. The engineer prepares the official forms (soil logs) and submits a copy to the local health office and to you.
5. The engineer performs a limited existing conditions topographic "topo" survey of your property where the replacement septic system is proposed. (FYI - Unless you have a small lot or do not know where your lot lines and/or lot corners are located, you typically would not need to have your property line surveyed.)
6. The engineer uses the results of the soil evaluation, perc. testing, topo survey in combination with the current and anticipated building use (number of bedrooms, garbage grinder, etc.) and State / Local Sanitary Codes to design a replacement septic system for your property.
7. The formal design plans (with the original seal and signature of the professional civil engineer) and construction permit application are submitted to the local Health Agency for review and approval.
8. The engineer provides you with additional copies of the design plans for you to submit to licensed contractors to obtain a price quote / bid.
9. Once you have selected a contractor, he coordinates with the local Health Agency (to obtain the permit) and the engineer, prior to starting the work.
10. The Health Agent visits the construction site as the work progresses to observe and confirm Code compliance.
11. The engineer, in most States, must visit the construction site to observe the critical construction stages, make measurements and prepare a formal plan showing the completed "as-built" septic system. The engineer submits a copy of this plan to you and the local Health Agency along with a signed compliance statement. Some States also require the contractor to sign and submit a compliance statement.
12. The local Health Agency reviews the "as-built" plan, etc. and issues a "Certificate of Compliance" which signifies that the replacement septic system as installed is in compliance with the State and Local Sanitary Code.
One other item, if you have wetlands on or near your property and the anticipated work will be within 100 ft. of these wetlands, then additional permitting will be necessary before you can have the replacement septic system installed.
Septic Tank Inspection Oregon