Septic systems are most often found in rural areas of West Linn 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 West Linn 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 West Linn 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.
Septic system problems can occur and worsen extremely quickly. Learn how to identify issues with septic drain fields so that you can minimize damage and get the necessary repairs as soon as possible.
When you live in an area that is not connected to a municipal sewer system, your septic tank and system are an essential part of your day-to-day life. As such, it's vital to keep them in good working order and to deal with any issues that come up as soon as possible. Septic system drain fields, in particular, often experience issues. Find out what problems to keep an eye out for, and how your local septic repair and service firm can resolve them so that your septic system stays in top shape.
Drain fields are the part of your septic system where organic liquid waste drains out of the septic tank and is treated. After solid waste settles to the bottom of the septic tank, the remaining wastewater passes into perforated pipes. These pipes are covered by a layer of soil and disperse the wastewater over a large area. The wastewater then travels through a layer of gravel, then through a layer of soil. Here, bacteria in the soil filter the wastewater so that it is neutral before it reaches a groundwater level.
One of the main problems that can occur in this field is that the pipes become clogged with solid waste. This often happens if there is too much solid waste in the septic tank. Solids should be removed from a septic tank every three to five years by a professional. You can safeguard the health of your tank by getting your tank and your system inspected every year. That way, you'll know if you need to pump your tank more (or less) often, and you can take care of any minor septic system repair work as it comes up.
The other major danger is damage to your pipes from above- or below-ground pressure. You should not build, drive, or allow livestock above your drain field. Excess pressure on your pipes can cause them to crack, which will compromise your whole drain field area. Below ground, you need to be aware of intruding roots from trees or shrubs. These root systems will seek out the moisture of the field, so you should never do any planting or landscaping above your drain area. If you have a root problem, your local septic tank service pro should be able to perform appropriate tree root removal that will not damage your system further.
If your drain field is damaged, you will know. There might be unpleasant smells, surfacing sewage, or wet spots in the drain field area: plumbing or septic tank backups: or fixtures that drain more slowly than they should. If you notice any of these problems, contact a septic system service pro immediately. He or she will be able to assess the situation, locate the damage, and propose a plan for repair work. If you catch the issue early, repairs should suffice. If you wait, though, even more extensive damage might result and you could have to dig a new drain or replace your whole septic system.
Your drain field is the unseen hero of your septic system. From root removal to tank clean out, make sure you take care of it so that it will stay healthy and intact for years to come.
Before I worked for a septic tank business, I had absolutely no clue what a septic tank was other than it was a large tank in the ground for human waste. Now after, 7 years I have become knowledgeable on the importance of keeping a septic tank cleaned out on a regular basis. Pretty much everyday or so, I speak to people who know next to nothing about septic tank cleaning or pump outs, who ask the same questions that I once did. Fortunately, I now know that if a tank is not cleaned every so often, it can lead to unnecessary expenses for the homeowner. By writing this, I hope I can pass on what I have learned and save an unsuspecting homeowner a rather large expense.
The purpose of cleaning a septic tank is to keep the sludge from entering the field lines or drain field. Also, cleaning will keep the septic waste from returning to the house or filtering out onto the surface near or on the septic tank. Proper maintenance prevents smell and toxic material from contaminating the surrounding areas often used by humans and animals. Also, seepage from a leaking tank can cause damage to the lawn.
Simply put, a septic tank is just a holding tank for the household water and waste of a home or business. It is self contained with an outlet from the house for the water and waste to enter the tank and an outlet to move the excess waste water to the drain field system. The solids to sink to the bottom of the tank. Each outlet is on either end of the rectangular tank. Usually there are two to three lids on a septic tank, or it may have a manhole-type lid on the top for the entrance. Quite often the tank is buried under the ground from a few inches to a couple of feet. Most tanks are either 1000 or 1500 gallon tanks.
To determine how often a tank should be cleaned several factors are taken into consideration. Those factors include how many people are using the system, if there is a washer emptying into the tank, and whether there has been a lot of rain in the area in the last year or so. For a system that has 1 to 2 people about 5 years will suffice; if there are more people consider anywhere from 3 to 4 years. If there is a washer on the system and is used quite about 60% of water comes from that source alone. Also the use of detergent and bleach tend to break down the solid material in the tank at a higher rate thus causing the increase of a more watery tank. Heavy rains can cause the saturation of the ground and the drain field area thus slowing the ability of the drain field to remove the excess water out of the septic tank. Due to these factors 3-5 years is the proper time between cleanings.
Sometimes when a tank is starting to get full you may notice signs such as the slow emptying of the toilet and drains, there may be gurgling sounds in the toilet or worse yet, the toilets and drains back up. Other times, there may be standing water and low wet, mushy spots over or around the septic tank itself. Another indicator is if there is excessive green grass in the area of the tank or drain field this could indicate the tank is in need of cleaning.
Although the main purpose of cleaning the tank is to keep the sludge out of the drain field, cleaning will keep the sludge from returning to house that could cause backup and clogs within the main line. Both of these situations can be costly expenses that can be avoided by having a maintenance plan in place. Drain fields can run $1800 to $8000 depending on the type of system needed and have a lifespan of 15 to 40 years. It is one of the worse things for a homeowner to have to hear that they are are going to need a new drain field system on a relatively new system when a septic cleaning plan would have kept the septic drain field working properly in the first place.
We have all been there, well at least those of us who have experience with clogged septic systems and drain fields. System is a little older and has slowly over time begun to back up. We are aware of the problem, maybe we even pour some Rid X or other store bought remedy down the drains. Then we pick up the phone and call a local septic contractor, who visits the property and then promptly informs us we need a new drain field, to the tune of $5,000. What do you do next? What most people do may shock you, and if that doesn't, how much money they are willing to spend just may.
As consumers, you need to remember that septic tank maintenance is a business, just like any other business. There is a consumer and there is a merchant, or contractor. What makes this transaction different than other significant purchases ranging in the 5-15 thousand dollar range, is that the consumer does not WANT to make this purchase, they feel that they NEED to make this purchase. The difference between "wants" and "needs" makes a large distinction in the way that consumers look at making purchases of this size, and believe me septic contractors know it!
Contractors tend to tell homeowners that the drain field problem is most likely caused by roots. Reason being, if it was caused by normal back up you could treat it with a top of the line septic treatment. If its roots, you can try to kill the roots but ultimately the odds are better that you will purchase a new drain field, and the contractor gets a nice fat check. Ask yourself, how long did they look at the system, did they do anything that you didn't do before you called them?
As consumers we go into these types of transactions expecting to hear the worst. Psychologically we have accepted that we need to replace it, and with that acceptance, all negotiations tend to go out the window. We don't ask about why the cost is what it is? We seldom even ask a second contractor or plumber for an opinion. To give you an example so you can visualize it; it would be like walking onto a car lot, asking no questions, skipping the test drive and paying the sticker price on the window all within a 15 minute period of time! It just wouldn't happen, yet with septic systems it does.
Now not all septic contractors are the devil, but they do get paid for replacing your drain field, and for that reason you must treat them accordingly. While root damage can and does happen, typically 90% of the problems are due to normal back up and age of the system. A high quality septic treatment can eliminate septic smell and restore your system to functioning. While they are not overnight miracles, the 3-5 hundred dollars you spend is far more affordable than the alternative.
Just remember, you have a problem with your septic system, not with your head. Keep your wits about you and don't fall for any "used car salesman" act. The vast majority of the time, homeowners can and should be using the best septic treatment rather than paying to replace their clogged drain field.
Septic Tank Inspection Oregon