VALLEYWIDE SERVICE SINCE 1953
Installation: 602.462.5858 Service: 602.254.5448 Fax: 602.254.5061
Phoenix Septic Service | Frequently Asked Questions | Septic Tank Service Answers | Septic System Questions
NOTE: SYSTEMS INSTALLED AFTER 2001 HAVE A FILTER, WE RECOMMEND FILTER BE SERVICED ANNUALLY TO AVOID BACKUP
I’m having a party- Do I need to do anything?
Your septic system is designed to handle the day to day load for your household, but not a dozen or more extra guests at one time. To balance this extra load, you should plan ahead of time. With a little preparation, you can have a hit get together without ending up with a septic emergency when you have a house full of people.
My house is backed up. Should I call a plumber or a septic company?
It is a good idea to check if you have one backup or if you have multiple backups. Do have just one backup? Get a hold of your local plumber. If you are experiencing more than one backup call a septic company, as it could be a bigger issue that a plumber might not have the knowledge to fix. You can also determine if you need a septic company by checking where the backup is coming from, if the backup is near the area of the septic tank, it is most likely caused by issues in the septic tank.
How does my water softener affect my septic system?
Septic tank systems are not designed for water softener discharge. A continuous flow of water from a leaky water softener can cause damage to your septic system. Studies taken show that water softener brine regeneration wastes not only harm the micro system in the wastewater treatment system, they can also cause the septic tank itself to discharge greater concentrations of grease, oil, and solids into the drain field.
Where is my septic tank?
Be careful if you feel you need to find your septic tank by yourself. Old, collapsing septic tanks are very dangerous. Falling into one could be fatal. It is wise to have another person with you when searching for your septic tank, as some older homes may have multiple main drains. Be aware that there may also be electrical wires buried near the septic tank.
WARNING: don’t be in a hurry to let a service company or excavators come out to dig up your yard – it could be unnecessary and it may be costly.
How often do I need to pump my septic system?
There are two safe approaches to deciding when to pump your septic tank. One is to just have it pumped every three or five years. The other one is to open the access port to the tank once every year and insert a long pole to the bottom of the tank and pull it out. If you think your septic tank does need pumping you can also check the level of sludge at the bottom of the tank. The best advice is to have a professional septic company like A-American Septic Services
Should I add something to the system to make it work better?
Most septic systems do fine all in their own without adding unnecessary additives. Natural bacteria in wastewater break down most of the solid material into a liquid or gas. There have been studies taken that say additives may not benefit your septic system. It is better you skip the additives, instead focus on what you should not me adding to your septic system. Some additives can kill the bacteria that is beneficial to the septic system.
How does a septic tank work?
Keeping your septic tank in good working condition can greatly benefit its use as well as save you money. Replacing a septic tank can be very costly, there is the emptying of the tank, digging up the tank, and replacing it, not to mention the cost of buying a new tank (they can reach tens of thousands of dollars).
Things you can do to help keep your maintenance simpler, and the cost down:
Keep in mind that the amount of material pumped from the septic tank can be greater than the capacity of the septic tank if it overfilled and backed up – what is being pumped is not just the contents of the tank, but the overflow, as well. Keep tabs on condition – Ask the technician how the tank looks, is it structurally o.k. Are the baffles or tees in place, and what is the overall condition? Are there problems that need prompt attention? Preventative maintenance is always less expensive and more convenient than correcting emergency problems.
I have no problems—Do I still have to have it pumped?
What should I put in my septic system and what should I not?
The following items should not be flushed down your drains: coffee grinds, sanitary napkins, dental floss, plastic tampon applicators, diapers, cigarette butts, cat litter, condoms, fat/ grease/ oil, paper towels, gauze bandages, and hair combings.
What do I do if my toilet starts gurgling?
The gurgling sound you hear is air trapped that escapes back into the toilet and is the first sign of a more severe issue occurring and a messy accident waiting to show itself at the most unsuitable time. There may be an item stuck in the sewer pipe or even tree roots. It doesn’t matter the cause, you should never ignore a gurgling toilet. Call A-American Septic Service we have the proper equipment and cameras that can determine the cause before it’s too late.
I smell a septic odor- What do I do?
Odors Outside– Septic odor outside the house could be coming from the septic tank, the vent pipe on the roof, or the vent pipe at the end of your leach field (if you have one). Septic gases are a naturally occurring side effect of the septic water treatment process. These gases can and will escape out of any small opening. To eliminate an odor from the septic tank cover, place a small amount of dirt over the cover to act as a filter. Odor detected in the air may be coming from the vent pipe on the room (over the bathroom). This pipe vents the septic gasses from the house out through the roof. A charcoal filter can eliminate the odor coming from the vent pipe at the end of the leach field. If the odor seems to be coming from the ground, and the ground is wet, appears black, or heavy vegetation growth is visible around the tank or pit/ field area, you should schedule a visit with your septic technician as soon as possible. There may be some problems.
R18-9-A316. Transfer of Ownership Inspection for On-site Wastewater Treatment Facilities
A. Conforming with this Section satisfies the Notice of Transfer requirements under R18-9-A304.
B. Within six months before the date of property transfer, the person who is transferring a property served by an on-site wastewater treatment facility shall retain an inspector to perform a transfer of ownership inspection of the on-site wastewater treatment facility who meets the following qualifications:
1. Possesses working knowledge of the type of facility and the inspection process;
2. Holds a certificate of training from a course recognized by the Department as sufficiently covering the information specified in this Section by July 1, 2006; and
3. Holds a license in one of the following categories:
a. An Arizona-registered engineer;
b. An Arizona-registered sanitarian;
c. An owner of a vehicle with a human excreta collection and transport license issued under 18 A.A.C. 13, Article 11 or an employee of the owner of the vehicle;
d. A contractor licensed by the Registrar of Contractors in one of the following categories:
i. Residential license B-4 or C-41;
ii. Commercial license A, A-12, or L-41; or
iii. Dual license KA or K-41;
e. A wastewater treatment plant operator certified under 18 A.A.C 5, Article 1; or
f. A person qualifying under another category designated by the Department
C. The inspector shall complete a Report of Inspection on a form approved by the Department, sign it, and provide it to the person transferring the property. The Report of Inspection shall:
1. Address the physical and operational condition of the on-site wastewater treatment facility and describe observed deficiencies and repairs completed, if any;
2. Indicate that each septic tank or other wastewater treatment container on the property was pumped or otherwise serviced to remove, to the maximum extent possible, solid, floating, and liquid waste accumulations, or that pumping or servicing was not performed for one of the following reasons:
a. A Discharge Authorization for the on-site wastewater treatment facility was issued and the facility was put into service within 12 months before the transfer of ownership inspection
b. Pumping or servicing was not necessary at the time of the inspection based on the manufacturer’s written operation and maintenance instructions, or
c. No accumulation of floating or settled waste was present in the septic tank or wastewater treatment container;
3. Indicate the date the inspection was performed.
D. Before the property is transferred, the person transferring the property shall provide to the person to whom the property is transferred:
1. The completed Report of Inspection; and
2. Documents in the person’s possession relating to permitting, operation, and maintenance of the on-site wastewater treatment facility.
E. The person to whom the property is transferred shall complete a Notice of Transfer on a form approved by the Department and send the form with the applicable fee specified in 18 A.A.C. 14 within 15 calendar days after the property transfer to:
1. The Department for transfer of a property with an on-site wastewater treatment facility for which construction was completed before January 1, 2001; or
2. The health or environmental agency delegated by the Director to administer the on-site wastewater treatment facility program for transfer of a property with an on-site wastewater treatment facility constructed on or after January 1, 2001.
F. If the Department issued a Discharge Authorization for the on-site wastewater treatment facility but the facility was not put into service before the property transfer, an inspection of the facility is not required and the transferee shall complete the Notice of Transfer form as specified in subsection (E).
G. Effective date.
1. The owner of an on-site wastewater treatment facility operating under a Type 4 General Permit shall comply with this Section by November 12, 2005.
2. The owner of any on-site wastewater treatment facility other than a facility identified in subsection (G)(1) shall comply with this Section by July 1, 2006.
TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
Drain Field– A shallow, covered excavation made in unsaturated soil containing rock or gravel into which effluent is discharged through distribution piping. The soil under and around the drain field accepts, treats and disperses effluent as it percolates through the soil, ultimately discharging to groundwater.
Disposal System- Any system used to disperse effluent to the underlying soil.
Leach Line or Leach Bed- (see also Seepage Pit) A Soil absorption configuration consisting of a network of trenches with perforated pipes, surrounded by rock or gravel, and covered by backfill. A leach bed is similar to leach lines, except that the distribution lines are housed in a single excavation.
Distribution Box– A small, subsurface structure which receives septic tank effluent and distributes it to all segments of the soil absorption system.
Effluent– Sewage water, or other liquid, partially or completely treated, or in its natural state, flowing out of a septic tank or system component.
Effluent Filter– A removable, cleanable devise inserted into the outlet piping of the septic tank designed to trap excessive solids that would otherwise be transported to the drain field.
Seepage Pit– A type of leach field: A covered excavation that is dug deep into the ground from -15 feet to 60 feet deep- with perforated pipe and rock. This type of leach field uses much less space than a leach bed or leach lines.
Septic Tanks- A buried, watertight tank, usually constructed of concrete, designed to receive and provide primary treatment of raw wastewater. It has no moving parts; There is an inlet baffle, an outlet baffle, or tee, on the pipes inside the tank. These work to keep the scum and sludge inside the tank.
Scum– Floatable solids such as grease, paper and feces that combine on the top of the liquid in a septic tank. This is what you see when you look into the tank.
Sludge– The heavy, slimy deposit found at the bottom of a septic tank.
Solids– Everything that is not effluent, or liquid. “Sludge”, settling solids, and “scum”, floating solids, are often referred to as “solids”.