Frequently Asked Questions

What is a septic system?

It is a type of onsite wastewater treatment system that is commonly used in rural areas without centralized sewer systems. They use a combination of nature and technology to treat wastewater and are more beneficial for the environment. (EPA)

How does a septic system work?

A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and a drain field or soil absorption field. Septic tanks digest organic matter and separates floating matter (e.g. oils and grease) and solids from wastewater. Soil based systems discharge the liquid (Effluent) from tanks into perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special units. An alternative septic system uses pumps or gravity to help septic tank effluent trickle through sand, organic matter, constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants like disease-causing pathogens, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants. Some alternative systems are designed to evaporate wastewater or disinfect it before it is discharged to the soil. (EPA)

Who can get a septic system?

Normally buildings in rural areas (homes, businesses, any building with bathrooms) would need a septic system since they are not attached to a conventional sewage system. Prefab homes could also need a septic system since they are not attached to sewage systems as well. You would need a site and soil evaluation first for us to determine if your land is suitable for a septic system. (visit our blog for more info)

How Long does a septic system last?

Septic systems can last anywhere from 15-40 years. There are a variety of factors that can lessen the life span of a septic tank such as the materials, if it has been damaged from vehicles driving over, groundwater flooding, natural disasters, or has experienced clogging. Wood septic tanks have the lowest life span while Concrete and HDPE septic tanks tend to have the longest life span. The best way to preserve the life of your septic tank is to have it regularly maintained every 6 and 12 months and getting it pumped every 3-5 years.

Why should I maintain my septic system?

Routinely getting your septic system maintained saves money since you’d catch your septic system before it fails. Septic systems are expensive to repair and replace and a failed septic system or one in disrepair will lower your property value and could become a liability. Maintaining your septic system prevents the spread of infection and disease and protects water resources. A proper working septic system removes most of these pollutants. About ¼ of US homes have septic systems so more than 4 billion gallons of wastewater per day is dispersed below ground level. Ground water can be contaminated if septic systems are not adequately treated. This would pose a major threat to drinking water and human help if drinking water wells are contaminated. (visit our blog for more info)

How frequently should a septic tank be pumped?

Septic tanks should be pumped every 3-5 years, depending on the size of tank, the amount of solids entering the tank, and the users’ habits. The tank should be pumped if the scum and sludge layer exceed 49% of the volume of the first compartment of the tank or if the sludge on the bottom of the tank is within 12 inches of the bottom of the sanitary tee. (visit our blog for more info)

How do I know if a site is suitable for the installation of a septic system?

Installation of a septic system is guaranteed unless there is a currently valid Sewage Disposal Permit issued by the Environmental Health Services Division for the development proposed on the lot. If a currently valid permit is absent, you may need to consult with a registered consultant to evaluate the lot to determine if such a permit can be issued.

These are the key factors that determine if a Sewage Disposal Permit can be issued:

  • Physical characteristics of the soil
  • Soil absorption capability
  • Depth of soil
  • Depth of limiting condition(s), including high groundwater indicators, fractured rock, bedrock, impermeable soils
  • Disposal area available for initial and replacement systems
  • Maintenance of setback requirements
  • Physical features of the lot in the area and immediately adjacent to the sewage disposal syste