FAQ

Q: How often do I need to pump out my septic tank?

A: That all depends on household use and the design of your system. The short answer is between 2-3 years. The long answer must take into account a lot of different factors. How many people are living in the house, do you use a dishwasher and/or a garbage disposal, how often do you do laundry, when was your system installed and how was it designed? Below is a link with to the University of Minnesota's Septic tank pumping frequency guidelines. When you fill this form out it will give you a good idea of when to have it pumped, or give us a call and we can help you decide what's best for your system.

Q: Why are garbage disposal bad for your septic system?

A: Food does not break down in a septic tank the same as other organic material does. Food waste usually sits in your septic tank and has a chance of being pushed out into your drainfield. Think of a garage disposal as a compost pile in your yard. If you compost your food scraps they turn to dirt, so that's what is happening inside your septic system

Q: How does doing laundry affect your septic system?

A: If you do a lot of laundry (a couple of loads a day) it pushes a lot of lint and extra water out into your system. Lint does not break down in your septic tank and does not settle or float. Lint stays in the middle of the septic tank in the effluent and it goes out to your drainfield creating a mat that plugs up your drainfield pipes.

Q: Does laundry detergent make a difference

A: Yes it does powder laundery detergent uses clay as a binding agent the clay does not break down in your septic tank and can be pushed out to the drainfield and plug up the drainfield.

Q: Why do drainfields fail?

A: There are many different reasons why drainfields fail. Hydraulic over load is one reason. If surface water gets into your system it can saturate the absorption bed. Also a running toilet doing too many loads of laundry at a time, or heavy water can saturate your drainfield require a new one.

Compaction can cause a system to fail, driving on your drainfield, letting farm animals on top of your drainfield, or building ontop of drainfield can cause a system to fail prematurely. When the soil becomes compacted around your drainfield it does not allow oxygen or water to flow through it which are all important for the health of your system

Age, Drainfields are designed to last between 20 to 30 years with proper pumping maintenance and avoiding the list of things above your system should last the 20 to 30 years.

Q: How does a Septic System work?

A In your house you have waste pipe that gather to a single pipe that leads out of your house to your septic tank or city sewer pipes. If you are on city sewer this is where your system ends. If you have a septic tank this where your system really starts. A typical septic tank is 1000 gallons your septic tank always stays at this level. A septic tank is a sort of settling pond for your sewage the things that enter your septic tank either sink or float leaving "clean water" in the center of tank. That is where your outlet pipe that leads to your drainfield is plumbed into. The water that leads out to your drainfield is called effluent
Your drainfield is actually a living organism. As effluent enter the drainfield a biomat starts growing on the trench walls. This biomat is important because it eats the harmful pathogens in the effluent, and helps with the sewage treatment. As more effluent enters the drainfield, the thicker the biomat gets, the slower the percolation of the effluent into the soil. At the same time the Biomat is growing there are bacteria eating away at the biomat. A typical drainfield can stay in this balance for an average 0f 20 to 30 years. If your system becomes out of balance your system can fail prematurely.