Septic system owners ask the Gene’s Water and Sewer staff a lot of questions. Here are the most common:
How do I know if I own a good septic system?
There are a few telltale signs of bad septic systems. Here are the most frequent:
- Incorrect Riser and Filter Positioning: Older septic tanks were built without allowing access to risers, as the tanks were buried completely under the lawn. Newer systems were built to allow access risers with an access filter. Cheaper systems are built without the filter.
- Missing Control Panel: True subpanels should be located within 50 feet of the system and allows access to killing the power should it be necessary. Unfortunately, electric inspectors often skip over septic systems, and some installers know this and install cheaper alarm boxes.
- Missing Controls: A time counter will tell homeowners how long the system has been running, and some won’t install this, seeing it as a luxury item. The information it provides, however, is critical to diagnosing a failed or flooded system.
- Missing Inspection Ports in the Drainfield: These reach down to the bottom of the drainfield, and tell owners how much liquid is sitting at the bottom.
Why do septic systems fail?
If the liquid effluent cannot soak into the soil, then you might find sewage backing up and overflowing. Causes include poor soil conditions, soil clogging, high water table, roots and physical damage.
How long should a septic system last?
Conventional systems should last about 30 years, and some last much longer depending on service.
How big should my septic tank and drainfield be?
Tanks are sized according to the amount of liquid waste processed. Different states have different minimums, so check with your local sewage officer.
What is graywater?
It’s usually water from a laundry system or sump pump. Disposal requirements for graywater are much less stringent than those required for human waste.