Do septic tanks last forever?

No. Deterioration in steel and concrete tanks begins immediately. Polymer lasts the longest and can serve you for many years as long as it doesn’t suffer any physical abuse.
Concrete is porous and cracks easily. Salts and chemicals are the major factors that contribute to the deterioration of both concrete and metal tanks.

Can I build over my septic tank?

It is never recommended to build over a septic tank. Access to the tank is necessary for inspection and maintenance. Anything built over the tank would have to be removed for pumping.
Additionally, the weight of any structure on top of the tank could damage it. The gasses that escape in this situation are very harmful to people and could potentially be explosive, causing damage to your home and foundation.

How can you tell if my septic tank is working?

A visual inspection of your backyard for standing wastewater where the leach field should be or unusual odors can both indicate a problem. Otherwise, our first means of checking your tank is a visual inspection.
Clarity of the effluent water leaving the outlet baffle is the most important area to check. We’ll also measure and check the depths of the sludge, liquid center, and top scum level.
Additional information can be gathered by checking the temperature and pH level of the tank. Risers on the ports of the lid allow for frequent inspections. Proper pH is a must and its reading can be taken inside the outlet baffle.

What should not go into my septic tank?

Cigarette butts, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, plastics, and other trash, as well as high levels of cleaning agents or chemicals, can all create problems for your septic tank.
Some things kill the good bacteria your tank uses to break down human waste. Other items don’t readily decompose and can clog the tank’s baffles, preventing proper fluid flow. Non-biodegradable products are non-septic products.

Can I move my spray heads or add more?

Possibly, but any alteration in the spray area may require a repair permit.  The system is designed to be installed in specific areas and to spray a specific amount of square footage in order to meet TCEQ and local requirements.  Adding spray heads or moving spray heads may not be feasible to meet those requirements.

Any alteration of the system by the homeowner, landscaper, or irrigation company will put the system out of compliance and will be at the homeowner’s expense to bring the system back into compliance.

What should I do if my alarm is on?

Don’t panic!  It is usually not an emergency.  Press the silence button to silence the buzzer.  Check the breakers to your system; sometimes short power outages can cause the alarm to activate.  If the light stays on or if the buzzer sounds again, call your maintenance provider as soon as possible. Never turn the system off.

My system is backed up. Do I call a septic company or a plumber?

Although plumbers and septic maintenance providers may seem to deal with the same problems, these businesses do not overlap.  A plumber does not have the knowledge required to fix septic systems, and we are not equipped to solve plumbing issues.

Septic Clean-Out access
Septic Clean-Out access

If you are experiencing Backup, try checking the systems “CleanOut”, a short pvc pipe with removable cap that sticks out of the ground between your house and the tank.

  • Contact a plumber if there is no backup in the cleanout.
  • Contact a septic company if your tank is over flowing, or if you cannot locate a cleanout.

 

Why is the interior of my concrete septic tank deteriorating?

Deterioration of the concrete septic tank is typically caused by hydrogen sulfide gas. Most deterioration issues are associated with heavy garbage disposal usage as the rotting food creates hydrogen sulfide.  Also, backwash from some water softeners into the septic tank using salt for water treatment can also create hydrogen sulfide.  Since it is a gas, the deterioration occurs above the water line in the tank.