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.

Questions to ask when hiring a professional to clean your septic tank

  1. Does the company carry general liability insurance?
  2. Does the company carry workers compensation insurance?
  3. Is the company registered with the TCEQ  for hauling wastewater?
  4. How long has the company been in business and cleaning tanks?
  5. What methods are used to locate the tank?
  6. Does the price include finding the tank and exposing the lid(s)?
  7. Does the price include dumping fees?
  8. Does the price include any additional time on site due to locating the tank or a tank with very heavy sludge?
  9. Are their hoses long enough to reach the tank without driving over your lawn?
  10. Do they carry extra lids on the truck in case yours breaks?
  11. Do they check the inside of the tank for baffles, walls, cracks, leaks, roots, etc.?
  12. Do they pump the tank though the tank lid(s) or the cleanout?
  13. Do they wash out the tank after it is pumped?
  14. Will they remind you the next time your tank should be cleaned?
  15. Do you have to be there when they clean the tank?

How do I know if my tank is full?

The question should be “How do I know how much sludge is in my tank?”

The liquid level in your tank should always be at its normal level, which is at the outlet pipe (unless you are having a backup from the absorption area).  So, lets say you have a 1000-gallon tank. The tank will be filled to 1000-gallons, at the level of the outlet pipe. When your tank is cleaned it will be empty.  Once you use 1000-gallons (or however many gallons your tank holds to the outlet pipe), the tank will be filled to its normal level.  The amount of sludge in the tank determines when the tank is pumped, not when it is “full.”

Do you pump everything out of the tank?

Some liquids will remain on the bottom of the tank, simply because it is impossible to leave the tank completely dry.  The bacteria that remains in liquid helps keep your tank clean.