Fort Wayne, IN Septic System Maintenance – J & S Liquid Waste Service Inc.
Septic System Maintenance
Why do I need maintenance?
Most homeowners probably never give much thought about what happens to what goes down your drain, until there is a problem. If you are a home owner who uses a septic system to dispose of wastewater, what you don’t know will hurt you. Septic systems are designed to accomplish two tasks. The first is to separate solids from wastewater. Your septic tank is where solids settle out and are processed by bacteria in the tank. The clear wastewater then travels to a part of the system designed for pathogen reduction. The introduction of solids into this part of the system designed for clear wastewater will overtime clog the system and cause it to stop working. This will result in backups in the house, standing sewage in the yard, or other unpleasant issues. Premature failure and irreparable site damage can result if systems are not properly maintained.
Why maintain my system?
The first reason is money. New state regulations have stricter requirements for septic systems for both new homes and repairs to existing homes. Failing septic systems are expensive to repair or replace. It typically costs from $12,000 to $25,000 to replace a failing septic system with a new alternative type of sewage disposal system.
The second reason to maintain your system is to protect the health of your family, your neighborhood, and the environment. When septic systems fail, inadequately treated household wastewater is released in to the environment. Any contact with untreated human waste can pose significant health risks. Untreated wastewater from failing septic systems can also contaminate nearby wells, groundwater, and drinking water sources. Lastly, proper maintenance of your septic system protects the financial investment you have in your home and your neighborhood. Failed septic systems can cause property values to decline. Often, building permits cannot be issued or real estate sales delayed until systems are repaired or replaced.
What is an alternative on-site sewage disposal system and why do I need one?
An alternative on-site sewage disposal system is any system other than a standard gravity system (septic tank and drain field). This includes pressure distribution systems and systems with other components such as sand filters, aerobic pre-treatment devices, and mounds. In addition, properties developed today tend to pose more problems for wastewater and sewage disposal—the lots are smaller, drainage is poor, slopes are steeper, and there is less usable soil. For these reasons, on-site sewage systems, which in the past were designed only for the disposal of sewage must now also treat (purify) the wastewater to a minimum standard prior to disposal. More complex systems are required to accomplish this. Because the alternative systems are more complex, they require more maintenance.
Do standard gravity systems need maintained too?
Yes! If an existing standard gravity system fails, its replacement will likely be more complex and costly; proper maintenance can prevent failures. Homeowners have a tremendous stake in assuring their standard gravity septic systems do not fail!
Can I maintain my own system?
Yes, if you own a standard gravity system (septic tank and drain field), you can inspect your own septic tank by measuring the scum and solids in the tank. After you have inspected and determined that your tank needs to be pumped, call a certified septic tank pumper. Instructions for inspecting your septic tank and a list of certified septic tank pumpers are available from the health district.
What about alternative sewage disposal systems?
Due to the complexity of alternative sewage disposal systems, you must hire a certified maintenance specialist who has the skill and knowledge to service these types of systems. This is the reason the Allen County Board of Health now requires homeowners to contract with a certified maintenance specialist to perform maintenance on their alternative sewage disposal system.
Who can perform operation and maintenance? How much does it cost?
In Allen County, operation and maintenance must be performed by a certified maintenance specialist. Contract fees are not regulated by the Board of Health and can vary, depending on the individual contractor and the type of system. Maintenance specialists certified by the Board of health must have:
- An Indiana state contractor’s license.
- Current insurance and bonding.
- Applicable training and on-going education requirements.
- Passed the county certification exam.
- Current documentation, fees, and good standing with the Board of Health.
Contact any Allen County Board of Health office for a current list of certified maintenance specialists.
Why do I need a notice to title for an alternative sewage disposal system?
A Notice to Title is recorded to the property owner’s title when an alternative sewage disposal system has been installed. The Notice to Title is not a lien on the property or an encumbrance of any kind. It simply informs future home buyers that an alternative sewage disposal system is installed on the property which requires regular maintenance and monitoring.