Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the commonly asked questions regarding septic tanks. If you don't see your question on this page, feel free to contact us and we'll be glad to answer your questions.
Q. How often should I have my septic tank serviced?
A. Once every two to five years depending on the amount of usage and number of people using the system.
Q. Do you have to drive on my lawn to service my septic tank?
A. Our policy is not too. We carry about two hundred feet of hose and that is usually more than adequate for most homes. We can bring extra hose if needed with prior notice.
Q. Is it O.K. to use drain cleaners with a septic system?
A. Try to avoid drain cleaners and other chemicals. They can damage the naturally occurring biological processes in the septic tank and leaching area. One gallon of some hazardous chemicals can pollute twenty-two million gallons of ground water.
Q. Do I need to use additives in my septic system?
A. No, the only thing we recommend you add to your system is one cup of baking soda down the toilet each week to create good pH balance, to promote better sewage digestion.
Q. What do you do with my septage once it is removed from my tank?
A. We transport it to a Maine DEP licensed disposal facility, such as a Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Q. How do I find my septic tank?
A. Here are a few ways you can try. Septic tanks are generally rectangular in shape about 4’ x 8’.
- Have you ever seen a rectangular patch where the snow melts first in the winter, or the grass burns in the summer?
- The depth a septic tank is buried varies from flush with the surface of the ground to over 6’ feet. You look in your basement and see where the sewer pipe goes out through the wall. Take note of how far the pipe is below the top of foundation and if it goes straight out through the wall. On the outside of the home this will give you a general direction the pipe going out to the tank. Then measure down from the top of the foundation wall to the top of the ground and deduct that from the inside measurement (also deduct another 6” as generally the top of the sewer pipe is 6” down on the side or end of the tank) to roughly determine how far the tank is below grade.
- You can use a steel bar or rod to drive into the ground to probe for the tank top. Remember you are looking for a flat rectangular area about 4’x 8’below the surface of the ground.
- Many septic systems are not gravity systems and require pumping. Always be extremely careful digging around your septic tank and/or pump tank as electrical wires can be buried underground and are not always marked creating a potential electrical hazard.
- Don’t worry if you cannot find your septic tank we have some special equipment we use to locate the tank if necessary, just give us a call.
Q. Can my septic tank baffles be repaired?
A. Yes, each year we replace many deteriorated concrete baffles with PVC baffles.
Q. Are septic tank filters any good, don’t they plug up frequently?
A. Absolutely, we highly recommend a Zabel filter be installed in your septic tank. These filters keep about 80% more solids down to one-sixteenth of an inch in the septic tank. Over the years we have found the Zabel filters seem to functions the best. When a filter does clog, it simply needs to be removed and washed off and replaced. Most of the time servicing the filter is done when the septic tank is serviced. The most important value of the filter is it helps insure the life expectancy of the leach field which is usually 20 to 25 years.
Q. I hate digging up my septic tank and having the mess in my lawn every three years or so. What can we do to save all that mess?
A. We recommend installing a riser over the service cover. If there is a filter and a pump then each of these access covers should have a riser also. The State of Maine’s Subsurface Rules now require risers. We like to install Fralo risers because we can install them in sloped lawn areas and they are easily installed flush to grade.
Q. Do you have any other tips you can give me?
A. Of course! Take a look at Ten Tips for Maintaining your Septic System, provided by the State of Maine.