- Inspect your property carefully. Some septic tanks, especially if you live in a mobile home, are easy to spot because they are accompanied by a large, rectangular or cylindrical lump of earth that covers the drain field. If you can clearly see a single, unnatural-looking hill fairly close to your home, a septic tank is likely to be there.
How do I know if my house has a septic tank?
One way to determine whether or not your home has a septic system or is served by the public sewer system is to look at your water bill. If you are using a septic system for wastewater management, then you’re likely to see a charge of $0 for wastewater or sewer services from the utility company.
Are septic tank locations public record?
Contact your local health department for public records. These permits should come with a diagram of the location where the septic system is buried. Depending on the age of your septic system, you may be able to find information regarding the location of your septic system by making a public records request.
What is a aerobic septic system?
Aerobic septic systems are systems that use mechanical parts to treat wastewater and emit treated wastewater into the absorption field. Aerobic systems use aerobic bacteria that require pumped air to live, versus the oxygen depleted environment required for anaerobic bacteria.
How do you find a septic tank in an old house?
Look for the 4-inch sewer that exits the crawl space or basement, and locate the same spot outside the home. Septic tanks are usually located between ten to 25 feet away from the home. Insert a thin metal probe into the ground every few feet, until you strike polyethylene, fiberglass or flat concrete.
What’s the difference between septic and sewer?
The main difference between a septic system and a sewer system is, a septic system treats your wastewater on site. Usually, it’s placed underground on the land your house is built on. Sewer systems take the wastewater away from your home and route it underground to a treatment plant typically operated by the city.
How do you find a buried septic tank?
Tips for locating your septic tank
- If the septic tank lid is underground, you can use a metal detector to locate it.
- You can use a flushable transmitter that is flushed in the toilet and then the transmitter is tracked with a receiver.
How do I find my septic lateral lines?
Call your local electric utility provider or gas company to locate buried gas or utility lines before digging. A septic tank probe can also help you find the location. Stick the long, thin metal probe into the ground until you feel it hit the tank and feel the edges of the tank.
Do I have to change my septic tank?
Under the new rules, if you have a specific septic tank that discharges to surface water (river, stream, ditch, etc.) you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.
Does shower water go into septic tank?
From your house to the tank: Most, but not all, septic systems operate via gravity to the septic tank. Each time a toilet is flushed, water is turned on or you take a shower, the water and waste flows via gravity through the plumbing system in your house and ends up in the septic tank.
How often should a septic tank be pumped?
Inspect and Pump Frequently Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
How long do septic tanks last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
Which is better aerobic or anaerobic septic systems?
Anaerobic Bacteria. Aerobic bacterial colonies are generally regarded as better for on-site wastewater treatment. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, aerobic bacteria are less susceptible to household chemicals than anaerobic bacteria.
How many tanks does an aerobic system have?
Aerobic septic systems are more complex and costly. They involve three compartments: a trash tank, treatment plant and pump tank. All three compartments can either be housed under one unit or installed as separate units.
How long does an aerobic septic system last?
Longevity. On average, a properly installed and well-maintained septic tank can last up to 40 years. Regular septic tank cleaning and inspection will keep your aerobic system functional for many years. Proper septic system installation is key to ensuring that your septic system lasts long.
How Do I Know if My Property Has a Septic or a Sewer?
Because septic tanks must be serviced on a regular basis, most sellers will disclose whether or not their property has one. You will be able to see the septic tank on the survey if you have had the property surveyed. When your home is built, a septic tank is erected in the backyard. If you have recently purchased a property, you may not be aware of whether or not it is equipped with a septic tank or is linked to a sewage system. However, while both systems dispose of wastewater from your property, the septic system is a separate unit that belongs to you as the homeowner and is under your exclusive control and responsibility.
Sewer systems are typically interconnected with local water distribution networks.
Make a thorough inspection of your property. If you live in a mobile home, certain septic tanks are simple to recognize since they are accompanied by a massive lump of soil that is either rectangular or cylindrical in shape and covers the drain field. If you can plainly see a single, unnatural-looking hill quite near to your property, it is likely that a septic tank is located on that hill.
Take into consideration the location of your house. Sewer systems are not inexpensive, and the neighborhood must have a sufficient number of dwellings to fund the system’s ongoing upkeep. If you live in a development or a crowded area, you are almost certainly connected to a sewage system. Having a septic system is more likely if your house is the only one or one of a few in a rural region where each property is many acres and you are the only one who has one.
Take a look at your bills. Due to the fact that sewer systems are not free, if your home is connected to a municipal sewer system, you should expect to receive monthly invoices from the system operator. Ensure that your garbage or water bill includes sewage costs if the sewer system is not billing on its own behalf. No, you will not be charged for the use of your septic tank. If you are in question, contact your local sewage and/or water management organization and inquire as to whether your address is linked to a sanitary sewer system.
Obtain a copy of the records pertaining to your property from the local municipal government office. Whether your home has a septic tank or has ever had a septic tank may be determined by looking at the plans, building permits, and property documents for the project.
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Prior to discharging wastewater into the environment, several alternative systems are designed to evaporate or disinfect the effluent.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
Buying a Home With a Septic Tank? What You Need to Know
Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses. It is most noticeable in dry times when the drainfield is lush and green. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement. A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield; and
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How Does a Septic System Work?
A pipe gathers all of the wastewater from the residence and transports it to an underground septic tank that is completely waterproof. As explained by the Environmental Protection Agency, solids settle to the bottom of the pond while floatable items (known as “scum”) float to the top. Both are confined within the tank, which is emptied on a regular basis by a professional pumper. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the middle layer includes liquid wastewater (also known as “effluent”) that exits the tank into a buried drainfield in the yard, where the wastewater disperses into the soil.
Is the Septic System Related to the Drinking Water System?
No. Many homes that have septic systems also have a private well to provide water. The septic system, on the other hand, is completely separate from the well. Rather of treating wastewater so that it may be consumed, its objective is to safely distribute it in a manner that prevents pollution.
What Differentiates One Septic System from Another?
No. Many homes that have septic systems also have a private well on the property. Although it is connected to the well, the septic system is completely autonomous. In contrast to other methods of wastewater treatment, its objective is to safely distribute wastewater in a manner that does not allow for contamination.
How Often Should You Get Your Septic Tank Emptied?
To remove the sludge and scum from the septic tank, it is necessary to hire a professional to pump it. The frequency is decided by the size of the tank and the degree of activity in the home (how much wastewater is generated). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most septic tanks should be emptied every three to five years. However, certain systems may require more frequent pumping – perhaps once a year if necessary.
What Are the Signs of a Failing Septic Tank?
Aside from routine pumping, the tank should be examined for leaks or obstructions on a regular basis.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, signs of a clogged system include foul odors that appear from time to time and fixtures that drain slowly or gurgle.
What About Maintenance Costs?
The size of the tank and drainfield, the accessibility of the tank, and the distance that waste must be taken for disposal all influence the cost of septic system upkeep. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pumping a tank might cost between $250 and $500.
What Should I Do Before Buying a Home With a Septic System?
Learn about the laws in your state. Some states demand a septic system examination prior to transferring ownership. However, even if your state does not need an inspection, your lender may require one anyhow. As a rule, conventional house inspections do not involve an examination of the septic system. Zillow reports that an inspection may provide a detailed assessment of the system’s integrity, identify whether it is located at an appropriate distance from a well (to minimize contamination), and check the absence of invasive tree roots in the drainfield, which could cause damage to the system.
If you do need to replace your system, the cost might vary significantly.
Owning a property with a septic tank does not have to be a frightening experience.
Do you want to buy a house, but it has a septic tank, and you’re not sure what to check for when you go looking? Several considerations should be made while looking at a house that has an underground septic system. Here’s what you should do to make sure your septic system is in working order before purchasing a home. Learn about the laws in your area. Septic systems are custom-designed to compliment your property and meet local building codes. These local ordinances may include requirements for septic tank inspection, maintenance, and replacement, among other things.
- If you decide to expand your home and add plumbing, they may also need you to install a larger septic tank to accommodate the additional waste.
- Septic systems must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis in order to avoid complications.
- Their job will be to search for leaks and blockages, identifying possible problems before they become major ones.
- It is recommended that you ask to examine the tank’s inspection history before purchasing a house with a septic tank.
- You must have a general understanding of the septic tank’s technical parameters.
- Additionally, you must be aware of the date it was installed, because septic tanks may need to be updated every 20-40 years.
- Make Preparations for Routine Maintenance A septic tank must be examined, maintained, and emptied on a regular basis in order to avoid problems.
Depending on the size of the tank, this can cost anywhere from $300 to $600 on average.
The distinction is that if you flush something down the toilet that shouldn’t be there, it becomes your responsibility on a septic system.
Pipes that are clogged can leak and sewage can back up into your home as a result of these obstructions.
Understand what may go wrong.
It is possible to create a large amount of mess when there are leaks, broken and clogged pipes, and flooding in a drain field.
Due to an excessive amount of liquid present either within the tank or within the drain field, a tank may fail to drain properly – or at all.
Spot Potential Problems As Soon As They Appear You must be able to recognize a possible problem before it manifests itself as a genuine one. Peculiar scents, unusual plumbing indicators, poor drainage, and backflow into your drains are all indications that your septic tank needs to be inspected.
How to locate a septic tank
A home’s construction year and whether a copy of the septic permit is accessible determine the procedure for locating a septic tank on a property, which might take many weeks or months. Please choose one of the scenarios listed below and follow the instructions.
For homes built in the last five (5) years or less
Obtain a copy of your septic tank permit from your local Department of Health and Human Services office. Please fill out as much of the information below as possible to help us expedite the search:
- Number of the tax map
- Lot number
- Block number
- Address in the physical world
- When the system was installed or when the house was built (if this information is available)
- Name of the original permit holder (if any information is available)
- Name of the subdivision (if the property is located within a subdivision)
A copy of a septic tank permit can be obtained from a local DHEC office by any individual or group, regardless of whether or not they own the land in question.
For homes older than five (5) years or if a copy of the septic permit was not able to be located.
It is recommended that you call an experienced septic contractor who will come to the site and assist you with the identification of the current septic system. You may find a list of licensed septic installers by clicking here.
Septic Tank Alerts Septic Tank Alerts
8 Signs of Septic System Failure
Septic tanks are an important resource for both homeowners and the surrounding community. Its goal is to store domestic wastewater in an underground chamber where it may be treated at a basic level. They are generally composed of plastic, fiberglass, and concrete and serve as a sewage disposal system for the home or business owner. Sewage can leak underground and move upward in the earth if a septic unit fails, which can cause flooding. Not only may this result in serious plumbing issues, but it can also pose a health threat over time.
If that’s the case, these are the eight indicators of a failing septic system.
1. Septic System Backup
Everything that has to do with plumbing in your home is tied to your septic system. Sewage and wastewater will no longer be able to enter the tank if your septic system malfunctions or becomes overburdened. Instead, it will remain in the pipes until it begins to rise to the surface again. Sewage and wastewater back up into sinks, drains, and even into your toilet as a result of this condition. A clogged septic tank is the most obvious indicator of a failing system. You should contact a qualified plumber as soon as you discover this symptom to get it repaired.
2. Slow Drains
Slow drainage might also be caused by a clogged septic tank. For example, if a septic tank is completely filled, it will no longer actively collect wastewater from the ground. This implies that your pipes will become blocked with sewage and will be unable to drain your plumbing appliances properly. Your drains will become naturally sluggish in draining water or other liquids, as a result of this phenomenon. Even if you utilize the best gear available to unclog your drain, you will not be successful since the fundamental problem is located in the septic tank.
3. Gurgling Sounds
When using plumbing appliances, you should also be on the lookout for any unusual sounds that may occur. For example, if you flush your toilet and hear strange gurgling sounds, you should call a plumber right once to assess the situation. Toilets generally emit water-related sounds that subside once the flushing cycle is completed. If, on the other hand, you hear sounds that sound like an upset stomach, you may have a serious problem.
If you are hearing gurgling noises coming from your drains, the same logic applies. Gurgling sounds indicate a blockage or a problem with the internal septic system, both of which require rapid attention.
4. Pool of Water or Dampness Near Drainfield
It is no longer possible to absorb wastewater in a septic tank when it is damaged or fails. This indicates that wastewater will naturally seep out of the earth as a result of the groundwater table. It has the potential to create a significant pool of wastewater near the drain field, as well as cause dampness in the same area. These are the most obvious indications of a failing septic system, and they should not be ignored. A pool of water near the drainfield will often appear as if it has been raining on your lawn for an extended period of time.
If you have reason to believe that your septic tank is full or broken, make a point of actively looking for these signs.
5. Nasty Odors
One such tell-tale indicator of a failing septic system is the development of foul odors near the drainfield and plumbing equipment. If you notice strong and nasty scents when you walk outdoors and tread onto your grass, it is possible that your septic tank has failed. If the bad aromas emanating from your house are the same as those emanating from the office, you can reach a similar conclusion. It is likely that sewage has entered your home through the drainfield and into your main drain line, resulting in these foul odors.
6. Unusual, Bright Green Grass Above Drainfield
Have you ever seen people applying mulch, fertilizers, and manure to their lawns in order to encourage it to grow more quickly? It is possible that sewage has the same features as manure, namely that it contains nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and micronutrients that plants can use to thrive. When you see exceptionally green grass near your drainfield, it is likely that wastewater is leaking into your lawn from the drainfield itself. Due to the fact that grass is naturally green, identifying this symptom might be difficult.
Pay close attention to your drainfield in order to identify this problem before it becomes too serious.
7. Blooms of Algae in Nearby Water
If you live near a body of water, such as a lake or pond, keep an eye out for unexpected algal blooms that appear out of nowhere. Due to the fact that most individuals regard the appearance of algae to be a regular occurrence, diagnosing this symptom can also be difficult. Algal blooms, on the other hand, occur when a huge concentration of algae forms in a body of water. They appear to be artificial and to be the result of excessive algal contamination in the water. When wastewater is present, it might lead to the growth of algae that is aberrant.
8. High Levels of Coliform in Water Well
A neighboring water well may also be able to identify abnormal amounts of coliform bacteria as well as high quantities of nitrogen dioxide (nitrogen dioxide). However, if your septic system fails, the water in your well will get contaminated with bacteria and harsh chemicals by effluent from the surrounding area.
Give Us a Call Right Now! Any problems with your septic tank now occupy your thoughts? If this is the case, please contact us at (941) 721-4645 to talk with a member of our staff. You may also learn more about our septic services by visiting this page.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you have any other queries concerning septic systems? Please let us know. If this is the case, you may find a comprehensive list of FAQs farther down on this page.
How much do septic system repair services cost?
- A septic system repair service might cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 in labor and materials. The ultimate cost is determined by the extent of the task, the number of hours worked, and other factors.
Can a septic drainfield be repaired?
- Even though there is no quick remedy for drainfield repair, it is achievable if you employ an expert plumber or septic system specialist.
How often do septic systems need to be replaced?
- Septic systems may endure for more than 40 years if they are properly maintained. Every three years, the average septic tank should be examined and pumped out in order to avoid long-term problems and septic system failure.