Septic FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often shouldmy septic tank be cleaned?

Q: How often should
my septic tank be cleaned?

A: While many homeowners have gone many years past the recommended maintenance period without a problem, damage is slowly being done. The purpose of the tank is to hold the solids that natural bacteria can not break down. Those solids accumulate over time to a point where the tank no longer has room to contain it all, therefore the solids make their way to the drainfield where they plug up the pores in the ground causing poor drainage and eventually septic system failure.

Q: How long will my septic system last?

A: All septic systems have a finite life, meaning they will eventually fail. How long a system will last from its first day of usage depends on a lot of factors starting with proper sizing and installation, soil composition, water table or water table change throughout the years, trees and subsequently tree root intrusion, amount of use and or abuse, and last but not least proper routine maintenance and pumping.

Q: Is tank maintenance a requirement in New Jersey?

A: Although there are not laws requiring maintenance and inspection just yet; the NJ EPA and local health departments highly recommend proper routine inspection and maintenance to help prevent ground water contamination and water resources due to the nitrogen, phosphorus and disease-causing bacteria and viruses found in household waste water.

Q: Do I have to be home in order to have my septic pumped?

A: No, the homeowner does not have to be home. Our service professionals are able to locate the tank and pump it. When we are finished, our office will send you an invoice.

Q: I can't locate my septic tank lid?

A: Our professionals can locate the tank / lid with various methods including probing the ground. Years of experience and thousands of septic jobs also help.

Q: What if my lid is buried underground?

A: Our service tech can dig up the lid for you. There is usually not an extra charge for this service if it's only a few inches or takes just a few minutes. If your lid is deep or takes some time to access, there can be extra charges for digging. If your lid is more than a few inches in the ground, we recommend having us install a septic riser.

Q: Why do I have PVC pipes sticking up in my yard?

A: Some septic systems have PVC inspection pipes around the drainfield to monitor the liquid level in the drainfield. Also, sometimes the inlet and/or outlet baffle is piped up to ground level to inspect the level or to gain access in case of a clog.

Q: Can I get my tank pumped through the 4" PVC pipe?

A: It is not a good idea to pump the tank through the inlet and/or outlet pipe. To properly remove all liquid and solids, and to inspect the baffles, it is recommended to remove the main access lid.

Q: What is effluent?

A: Effluent is the term used for the waste water produced from your household.

Q: What is an effluent filter?

A: It is a filter made primarily of plastic placed on the outlet side of the septic tank to help catch the larger solid particles that would otherwise have gone out to the drainfield. Its purpose is to help prolong the life the septic system. Not every system has a filter.

Q: How often should I clean the effluent filter?

A: The DEP recommends replacing or cleaning the filter annually.

Q: How do I clean my effluent filter?

A: While it's not terribly difficult to clean or replace the filter, it can be a messy job that is best left to professionals.

Q: What is the difference between a septic tank and a cesspool?

A: A septic tank is a pre-cast concrete tank that is brought on site and installed along with a drainfield (leach field). A cesspool usually consists of individual curved blocks stacked on one another to create a cylindrical hollow in the ground. Cesspools receive and treat both solids and liquids and usually do not have a drainfield. Cesspools are no longer able to be built by law in the state of NJ.

Q: Why do I have a big mound in my yard?

A: The mound is actually a way for your drainfield to be moved further from the water table. In some areas the water table is just too high for a conventional gravity system, so a mound system is used to gain more distance from the drainfield pipes to the water table to ensure that the effluent passes through the proper amount of soil before returning to the water table.

Q: Should I have all the tanks pumped regularly on a multiple tank system?

A: It is recommended that during the pumping of the primary tank, the secondary tank(s) should be inspected to determine if pumping is required. Usually the secondary tank(s) will not need to be emptied as often as the primary tank.