Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I need a new system. Where do I begin?
A: The first step is to go to the Environmental Health agency for your parish and apply for a permit. The parish sanitarian will go to the site and determine the size and kind of system needed for your site. They will then issue you a permit which will give us the information we need to evaluate the site, get a price for your complete system and schedule an installation.
Q: My system is old. Do I need a new one?
A: It really depends on several factors. If you are going to sell the property, or trying to get power turned on at the site, you will need to have the sanitarian determine if you need a new system. There are different kinds of issues that can be resolved with some standard maintenance, but vary from case to case. Call us and we can help you determine the best course of action for your problems.
Q: How do I know if I need a pump-out?
A: The answer is different for septic and ATU systems. ATU’s should be pumped out every 5-7 years, to keep the system running smoothly. The aerator motor should also be checked to be sure it is running correctly to keep the bacteria levels correct so the system will work correctly. Listening for gurgling sounds when washing machines and dishwashers are draining, as well as toilets gurgling will give clues the system is experiencing problems.
Septic systems don’t need a regular maintenance schedule. They do require pump-outs, but frequency depends on size of system and usage. Signs of potential problems are the same as for an ATU.
Q: What can I do to prevent problems?
A: Grease and bleach are two enemies of these systems. Grease should never be put in either of these systems. Frequent and heavy use of bleach and household cleaners will kill the bacteria needed for them to work properly. You will notice more of a problem with odor if the bacteria balance is thrown off. For the ATU, keeping a regular pump-out schedule will help they system work most efficiently. Some products are marketed for septic system health. Be sure to use them in septic systems only and NOT ATUs. Those products are the wrong kind of additives for ATU and will only increase the frequency for pump-outs in ATUs.
Q: What are some things I can do if I’m having problems, before I call for help?
Check to be sure the motor is running and the outlet has power to it. Usually the outlet is a GFCI and has a trip switch. Be sure it has not been thrown by plugging something else into it. Take off the small access lid to see about the water level. If the water is almost to the top of the tank, then the water level is too high and likely needs a pump-out. Walk out to where the drain pipe comes out of the ground or into the ditch. Look for evidence of water draining from the pipe.
Check the ground around the tank and field line. These should be dry. If the has ground is very wet, then the ground will have a hard time soaking up any extra water. Let the ground dry out for a few days and see if the problems improve.
When problems do arise, there are some things you can do to buy yourself a little time. Avoid putting lots of water into the system at one time. Don’t run the washing machine while taking baths. Flush sparingly. Use water only for the necessary things. While these won’t solve the problem, they may help hold off a nasty system back up until help will arrived!