Alternative Septic Systems
If a conventional septic system doesn’t suit your property, there are plenty of other options designed for your lot. For your reference, we’ve provided three alternative septic systems for unique properties, both residential and commercial. While we recommend conventional septic systems for most properties, call us if you have questions about any of these.
A drip irrigation system is designed to water non-edible plants and lawns, which remove the nitrogen from wastewater. Using a pump connected to the septic tank, effluent is distributed through a filter to drip tubes that feed this vegetation. It is common to find these systems on steep slopes, with shallow soils and clays.
Drip irrigation systems were created as alternatives to some mound systems. While no mound is needed with these systems, a large dose tank is required to time dose delivery of wastewater. The hydraulic unit costs extra and regular maintenance is necessary.
These systems are designed for unsuitable conditions, such as permeable soil with high groundwater, by raising the drain field. Compared to conventional septic systems, a mound system has an extra chamber (called a dosing chamber or pump chamber) to collect wastewater from the septic tank. If this chamber becomes too full with water or the pump fails, most systems typically have an alarm to alert the owner.
Mound systems often cost two to three times more than a conventional septic system due to the additional equipment and the earthwork and materials needed to build the mound. These systems also require more maintenance because they’re more complex than conventional systems.
A wetlands system is exactly what it sounds like, a man-made marsh. It’s not common to find these systems in Colorado in comparison to other parts of the country where natural wetlands are abundant. They are built on uplands and outside floodways to avoid damage to natural aquatic resources.These systems are aesthetically pleasing and generally less expensive to build, as they have lower operating and maintenance expenses and can easily handle fluctuating water levels.
The Dirty Truths (and Myths) About Septic Tanks
You may be familiar with common septic tank problems and how they can be fixed. But do you understand the greater issues than can develop from these complications if they go unrepaired?
To protect the health and safety of yourself, your family and the environment that surrounds your property, get the facts about your septic tank. We’ve provided some common truths and myths for you to understand, but if you have any other questions, give us a call!
- Your septic tank system does not require routine maintenance. – MYTH!
Without annual inspections and maintenance, complications can easily arise, causing your septic tank’s lifespan to decrease. You should get your septic tank pumped every 1-3 years based on the size of the system and how many people use it. Save yourself thousands of dollars on repairs and replacements that can easily be avoided through regular maintenance!
- Bacteria additives are necessary to break down solid wastes in your septic tank. – TRUTH!
Your septic system takes in several anti-bacterial cleaners and chemicals daily. It’s important to utilize bacteria additives to refill a healthy volume of bacteria for your septic tank. Even with bacteria additives, make sure you are still getting the tank routinely pumped. These additives make sure it functions properly, but they do not surpass the need to pump the system!
- Flushing anything down your drain will not cause damage to your septic tank. – MYTH! Whatever you put into your septic tank will end up in your drain field. With that being said, take precautions in properly disposing of hazardous wastes to keep your family and environment healthy. Avoid flushing household chemicals at all costs. Not only can they threaten your health if you dispose of them incorrectly and in excessive amounts, but they can also damage your septic tank system by killing off necessary bacteria.
- You can rid of all septic system problems solely through regular maintenance of your tank. – MYTH!
By getting your septic tank pumped routinely, you are helping to prevent future problems with your system and identify current issues. But pumping your tank will not fix all of its problems, such as drain field failure.
- The average lifespan of your septic tank system is 20-30 years. – TRUTH!
If properly maintained, your septic tank should last this long. Some septic tank systems have been known to last up to 50 years depending on usage and regular care, whereas others have been known to last only one year due to lack of maintenance and improper care.
- Your garbage disposal cannot harm your septic tank. – MYTH!
Garbage disposals will increase the amount of solid waste that goes into your septic system to be decomposed. In addition to these, large volumes of water and water softeners can increase the amount of wastewater that needs to be processed. Avoid water softeners, high volumes of water, household chemicals and garbage disposal usage excessively to reduce wear and tear for your septic system.
- Your septic tank will work correctly no matter how much water you use. – MYTH!
If too much water is flushed into your septic tank, it can become overworked and congested easily. Water conservation is extremely vital to a properly operating septic system!
Scum, Sludge and Other Common Septic Tank Problems
The following problems are common in septic tanks, but can become costly issues if you avoid getting your septic tank pumped. Avoid spending anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 in long-term repairs by regularly maintaining your septic tank.
Oils, greases and fats form a layer on top of the water surface in the tank over time. Make sure you get your septic tank pumped every 3 to 5 years (depending on the size and complexity of your septic tank) to rid of these substances.
Soils, unconsumed food particles, bones, grit and other sinkable solids create a flat layer at the bottom of septic tanks. Once bacteria consume the sludge, they die off and become a part of it.
When a septic system fails, it means the drainfield is not properly functioning. Effluent, or excess wastewater, can pass to the drainfield and clog the pipes. If you don’t want your sinks and toilets to back up in your home, call for septic tank maintenance upon notice of these symptoms:
- Slow draining toilets or drains
- Sewage odor
- Wet area on/near the drainfield
- Contaminated well water
Not only can these common occurrences take a toll on your bank account if untreated, but they can take a greater toll on your environment as well. If effluent goes untreated, it can contaminate your groundwater and cause human diseases.
Keep you and your neighbors healthy by getting your septic tank professionally inspected and pumped regularly. Give us a call with any questions or concerns regarding your septic tank at 970-692-7145.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Landscaping Around Your Septic Tank
A septic system can be an eyesore, so why not blend it into your landscape? We recommend you keep in mind these things while camouflaging your septic system:
- Use plants that do not require much water. This prevents plant roots from searching out water and messing with your system. Try shallow-rooted herbaceous plants like flowers and ground cover.
- Inspect the mound for any animal activity. Control any animal disturbances immediately.
- Space your plants fairly close to each other to control erosion when planting quarts, gallons or plugs. This will also suppress weeds.
- Mark the location of your access hatch with a potted plan, riser cover or lawn ornament right above it. This makes it easier when it comes time to dig up the hatch.
- Choose to grow native plants and grasses over vegetables. They don’t require additional watering.
- Plant shrubs or trees on the septic system. Trees should be planted a minimum of 20 feet away, but trees that are known for searching out water should be planted a minimum of 50 feet away. Shrubs may be placed next to the system.
- Grow nutrient-loving vegetables on the septic system. While it may seem ideal for a garden, contamination is a concern depending on how well your soil filters bacteria. As a precaution, Virginia Tech Urban Forestry expert Susan Day recommends growing aboveground vegetables rather than root vegetables nearby.
- Install ponds, plastic sheeting or high maintenance plants that interfere with the drainage system.
- Create areas of increased foot traffic. The more foot traffic, the more soil becomes compacted.
While developing your landscaping plan, always consider the entire septic system from the trench or mound to the soil absorption field. Make sure your septic system is easy to access for future maintenance and inspections!
Spring Septic System Services
Spring is just around the corner! If you plan on making home improvements this spring, you should consider adding a septic tank inspection to your list. If you are unaware where your septic system is, we will happily come out and help you find it and perform a routine septic tank pumping. It is important to perform regular pumping to your septic system in order to keep it running correctly and efficiently and to prevent any major problems from happening.
Feel free to look at our services page for a complete list of the services we can assist you with. Remember, catching a septic system problem early is much better than when it is too late! Call Sep-Tech for any septic system repairs or services you may need this spring.
Welcome to Our New Website!
Welcome to the new Sep-Tech website. Take a look at our services page for more information about how Sep-Tech can help you. If you have any questions or would like to speak with someone from Sep-Tech, feel free to fill out our contact form or call us at 970-692-7145.