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Don’t let your septic system ruin the holidays!

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No one wants a septic backup when you have a house full of guests. Unfortunately, you can’t control plumbing blockages or how much water your drainfield can handle. The good news is that we’ve gathered our best advice for for steps to take to help prevent a backup:

Tips for Traditional Septic Systems (Tank with Drainfield):

  1. Reduce and spread out your water usage when possible. Try this: if guests are staying the night encourage them or your family to shower sporadically throughout the day instead of all at the same time.
  2. Pump your septic tank just before guests arrive or a party begins. This allows a short resting period for your drainfield until your tank fills. Pro tip: the size of your tank indicates how many gallons of water you can use before wastewater begins to flow to the drainfield. Example: If you have a 1000-gallon tank, water will not flow to the drainfield until you use 1000-gallons of water (this actually doesn’t take as long as you might think).
  3. If your system has a cleanout cap (the white pipe between the house and the tank), loosen it temporarily. If your septic system starts backing up towards your house, the loosened cap may allow the liquids to overflow onto the yard instead of backing up into your home.

Tips for Aerobic Systems:

  1. If your alarm comes on, don’t panic! It’s usually not an emergency! Silence the buzzer, reduce water usage and call your maintenance provider. If your system’s spray heads are on while the alarm is on, check if the alarm turns off after they spray. If your system has a timer that holds water in the tanks until nighttime, wait until morning, and re-check your alarm to see if it’s still on.
    1. If the light turned off, the system just needed to spray down.
    2. If your light is still on, your system probably needs attention (although it’s still probably not an emergency). Call a licensed professional.
  2. Reduce and spread out your water usage when possible. Try this: if guests are staying the night, encourage them or your family to shower sporadically throughout the day instead of all at the same time. This will help prevent false alarms and overloading your system with surges (causing higher sludge rates and odors).

Owning a Clearstream aerobic system that is in a maintenance contract with us has an added benefit: we are happy to offer an on-call technician during weekends and holidays. Refer to the on-call phone number in your maintenance contract. Weekend and holiday service rates are higher, so if it’s not an emergency, we encourage you to wait for regular business hours before requesting a service call. We’re always here to help! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns, and have a happy (and septic issue-free) holidays.


2 thoughts on “Don’t let your septic system ruin the holidays!

  1. I plan to demolish an existing garage and concrete floor slab, then constructing a septic drainfield in the same footprint. Any concerns about the drainfield other than meeting percolation tests?

    • This is a new question. I can’t think of any other concerns as long as the foundation is completely removed, and you meet all soil testing requirements and setback requirements. You might want to check with a local installer or your local permitting authority for another opinion too.

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