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Rhode Island

Septic System Maintenance Tips in Rhode Island

Rhode IslandSeptic systems are very common throughout Rhode Island. If you are a homeowner and have one of these on-site sewage systems, you are probably very aware of the maintenance and diligence that is required to properly maintain a septic system. If you are new to septic systems, it can be a bit overwhelming to get a handle on all the dos and don’ts.

This article will attempt to give you an overall understanding on how septic systems work in Rhode Island, what you can do to help keep your system running efficiently and when it’s time to call a professional to help you service your system. Whether you have a septic system in Cumberland, Woonsocket, Providence or somewhere in between, these tips will help you to increase the longevity and efficiency for many years to come.

How Septic Systems Work

Most of the septic systems found throughout Rhode Island consist of a specific set of equipment, which includes a septic tank, a leaching field and a distribution box. The wastewater that comes from your home is held temporarily within the septic tank, which is where the waste solids become separated from the water. Bacteria decomposes the solids, which are later pumped out by a professional septic system company.

The partially treated water leaves the tank and then moves on into the distribution box. Once inside the box, the water is distributed evenly into the leaching field. The water drains into trenches that are filled with gravel through holds in the distribution box, which are then used to help further treat the wastewater. The wastewater then seeps slowly into the soil of your leach field for a secondary purifying treatment.

Today there are some alternative systems that use different substrates than soil or gravel. One option is to use sand instead of soil. Another is to use peat. Whichever type of system you are currently using, you need to ensure that you properly maintain a septic system so that it does not pollute the groundwater. Don’t just change from soil to sand, peat or any other type of substrate unless you consult with a septic system professional to make sure that the change will work well with your current system.

How to Properly Maintain a Septic System

The best thing you can do for your septic system is to provide proper care and maintenance. There is a lot of responsibility on the part of the homeowner to ensure that the system is not being abused so that it will run properly. Regular visits from your septic system professional to inspect your equipment, check your levels and pump your system if necessary, will help keep things in proper working order.

Water conservation is the number one way to protect your system. Take some simple steps to ensure that you are limiting your use of water. The more you save, the less will end up in your system. Water-saving devices, such as low-flow toilets and shower heads are extremely helpful. Check for leaks in faucets and toilets on a regular basis and refrain from running a load of dishes and clothing unless you have a full load.

Chemicals can be extremely dangerous to a septic system. Don’t ever put any chemicals or paint thinners down your drains. These chemicals will kill off the microbes that naturally occur within your system and prevent it from functioning properly. Other things, such as food waste, fat and grease are also damaging to your system and should not be put down the drain. Unless your system has been designed to accommodate a garbage disposal, you should not use one with a septic system.

Maintain your leach field as well by ensuring that nothing is planted or growing over the area except for grass. It goes without saying that you should never pour concrete or asphalt over a leach field. Parking or driving vehicles over the leach field can ultimately compact the soil and crush the piping, rendering it useless to the treatment process.

When to Call a Professional

If you notice any problems within your septic system, such as drains that drain slower than usual, gurgling sounds or a foul odor around the house, you need to call a septic system service professional. Another sign is a very lush and green patch of grass within the drainage field, signaling that the grass is receiving more liquid and nutrients than usual. The technician will inspect your equipment, test the drain field and check to ensure that it is all draining properly and will check inside your home to make sure your plumbing is functioning well.

In the State of Rhode Island, some locations  require what are known as Rhode Island Town Inspections. These locations include South Kingstown, North Kingstown, Jamestown and Charlestown. The local town ordinances require both residential and commercial property owners to submit inspections of their septic systems on a regular basis.

Septic Preservation Services provides all of these services and more. They are fully licensed to provide Rhode Island Town Inspections and Massachusetts Title 5 Inspections.  SPS utilizes state-of-the-art tools and fully trained and certified professionals to provide the best possible services to their customers at a very affordable and competitive rate. So whether you are in Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts, call  Septic Preservation Services for pricing, information or to set up an appointment at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

summer gatherings

Summer Gatherings and Your Septic System

When planning for summer gatherings this summer, prevention can go a long way toward averting disasters with your septic system.  Parties, weddings, and any summer gathering can exert heavy use on your septic system.  Careful planning can help you prepare your septic system for the extra guests and extra load.

Here are some tips:

Arrange for a septic tank pumping prior to the event. Heavy volume of wastewater over a short period of time can over saturate the drain field and cause a mess in your yard or backup in to your home. Performing septic tank maintenance right before the event will create added capacity which will be able to handle more volume.

Check  your septic system and make sure it is functioning properly before the event.  Septic Preservation Services have technicians available for a maintenance check.   A problem may not be obvious during regular or modest use, but when you add an additional volume of wastewater over a short period of time, this can cause an already impaired system to fail.

The technician can also check your drain lines and make sure they are clear as well as the flow of water from your home to the tank.  Partially clogged drain lines can fail with excessive effluent running through them in a short amount of time.

School  your guests on what not to flush down the toilet.  A nearby garbage can  and properly placed signs on dos and don’ts may be all you  need.

Better yet, for large gatherings with many guests, such as weddings, graduation parties or family reunions, consider renting portable toilets and sinks.  This will take the load off your septic system and avoid costly and odorous disasters.  Units today are more attractive and reasonable and can take the worry out of your day.

Proper preventative maintenance  is all that is needed to keep a septic system functioning properly for many years to come. When the day is done,  the cost of a little preventive maintenance is well worth  the investment to avoid the potential for backups and septic system repairs or replacement.

Call Septic Preservation Services before your summer gathering.   They have all the equipment and professionals available to maintain and check your septic system and get it ready for your big day.  You can reach them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com for more information.

Bob Silva

Meet Bob Silva

Bob SilvaWho are the hardworking people behind the scenes at Septic Preservation Services? We are starting a series to introduce the people of Septic Preservation Services and what they do.

 We begin with the founder of SPS,  Bob Silva.  Bob Silva  started the company after working in manufacturing for 2 decades.  Bob felt that customers deserved a better level of professionalism, as well as a higher degree of technical knowledge given the tougher environmental regulations that are being imposed on property owners.

He brings with him a  mechanical engineering degree from the University of MA at Dartmouth.    As the founder of SPS, his main role is to support his team with professional advice, the resources they need to do their jobs, promote a safe environment, and challenge them to continuously improve. He is highly successful in what he does.  In this business, he has faced many challenges and situations.  He believes that high strength commercial wastewater from coffee processing plants, breweries, and car washes, have been the most interesting and challenging projects he has dealt with.

 He also shares some fun facts and funny stories he has encountered over the years.  As told by Bob, ” I was once called by a home owner at 3 AM because she heard gurgling from the toilet as she was sick all night.   When I arrived in the morning, there was a mushroom shaped cloud of bubbles over the house 60 ft in diameter. It turned out the woman’s husband was trying to help because she was sick, and did some laundry.  He thought the more soap the  better.  Boy, was he wrong.   A second funny story involves another call at 2 AM from Stow,MA, when a couple called because they saw a bear dancing on their front lawn.  It turned out to be a pile of soap suds because their daughter dropped a bottle of shampoo in the shower.”   He has many stories he could share, but lastly Bob shared this story,  ” It is about a customer that kept putting things down the toilet they should not have.   After educating the customer several times, we were assured  that his family would not keep putting trash into the system. When we arrived and pulled the trash out of the tank once again, the man’s daughter, about age 7, started yelling and hitting her younger brother, about age 5.  Apparently,she had flushed one of his GI Joe’s down the toilet and in turn he was flushing her Barbie Doll clothes.  This concluded the septic war.”

  Bob really enjoys his job  and truly feels good about helping people.  He feels from time to time they come across people, who through no fault of their own, really need a helping hand, and it is nice to be able to provide it.   Outside of work he enjoys camping, fishing, photography, hiking, sailing, and snorkeling.  

Stay tuned to meet the rest of the Septic Preservation team.

Septic Preservation Services is ready to help you with all your septic needs.  Call them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

septic system cleaning and pumping

Septic Cleaning and Pumping

SEPTIC CLEANING & PUMPING

Part of any good Preventative Maintenance Program is to ensure that your septic system is properly cleaned and is pumped on a regular basis. It is important to know the facts about septic cleaning and pumping to avoid making costly mistakes.

SEPTIC CLEANING

Getting your tanks cleaned on a regular basis will help to improve the efficiency of your septic system and keep it running smooth. It is important to select your service provider carefully to ensure that you get quality work.  Be sure that when comparing prices that you compare apples to apples.  Some differences that may effect cost are the size of the tank, how deep the covers are buried, and if there is a filter to clean.

Septic Preservation takes pride in the work that we do, utilizing specialized equipment to locate specific areas of your system, such as a sewer camera that is used to investigate the inside of your sewer lines, and jetting equipment to clean the pipes within the leach field.

SEPTIC PUMPING

pumpingSome pumping services will tell you that you need to get your septic system pumped every 6 months or on an annual basis. The truth is that a properly maintained septic system should only be pumped based on the accumulation of sludge and scum, which is typically every 2-5 years.  Pumping too frequently is costly and is usually not necessary.

If you would like a system evaluation and to know how often you should be pumping, give Septic Preservation a call for an evaluation and to set up quick and easy pumping arrangements.

OUR GOAL: CLEANER AND MORE EFFICIENT SEPTIC SYSTEMS

Septic Preservation can get you started on the road to a healthier septic system for your residential or commercial property through our Preventative Maintenance Program. We are so confident in the services offered through this program that we offer a unique “Pass or It’s FREE Guarantee” on Title 5 Inspections to all of our customers that are in the Preventative Maintenance Program and have followed up with all of our recommendations. We also provide a 50% discount off of all Title 5 Inspections for our up-to-date Preventative Maintenance Program customers. Call us today at 877-378-4279 to get more information about our programs and services.

Visit www.septicpreservation.com for everything you need to know about your septic system.

Camouflaging Septic Tank Risers

risersHow do you keep your septic tank risers out of sight?

If you have had your septic system outfitted with the proper septic tank risers, you most likely have a cover sitting in the middle of your garden, lawn or somewhere unsightly. Keeping these covers easily accessible is important, but that doesn’t mean you have to put a sign on them! Hiding these risers is very simple and easy, and can be done without getting in the way of someone servicing your system.

The simplest way is to just put a light fake stone or decorative item on the cover. The key here is to keep it light, you don’t want to damage your system and the service company can pump the system as needed. A lighthouse, light birdbath or other decorative lawn ornament is an easy way to keep that riser out of sight!

Another way is to plant small plants around it. This will effectively camouflage the cover from most people. Keep in mind that should anyone need to access the tank, the plants may get in the way so be sure to leave space somewhere so the septic crew can get to the tank unhindered.

Rock features or stepping stones are another great way to keep the cover out of sight. Placing these around the cover with some light decorative item over the cover itself is a great way to hide the riser. It also may be a way to ad a nice decorative piece to your lawn!

risers

 

If you need an inspection, have questions or need septic services, please call Septic Preservation Services at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

risers

rain

Rainy Weather and Your Septic System

rainRain, Rain Go Away!

Heavy rains can cause septic issues.   Significant rainfall can quickly flood the ground around the leach field or drainfield leaving it saturated and making it impossible for water to flow out of your septic system. When the water has nowhere to go, it can eventually travels backward through the plumbing system and back into drains and toilets and into your home.   When the  drainfield becomes flooded, it  can also lead to untreated sewage flowing into the groundwater and local streams.   This can lead to environmental contamination.

There are things you can do to help minimize any damage to the way your septic system functions and keep everything functioning smoothly.

Before it starts to rain:

  • Prevention is always the best bet.  Make sure your septic system is properly maintained, and is regularly pumped.  Septic problems can be worse if your tank needs to be pumped or the system has not been properly maintained.
  • Keeping water away from the home and the drain field is key.   Rain gutters are important. Make sure all gutters drain away from the drainfield area so as not to saturate the area, and make sure you clean the gutters in the fall and spring to help the water drain properly.
  • Maintenance of your drain field is essential.  Do not drive any heavy equipment or other vehicles that could compact the soil over the drainfield. This can compromise the soil absorption field’s ability to treat wastewater. Also, plant only grass above the drainfield or groundcover with shallow roots.  Do not plant any trees or vegetation with deep roots which could harm the leach field.

During the rainstorm:

  • If  you begin to notice that your drainfield is flooded, be alert to drains that are not draining quickly, toilets that flush slower or make strange sounds, or water that is backing up into your basement.   To take pressure off your system and allow it to recoup, use it less.  If possible, reduce or eliminate water going down the drains until the drainfield dries out.  Hold off on laundry until the water recedes.  Try to cut back on showers, and dishwashing and flush the toilet only when necessary.  It should only be a day or two until the rain stops and the sun dries up some of the excess water.

After the Storm

  • If the water does not recede and you suspect that your septic system is still not working properly, it’s time to call in a professional.  Septic Preservation is able to quickly come out and check your system and offer a solution.  It may include pumping the system or repairs may be needed.   Do not wait to have your system checked.  This could greatly increase your chances of major septic repairs or septic system failure.
  • Septic Preservation also has a great septic maintenance program.  Take the worry out of your septic system and call Septic Preservation at 877-378-4279 and let them put you on their maintenance program.  This can help you extend the life of your system.  Visit www.septicpreservation.com for more information.
wet weather

Keep a Watch on Septic During Wet Weather

wt weatherWhile you can’t control the weather, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your septic system during extremely rainy weather.  Drainfields are designed to handle your wastewater but during extremely wet weather, excess water can puddle over the the septic tank and keep water from flowing out into the soil.  A boggy drainfield is natural after heavy rains, but keep an eye for water receding and drying out after the rain is over.  Consistent bogginess and odor may mean septic problems. This is especially true for older systems.

What can you do?  Divert the rainwater away from your septic tank and drainfield through your gutters and drainspouts.   Checking your home for leaky toilets and faucets can keep less water out of your septic system.  Also reducing your water usage inside the home can help.  Shorten your showers and space out your laundry loads or try to put off doing laundry during the extremely wet weather.

Septic maintenance can also help.  Regularly maintaining your septic system and pumping on your tank on a regular basis can be the key to keeping your system healthy and running properly through any weather.  Septic Preservation Services offers a great maintenance program.  Call them with any questions or to get on a maintenance schedule at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

winter

Winter and Your Septic System

winterWinter is here to stay.  Winter can cause some strain on your septic system.  With winter, comes snow.  Snow is actually a good insulator to keep  your system from freezing.  Make sure you don’t drive over your septic system.  This is especially true in winter.  Driving over your septic system can compact the snow and drive it deeper into the ground.

Normal use keeps your septic system from freezing.  Beware if you own a vacation or summer house.  With sporadic use or no use throughout the winter, there is a possibility of freezing.  Sporadic use can help keep this from happening.

Regular use and common sense can keep your septic system running smoothly throughout the winter.  Check for leaks in the plumbing so unnecessary water is not saturating the system.  Be careful of food products going down the drain as well as bleach and toxic cleaners.  Use single ply toilet paper and try not to overload the paper products in  the toilets.

When spring thaw hits. try to limit your water usage not to overload the system.  Space out your loads of wash and dishwasher cycles.  Cut back on showers and long, hot tubs. This will help the melting snow not overload your system.

Septic Preservation Services has a great maintenance program to keep your septic system running smoothly.  Call them with all your septic questions.  They can find a solution to any of your problems and answer all your questions.

You can reach them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

Christmas

All Natural Christmas Gifts

ChristmasToxic cleaners and harsh chemicals are all around us.  They can cause havoc with your septic system.  Your septic system relies on natural microorganisms to break down the effluent which flows into your septic tank.  Harsh chemicals found in many cleaners such as bleach can kill some of these naturally occurring organisms.  What’s a better solution?  You can make your own household cleaners out of natural ingredients you can find in your home.

You can make your own drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, counter spray, etc. out of natural and gentle ingredients which are better for your environment as well as family  and child friendly.   At this time of year, they also make great Christmas gifts, especially when decorative bottles and containers are used.

Here are some great recipes to try:

All Purpose Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 20-30 or more drops of essential oil (optional)

Suggested uses: hard surfaces like countertops and kitchen floors, windows and mirrors.

Tip: Warming in microwave until barely hot will boost cleaning power for tough jobs. Only microwave in a glass container.

Creamy Soft Scrub

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • ½ cup to 2/3 cup liquid castile soap*
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (acts as a preservative)
  • 5 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, rosemary or any scent you prefer (optional)

Mix together and store in a sealed glass jar, shelf life of 2 years. Dry soft scrubs can be made with baking soda or salt (or combination of both) with 10-15 drops essential oil to scent.

Suggested uses: Use this creamy soft scrub on kitchen counters, stoves, bathroom sinks, etc.

Laundry Detergent

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soap flakes
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1-2 tbsp. oxygen bleach (optional for extra whitening power)

Soap flakes can be made by grating your favorite pure vegetable soap with a cheese grater. Mix ingredients together and store in a glass container. Use 1 tablespoon per load (2 for heavily soiled laundry), wash in warm or cold water

For soft water: use 1 cup soap flakes, 1/4 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup baking soda. For hard water: use 1 cup soap flakes, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup baking soda.

Note: This recipe can be safely used in HE washers..

Tips: Add 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to rinse as a fabric softener. For a whitener, use hydrogen peroxide rather than bleach. Soak your dingy white clothes for 30 minutes in the washer with 1/2 cup 3% peroxide. Launder as usual.

Furniture Polish

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 20-30 drops lemon essential oil

Shake well before using (2 teaspoons lemon juice may be substituted for lemon oil but then must be stored in refrigerator).

Dip a clean, dry cloth into the polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain. Use a soft brush to work the polish into corners or tight places.

Tips: To remove water spots rub well with toothpaste. To remove scratches use 1 part lemon juice and 1 part oil, rub with soft cloth.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Ingredients:

Sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, drizzle with vinegar, let soak for at least 30 minutes and scrub with toilet brush.

Tip: Let ingredients soak for a while to make for easy scrubbing, especially on persistent stains like toilet bowl rings.

Drain Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1/2cup salt

Pour baking soda down the drain and follow with vinegar. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Flush with boiling water.

Tip: Prevent your shower from clogging by using a drain trap to catch hairs.

These recipes can be found on womensvoices.org

Septic Preservation Services is available to answer all your questions on your septic system and what you should or should not put in it.  Call them at 877-378-4279 or visit www.septicpreservation.com

Christmas

Christmas and Your Septic System

Christmas

Christmas can be tough on your septic system.  There are the Christmas guests who come to stay.   Guests bring extra water usage. Laundry increases as well as showers and bathing.   The dishwasher is always running with all the extra dishes from the great, festive meals and goodies that Christmas brings.

Here are some tips to keep your septic system running smoothly and avoid overuse and costly repairs.

  • Be extra careful with water use during the winter months, shorter showers, smaller baths, etc.  Ask your guests to conserve water and keep showers to a minimum.
  • Fix any dripping taps and leaking toilet valves before winter.
  • Check  that no roof water or surface water (manhole covers should be higher than any puddles) enters the system.
  • Buy a set of draining rods before the holidays or put them on your Christmas ‘wish list’. They are invaluable to anyone with a private drainage system and can save you a fortune when drains are blocked.
  • Fill a plastic bottle with water and put it in the toilet tank.  Make sure it doesn’t interfere with the flushing mechanism.   This will reduce the volume of water per flush.
  • Have your septic tank pumped just before the visitors arrive. This gives the soakaway a breathing space to drain away completely.
  • Spread the washing out, using FULL loads, over a period of days.  Saving all the laundry for washing day is not a good plan.
  • Look at the labels. Only choose eco-friendly cleaning products. Avoid antibacterial soap and detergents.  It can kill the good bacteria in your system.
  • Try  hand washing  the greasy items  in a bowl and throwing the water on the garden. It won’t harm your plants.
  • Use air fresheners in the bathroom.
  • If you do get a fat blockage in the drains, DO NOT use harsh drain cleaning products as they are harmful to your septic tank.   Or better yet, use homemade recipes made from natural ingredients.   Try using draining rods instead or call in the professionals at All Clear Septic and Wastewater Services.
  • Prevention is the key to having a great holiday season.  Be prepared and you can spend the holidays enjoying your family and friends and the magic of the season.  Let All Clear Septic and Wastewater Services take the worry out of your holidays.
  • You can reach us at 508-763-4431 or visit www.allclearseptic.com
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