FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any other questions or need more information about any of our services please call or email us and we’ll be happy to answer your questions and send you additional detailed information.
What is a Sewer Lateral?
What is a Mainline Sewer?
What is an Onsite Private Sewer?
What is a cleanout?
What is a Sewer pump system?
What is an Inspection of a Sewer System?
What causes a sewer in a house to backup?
A backup of sewage in your home is one of the most unpleasant experiences you will have as a homeowner. There are many different causes of sewer backups. Here is a list of various causes and how to avoid them:
- Low flow toilets: Low flow toilets are one of the leading causes of backups across the nation. The problem with low flow toilets is that the amount of water flushed most of the time does not push the solid waste and paper all the way to your sewer mainline or to your septic system. The solid waste and paper sitting in your pipe will then cause what we call a soft clog and water will back up. The best way to avoid backups from a low flow toilet is this simple rule: If you go number one, flush once. If you go number two, flush two or three times afterward in order to provide enough water to force the solid waste and paper all the way out of your house and down the pipe to its intended destination.
- Roots: Roots are a continual problem with older sewer pipes. Bad connections, old pipe that deteriorates, and aggressive tree roots can cause backups in your sewer pipe and into your home. The most prudent proactive strategy for maintaining your sewer system is to have it checked with a sewer video camera at least once a year. It roots are observed in your pipe, our best recommendation is to use our Hydro Jetter to thoroughly clean the entire four inch diameter pipe. The Hydro Jetter uses high pressure water to cut and clean the roots inside the pipe. Once the pipe is clean, we recommend a product called RootX, which can be applied to the sewer pipe which is guaranteed to prevent roots from entering the pipe for up to one year. The other option is to identify the location of the root intrusion and then simply repair the pipe at that location.
- Other causes: Sometimes backups will be caused by objects that get into the sewer pipes that should not be there. We have pulled out toys, drink lids, rags, feminine products and other debris that can cause a backup. Grease is a big problem and can also cause backups. Never pour grease down your sink as it will solidify and restrict the flow in your pipes. Also, old cast iron pipe can rust and have buildup that restricts the flow and causes backup in a sewer pipe as well. Old cast iron pipes can be descaled or another option is to replace the cast iron pipe with newer ABS Sch 40 sewer pipe that does not have problems with buildup.
- There can be other causes as well that are unique and difficult to diagnose. Sometimes the sewer pipe will be damaged by someone digging outside your home and breaking or unknowingly damaging the pipe.
What is a Hydro Jetter?
What is a Pipe Video Camera?
A Pipe Video Camera is a high tech video camera specifically designed to be able to withstand the environment of a sewer pipe and give us the ability to see the condition of your sewer, drain, or leach line pipe. We use the camera to accomplish these two important functions.
- Use with the Hydro Jetter: When Hydro Jetting, we use the camera to ensure that the pipe is completely clear. If we see a section that needs more work with the Video Camera, we line up the Hydro Jetter, pull the Video Camera back and then complete the cutting of the roots. Once the job is complete, we can check and document that the pipe is indeed clear and free of roots.
- Sewer Pipe Video Diagnostics: This Pipe Video Camera is the best and most reliable way to inspect an existing sewer pipe. Often times, we can pin point the area that needs to be repaired, saving a tremendous amount of time and money. We also use the Electronic Locator with the Video Camera in order to determine the exact location of the problem area.
What is an Electronic Locator?
TRENCHLESS TECHNOLOGY for PIPE INSTALLATION
What is Trenchless Technology?
What is Pipe Bursting?
What is a Vermeer Hammerhead Mole?
What is a Private Sewage Disposal System (PSDS)?
Private Sewage Disposal System (PSDS): Is the name we have used for a system that consists of one or more units designed to receive water from a residence or business and then, traditionally, allows for some separation and eventually disposing of the water, or effluent, into the soil.
- Today, the term Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS) is beginning to be used for both newer high tech septic systems and traditional systems without the high tech components, depending on various jurisdictions’ definitions.
- Sometimes the general public will use the term “Septic System”, which is a non-technical way of describing either a PSDS or an OWTS.
- In a traditional Private Sewage Disposal System, all the water and solid waste generated form the house flows through a sewer pipe directly into either a septic tank or primary cesspool. As the water slowly passes through a septic tank whatever floats, floats and whatever sinks, settles to the bottom and reasonably clear effluent then flows out through the T fitting or an “effluent filter” into typically either a seepage pit or a leach line and then soaks into the surrounding soil.
If you have a pre-1952 system, it most likely will consist of a primary cesspool with either an additional seepage pit(s) and/or leach lines. What this means is that your primary cesspool will be functioning like a septic tank, even though it is not a septic tank, which separates the solid waste, and allows the effluent to flow to the seepage pit(s) and/or leach lines. With a pre-1952 system, you may also have a traditional septic tank and leach lines.
What is a Septic Tank?
A septic tank is a rectangular concrete box like structure, or a fiberglass submarine shaped structure, that normally has two chambers, a primary settling chamber and a secondary settling chamber. The main purpose of a septic tank is to separate the solid waste from liquid waste and to allow for bacterial digestion of solid waste. This is usually the closest unit to the house and the waste lines from the house flow into it. Some cities or counties require that an advanced high technology septic tank be installed. The AdvanTex treatment system is the advanced treatment septic tank system we install.
What is a Cesspool?
The structure of a cesspool is the same as the structure of a seepage pit. The difference between a cesspool and a seepage pit is that the cesspool is connected directly to house waste lines and receives solid waste and water like a septic tank. Cesspools are also able to percolate water into the soil like a seepage pit. Around 1952 the building code changed and cesspools are no longer allowed according to the Uniform Plumbing Code for permanent installations. Septic tanks are now required on all new private sewage disposal systems. Most cesspools that still exist by now are completely worn out, percolate very little or no water into the soil and function more like a septic tank.
What is a Seepage Pit?
A cylindrical or well like deep hole in the ground anywhere from 12′ to 60′ in depth. The seepage pit is typically lined with bricks, or special concrete blocks or pre-cast concrete seepage pit liners, all of which allows the water (effluent) flowing from the septic tank or primary cesspool to percolate, or be absorbed, into the soil. When the soil around the seepage pit gets clogged and stops percolating water into the soil you need to install another seepage pit or a Pirana Aerboic Bacteria Generator. A Pirana is the newest concept in waste treatment that is the least expensive way to help improve the percolation of your seepage pit.
What is a Leach Line?
What is a manhole?
What is a standpipe?
What is an Inspection of a Private Sewage Disposal System?
Some houses are not connected to the public sewer in the street and consequently have what is called a Private Sewage Disposal System (PSDS). Typically, when a home is sold, an inspection or certification of the PSDS is required during escrow. We have three levels of Inspection of a PSDS listed below.
- Inspection and Verbal Consultation: We can inspect a Private Sewage Disposal System (PSDS) and simply have a verbal consultation with the client, where we have a conversation in person on site about the condition of the system, our opinion of the system, and our recommendations. (No written report.)
- Inspection and Inspection Report: Inspection of the PSDS and a written report describes the present condition of the system, our opinions about the system including any deficiencies we observe, and recommendations for restoration or replacement. (This inspection report can be used for negotiating purposes if there are any deficiencies in the system.)
- Inspection and Certification: If we inspect and find a PSDS which is structurally sound and functioning properly, with no signs of overflow or any major code deficiencies, we will issue a certification with this written statement that says: ” Therefore, I certify that the above information about the current condition of this private sewage disposal system is true and correct to the best of my knowledge at this time.”. Note: Before a certification can be issued all testing must be complete and all deficiencies must be corrected.
What is a Certification of a Private Sewage Disposal System (PSDS)?
- Certification: According to the dictionary, the definition of “Certify” is: “To declare (a thing) true, accurate, certain by formal statement often in writing: verify: attest. Our understanding of what a Certification of a Private Sewage Disposal System is as follows: A document that states, to the best of our knowledge, what is true and accurate about the PSDS.
- If we inspect and find a PSDS is structurally sound and is functioning properly, with no signs of overflow or any major code deficiencies, we will issue a written statement that says: ” Therefore, I certify that the above information about the current condition of this private sewage disposal system is true and correct to the best of my knowledge at this time.”. Note: Before a certification can be issued all testing must be complete and all deficiencies must be corrected.
- Please Note: There is no government agency or regulatory commission that sets any standard regarding what constitutes a Certification. The statements above are our best understanding of the Inspection and/or Certification process after consultation with Health Department Officials, engineers, sanitarians, California Onsite Wastewater Association, and based on our own field observations and experiences. These statements refer only to our Inspections and/or Certifications and to our standards for Certifications. Other contractors may have more liberal or more conservative standards based on their opinion of what constitutes a Certification.
What should I not put in my system?
Below is a help list of products that are not recommended to put into your septic system and a list of others that are septic system friendly. The main idea is to not use antibacterial products and harsh chemicals both of which will harm the natural growing bacteria in the septic tank. A dead septic tank causes odors and will increase the chances of deterioration of the concrete lids and sidewalls of the various units in the system.
What recommended maintenance should I do to my PSDS?
What is ProPump bacteria treatment?
- Welcome to the world of Bacterial treatments (more accurately known as Bio-augmentation). In this field there are many manufactors (some remind me of snake oil salesman) and a host of products. The particular product we sell is called “Pro-Pump” and is sold by Ecological Laboratories, they specialize in this field and have a very professional staff, including microbiologist Mark Krupka of Rutgers University. The basic concept of bacterial treatment is that the bacteria when introduced to a private sewage disposal system will benefit the system in several ways:
- It enhances the bacterial digestion in the septic tank.
- Helps keep pipes clear of grease and sludge.
- Most importantly helps unclog the pores of the soil and helps improve
- Percolation of effluent into the soil in seepage pits or leach lines.
- Cuts down on odors originating in a private sewage disposal system.
Please see our Pro Pump Bacteria Brochure for more detailed information, call our office at (818) 352-2253.
How often should I pump my septic tank?
Should I pump out my seepage pit?
What is a Pirana?
What is an Effluent Filter?
What is an Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS)?
How do you maintain an OWTS?
What is an AdvanTex System?
What do I have to do to replace or add to my PSDS?
If I do an addition to my house, do I have to do anything to my PSDS?
Are Private Sewage Disposal Systems safe?
What is a Drip System?
What is a Percolation Test?
What is a Storm Drain?
A storm drain is typically a large diameter type of pipe, anywhere from 1-ft to 6-ft in diameter or larger, which collects surface water. The surface water flows into a large storm drain from smaller onsite drain pipes, or from catch basins under a city curb, and eventually ends up in a large storm drain typically under the street or on private property, which will eventually end up flowing to the larger storm drain channels leading to the ocean. We are very familiar with all types of storm drain construction, installation, and repair. If you need more information, please feel free to give us a call at 818-352-2253.