Regular septic system inspections are usually conducted so as to make sure that the system is working efficiently. These inspections are also important because they normally determine whether septic tanks should be pumped or not. Septic systems which have moving parts require frequent, regular inspections compared to those without moving parts.
By hiring a professional plumber to inspect and pump your system at regular intervals, you may prevent any extra cost that may be incurred when the system fails. A professional contractor will inspect your entire system thoroughly and check for any pipes which may be leaking or are about to burst. Here are steps that are followed when a septic inspection is conducted:
1. Identifying the system location
It is not easy to identify the exact location of a septic system. Even an expert many encounter difficulties in finding the specific location of the system. It becomes even harder to identify the system location if the access of the tank is buried. What a professional does is to find the direction of a sewer pipe which goes through the basement area. The inspector may also insert a probe, which is insulated into the soil and locate the buried pipes. A map is then sketched by the inspector. This map is used as a reference material in the future when a similar inspection is conducted.
2. Locating inspection manhole and ports
This is a tiresome exercise and involves deep digging in the yard. This digging is done if the ports are buried. The inspector then marks them so that it would be easier to identify the location in the future. If the ports and the manholes are elevated, access risers or covers are usually installed to make it easier to access the manhole and ports.
3. Checking the working condition of the system
In order to determine whether the system is working properly, all connections have to be checked by the inspector. This includes: running water in the household sinking, flushing all the toilets and running the washing machine.
4. Measuring of sludge and scum and layers.
The expert measures the sludge and scum layers with special equipment which is normally inserted through the identifying inspection port. A thorough inspection also includes a visual observation of the sludge and scum layers. The scum layer consists of light solids and grease which usually float at the top of the tank. On the other hand the sludge layer made of heavier solids which settle down at the bottom of the tank
When the sludge depth is more than one third of the liquid depth, the tank is usually pumped. The tank should also be pumped when it’s a third full. Keep in mind that there are toxic gases which are often produced by the natural treatment processes and can even be fatal. Don’t look into septic tanks. Leave the inspection to the professional contractor.
5. Checking the drain field and the tank
The contractor checks the condition of the tees, baffles, the drain field and the walls of the septic tank for any cracks. If the system has a pump, it has to be inspected too.
6. Septic tank pumping
Pumping your septic tank is very essential in protecting your septic system. If the solids in the tanks become too high the drain may be clogged and eventually strain the system. When this continues the drain field may be completely damaged and a new one may be needed.
The number of times that the tank needs to be pumped normally depends on the number of people living in the home, the habits of a particular household and the size of the tank. Garbage disposals and appliances which use a lot of water, such as whirlpools or hot tubs also determine the pumping frequency of the tank.
It’s always a good idea to be physically present during the pumping of your septic tank. Ensure that your contractor doesn’t use the inspection ports to pump the tank. Manholes should be used to prevent any damage of the tees or baffles. You should also make sure that all materials in the tank are removed and nothing is left inside. It may not be necessary to disinfect or scrub the tank.
7. Record keeping
It is important to keep a record of all inspections, permits, repairs, pumps, and any other documents that show the maintenance of the septic system. Availability of this information makes service visits easier in the future.
Remember that inspecting your septic system regularly is the best way to monitor its condition. System inspections normally reveal problems earlier before they even become serious. If you have not been inspecting your systems, you should start doing so.
For more information on septic system inspection, contact us. We are a plumbing company that offers a wide range of services. Some of our services include garbage disposal, leak detections, septic services and drainage in Phoenix and the surrounding regions. Call us to find out more about our services and our rates!