septic system inspection mi

How to prevent septic system failure from Coronavirus.

As we discussed in the last blog, Shelter-in-Place orders are increasing stress on septic systems, and many will fail as a result.  Most of the stress is caused by increased water use.  Other issues causing increased stress on the systems are septic tank particulates and suffocating the drainfield.  Both of those will be discussed in a future blog.

So, what can you do to lighten the load?  Although the following list is far from exhaustive, it provides many water conserving ideas that are simple or low cost but have great impact.

1.      Ensure that all plumbing valves, including toilets, close properly.  One ounce per minute adds up to 11 gallons per day.  A sticking toilet valve can send over 1,500 gallons of water to the septic system in just 8 hours!

2.      Add aerators to all faucets or replace the units with water conservative models.  Older faucets produce more than 2.5 gallons per minute.  Flow restricting aerators can reduce flow to 1 gallon per minute without jeopardizing comfort!  Similarly, shower heads can produce from 1 to 8 gallons per minute.  Install conservative models, and shower without fear of sewage backing up in the house.

3.      When grooming, allow water to run only when actively rinsing.  Reducing shower times saves 2.5 gallons per minute with a standard shower head.

4.      Automatic dishwashers are much more water conservative than washing by hand, depending on pre-rinse habits.  Use a basin full of water for rinsing rather than under running water.  (Your actual water savings can be measured with a simple test: Close the drain while rinsing under running water and observe how much water accumulates in the sink)

5.      Dialing down clothes washer sizes helps, but not nearly as much as combining loads to maximize load size.  The trick is to minimize the number of cycles.  Surprisingly, cleanliness is not lost by maximizing the load size.

6.      Use disposable paint equipment.  Water based paints are designed to adhere, so it takes incredible amounts of water to clean rollers and brushes.

The status and limits of your septic system can be determined with an evaluation.  But with or without knowing the limits, the best advice for maintaining a septic system is water conservation.  See our next segment on how sludge plugs septic systems during Shelter-in-Place.

Thank you for reading, and stay healthy!

Enviro-Assist, Ltd of South Lyon, Michigan provides:

Septic System Inspections
Septic System Engineering
Septic System Troubleshooting & Consultation
Well Inspections
Drinking Water Sampling
Water Supply Consultation
Educational Seminars
Call Enviro-Assist Today: (248) 486-1753

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Why Inspect a Septic System?

Why inspect a septic system?

A septic system can be working poorly but still be working. The primary reasons to inspect a septic system are to determine how well a system is working and to assess any special care or maintenance that may be needed to prevent failure. Most often, inspections are made when purchasing a home, when adding residents to a home, or because failures have occurred.

A commonly misunderstood fact is that septic systems go through a slow progression to the stage of failure. It is not simply a matter of working one day and not the next. Rather, the system loses efficiency more and more as it is used. Failure occurs when the system is no longer efficient enough to process the amount of sewage going it. At that point, sewage backs up into the house, pools on the ground, or runs into a lake or stream. Obviously, those septic system failures are quite unpleasant. They smell, they cause illness, and they can be very expensive to repair.

The extent of an inspection may vary depending on the purpose of the evaluation. In any case, the inspector should verify the type of final disposal, including size, materials, condition of materials, impacts on the system, and potential flow rates. After all, what works for a family of three may not work for a family of six.

Enviro-Assist, Ltd of South Lyon, Michigan provides:

  • Septic System Inspections
  • Well Inspections
  • Septic System Engineering
  • Septic System Troubleshooting & Consultation
  • Drinking Water Sampling
  • Water Supply Consultation
  • Educational Seminars
  • Sewer District Planning/Septic Surveys

Call Enviro-Assist Today: (248) 486-1753

Read More →

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