3 Modern Home Appliances That May Affect Your Septic Tank
Your home appliances add tremendous convenience to your daily household routine. It’s a huge hassle when anything breaks down. A broken refrigerator can force you to throw out hundreds of dollars’ worth of food, while a defective microwave can prevent you from having a quick and easy meal. When it comes to your septic system, there are household appliances that can affect its performance and ultimately affect your productivity. Let’s take a look at the 3 main ones and also look at ways to avoid septic problems that go along with them.
This is where we see most appliance-related backups. Your washing machine uses a lot of water, and this can be taxing on your septic system. You want to spread out your laundry loads so that a manageable amount of water passes through your septic tank. Instead of washing 5 loads in one day, just do one load per day. We also recommend liquid detergents over powders because of the clay fillers that cause clogs. If possible, it is also a good idea to purchase high-efficiency washers that use less water.
The same rules that apply to your washing machine also apply to your dishwasher. Make sure you only run your dishwasher when it is fully loaded. Avoid running the wash cycle for just a few plates and utensils. Your septic tank cannot properly filter wastewater when too much water flows through it on a consistent basis.
Although the garbage disposal can make life easier for you, it makes things harder for your septic system. True, it does chop food into small pieces, but those food particles are dangerous to your septic system. They do not break down in the septic tank and end up in your leach field causing clogs. The end result is serious and costly damage to your leach field and pipes. We recommend throwing food scraps in the trash.
Appliances and Septic in Perfect Harmony
We’re not asking you to stop using your appliances. We realize they make your life a lot simpler. However, if you have a septic system, there are precautions to take or your life could get difficult really quick. Take our advice and you should have not septic troubles when using your appliances. For more wastewater tips, Contact Wind River Environmental or Request Service Now.
3 Grease Trap Horror Stories
The new Ghostbusters movie comes out today. Are you going to see it? Unfortunately, the best Ghostbusters out there cannot save you from these grease trap horror stories. Beware! FOG (fats, oils, and grease) is everywhere!
The Walking Clog
In the late 1800s, Nathaniel Whiting invented the modern-day grease trap. It was a simple but brilliant idea: a device to reduce the amount of FOG that enters the main sewers. The grease trap was a progressive step in keeping things clean and safe. Unfortunately, it was new and disgusting, and the people didn’t like new and disgusting things. The trap had to be emptied. But who could touch such a gross contraption? People didn’t want to do it even though they knew their neglect would summon the clogs. The days passed, and the FOG grew. That’s when the clogs came to life, and wastewater came back to fill the sinks and cover the floors.
Fast Food Nightmare
Joe had a craving for greasy cheeseburgers and french fries, so he went to his favorite fast food joint down the street. When he pulled up, he saw a sign on the door indicating the restaurant was closed. He thought to himself, “It’s 6pm on a Saturday. How could it be closed during this prime time?” He peered through the window to get a closer look. Suddenly, he saw gray water gushing from the floor drains in the kitchen. He screamed and ran to his car, quite distraught over the ghastly sight. He quickly dialed his friends to warn them that the FOG had come.
Don’t Go In There!
We’ve all encountered that guy—the one who never asks for directions and doesn’t ask for help. It’s that guy who just pokes and prods until something breaks. No matter how many times you warn him and tell him not to go into the kitchen to try and fix the grease trap, he goes anyway. Before you know it, baffles, screws, and pipes are strewn across the floor along with FOG that was once contained in the grease trap. The stench is overwhelming…had something died? If only he had consulted a professional.
Who You Gonna Call?
FOGbusters! Contact the Wind River Environmental professionals who can prevent horror stories like these. Or else…
(insert ominous music)
You could be next!
How Often Should Your Business’s Septic System be Pumped?
A cardinal rule of septic ownership is that you must pump out the tank on a regular basis. It is an essential part of the maintenance required to keep water flowing efficiently through your business, and failure to do so leads to costly repairs and a big mess. Let’s take a look at what occurs in your septic tank and see why pumping is so important.
Here’s What Happens
Wastewater from your business flows into the septic tank and divides into scum, effluent, and sludge. Scum consists of less dense waste that floats on top of the water, and sludge is solid waste that sinks to the bottom. The effluent is the liquid in between that leaves the tank and travels to the leach field. The sludge will build up over time and must be removed by a professional with a pump truck.
What Happens if I Don’t?
If the septic tank becomes too full, the wastewater has nowhere to go and flows back into your kitchen or bathrooms. Additionally, when the sludge is not removed, the effluent layer becomes too small to facilitate the separation process. Scum and solids then go with the effluent to the leach field instead of remaining in the tank. This is bad news because you will develop clogs in the leach field which are difficult to remedy. In severe cases, you may have to excavate and replace the pipes.
Don’t suffer the consequences of clogs and disastrous backups by neglecting pump service. The professionals at Wind River can evaluate your company and determine the right frequency for having your tank pumped. The average for a business with high water consumption is every 1-2 years, and there are often regulations mandating how often a business must have its septic tank pumped. Regardless, it is more than worth it to keep your business running smoothly. To learn more about septic pumping and other maintenance services, Contact Us or Request Service Now.
The Tragedy of Septic: To Flush or Not to Flush
To flush or not to flush, that is the question. Although bad decisions here won’t have the tragic results Hamlet’s did, flushing the wrong items can have devastating effects on your septic system. I don’t have an eloquent Shakespearean soliloquy to prove my point, but here’s a handy list of items that we advise you keep out of your toilets.
Chemicals – Products like disinfectants, photographic chemicals, gasoline, thinners, paints, pesticides and varnishes will counteract the septic process and poison groundwater.
Cigarettes – These contain toxins that can contaminate ground water.
Cleaning products (bleach, disinfectants) – When choosing cleaning products, you want to use environmentally-friendly brands that won’t kill the good bacteria in your septic tank. They should be liquid, biodegradable detergents with no phosphates.
Coffee grounds – These are not biodegradable.
Cotton swabs/balls – The fibers bunch together and cause clogs.
Dental floss – Floss is not biodegradable and tangles with other wastes causing clogs.
Diapers – Although a diaper is designed to hold waste, the diaper itself is not designed to be flushed.
Dirt – Never empty gardening or flower pots into the toilet.
Feminine hygiene products – Packaging for some of these products often says they’re safe for flushing, but we have found otherwise when it comes to septic.
Food – It’s better to feed your scraps to an animal or throw in the trash. Garbage disposals are discouraged when you have a septic tank.
Garbage – Garbage is for the garbage, not your wastewater system.
Grease – Grease, fats, and oils will harden and stick to your pipes causing clogs.
Gum – This will stick to your pipes.
Kitty Litter – Even though it may claim to be flushable, it will not break down.
Medication – Many drugs are harmful to the environment, so consult your pharmacist on proper disposal.
Avoid Septic Tragedy
Keep your plumbing free and clear of obstructions by referring to this list if you’re unsure about whether something is safe to flush. Really, the only items that your toilet should have to handle are human waste and 1-ply toilet paper. We realize the above items may accidentally make their way into your septic tank, so to avoid problems, you need to schedule routine maintenance service. This includes having your tank pumped out every 1-2 years to remove solid waste that builds up over time. Other optional services could be annual inspections or drain cleaning. Contact Wind River Environmental to have a professional evaluate your home and determine what preventative maintenance services will benefit you most.
Wastewater Terms Defined
When a professional in any industry talks about his or her work, it might sound like Greek if it’s not within your realm of expertise. It’s not unusual to mistrust people who confuse you with hopes you’ll just buy whatever they’re saying. If you’re shopping for wastewater services, don’t get confused by a fast-talking salesperson. Here are some words you might expect to hear when talking to service providers.
Baffle – A flat board or plate in a grease trap or septic tank used to direct flowing water.
Effluent – Wastewater that has been filtered of sludge and scum that flows out of a septic tank.
Grease Trap – Also called a grease interceptor, this plumbing device traps grease and solids before they enter a wastewater disposal system.
Grey Water – The relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines and other kitchen appliances.
Jetting: A method of using water pressure to clear drain lines and clean out other wastewater receptacles such as catch basins.
Leach – The process by which wastewater is purified by the action of percolating liquid. In a leach field, effluent percolates through the soil before flowing into groundwater.
Pipe Joint Seal – Tightness or lack of leakage at a pipe joint.
Scum – Waste that is less dense than water and floats in a septic tank.
Sludge – Solid waste that is denser than water and sinks to the bottom of a septic tank.
We Speak Septic
We know the language of wastewater technicians and plumbers, but we try to communicate in a way that makes sense to our customers. We want you to understand the work we do, so you can feel secure about the services you’re paying for. Before starting any job, we ensure you are comfortable with our proposals and welcome your questions. To learn more about our services and why we’re number 1 in the industry, Contact Wind River Environmental today.
6 Septic Maintenance Rules of Thumb for Your Home
Today may be a rough day for many of you coming back to work after a holiday weekend. Were your neighbors up late shooting fireworks? Are you a little grumpy today due to your lack of sleep? The same feeling can occur the morning following a septic emergency. Imagine waking up at 3am to a septic emergency, and then going to work a few hours later. It’s total agony for your body and your wallet. Let us save you from such situations with 6 easy tips you can start incorporating today.
- Regular Maintenance
Solid waste builds up over time, and must be removed by a professional with special equipment for pumping out the waste and dirty water. No exceptions to this one!
- Bacterial Additives
Use an additive like CCLS to replenish lost bacteria in your septic system. This ensures waste is breaking down efficiently.
- Install and Clean a Filter
A septic filter will prevent waste and debris from entering your leach field, and your Wind River tech will clean it during your regularly scheduled pump service.
- Monitor What Goes In
It’s difficult to supervise every single thing that enters your plumbing, but do pay attention when possible. Human waste and 1-ply toilet paper should really be the only things going down your drains.
- Septic Safe Products
Remember to use non-toxic cleaners and toilet paper designed for septic systems.
- Space out Laundry
Try to do 1 load of laundry in one 24-hour period, instead of cramming 5 loads into a single day. This gives your septic system time to properly filter your wastewater.
We get a lot of emergency calls from folks who didn’t see the value in preventative maintenance. In all cases, our techs learn that the customer was not incorporating one or more of these rules of thumb. Follow our advice, and we are confident you will save time and money in the long run. For more information on septic care, Contact Wind River Environmental or Request Service now.
19 Epic Plumbing Fails
It’s the Friday before Independence Day! Today we’re going to get this 4th of July weekend started with some fun and laughs related to one of our favorite topics. Yes, plumbing. From pipe explosions to flooded reception areas, you’ve never seen plumbing disasters like these. We’ve also included some design catastrophes that were clearly the work of inexperienced engineers and technicians. We’re confident you’ll be smart about wastewater maintenance and who you choose to install your equipment, and never find yourself in a compilation like this.
The Moral of The Slide Show
These hilarious mishaps provided us with a lot of entertainment, and we hope you enjoyed them too. More importantly, we hope it showed you the disastrous consequences of disregarding preventative maintenance and choosing unreliable service providers. You can rest assure, the professionals at Wind River are highly qualified to handle your plumbing and prevent epic fails like these. Our engineers and installers are certified and will safely engineer and set up your wastewater facilities. To learn more about our products and services, Contact Us.
We hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend. God bless America!
3 Things to Know About Septic Tanks in Warmer Weather
Water consumption in the summer tends to be higher than in other seasons. Swimming pools need to be filled, water parks are open for business and plants need more water. Your kids are also out of school for summer vacation which means they are at home using the toilet and playing in the sprinklers. Is your septic tank ready for this increased use? Read on for some tips to help you, as a septic owner, survive the summer.
Spread Out Water Use
You don’t want to overload your septic system by using too much water at one time. Things like washing machines, dishwashers and baths use a lot of water. Try to spread these out, so you don’t stress your system in one 24-hour period. Try doing one load a day instead of 5 loads in one day. Also, be aware of the effects of summer showers. These have potential to flood your system, so if your forecast is calling for heavy rain, try to limit water use.
Know Where Your Septic System Is Located
Summer is a great time to be outdoors, and you may decide to install an above-ground pool, swing set or patio. Make sure you know where your septic system is located and keep these structures away from it. Anything heavy like vehicles, trees or storage sheds can damage an underground septic system.
Don’t Fret Over Brown Grass
We get a lot of calls from customers who see dead grass around their septic tank during warmer months, and they think there could be a problem. This is generally just caused by gases and is not an indication of septic failure.
You should be employing preventative maintenance in all seasons, but especially during months of high water consumption. Go ahead and have your septic pumping done before the summer parties and storms begin. We also recommend annual inspections to catch those unforeseen issues. For more tips on summer septic maintenance, Contact Wind River Environmental or Request Service Now.
Septic 101: Home Buyer Precautions
Buying a home can be both exciting and stressful. You may care more about location and price, while your spouse has a certain size and design in mind. Regardless of how your tastes may differ, all can agree that the wastewater facilities need to be addressed. To help you out, here are a few questions you should ask regarding the septic system before making the decision to purchase a home.
Did the septic system pass inspection? It is wise for buyers to make sure the septic system of a potential home is in good working condition. A faulty system can hurt the value of your property, cost thousands of dollars in future repairs and cause serious harm to the environment. Some states realize the severity and have designed regulations to govern this. For example, in Massachusetts, there is a Title V requirement for real estate transactions demanding there be a septic inspection before the sale closes.
Can the septic tank handle the household’s water consumption? Every now and then, you get a tank that is too small for the amount of water that runs through it on a regular basis. This results in improper filtration and clogging. There are ways around it, but not without inconvenience to those living in the home. If you want the freedom to use as much water in your new home as you like, make sure the tank is large enough to accommodate your needs. Otherwise, your system will eventually break down and cost you an arm and a leg.
Is the lawn heavily saturated with water? Unless there was a recent storm, a lawn with puddles or marshy areas is a red flag. This could be indication of leaching failure and needs to be addressed before you start discussing down payments on the home.
When was the last time the tank was serviced? Hopefully, the current homeowner has kept good records of septic maintenance. The Board of Health is also a good source of information if nothing was tracked. We recommend septic pumping every 1 to 2 years, so if the tank has not been serviced in that time frame, you should request it be done before making a purchase.
We realize there are more obvious and fun criteria for selecting a house, so we wanted to remind you of a not-so-obvious, unexciting feature to consider when shopping for your next home. If you’d like a professional opinion or need a certified company to inspect a septic system, Contact Us or Request Service Now.
Where to Place Your Home Septic System
When building a new home outside of the city, you may need to also plan for construction of an on-site wastewater system. Septic systems are quite complicated, and there are several things to consider when installing a septic tank and leach field. For starters, you have to apply for the proper permits allowing you to legally build a system that is safe for you and the surrounding environment. Once that’s out of the way, one of the next things to consider is the location of your septic system.
Things to Consider:
- Regulations differ from town to town – Check with your Board of Health to see if there are special rules that would affect placement of the septic system on your property.
- Keep away from drinking water sources – The last thing you want is sewage near a potable water supply. Contaminating a city’s drinking water can have tragic outcomes.
- Evaluate your home’s size – The number of people living in your household affects water consumption, which affects the size of your septic tank and leach field. This would also affect placement.
Consult a Professional
Tons of other factors come into play before it’s all said and done—the type of system, your soil’s texture and pH, and the type of materials you’ll use. Because there are so many decisions to make, we strongly advise you seek professional guidance. All technicians and engineers at Wind River Environmental have graduated from Wind River University, and have years of experience with all aspects of septic systems. You can count on us to give you honest, reliable advice, and we’re certified to do the actual installation as well. We don’t stop there. Once your septic system is up and running, you can also count on us to do the ongoing maintenance to keep it running for years to come. Trust us to be a one-stop shop for all your septic needs. Contact Us or Request Service Today.