Boyetts Effortless Sanitation

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Homeowner & Septic Services Info

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Septic Tank problems

People often say, "I don't know why I'm have septic tank problems, I've never even had to pump my tank before;' as if that were proof that their septic system worked fine then suddenly failed. But be aware, most failing septic systems have been in trouble for one or more decades before the tell tale signs appear.

Everything that goes down any of the drains in the house (toilets, showers, sinks, laundry machines, water softener) ends up in your septic tank. The septic tank is a large-volume, most always watertight tank which provides the first treatment of the household wastewater by intercepting solids and settle able organic matter before disposal of the wastewater (effluent) to the drain field. First we will look at a septic tank without any problems (lower right)

  1. Scum: Substances lighter than water (oil, grease, fats) float to the top, where they form a scum layer. This scum layer floats on top of the water surface in the tank. Aerobic bacteria work at digesting floating solids.
    B Effluent: Effluent is the clarified wastewater left over after the scum has floated to the top and the sludge has settled to the bottom. It is the clarified liquid between scum and sludge. It flows through the septic tank outlet into the drainfield.
    C Sludge: The "sinkable" solids (soil, grit, bones, unconsumed food particles) settle to the bottom of the tank and form a sludge layer. The sludge is denser than water and fluid in nature, so it forms a flat layer along the tank bottom. Underwater anaerobic bacteria consume organic materials in the sludge, giving off gases in the process and then, as they die off, become part of the sludge.
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Drainfield Problems
Septic tank problems cause and lead to drain field problems. The drain field is where the waste water goes after it leaves the septic tank, also called leachfield or disposal field. It can also go to a mound, a seepage bed, or a seepage pit . The general and more technical term for all these methods of handling the wastewater from the tank is the soil absorption system. We will begin with the most common type, the drain field or leach field.
Once sewage undergoes primary treatment in the septic tank, the clarified effluent flows to the drainfield, where it is discharged into the soil for final treatment and disposal.
A typical drain field consists of several relatively narrow and shallow gravel-filled trenches with a perforated pipe near the top of the gravel to distribute the wastewater throughout each trench. In most cases, drain fields will perform indefinitely if an effective septic aerator is installed.

RIGHT cross section of a typical drainfield.

The Biomat The natural occurring process of wastewater entering your leach field, drain field, mound, seepage bed , or a seepage pit is the formation of the biomat. The biomat (biological mat) comprises of a black, jelly-like mat that builds on the bottom and sidewalls of the drain field trench. It is composed of anaerobic (without oxygen) microorganisms (and their by-products) that attach themselves to soil and rock particles. Their food is the organic matter in the septic tank wastewater. Because the biomat has a low permeability, it retards the rate of flow out of the trench into the drain field soil.
Healthy Septic Tank
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Unhealthy Septic Tank
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The Beginning of Septic Tank Problems
After several years of use, a build-up of bottom sludge (C) and floating scum (A) will reduce the effective capacity of the tank, as shown in the "Unhealthy Septic Tank" illustration on the left. This means waste. passes through the tank too fast, and solids eventually plug the pipes in the drain field. This overfilling off the tank can occur many times over a span of years or even day to day. Heavy water use such as laundry days or entertaining guests taxes your system and introduces solids into the drainfield. This is when your drain field becomes filled with water. By the time either untreated effluent begins surfacing on the ground or sewage backs up into house drains you have a full blown problem. These are common signs and symptoms and the outward appearance of a septic problems that could have existed for years.
The early signs and symptoms of septic tank problems are usually unnoticed by the time the outward appearance and visible signs occur the problem has moved to your drain field.

  • You can suspect the problem is the drain field if:
  • There are odors or persistent wet spots over the field.
  • The plumbing becomes sluggish over a period of time, or when it's used heavily, or during wet months
  • Problems persist even though the tank has been pumped recently
  • The septic tank is flooded
New Drain/Leach Field
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Problem Drain/Leach Field
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bioFORCE

This is why maintaining your system is so important. If the tank is pumped regularly and Bio-Force added monthly the solids will not get into the pipes and block them off. If solids are not kept pumped out of the tank, they create a layer that will rise and fall when water enters the tank. This layer can block off the inlet line making drains work slowly or not at all. Bio-Force adds bacteria to the tank to aid in breaking down solids and paper waste.

Drainfields and Health Department Certifications

If your drainfield fails, you first have to have the tank pumped and certified. The certification is sent to the Health Dept. Repairs cannot be made to a tank which isn’t structurally sound. A permit is required before work can begin. You must have the certification when applying for your permit. It is wise to obtain the certification when we pump your tank. The Health Deptartmentdetermines what repair can be made. They take into consideration the number of bedrooms and the type of soil you have. They specify the amount of drainfield to install; the amount and type is not up to the property owner or to septic tank contractors. Most tanks do not have to be replaced; a drainfield repair is all that is required. It generally takes the local Health Dept 5 – 7 working days to issue the permit. Florida statues require you to use a licensed contractor. Not only are we licensed, but we are fully insured.

When the Health Dept issues the permit, they will fax the permit and any applicable drawings to us. We will then schedule a convenient time to come out and provide you a free estimate. After contracting Boyett’s to make the repair, we take it from there. We will have utilities spotted before excavating begins. It generally takes the better part of a day to install the repair. When repair is made the original drainlines are left in place. Usually the ground around the original lines will dry out and accept more water; this could take years. When we have installed the new drainlines we have the Health Dept come out and inspect the repair before we can cover the drainfield repair and dress out the area of your yard where we have placed the repair. After installation is complete, inspected and yard dressed out, we will obtain your approval and make sure you are satisfied with our work. The drainfield repair area is let a little higher, so when the ground settles it will be level with the surrounding area.
While Florida law forbids warranty on the repair, Boyett’s does warranty their workmanship. You have the additional approval from the HD that the repairs were properly installed.

Cautions

You never want to drive vehicles over the tank and drainfield area. You never build over this area, or install a swimming pool in this area. Boyett’s can come out and flag your existing drainfield area so you will know where this area is. There are also set back requirements as far as how close to your property line, water lines and buildings, so having the drainfield area flag is beneficial for your records.

Emergency Plans

Businesses aren’t the only people who should have a plan; homeowners should have a disaster/crisis plan as well. It just takes contacting us to get your plan written up and in place.
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Florida:

850-944-5536

Fax: 850-944-0450

Amazing service is the reason why Boyett's can say:
"We're #1 in the #2 business!"
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Please contact the #1 on the Gulf Coast for Portable Restrooms and Vacuum Services.

LICENSING

Boyett’s is fully insured and licensed. We are licensed by the State of Florida, and the State of Alabama. We are licensed in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa counties in Florida and in Baldwin county Alabama. If you have locations in other areas we have the ability to obtain licenses for any location.