What’s with a Septic System? Jul19


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What’s with a Septic System?

What’s with a Septic System?

Are you a home buyer and new to on-site septic systems? Are you asking yourself:  How do I take care of a septic system?  What do I do? What do I NOT do? What might go wrong?
My current house was my first experience with an on site septic system. I’d always just lived in a city where sewers were the norm. Trust me, I was asking these questions!
There is a lot of information out there, thanks to the Internet. Recently, a company called FloHawks Plumbing & Septic came and spoke to my office about septic systems in general and gave some great information about care and maintenance, as well as what to do when selling your home and the new rules in Thurston County.
Did you know that 5.7 million residents in Washington State are on septic systems? 80% are in Western Washington and 50% are in the counties of Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston. So chances are, if you are buying a home here in Thurston County, you very well may have a septic system instead of sewer.
FloHawks describe a septic tank as:  a large, underground, watertight container. All of the wastewater from your toilet, bath, kitchen and laundry flows into the tank. Heavy solids settle to the bottom where bacteria reduce them to sludge and gasses. Lighter solids such as grease rise to the top and form a scum layer. Solids that do not decompose remain in the tank. If the solids are not removed by periodic pumping (every 3-5 years) they will accumulate and eventually overflow into the drain field, which can cause extensive damage.
As a Broker, I always recommend my Buyers consider being present when the septic tank of the home they are purchasing is being inspected and pumped. Typically the company providing the service will explain the process and answer questions which can be very educational.

A FEW tips provided by Flohawks. The “DO’s”:  Inspect your system once each year – through generally septic tanks need to be pumped every three to five years; practice water conservation; call a Certified Septic Technical for help when there are problems. The “DON’Ts”:  No vehicles or heavy traffic over the drainfield; use grass over the drainfield, not impermeable materials; don’t use drain cleaners, floor cleaners, paint solvents and other bacteria destroying liquids; don’t use a garbage disposal – it adds more solids and grease; and most importantly, “NEVER enter any septic tank”. I’m including this because it’s on FloHawk’s brochure, but it makes me grin to think that we really need to spell – this – out….

For a full list of “DO’s” and “DON’Ts”, and other great information, check outFloHawks Plumbing & Septic Tips
Bottom line:  There is nothing to be afraid of. Just arm yourself with as much information as possible, consult a professional and don’t use Charmin toilet tissue (my own observation!)
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