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Septic and Sewer

Keep waste lines clean and flowing freely

Every homeowner needs to know the basics about their waste disposal systems and the maintenance required for each. Septic systems require regular maintenance and service. Sewer lines require a little bit of knowledge to keep them clear and free flowing.

Septic basics

Septic systems provide an economical, efficient means of handling household wastes. They are common in less densely populated areas where connection to a city sewer system is not available. According to the EPA, a septic system of tank and leach field can be the most practical, cost-effective means of handling household wastewater, if the system is properly designed and maintained. If you have a septic system, you know how important it is to conserve water and dispose of everything (other than human wastes and gray water) by composting or putting it in the trash.

To maintain the value of your home and property, pump accumulated solids regularly to prevent health problems or environmental damage. Premature system failure can be prevented by regular maintenance, and that translates into preserving or enhancing property values. Depending on your family´s size and habits, experts suggest regular system pumping every 3–4 years for optimum performance and an annual system inspection to head off potential problems.

This is not a do-it-yourself project. Always find a competent, licensed pumper. To be environmentally aware, ask where the wastes will be disposed.

Sewer service

Sewer service on the other hand is quite different from septic service. The two most common problems are tree roots and putting stuff into your waste lines that should be tossed in the trash.

Responsibility for your sewer system is typically shared between the homeowner and the municipal agency that controls water and garbage disposal. Local sewer maintenance that falls within the utility easements is their responsibility. Anything outside the easement and on your property is yours. To save time and possibly money, contact the agency responsible for sewer maintenance in your area before calling a sewer service or plumber. Maintenance crews are generally available seven days a week. If the problem is within the lines on your property, the agency will let you know and recommend that you contact a plumber or sewer service company.

Often, calling a sewer service is an emergency. Even so, make sure you ask for licensing and insurance information before work begins. Request warranty information to make sure that if the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction, there is an adequate process for addressing ongoing issues in a timely and reasonable way.

To prevent sewer problems, plant trees and shrubs that don´t have invasive root systems. Also, never dispose of oil, grease, eggshells, paint, or other hazardous materials by trying to put it down the drain. If you need additional information, contact your local water or waste treatment department. They usually publish guidelines for disposal of hazardous wastes, what is recyclable, and what should be tossed in the trash.

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