Failing Septic Systems
DID YOU KNOW… Failing and inadequate
septic systems are a leading source of waterborne disease
outbreaks in this country contributing to the deaths of
3-4 Americans everyday? Failing septic systems are a major
source of ground and surface water contamination damaging
lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, even the oceans.
When a septic system fails:
Failing systems can be costly. Some states have
begun fining homeowners (up to $1,000.00 per day)
for a failed system. Due to septic system failure,
people have had their homes condemned and been forced
out in the street. System failure is that serious.
Most failures (of a proper septic system) are the
result of neglect and abuse by the homeowners that
use them and they abuse them because they haven’t
learned how to properly maintain them.
If you have questions or concerns about your septic
system, please contact
us for a free consultation.
Raw sewage can back-up into your house and ruin
your carpets, hardwood floors, walls, and furniture (not
to mention the smell). It can also bubble-up in your yard
where your children and pets play. This contaminated water
can find its way into your drinking water supply. Your neighbors’
property and drinking water, nearby rivers, lakes, streams,
and wetland habitats. Entire neighborhoods have-been rendered
virtually worthless and unlivable (even lake front homes)
because the soil has become contaminated with bacteria from
failed septic systems.
HOWEVER…a properly designed, installed, and maintained
septic system will treat wastewater better than most treatment
facilities, at a fraction of the cost, and can last indefinitely.
Many people say… If you put yeast, brown sugar, heads
of cabbage, even dead chickens into your septic system you
will never have to pump the tank. Don’t believe them.
They are only myths! Some of these “Tricks”
can actually damage your system.
||New Septic System
Be certain a certified professional designs and installs
your system to code and is permitted.
On more than one occasion, we have replaced failed
fiberglass tanks that after pump-out have collapsed
due to side wall soil pressure. Inferior septic systems
do not perform well and normally do not last very
To replace a failed system can cost $2,000 to more
Don’t make the mistake of cutting corners at this
stage of the game. To properly design and install a system
is a very complicated procedure. Go with a larger system
than what the code requires. To increase the size of your
system now, will only add a few hundred dollars. To add
later will cost thousands.
A QUICK EXPLANATION OF HOW YOUR SYSTEM WORKS: As
you flush waste water down the drain, the solids settle
in the tank, the liquid moves on to the drainfield where
it percolates down through the soil and evaporates up. Bacteria
that naturally exist in the tank and soil break down the
solids in size and “eat” the harmful parasites
and viruses. A septic system will only treat organic materials.
Bacteria does not “eat” plastic. Septic tanks
seldom fail, drainfields/soils fail when they become plugged
with lint, oils, grease, and fats, and solids that should
have remained in the tank and/or the natural bacteria are
killed off by the over use of chemicals.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR SYSTEM; Use water
wisely. Your System can only treat so much water per day.
Install water saving devices in your home, i.e. low flow
showerheads, low flush toilets, aerators on all faucets.
Spread out your water use. Do 1 or 2 loads of laundry per
day rather than 10-12 loads on the weekend.
The over-use of chemicals (like automatic toilet bowl cleaners)
can kill the good bacteria and cause system failure. Normal
amounts of cleaning solutions will not hurt your system.
Just like ashes build-up in a fireplace and must be removed,
solids also build up in the septic tank. The tank should
be inspected yearly by a certified professional and pumped
when necessary. We recommend every 3-5 years regardless
if it needs it or not.
Vehicles including cars, trucks and motorcycles
driving over your drainfield can compact the soil
and kill a septic system.
Much of the water in your system evaporates up. Do
not operate lawn sprinklers over your drain field.
Excess watering prevents proper draining.
Many powdered detergents use filters that can damage
a septic system. Use liquid detergents.
Most septic systems fail because the drainfield gets
plugged with solids. Using filters on the washing
machines and in the tank can keep these solids out
of the drainfield and prevent failure.
Failed Stacked Pipe Septic System
The discharge from your water softener should not be allowed
into your system. Ask your zoning office or contractor about
installing a mini-septic system for your softener.
Do not use garbage disposals, drain-cleaners, or put grease
and coffee grounds down the drain.
Many items like cigarette filters, disposable diapers, sanitary
napkins, paper towels, condoms, etc. are made with non-organic
materials that will not break down. The only paper product
that should be put into the septic system is toilet paper.
The use of store bought or mass marketed additives can actually
damage your system. Talk to a professional before using
Don’t be afraid to tell guest in your home the rules.
Things to Consider:
EDUCATION Talk to your health/zoning departments
or septic contractor, many of
these people, will be glad to give you more information
about your septic system. Education, classes are one of
the most effective ways to deal with septic systems on a
ANNUAL INSPECTIONS Ask your contractor
to do a yearly inspection and pump your tank every 3-5 years.
With this program you can catch problems before they become
WASHING MACHINE FILTERS A typical washing
machine discharges a tremendous amount of minute organic
and synthetic material fibers. These fibers plug the pores
of your drainfield and soil. Synthetics (like polyester
and nylon) will never break down in a septic
system. These re-usable filters ($150) attach to your washing
machine discharge hose and remove the lint before going
down the drain and damaging your system.
EFFLUENT FILTERS These filters are installed
in your septic tank and help prevent the larger solids from
entering your drainfield. Call Dixie 386-738-3030 to have
one installed in your tank. Keep in mind, septic tanks don’t
fail, drainfields (the soil) fail, and the soil fails
when it gets plugged with solids that should have stayed
in the septic tank. Filters will prevent the solids from
plugging your soil.
ADDITIVES Septic system operate on a bacterial
process and in some cases your system may need “help”.
However all additives are not created equal and some may
even damage your system. Additives must be approved by prior
THE BOTTOM LINE…When a septic system
is properly designed, installed and maintained it can treat
waste water as effectively as a multi-million dollar sewage
treatment facility, at a fraction of the cost to you, and
last indefinitely. But like anything else you own, you must
learn how to properly operate and maintain it. For most
homeowners, the cost per year is minimal to maintain. A
centralized treatment plant can cost hundreds of thousands
of dollars to maintain, which increase our taxes. Nothing is free,
but a septic system is an excellent alternative.
| Septic System FAQs
We are pleased to offer a few articles we have
written over the past several years. We hope
they might offer tips and answers to questions
or issues you may have in regards to septic
tanks, septic systems and drain fields. Please
directly with specific questions for a personal
Let us provide you a free estimate. One of our pros can discuss your
options and provide a free written on-site estimate... Click
335 N. Boundary Avenue
Deland, Florida 32720
Phone: (386) 738-3030
Fax: (386) 740-7666
Contact Dixie Septic Tank