of Septic systems
you are new to septic systems rather than public sewer,
there are some things that you will need to know. Many
people have a pre-conception when it comes to septic
systems. They might have heard nightmare stories about
septic systems backing up and the things homeowners
have had to go through to fix them. Not surprisingly,
they might be a little "gun-shy" about buying
a home with a septic system in place. Septic systems
aren't lawless, but neither are public sewer systems.
It is always possible that you will have a blockage
in your sewage drain lines.
are two basic types of septic systems. The systems that
most people associate with are the older conventional
system style with the "lateral lines". There
is usually no mechanical device attached to these systems.
Over time, the affluent (solids) break down and migrates
into the lateral lines where it leaches into the soil.
You can often see these lateral lines in the dry summertime
as bright green streaks in the yard or fields.
second type of system is the newest technology. These
are called "aerobic" systems. These are actually
mini-wastewater treatment plants not unlike the huge
plants that might serve a city. The technology is really
very simple. In this system, the matter is broken down
in two different tanks. The first tank is the settling
tank just like the tank on the older style systems.
The material is broken down without oxygen and then
moves from the first tank to the second tank. The second
tank has PVC drain line ran into the bottom of the tank
section which is attached to an air compressor, located
on the surface. The air compressor constantly forces
oxygen into the tank, breaking down the matter "aerobically"
or "with oxygen". There is also a third tank,
which is simply a holding tank. When the third tank
reaches a certain height, a float switch activates the
sprinkler pump which pumps the water out to the sprinkler
lines and spray heads. Between the second and third
tank is an exposed pipe which can be easily accessed
from the surface. About once a month, chlorine tablets
are dropped into this pipe section. The treated water
slowly washes by the chlorine tablets and is chemically
sanitized. It should be noted that, septic chlorine
tablets are NOT the same as swimming pool chlorine tablets.
has been stated by some in the industry that the water
coming out of a properly maintained aerobic septic system
is approximately 95% pure. You be the judge for yourselves.
The water is dispersed onto the property just like a
regular sprinkler system or sometimes a drip irrigation
the way, if you are looking at a home with the older
style system with lateral lines, don't let that scare
you off. I have had more than one septic inspector tell
me that they prefer the older systems because of their
simplicity, minimal maintenance, and cost savings. There
are virtually no moving parts to replace. If they are
working correctly, they are "out of sight and out
types of septic systems are engineered before installation
and inspected after they are installed, but only the
newer style aerobic systems require continual inspections.
The technology "aerobic systems" require little
maintenance, but when you have mechanical, moving parts,
it is inevitable that something will eventually fail.
The good news is that these systems are designed for
quick repairs. It is usually nothing more than pulling
up a sprinkler pump from a tank and dropping in a new
one, replacing the small compressor at the surface,
or cleaning or replacing a filter. The chlorine tablets
must be added at intervals, but that is just dropping
tablets into a tube. In the State of Texas, the aerobic
septic systems must be inspected 3-4 times a year by
a licensed septic professional. This is a maintenance
program required by the State of Texas and is not an
optional. These companies charge about $150 to $200
per year for the inspections, but if they find something,
it must be repaired. Under current State changes in
the law, it is now possible for the homeowner to take
a certification course on their particular brand of
septic system and to perform the maintenance themselves.
Check with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
or visit them at www.tceq.state.tx.us.
types of septic systems are recommended to be pumped
about every three years. This will cost approximately
$300 depending on the size of the septic tanks. Many
homes with the conventional style systems have never
been touched or pumped and had no problems. I would
suggest to err on the side of caution and to pump your
system periodically for peace of mind. This is especially
true if you are purchasing a home with either type of
you're buying a property that has a septic system, you
will want to have the system inspected by a Certified
and State Licensed Inspector.
TexaSpec Inspection at 281-370-6803 to schedule your