Title 5 Inspection

The Complete Guide to Massachusetts Title 5 Inspection

If you live in the State of Massachusetts and own a home that has an on-site sewage system, otherwise known as a septic system, chances are you have at least heard of a Title 5 Inspection. This guide will cover absolutely everything you need to know about getting a Massachusetts Title 5 Inspection, what you can expect when you get one and what to do about the results.

What is a Title 5 Inspection?

The State Environmental Code is in charge of inspecting every stage of the process with regard to Massachusetts residential septic systems, including the design, construction, expansion, inspection and placement. Throughout the State of Massachusetts, the Title 5 code is administered locally by the Board of Health in each city. Which means that if you live in the city of Middleboro, you would deal with the Middleboro Board of Health.

What is the Purpose of a Title 5 Inspection?

A Title 5 Inspection is designed to ensure that your septic system is running efficiently, that it has been properly pumped and maintained and that there are no issues with regard to the construction or use of it. A Title 5 Inspection is required for residential septic systems each and every time you sell your home. A Title 5 Inspection is also required for specific types of renovations or remodeling projects.

How Do I Get a Title 5 Inspection?

You need to hire a licensed, certified septic system inspector, such as All-Clear Septic & Wastewater in Acushnet, Massachusetts. They service customers all over Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island and are certified to do an official Massachusetts Title 5 Inspection. After the inspection, the technician will submit a copy of the report to the Middleboro Board of Health. Depending on the findings of the inspection, the Board of Health will either accept the inspection, reject it due to findings or send out an enforcement order compelling the home owner to comply.

What Can I Expect During a Title 5 Inspection?

If you need a Middleboro Title 5 Inspection and you’ve never personally experienced one before, it can be a little nerve-wracking to worry about what the inspector will find. Every part of your septic system will be inspected, including the septic tank, distribution box and cesspool. Your drain field will also be checked during this process. The inspector will try to locate all of the components for your system and check for signs of hydraulic failure. Construction will be checked, determining where the high groundwater elevation is located and the overall design flow of your system. In some cases, the inspector will request that the homeowner get the “as-built” plans that are held on file at the Middleboro Board of Health, or to see pumping and/or maintenance records for the last two years in order to complete the report. Make sure you have everything available or can get the required information if it is requested by the inspector.

What Do the Results Mean?

There are three results provided from a Massachusetts Title 5 Inspection: pass, conditional pass or fail. What happens next depends upon your results and what the inspector suggests in his report.

PASS – A passed Middleboro Title 5 Inspection of residential septic systems is good for two to three years, depending on your pumping schedule. The Board of Health will not need to do anything if your system is passed. Inspection information must be shared with the buyer – whether it is passed or failed – if you are in the process of selling your home.

CONDITIONAL PASS – A conditionally passed Massachusetts Title 5 Inspection is an indication that some component of your septic system has broken down or failed and needs to be replaced. Examples of this would be a crushed pipe, a septic tank that is leaking, a distribution box that has failed or a broken baffle, among other things. The good news is that the repairs that are required for a conditionally passed system to become Title 5 compliant are usually substantially less expensive than what it would cost to completely replace the system under a failed inspection. Under a conditional pass, once the repair has been made it becomes Title 5 compliant and achieves a passing result. A new report is submitted to the Massachusetts Board of Health to show that the system has now passed the Title 5 inspection.

FAIL – A failed Middleboro Title 5 Inspection of residential septic systems can go one of two ways. If it is determined that your system poses a threat to public health, you will need to replace or repair your system within a specific allotted amount of time. However, if your system failed, but is not considered a threat to public health, the inspector will give you two years to complete all of the work necessary to get it to pass. The work can only be done by a septic system repair technician that is licensed and certified in the State of Massachusetts. Soil testing will need to be completed and a new septic system that will work better with your home and usage will need to be designed and installed.

Can I Get a Private Inspection to Check My System?

Yes. The State of Massachusetts allows certified Title 5 Inspectors to do what is known as a Confidential Voluntary Assessment. This evaluation will not be reported to the Middleboro Board of Health or any other government office. This gives the homeowner the opportunity to make repairs or upgrade their system in advance of having their system inspected for the sale of the home or any other reason.

Who Should I Call to Check and Maintain My System?

All-Clear Septic & Wastewater in Acushnet, Massachusetts is a very good choice for any homeowner or business owner in Southeastern Massachusetts or Rhode Island. All-Clear is licensed and certified to perform Massachusetts Title 5 Inspection and Confidential Voluntary Assessments of your septic system. All-Clear has a wide range of Preventative Maintenance programs that can help you keep your septic system under control to avoid costly repairs or replacements as a result of neglect or improper septic use. Call All-Clear Septic today for information about the services they provide or to set up an appointment.

Are You Abusing Your Septic System?

It can be difficult to know right from wrong when it comes to septic system care, particularly if you’ve never had to deal with one before. There are a lot of things you should do and a lot of things you shouldn’t do. It’s hard to keep track.

This article is a guide for Rhode Island septic system owners to help you navigate through the ins and outs of proper on-site sewage care and maintenance. If you recently purchased your home, chances are a septic system inspection was part of the sale. If you have been in your home for awhile and haven’t had any maintenance or services done, it’s time to get on top of it to ensure that your system doesn’t fail.

Dealing With Water
Water is one of the biggest challenges to proper septic system care. It is important to learn how to conserve and monitor water use, particularly in households where there are children or a large number of people living under one roof. Your septic system is designed to handle water based upon the number of bedrooms in your home. For example, a three bedroom home is designed to be able to handle the wastewater and on-site sewage processing for up to four people.

If you have more people living in your home than your system was designed for, you will want to get a confidential voluntary septic system inspection by a licensed and certified service company to make sure it is running effectively and efficiently. Sometimes your system needs to be upgraded to handle the additional people and sometimes you just need to be more careful about water usage in order to make it work.

Tips for Reducing Water Usage:

  • spread out washing machine use throughout the week – don’t ever do the whole week’s worth of laundry in one day
  • use water-saving devices wherever possible, such as low flush toilets and reduced flow shower heads
  • add lint traps to your washing machine and clean them out regularly
  • make sure that you don’t have any roof drains aimed at the drain field
  • do not use a garbage disposal unless your system was specifically designed to accommodate one – instead try kitchen composting to reduce waste
  • never connect a sump pump to your system or backwash from water treatment devices into the septic tank

Foreign Objects
You also need to be careful about the types of objects that get flushed or drained into your septic system. Rhode Island septic system owners need to be acutely aware of everything that passes into the septic tank to prevent failure. This can be especially concerning in homes with young children that may use too much paper in the bathroom or enjoy flushing toys or other objects down the toilet.

Older children and teenagers are also notorious object flushers. Tampons, condoms, cigarette butts and anything they don’t want their parents to find will typically end up in the commode. If you aren’t sure what the status of your system is you can always get a confidential voluntary septic system inspection or hire a service company to evaluate the efficiency of your on-site sewage treatment system. Either way, it’s a good idea to speak with all of your family members about what is okay to flush or put down the drain – and what isn’t.

The Dirty Dozen – Things You Should NEVER Put in Your System:

  1. disposable diapers
  2. sanitary napkins or tampons
  3. cigarette butts
  4. coffee grounds
  5. grease, fats and oils
  6. pills or other types of medication
  7. kitty litter
  8. condoms
  9. paper towels
  10. pesticides, chemicals, disinfectants and cleaning compounds
  11. varnishes, thinners and paints
  12. dental floss

Preventative Maintenance Program
Speak with your septic system care service representative about getting involved in a preventative maintenance program. Often this type of service will help you avoid costly repairs and emergency pumping by keeping track of your system and making sure that it is working effectively and efficiently.

In addition to hiring a licensed and certified professional to help you with your septic system care and required septic system inspection, you should also keep track of your service and maintenance on your own. While most responsible companies will provide you with a record of service, it doesn’t hurt to stay on top of it at home too just in case paperwork gets lost of misplaced.

Tips for Monitoring Your Maintenance:

  • keep records of all pump outs and septic system maintenance performed
  • keep a copy of your most current septic system inspection just in case
  • have your septic tank pumped out regularly – every two to five years, as needed
  • keep a diagram of where key components of your septic system are located
  • get all equipment, including pumps, siphons and other parts checked regularly
  • keep an eye on any trees or other growth to make sure it doesn’t enter your drain field – roots are known to creep

Call a Professional
Even if you have experience working with septic systems, don’t ever try to maintain your system on your own unless you are certified and licensed in septic system care. Don’t ever enter your septic tank for any reason. The fumes and lack of ventilation can be deadly. Don’t try to use chemicals or other additives to improve the efficiency of your septic system. Most of these products do more damage than good.

All-Clear Septic & Wastewater in Acushnet, Massachusetts services customers all throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They are certified and licensed to perform Massachusetts Title V Inspections and Rhode Island Town Inspections in Charlestown, Jamestown, North Kingstown, South Kingstown and wherever it is required. Rhode Island septic system owners need to be aware of the ordinances in their town with regard to inspections and other septic system care requirements. Call All-Clear Septic for questions or to set up an appointment for an evaluation of your current system at 508-763-4431.

voluntary assessment

What is Septic System Rejuvenation?

Many things have changed in the septic system industry over the last decade or so. Gone is the notion that every failed leach field must be completely moved or reconstructed due to clogging or failure. Leach fields that meet certain criteria can now sometimes be altered through the use of remedial technology. Today’s septic system technicians have new technology at their disposal that can help them rejuvenate leach fields and get them back on track. This technology can help save the property owner thousands of dollars over what it would cost to replace the system entirely.

A Clean New Start

When used in the case of clogging or failure, systems that meet the criteria for septic system rejuvenation can get back on track to run effectively and efficiently. Septic system rejuvenation can help any existing equipment that doesn’t need to be replaced following a failure to last longer, providing you with years of effective treatment without having to invest in a complete replacement.

Septic rejuvenation in Massachusetts works to repair failed or trouble systems. Nitrogen, phosphorous and pathogens are removed from the waste solids in the leach field during the process, allowing them to get broken down and removed much faster. Then the wastewater is able to get cleaned and purified faster, improving the system and reducing the threat upon local groundwater, rivers and streams.

How It Works

While there are many techniques and methods being used all across the country, All-Clear Septic & Wastewater is using an amazing aerating technology to enhance septic system maintenance in Dartmouth and all over Southeastern Massachusetts. The patented technology intermittently aerates and rejuvenates leach fields and the surrounding soil rather than aerating the septic tank wastewater. What this does is allow septic systems that have failed to rejuvenate rapidly, thereby extending the life of the leach field and the septic system as a whole. When used in a system that has failed or is troubled, septic rejuvenation can reverse septic failure and increase the efficiency of the entire system.

The septic system rejuvenation process is now being used all throughout the United States and Canada by over 2,000 different septic service providers. So far, it has proven to be very successful in many different soil types, climates and regions. Septic rejuvenation in Massachusetts has been used in commercial situations where the demand is high on septic systems, such as hotels, healthcare services, marinas, food processing facilities, restaurants, grocery stores, laundry mats and more.

What It Does

Understanding what this treatment does and is able to do to rejuvenate leach fields just might make you a believer. In addition to restoring your leach field and improving the function of your entire septic system, this type of septic system maintenance in Dartmouth is a long term, cost-effective solution designed to save you money.

  • Septic system rejuvenation works to lower the costs for the operation, maintenance and on-going repairs for your septic system.
  • Installation on an existing system will result in very minimal damage or disruption of your property’s landscape.
  • Septic rejuvenation in Massachusetts has been proven to enhance the removal of nitrogen, phosphorous and pathogens.
  • Rejuvenation results in a quick restoration of your septic system functions – even in a failed system.

Proven Effective

The technology that All-Clear Septic uses to provide septic system rejuvenation has been tested by leaders within the septic industry, leading universities, such as Delaware Valley College, Massachusetts Test Center and the University of Rhode Island, and even third-party organizations. While the process itself is quite simple, the idea behind this new technology is nothing short of revolutionary. The method is somewhat similar to what happens during composting, which is why rejuvenation of even severely failed systems can occur after just a few days.

Popular products that are available on the commercial and industrial markets attempt to rejuvenate failed septic systems by aerating the wastewater. This is a very limited approach, as the amount of oxygen that can be successfully added into water is limited. By aerating the soil, the oxygen goes directly into the clogged biomat and the soil within the leach field, resulting in a faster rejuvenation that is more effective and thorough.

Increased Efficiency

Don’t underestimate the importance of increased efficiency within your septic system. Through proper septic system rejuvenation, the hydraulic capacity of most systems can be boosted by two to five times as its previous capacity. As a result, many homeowners discover that they won’t even need to use a portion of their leach field any more. In fact, as much as 25-75% of the leach field can be held in reserve and allowed to rest for future use.

With all of the cost-saving benefits associated with septic system rejuvenation, its in your best interest to at least speak with a representative at All-Clear Septic & Wastewater about your options. For septic system maintenance in Dartmouth and the surrounding Southcoast region, All-Clear specializes in preventative maintenance programs, rejuvenation, Title 5 Inspection, Confidential Voluntary Assessments and other septic system related services. Give them a call at 508-763-4431 for more information or to set up an appointment for a consultation.

commercial septic system

Septic System Basics: Tips for Massachusetts Beauty Salon Owners

Owning a business in today’s economy can be rough. Aside from all of the costs and licensing associated with running your own business, there are local, state and federal laws that must be considered and adhered to in order to stay in compliance.

Beauty salons have a lot of overhead. Electricity, water, gas, beauty supplies, chairs, hair driers, tools – the list goes on and on. There are a lot of things to buy and get set up before you can even open your doors.

For Massachusetts beauty salon owners there is one more thing to think about that other salons don’t need to consider in other states. The State of Massachusetts has a regulation which states that beauty salons that use an on-site sewage or septic system must also use a separate holding tank to prevent toxic waste from reaching the environment.

Beauty Salon Chemicals and the Environment
At first glance, it may not seem as though a beauty salon would be a business associated with pollution. However, when you consider all of the chemicals used in a beauty salon each day for hair color, straightening, perms, intensive conditioning and other chemical-based treatments, it really starts to add up.

If your business is in an area where there is an on-site sewage or septic system, you’ll need to spend some time learning about the regulations imposed by the State of Massachusetts or you could be subject to some pretty hefty fines. Rather than banning or prohibiting these businesses from setting up shop in areas where there are septic systems, commercial septic system regulations have been imposed to help prevent those chemicals from harming the local environment.

What is a Holding Tank?
A holding tank is used to hold the effluent or waste apart from the primary on-site sewage or septic system for the business. The tank must be pumped out on a regular basis by a septic system pumping company that is licensed by the State of Massachusetts to properly dispose of hazardous or toxic materials.

The best way for Massachusetts beauty salon owners to comply with these commercial septic system regulations is to designate one sink in the salon to use for rinsing out chemical-based treatments into the wastewater. The sink can be plumbed directly to the holding tank, apart from the primary septic system.

There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. It is important for all business owners in every state to become familiar with any rules or regulations that govern the way they do business to ensure that they are complying with the law. The Department of Environmental Protection for the State of Massachusetts has offered a program to provide assistance by septic system experts to design an approved holding tank system that will work with the size of the salon and the daily volume of customers to ensure adequate space.

Laws Beyond the State of Massachusetts
The commercial septic system regulations imposed in Massachusetts are designed to help businesses comply with federal laws regarding hazardous waste production. Under the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) system, a beauty salon is classified within the United States as a Section 7231 “hazardous waste producer”, which requires these businesses to comply with the 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

This federal law requires beauty salons all across the country to keep records of any and all hazardous waste that is produced to help the federal government track toxic waste. A record-keeping document known as the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest is used in the State of Massachusetts and is required to be filled out by Massachusetts beauty salon owners.

In addition to adhering to holding tank regulations in Massachusetts and complying with federal law regarding record-keeping, beauty salons must apply for a receive an identification number from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Beauty salons are assigned a 12-digit number that must be provided to a licensed toxic or hazardous waste hauler before the septic holding tank can be pumped out.

This ID number must be included in the Massachusetts Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. Beauty salons are required to apply for and receive a brand new identification number from the EPA if they move to a new location. An Annual Compliance Assurance Fee has been in effect since 2004 of $525 each year for beauty salons. The government states that this fee is to help cover costs, such as notification processing, record-keeping and technical assistance.

Call a Professional
Confused? Not sure what you need to do to be in compliance? Call All-Clear Septic & Wastewater. Located in Acushnet, Massachusetts, All-Clear services commercial and residential customers throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They are licensed and certified to do Title V Inspections and can help commercial businesses get on a Preventative Maintenance Plan that will keep their septic systems running effectively and efficiently for many years to come. Call All-Clear with any questions you might have about running a beauty salon or other type of business in the State of Massachusetts and for information about how to get your shop in compliance.

Rhode Island Septic Systems

Tips for Septic System Maintenance in Rhode Island

Rhode IslandSeptic systems are very common throughout Rhode Island. If you are a homeowner and have one of these on-site sewage systems, you are probably very aware of the maintenance and diligence that is required to properly maintain a septic system. If you are new to septic systems, it can be a bit overwhelming to get a handle on all the dos and don’ts.

This article will attempt to give you an overall understanding on how septic systems work in Rhode Island, what you can do to help keep your system running efficiently and when it’s time to call a professional to help you service your system. Whether you have a septic system in Cumberland, Woonsocket, Providence or somewhere in between, these tips will help you to increase the longevity and efficiency for many years to come.

How Septic Systems Work

Most of the septic systems found throughout Rhode Island consist of a specific set of equipment, which includes a septic tank, a leaching field and a distribution box. The wastewater that comes from your home is held temporarily within the septic tank, which is where the waste solids become separated from the water. Bacteria decomposes the solids, which are later pumped out by a professional septic system company.

The partially treated water leaves the tank and then moves on into the distribution box. Once inside the box, the water is distributed evenly into the leaching field. The water drains into trenches that are filled with gravel through holds in the distribution box, which are then used to help further treat the wastewater. The wastewater then seeps slowly into the soil of your leach field for a secondary purifying treatment.

Today there are some alternative systems that use different substrates than soil or gravel. One option is to use sand instead of soil. Another is to use peat. Whichever type of system you are currently using, you need to ensure that you properly maintain a septic system so that it does not pollute the groundwater. Don’t just change from soil to sand, peat or any other type of substrate unless you consult with a septic system professional to make sure that the change will work well with your current system.

How to Properly Maintain a Septic System

The best thing you can do for your septic system is to provide proper care and maintenance. There is a lot of responsibility on the part of the homeowner to ensure that the system is not being abused so that it will run properly. Regular visits from your septic system professional to inspect your equipment, check your levels and pump your system if necessary, will help keep things in proper working order.

Water conservation is the number one way to protect your system. Take some simple steps to ensure that you are limiting your use of water. The more you save, the less will end up in your system. Water-saving devices, such as low-flow toilets and shower heads are extremely helpful. Check for leaks in faucets and toilets on a regular basis and refrain from running a load of dishes and clothing unless you have a full load.

Chemicals can be extremely dangerous to a septic system. Don’t ever put any chemicals or paint thinners down your drains. These chemicals will kill off the microbes that naturally occur within your system and prevent it from functioning properly. Other things, such as food waste, fat and grease are also damaging to your system and should not be put down the drain. Unless your system has been designed to accommodate a garbage disposal, you should not use one with a septic system.

Maintain your leach field as well by ensuring that nothing is planted or growing over the area except for grass. It goes without saying that you should never pour concrete or asphalt over a leach field. Parking or driving vehicles over the leach field can ultimately compact the soil and crush the piping, rendering it useless to the treatment process.

When to Call a Professional

If you notice any problems within your septic system, such as drains that drain slower than usual, gurgling sounds or a foul odor around the house, you need to call a septic system service professional. Another sign is a very lush and green patch of grass within the drainage field, signaling that the grass is receiving more liquid and nutrients than usual. The technician will inspect your equipment, test the drain field and check to ensure that it is all draining properly and will check inside your home to make sure your plumbing is functioning well.

In the State of Rhode Island, some locations  require what are known as Rhode Island Town Inspections. These locations include South Kingstown, North Kingstown, Jamestown and Charlestown. The local town ordinances require both residential and commercial property owners to submit inspections of their septic systems on a regular basis.

All Clear Septic and Wastewater Services provides all of these services and more. They are fully licensed to provide Rhode Island Town Inspections and Massachusetts Title 5 Inspections.  All Clear utilizes state-of-the-art tools and fully trained and certified professionals to provide the best possible services to their customers at a very affordable and competitive rate. So whether you are in Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts, call  All Clear Septic for pricing, information or to set up an appointment at 508-763-4431 or visit www.allclearseptic.com

first maintenance inspections

A New Englander’s Guide to Septic Care

Septic System CareWhen it comes to maintaining a septic system in New England, you really need to stay on top of it on a daily basis. Whether you realize it or not, everything you do can potentially impact your septic system. Rather than providing a whole list of things you should do and things you shouldn’t do, this article will focus on the reasons why you need to stay on top of your septic system in order to keep it functioning efficiently for many years to come.

Kitchen Care

The kitchen can be one of the most dangerous places for the septic system. Homeowners all throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as the rest of New England, put all sorts of things down the kitchen sink that have no business going down there. The first rule of thumb is that you should never put solids down the drain and allow them to get into the septic system. The more solids in your system, the harder your system needs to work to break them down and more frequently you’ll need to have your tank pumped.

Kitchen cleaners and other commonly used chemicals can also wreck havoc on your septic system. For proper wastewater cleaning in Westport, Wareham and Plymouth, it is best to avoid use of common household chemicals in the kitchen if they will end up in your septic system. Spraying counters and wiping them with paper towels that will be disposed of is one thing, but spraying your sink with bleach or diluting floor cleaner in your sink for mopping is a recipe for disaster. Household chemicals can actually kill off the beneficial microbes that naturally occur in a septic system that work to break down solids and should never be used.

Bathroom Care

If you have a septic system you are probably already aware of the special toilet paper products that must be used in order to properly maintain your system. In addition, reducing the amount of water used in the bathroom is a great way to help improve the efficiency of your septic system. Septic maintenance in Cape Cod or anywhere else in New England should include restricting the amount of water used each day. Limiting the amount time that family members spend in the shower is one of the best ways to save water. Too much water in your septic system doesn’t give the system enough time to effectively clean and purify the wastewater.

Children can often cause problems to a septic system in the area of the bathroom. Small children love to flush everything they can fit into the toilet when they begin potty training and older children have a tendency to flush anything they don’t want their parents to find. Notes from friends, things they might be embarrassed about or might get them into trouble – it all goes down the toilet. Have a conversation with your children and share with them the importance of not putting solids down the drains. Training for proper septic system care should start early and frequent reminders are also beneficial.

Tools You Can Use

It can be difficult to stay on top of water usage and monitoring what items are going down the drain, particularly in a busy home with lots of children. Here are some simple things you can do or add that will make the job of maintaining a septic system in New England a lot easier:

  • Composting – Setting up a compost system for kitchen waste instead of using a garbage disposal or risking kids putting solid food waste down the sink can decrease sludge build up by as much as 40%. Set up a compost pail next to the kitchen sink to collect fruit rinds, coffee grounds, egg shells and other compost items and create a compost pile in your backyard – away from the drain field.
  • Grease Can – Keep a grease can for cooking grease used in frying or from bacon or other foods. You can use an old coffee can with a lid and then throw out the grease with your regular garbage. Keeping grease out of your septic system will benefit its effectiveness for years to come.
  • Water-Saving Toilets – These specialized units are available through most home improvement stores and are designed to use 1/3 less water than conventional toilets. This is a great way to reduce water usage without having to think about it every time you flush.
  • Reduced-flow Taps and Shower Heads – Very easy to install and use, these low-cost tools will help to reduce the amount of water used in the shower and in your sinks. These are particularly helpful in households with teenagers who won’t adhere to time-limit rules for showers.

Septic Maintenance in Cape Cod and Beyond

The typical septic system in New England is designed to handle a “normal” amount of wastewater, but how much is considered normal? The best way to put it in perspective is to look at what’s not normal. Dish washing, showers for six people, three loads of laundry and 100 people over for a party all in one day is not considered normal – in fact, it could be a recipe for disaster.

For more tips and professional advice on septic maintenance in Cape Cod or to hire professional wastewater cleaning in Westport, contact All-Clear Septic and Wastewater. Located in Acushnet, All-Clear services customers all throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island and is certified to perform Title V Inspections and Rhode Island Town Inspections. Call All-Clear at 508-763-4431 to set up an affordable maintenance program for your septic system.

Septic Pumping

Southcoast Massachusetts Area Home Owners: Are You Pumping Your Septic System Too Frequently?

Septic Pumping TruckMost homeowners don’t think about their septic systems each and every day. Plumbing and sewage are those types of things that tend to be out of sight and out of mind for most people. The only time we really think about them is when there’s a problem: a drain that won’t go down, a toilet that won’t flush, a septic system that suddenly smells like… well, you get the picture.

When a septic system emergency occurs, most homeowners think that they need to simply get the tank pumped so they call out the local septic system pumping company. In reality, septic system maintenance should be something that happens on a regular basis, not just as a band-aid or a quick fix when something goes wrong. Another thing that many homeowners don’t realize is that there are some services that will be more than happy to charge a couple hundred dollars or so to pump your system – even if you don’t need it.

How Often Should Your Septic System Get Pumped?

Your system should be checked by a licensed septic and wastewater technician who can help you to overcome any small issues and concerns before they become big, costly problems. Local services, such as All-Clear Septic and Wastewater in the Southcoast Massachusetts area, offer year-round maintenance programs designed to save you money and help you protect your investment.

Depending on the size of your tank, the “health” of your system and the number of people living in your home, required septic tank pumping should be approximately every two to three years. This may surprise homeowners who are paying for pumping services on a more frequent basis or, for that matter, for homeowners who just ignore their system completely until they have a septic system emergency on their hands.

According to data from the EPA, your tank should be pumped when the bottom of the floating layer of scum gets to within six inches of the outlet or if the sunken sludge layer is within twelve inches of the outlet. Getting regular check-ups by an experienced, professional septic system repair company – not just a pumping service – can help you know when you need to get your tank pumped or if your system needs a different type of service. At bare minimum, annual inspections by a qualified septic system service provider will help you keep tabs on your system.

Making a Small Problem Worse

Some homeowners may tell you that you can use commercial products to increase the amount of time between required septic tank pumping. The products they are talking about contain chemicals that are designed to aid in the break down of the sludge within the tank. Your septic system already has tons of naturally-occurring microbes working within your drain field and in your tank to help break down solid wastes and purify wastewater.

Unfortunately, some of these products can throw off the delicate ecosystem that has developed within your tank and disrupt the ability of the enzymes to break waste down. The EPA even strongly recommends that homeowners do not substitute these chemical products for regular maintenance through a preventative maintenance program, inspections and pumping, when required.

Why is Pumping Necessary?

You might be thinking that if all those enzymes are doing such a great job, why should an efficiently-running septic system ever need to be pumped in the first place? While the natural process of the system is the best way to break down sewage waste from your home, eventually the tank will need to be pumped to remove excess solids. Again, depending on your usage and size of the system itself, this needs to happen approximately once every two to three years, as needed.

If your tank needs to be pumped and isn’t, the entire septic system can overflow. Septic overflow of wastewater can often lead back to the source, pumping sewage back up through toilets and drains throughout the home. A failed septic system can also lead to a flooding of your drain field, which doesn’t just mean a stinky. flooded yard, but could also mean wastewater seeping into nearby creeks and rivers, tainting the local groundwater.

Once this happens, the waste from your failed septic system can contaminate the local drinking water that is used by your family and your neighbors. Once this waste enters the local water supply, harmful bacteria and other diseases are likely to spread, such as E.Coli or even hepatitis. This is why it is so important to contract a professional service company for a preventative maintenance program and inspections, and why you will ultimately need to plan on having your septic system pumped every two to three years.

Sign Up for Septic System Preventative Maintenance Program Today

For homeowners living in the Southcoast region such as Barnstable, Brockton, Monponsett, Attleboro, Nonquitt, Rochester and even customers located in Rhode Island, All-Clear Septic and Wastewater is your best bet for professional septic system maintenance services and inspections. Certified to conduct Title V Inspections in Massachusetts and Rhode Island Town Inspections in the State of Rhode Island, All-Clear can help you stay on top of your septic system and ensure that it continues to work effectively and efficiently for years to come. Call All-Clear at 508-763-4431 for more information about our Preventative Maintenance Program, septic repair, rejuvenation, inspections, assessments and other available services.

septic system

Septic Systems: What You Need to Know Before You Buy or Sell Your Home in Massachusetts

Septic System in MassachusettsIf you are buying or selling a home that has a septic system in the State of Massachusetts, there are a few things you need to know. A brand new septic system can cost you as much as $30,000 or more to replace, however with proper septic system maintenance, it can continue to work effectively and efficiently for approximately 25 years.

The standard home inspection that is required when you buy or sell your home in Massachusetts does not include an inspection of the septic system. There is a separate inspection required in the State of Massachusetts that homeowners need to be aware of, which is called the Title 5 Inspection.

What is a Title 5 Inspection?

A Title 5 Inspection is a complete and thorough inspection of your septic system. This inspection must be performed by a person who has been certified by the State of Massachusetts through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

A Title 5 Inspection is a part of the Environmental Code for the State of Massachusetts, which regulates all septic systems and works to provide these inspections for the health and safety of the public, as well as the protection of the environment.

The inspection checks to ensure that the septic system has been properly constructed and checks to ensure that any upgrades were done according to code and state regulations. The inspector also checks to ensure that proper septic maintenance has been performed throughout the lifetime of the system.

For the Buyer

In the State of Massachusetts, it is the responsibility of the buyer to ask the seller about the septic systems. You should ask when the system was last pumped and how many people are currently living in the home. A typical system should be pumped about every 2-3 years, more often if there are more than 5 residents in the home. Increased demand, particularly in a situation where more people are living in the home than it was designed to hold, can lead to many damaging problems.

The number of bedrooms in a home dictates the design and capacity of the septic system that gets installed. However, in some cases, a home may have more bedrooms than the original design due to remodeling or by poor quality design by the installer. A home that has more bedrooms than the system was designed for will very likely experience system failure much earlier than the typical longevity for a residential system.

Once you get the information from the seller, make sure to consult with a septic system inspection and maintenance service that is certified in the State of Massachusetts, such as All-Clear Septic out of Acushnet, Massachusetts. All-Clear is certified to inspect septic systems all over Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and can give you the information you need about the health and condition of the septic system in a home you are thinking about buying.

For the Seller

If you are thinking about selling your home you should make sure that you get proper septic system maintenance and consider calling out a local service to do a review of your system. All-Clear Septic offers a service known as a Confidential Voluntary Assessment, which will go through your entire system, just like a Title 5 Inspection. This assessment is completely confidential, giving you the opportunity to repair or maintain your system without having to go through the state like you would with an official Title 5.

Proper septic system maintenance should be taken care of year round from the day you purchase your home, and should not be thought of as a last minute fix before selling your home. The tank should be pumped on a regular schedule, the drain field should be kept free of vegetation that could clog the drain lines and your entire family needs to be aware of excessive water use hazards. An annual inspection of your system will help monitor it for any minor problems that can be fixed before they result in major, costly repairs.

Once you are sure that your system is working effectively and efficiently, you can get a Title 5 Inspection. This is an excellent selling point because once your system is certified in the State of Massachusetts, you can list it as “Title 5 Certified” with your real estate agent. If your system fails the inspection and you are unable to get it fixed, you would need to list it as “Failed Title 5” with the agency. While this can be a problem for some buyers, it is better to let them know up front what to expect when they purchase your home.

The More You Know…

Before you buy or sell your home in Massachusetts, it is important to know everything you can about proper septic system maintenance and care, as well as requirements of Title 5 Inspection by the State of Massachusetts. Call All-Clear Septic for a consultation if you unsure of how to proceed. We service residential and commercial customers all over Southeastern Massachusetts, including New Bedford, Fall River, Middleboro, Dartmouth and out on the Cape, as well as all throughout Rhode Island. Give us a call at 508-763-4431 for more information about our septic and wastewater services.

septic maintenance

What NOT to Put in Your Septic System

The best way to avoid problems with your septic system is to know what NOT to put in it. Most people know that you shouldn’t flush any non-biodegradable materials, but there are a lot of everyday things that we all use that also should not find their way into your system. If you didn’t grow up with a septic system in your home, chances are you aren’t aware of the risks associated with using these products, so now is your chance to learn.

F.O.G.s

An easy way to remember the first batch of things that you should avoid putting down your drains:

  • F = FATS
  • O = OILS
  • G = GREASE

If you can avoid putting fats, oils and grease down your drains, your septic system will need a lot less cleaning and pumping. Commercial businesses are required to add a grease trap to food preparation areas to separate this type of wastewater from their on-site septic system, but homeowners should take heed to keep this gunk out of their systems as well.

One way to keep F.O.G.s out of your system is to pour any residual fats, oils or grease from cooking into an old coffee can for disposal instead of rinsing it down the kitchen sink. Oils, which can include body oils, hair oils, baby oil and other non-cooking items, should also be avoided whenever possible and not rinsed directly into the drain. Some hair conditioners and body lotions also fall under this category, so learn to be a label reader and look for products that are septic-friendly.

Chemicals

We use a lot of chemicals each and every day and don’t even realize it. Ammonia in the window cleaner, bleach in surface cleaners, disinfectants for the toilets – the list goes on and on. A lot of these household chemicals eventually make their way into your septic system where they can wreck havoc on the natural balance of bacteria and filtration, eventually leading to septic failure.

While it is important to keep your home clean and germ-free, make sure to choose all-natural, chemical-free solutions whenever possible and use toilet bowl cleaners sparingly according to the guidelines on the product labels. Choose laundry soap, stain removers, dish washing liquid, dishwasher soap and other products that go directly into the drain carefully. Look for non-toxic options that are made safe for septic use and follow the directions for usage to the letter.

Septic Tank Additives

There are a lot of products available on the commercial market that claim to be safe for use in septic systems. These additives are supposed to help keep your septic system running clean and clear, but can actually damage your system in the long run. Stick to a responsible preventative maintenance and cleaning program, learn about proper care for your septic system and apply all that you have learned to your daily activities, and you’ll never need to add tank additives anyway.

Toilet Trash Can

A lot of people use their toilet as a trash can, flushing things that really have no business being in the toilet, drain or septic system. We’ve already discussed oils, grease, chemicals and additives in your drains, but when it comes to the toilet, some people seem to lose all common sense. Non-biodegradable materials can actually kill off the beneficial bacteria that is used to treat your wastewater. Plastics, disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products, condoms, cat litter, pet food, pet waste – the list goes on and on.

Poisonous Materials

If you have any leftover household chemicals from a renovation project, make sure to dispose of them responsibly. Don’t pour them down the drain and don’t just throw them in the trash can. Check with your local hazardous waste collection center for information on the proper disposal of paint, paint thinner, solvents and other toxic chemicals that can be dangerous for your septic system as well as the local landfill. Other poisonous, toxic materials that should never make their way down household or garage drains include antifreeze, pesticides, oil and gasoline.

Knowledge is Power

The more you know about septic systems and how they work, the easier it is to properly maintain and care for yours. Preventative Maintenance Programs, such as the one offered at All-Clear Septic & Wastewater can help you to save thousands of dollars on costly repairs by keeping your system clean and running smoothly. Give All-Clear a call at 508-763-4431 for more information about our septic services.

Tips for Commercial Septic System Property Owners

Most of the customer care information that you will find online with regard to septic systems is geared toward residential consumers.

Commercial septic system users have a completely unique set of guidelines, care tips and maintenance schedules that they need to adhere to in order to keep their systems in healthy running order. There are many commercial businesses that use septic systems including restaurants, schools, hospitals, beauty shops and laundry facilities.

This article will focus on the care and maintenance of septic systems for commercial business owners.

Wastewater and Water Usage

One of the biggest concerns for both residential and commercial clients is water usage and the amount of wastewater it adds to the system. Commercial systems that discharge less than 10,000 gallons of sanitary wastewater each day fall under the Massachusetts Title 5 regulation and all of the associated requirements. This includes Title 5 Inspections and rules regarding cleaning, usage and pumping, as well as repairs or upgrades of failed systems.

However, commercial systems that discharge industrial wastewater or anything other than sanitary wastewater must first store the non-sanitary wastewater in an industrial wastewater holding tank. These businesses must apply for a permit to use the industrial wastewater holding tank. Any sanitary wastewater from these same commercial businesses can continue to be discharged into an on-site system. The point is just to separate the non-sanitary wastewater from the on-site system for proper processing.

Industry-Specific Issues

Certain types of commercial businesses must address specific issues that are related to their unique industry. For example, according to Massachusetts State Law, printers, photo processors and dry cleaners must be certified under the Environmental Results Program (ERP), which is a program for streamlined permitting and compliance, due to the types of chemicals and industrial waste produced by their facilities. Other types of businesses will have other types of requirements under the law.

Beauty Shops

Under Massachusetts law, these facilities are able to utilize a septic system for toilet waste and regular shampoo water as long as they are using less than the 10,000 gallons per day limit. Wastewater that comes from chemical treatments, such as hair color, perms, straighteners, etc., must be store in an industrial wastewater holding tank with a permit from MassDEP. To faciliate this, beauty shop owners can choose to direct all sinks to the holding tank or use a special sink that has been separately plumbed for use with chemical treatments to ensure that the wastewater goes to the holding tank.

Hospitals

As long as it remains under the 10,000 gallon per day threshold, hospitals can send all sanitary wastewater from sinks, showers, toilets and laundry to a septic system. In most cases, however, hospitals will use much more than 10,000 gallons per day. Lab waste is considered to be industrial wastewater and must be stored in a MassDEP permitted holding tank.

Laundry Facilities

Again, as long as sink and toilet waste are sanitary and under the 10,000 gallons per day maximum, this type of business can send their wastewater to an on-site septic system. However, any wastewater from the laundry itself must be stored in a permitted MassDEP industrial wastewater holding tank. Businesses that offer both laundry and drycleaning services must fall under the regulation of a Dry Cleaner and are required to be certified under the ERP.

Office Buildings

As long as no chemicals or otherwise considered industrial wastewater is being produced, most office buildings are eligible to use an on-site septic system for sanitary wastewater that results from toilet waste, sinks and showers as long as it is under the 10,000 gallons per day limit. In this case, no other permitting or certification would be required.

Restaurants

Sanitary wastewater under 10,000 gallons per day can be discharged into a septic system if it comes from sink or toilet waste. Due to the food preparation and cooking that goes on in this type of business, all restaurants are required by Massachusetts State Law to install grease traps that can handle the wastewater that comes from the food preparation stations in the kitchen. All restaurant grease traps should be inspected on a monthly basis and must be cleaned once the grease level hits 25% of capacity or every three months.

Grocery Stores

As long as they use less than 10,000 gallons of water per day, grocery stores can discharge the wastewater from sinks and toilets to a septic system. Food preparation areas must have grease traps installed and, as with restaurants, should be inspected monthly and cleaned every three months or when the grease level reaches 25% of capacity.

Call a Professional Service

If you run a commercial business in the State of Massachusetts, you should contact a professional septic system service to ensure that you are working within the parameters of local law. All-Clear Septic & Wastewater has over 15 years of experience servicing, inspecting, repairing and cleaning septic systems for commercial and residential customers all over Southeastern Massachusetts. Call us today at 508-763-4431 for a professional consultation and evaluation of your septic system and help you stay on top of it all with our Preventative Maintenance Program.