What is a septic system? It's essentially an on-site sewer system. Whereas a residence in a city would be connected to a municipal sewer system, many rural properties are connected to an on site sewer system.
The differences between these two types of sewer systems are numerous. In Lubbock, Midland, Odessa, Snyder and Colorado City, or for that matter most areas of the South Plains and Permian Basin, you'll generally only come across one specific type of septic system; anaerobic systems. We won't get into the finer points of how a septic system functions today, but we will show you the basics of how we perform a septic system inspection!
Okay, let's pretend you've been consulted to perform a septic inspection.
Your first question you need to answer is: Where is the septic tank?
The photo above demonstrates the basic challenge of any septic system inspection: where is the septic tank?
Many times, there are few (if any!) visual clues as to the location of the septic tank. This is most often due to the septic system being installed in an unconventional manner, &/or not being properly maintained over the years! National and Texas standards recommend that a septic system should be pumped every 2-5 years. You would not believe how many homeowners have gone DECADES without ever pumping their system! This is a disaster waiting to happen!
The photo above illustrates how some visual clues are better than none! We still don't exactly know where the tank is located, but we can see a sewer clean out near the home. At least in theory, the tank should be nearby, though this doesn't mean that a plumber, septic contractor, or Joe Homeowner didn't decide to do something weird and place the septic tank in an illogical location away from the cleanout.
The photo above shows what we might assume is the location of the drain field or "leech lines". This provides the final step in the sewage treatment process. There is no way for anyone to inspect the drain field without fully excavating all lines, generally 100' of digging. We don't provide this service for numerous reasons; for one, can you imagine how this homeowner would feel about the damage this digging would cause to their lovely yard?
Due to our wealth of experience, we were able to locate this septic tank after excavating about a foot below the surface. This is crucial - no access to the lid, the septic tank can't be inspected OR maintained! As mentioned before, no maintenance of the system is a disaster is waiting to happen! It is not uncommon for us to encounter a septic tank lid that can't be removed, again, most often due to lack of maintenance!
Success! We were able to locate the tank, the tank lid, and access to the interior of the tank was possible!
As you can see, this is a very time consuming process that involves a lot of hard, physical work most of the time. We love it when we can drive up to a home and the tank lid is clearly visible (which is recommended by licensing authorities), but most of the time, the tank is located under hard as concrete caliche, rock, driveways, sidewalks, or flat out missing - again, all due to improper installations, lack of maintenance, or both!
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