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Can I Just Call a Plumber? Here’s the Difference Between Plumbers and Septic Service Companies

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It’s no secret that slow drains are a nightmare. They’re stressful, annoying, and downright inconvenient. So, it’s time to call a plumber, right?

Well, not necessarily. Slow drains can be caused by both plumbing and septic problems. Yet, there are major differences between a plumber and a septic company. One can’t do the other’s job.

 

To start, a plumber specializes in the pipes of your home. These pipes bring clean water in and wastewater out. Plumbers can install or repair these pipes, along with fixtures like faucets, garbage disposals, water heaters, and toilets. Plumbers also handle leaks, clogged drains, and frozen pipes.

 

Septic companies, on the other hand, work with your septic system. This involves your septic tank, which treats the wastewater from your household plumbing. They can also install, replace, repair, and pump septic tanks.

 

Understandably, it can be hard to tell who you should call. Here are three tips to help you out.

 

3 WAYS TO TELL IF YOU NEED A PLUMBER OR SEPTIC CARE, PROVIDER

 

1. Check the Tank’s Cleanout

The septic system’s cleanout is located in between the tank and your house. It’s a short PVC pipe that slightly sticks out. Sometimes, it’s level with the ground.

Remove the cap and look down the cleanout. Is there standing water?

If the answer is no, call a plumber. This means there’s a blockage between the house and the cleanout, which prevents wastewater from reaching the cleanout.

If there is standing water, you may have a blockage between the cleanout and tank. In this case, you need a plumber. However, it can also indicate an overflowing septic tank. If so, you’ll need a septic company.

 

2. Count Backed Up Drains

Pay attention to the number of backed up fixtures. This includes toilets, sinks, and bathtubs.

If only one fixture is backed up, talk to a plumber. But if multiple fixtures are backed up at the same time, call a septic company.

Additionally, note where these fixtures are located. If they’re on the ground level or close to the septic tank, you’ve probably got a septic issue.

 

3. Consider the Age

On average, a septic system can last for about 25 years. This depends on the household size, usage, and routine maintenance.

If you have newer septic system, talk to a plumber. But if it’s on the older sider, a septic company is more suited for the job.

 

GOT QUESTIONS? WE’RE HERE TO HELP.

When your drains are backed up, it matters who you call. The difference between plumbers and septic companies is significant. And if you’re still confused? Get in touch with Paradise Valley Septic.

Our team of experienced technicians knows what to look for. They can also take care of regular maintenance and pumping. This way, your septic system can do its job for years to come.

We’re ready to lend a hand. To schedule an appointment, call us at 480-351-1725 or send us a message.

WHERE IS MY SEPTIC TANK LOCATED? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO FIND IT

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So, you’ve moved into a new house. Congratulations! This is an exciting time for any family. But before you paint the walls and plant the garden, it’s essential to know the foundation of your home.

This includes learning where your septic system is located. As a homeowner, this knowledge will help you keep an eye out for problems. Your system, after all, is vital for daily activities like flushing the toilet and washing the dishes. It’s what makes a home feel like a home.

Here are four ways to locate your tank:

 

HOW TO FIND YOUR SEPTIC TANK

 

 1. Check the Property’s Records

The county must issue a permit for every septic system installation. A record of the permit is often kept with a map of the tank’s layout and location.

Usually, home inspection paperwork includes these diagrams. But if the septic tank was installed more than 20 years ago, a map might not even exist. This could also be the case if the system was installed before your county required visual layouts.

 

2. Ask Around

Ask your neighbors about their septic tanks; your system might be in a similar spot. (It’s the perfect conversation starter, too.)

A local septic professional is always the best person to ask, though. They might have even worked on your system in the past.

 

3. Look for Clues

Depending on the age of your home and septic tank, you might be able to find visual clues.

First, tanks shouldn’t be too close to a building, well, or stream. If your home is on a hill, the system might have been installed downhill to move waste with gravity.

If there’s a bald spot on your lawn, a septic tank might have been buried close to the surface. Unexplained lush grass may point to a failing drainfield, and therefore, a nearby septic tank.

 

4. Follow the Pipes

The house’s sewer line will eventually lead to the septic tank. Check the basement and look for the sewer pipe, which can point you in the right direction.

Outside, carefully use a metal probe to find the sewer line. Follow it through the yard, gently poking every two feet. The lid of the septic tank can be anywhere from five to 25 feet away.

Never try to open a septic tank. Leave it to the experts, such as our team at Paradise Valley Septic.

 

WE’LL GET YOUR SEPTIC TANK READY FOR YOUR FAMILY.

As you settle into your new home, a septic system is probably the last thing you want to look for.

Paradise Valley Septic can show you where your septic tank is located. We can also do a septic system inspection to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.

Besides, you’ve got a house to make your own. Contact us today and we’ll take care of your septic maintenance needs.

 

SEPTIC TANK ADDITIVES: YES OR NO?

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More than 20 million homeowners across the country rely on a septic system to treat wastewater, especially in rural areas where homes are not linked to the public sewer system. If you are one of those homeowners, someone has likely tried to sell you on the idea of septic tank additives at one time or another.

For the majority of homeowners, septic additives are not necessary because a healthy septic system has everything it needs to perform its job of treating and getting rid of waste. In fact, some studies have shown that using septic tank additives can actually do more harm than good—to your tank, your drainfield and the surrounding groundwater. To understand why, it helps to have a basic knowledge of how septic systems work.

 

HOW DOES A SEPTIC SYSTEM WORK?

A conventional septic system consists of a tank, a drainfield and soil. Wastewater from your home’s bathroom, kitchen and laundry flows into the septic tank, where solids (sludge) are separated from liquids. Living bacteria within the septic tank help break down the solids.

The waste remains in the tank for one or two days before the liquids pass to the drainfield. The drainfield further filters the liquid until it passes into the soil where it can be safely integrated into the groundwater. When properly maintained, a standard septic system will function for 25 to 30 years.

 

THE FACTS ABOUT ADDITIVES

Everyone wants that magic bullet—an inexpensive fix that saves you time and money. Septic system additives claim to help refresh your system so that you don’t need to pump your tank as often recommended, but those additives may actually end up costing homeowners more money because of the potential damage to your overall system. Let’s look at the main types of septic system additives.

  • Biological additives consist of bacteria and enzymes, which manufacturers claim will add a “boost” to newly installed systems or provide added support for overworked systems. However, the bacteria already in your septic system—which comes from the organic waste produced in your home—is sufficient enough to keep the process running smoothly without the help of additives. Basically, it’s what a septic system is designed to do.
  • Organic solvents and inorganic compounds are far less benign. They typically contain harsh chemicals, acids or alkalis used to break down oils and grease as well as remove clogs. The problem? These additives can actually destroy the good bacteria that keep your septic system running smoothly. Not only that, but they can disrupt the separation process that happens inside your tank, which may end up contaminating the groundwater and surrounding soil. Particularly harsh products can also cause structural damage to your pipes and septic tank.

 

OF COURSE, THERE’S ALWAYS AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE

Here in Arizona, a lot of homeowners are what we call “snowbirds.” They live here only part of the year, which means their septic systems are basically unused during the months they are gone—and that means the tank is not getting the helpful bacteria it typically would from everyday wastewater.

Infrequent use can cause solids to accumulate more quickly than normal in your septic tank, so in this case additives may be necessary. If you are a part-time homeowner, talk to Paradise Septic about our free bacteria treatments with a full clean and inspection.

 

NOTHING REPLACES REGULAR PUMPING AND ONGOING MAINTENANCE

The best way to keep your septic system running smoothly is to make sure you have it pumped every one to three years, depending on the size of your family. Pumping is necessary to remove the buildup of solids from the bottom of your septic tank. Experts also recommend the following maintenance tips to maximize the life of your septic system:

  • Have your tank inspected annually. Routine inspections provide peace of mind and ensure a potential problem or issue does not get out of hand and cause major damage.
  • Use less water. Excessive water use prevents the drainfield from absorbing water efficiently, which can lead to overflow problems.
  • Space out your laundry. Doing all your laundry in one day puts tremendous strain on your drainfield. Gray water will go into your system all at once, and the ground won’t have time to absorb it.
  • Throw your grease in the trash. If you put it down the drain, it can clog up the holes in the leaching field.
  • Don’t treat your toilet as a garbage can. The more you flush things other than toilet paper and waste, the more often you will have to get your septic system pumped.

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT CARING FOR YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM? CALL THE EXPERTS

Paradise Valley Septic has been serving the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas since 1958. From installation to repair, our experienced technicians support all aspects of your septic system and take pride in providing efficient, cost-effective solutions to meet your residential or commercial septic system needs.

Send us a message today or call 480-351-1725 to experience our grade ‘A’ service!

Why Your Septic System Needs Regular Maintenance Pumping – Even If It’s Working Well

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A working septic system shouldn’t be taken for granted. To keep it in good shape, focus on regular maintenance and routine pumping. This type of service will prevent expensive problems in the future.

There’s nothing better than a working septic system. The toilets flush, the sinks drain, and the yard smells like grass. It’s essential for a comfortable home life.

Don’t get too comfy, though. Your system may be working well… but don’t you want to keep it that way?

If so, prioritize regular septic system maintenance and pumping. Like routine work on a car, consistent service prevents problems before they begin. It’s a no-brainer for the homeowner who likes to save money.

WHY SHOULD YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM BE REGULARLY PUMPED?

  1.  Improves Soil Absorption

Your septic system depends on the drainfield’s ability to absorb contaminants. So why not help it out?

Regular pumping gives your drainfield a well-deserved break. It’s a lot like letting a sponge dry out.

In fact, septic tank pumping works best when it’s done before a period of rest. Researchers at Penn State recommend doing it a day or two before you leave for vacation. This will let the soil dry out, improve filtration, and avoid groundwater contamination.

  1. Prevents Sewage Backups

Routine septic pumping limits the risk of sewage backups, a homeowner’s worst nightmare.

Remember, when sewage backs up, things have been going awry for a while. It usually happens after foul odors, slow draining, and standing water have showed up.

But why wait until something goes wrong? When you prioritize regular septic system maintenance, you’ll avoid issues from starting in the first place.

  1. Maximizes System’s Lifespan 

From cars to clothes, things last longer with proper care. Your tank and drainfield are no different.

With regular service, a system will work for 25 to 30 years. This also means less problems, expenses, and headaches down the road.

The bottom line? Routine maintenance is cheaper than a new system.

SO, WHAT NOW?

Before penciling in regular septic system maintenance, you need to figure out how often your tank should be pumped.

The answer is different for every home. It depends on your tank’s age, condition, and size. Household size also matters, especially when people move in or out.

Generally, tanks need to be pumped every 1 to 3 years. Our technicians can determine the ideal frequency for your home.

WE’RE HERE STOP PROBLEMS DOWN THE (SEPTIC) LINE.

If you want your septic system to last more than a few years, then treat it well.

At Paradise Valley Septic, we’ll give your system the personalized care it deserves. We can even send a postcard or email when your service is due.

And if there’s already an issue? Our team will repair the problem and get things back on track.

Contact us today. We’re ready to answer your questions about pumping, repairs, and everything in between.

IT’S FINALLY SUMMER: 5 WAYS TO PREPARE AND MAINTAIN YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM FOR WARM WEATHER

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Summer activities can be harsh on your septic tank, but regular maintenance is key. Here’s how to prepare your septic system for summer and prevent problems from ruining the fun.

As a homeowner, summer is all about friends, family, and good times. And when you’ve got guests to host and burgers to grill, the last thing you want to deal with is your septic system.

It’s certainly worth your attention, though. With more people around, your septic system will have to work extra hard. Everyone needs to use the bathroom, after all.

This is where regular septic maintenance comes in. By learning how to prepare your septic system for summer, you can melt away problems before they begin.

HOW TO GET YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM READY FOR SUMMER

  1. Limit Water Usage
    When guests are in town, more water goes down. It’s the simple nature of hosting visitors. Give your system a break and do laundry and other heavy water use before the festivities. When it’s time to party, you’ll limit the total wastewater generated.
  2. Avoid Flushing and Pouring Garbage
    If you’re not careful about what goes in the toilet and sink, your money will go down the drain, too. Kindly remind guests—especially children—to flush nothing but toilet paper and human waste. Avoid expensive septic damage by properly tossing garbage, such as tampons, coffee grounds, and cooking grease.
  3. Don’t Drive on Lawns
    The yard may offer extra space, but driving and parking cars on your drain field is bad news. Even dirt bikes and go-carts can damage the septic line, especially if the ground is wet. Give guests a heads up by blocking off vulnerable spots with rope or tape.
  4. Avoid Standing Water
    An Arizona summer wouldn’t be complete without sprinkler tag, kiddie pools, and other water activities. But if the drain field area stays soggy for too long, it will become more susceptible to damage. Prepare your septic system for summer by designating a separate space for water activities. Again, a sign or rope can limit excess moisture and keep the drain field healthy.
  5. Drain the Above Ground Pool Properly
    If you have an above ground pool, drain it responsibly. Never discharge water into the septic tank or drain field. This can lead to septic flooding, expensive repairs, and a sting as bad as your sunburn. However, by planning a proper draining method, you can protect your septic tank.

WHAT IF YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM IS ALREADY ACTING UP?

These summer septic care tips can be a gamechanger for homeowners. But what if you already have bad odors in the basement or toilets flushing slowly?

Give us a call. Our expert team will fix the problem and help you stay on top of yearly septic tank maintenance. Before long, you’ll be having fun in the sun with a peace of mind.

5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR A SEPTIC-FRIENDLY 4TH OF JULY

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The smell of hotdogs and burgers on the grill. Good music. Friends and family. Who doesn’t love a good backyard 4th of July celebration?

(Hint: Your septic system.)

The good news is that with a few precautions, you can protect your entire system before the fireworks even begin. Just follow these simple tips:

PLAN AHEAD AND HAVE YOUR TANK PUMPED

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to your septic tank, planning ahead might just be the thing that keeps the party going without a hitch. Call Paradise Valley Septic and ask to have your tank pumped a day or two before the outdoor festivities so it’s empty and ready for action.

MOW AND WATER WISELY

In the summer, your lawn is where the magic happens—but it’s also where your drainfield is. Do your best to keep it well-manicured for your guests (and your septic system) by keeping the grass mowed and limiting sprinkler use to prevent overgrowth and oversaturation.

PRACTICE SMART PARKING

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: Don’t park cars on your drainfield.  Not only can the weight of heavy vehicles compact the soil below (which could prevent your drainfield from working properly) but it may lead to costly repairs if a cave-in occurs or septic lines break.

If you’re planning on having a lot of guests arriving by car, consider roping off the area above your septic system, posting signs, or asking friends and family ahead of time to park in a designated area.

BE KIND TO YOUR TOILETS

Guests who aren’t familiar with septic systems may not understand the need for the extra safety measures. To avoid backups and potential clogging, you may need to remind them what should be flushed (only toilet paper and wastewater) and what should not be flushed:

  •        Paper towels
  •        Diapers
  •        Personal cleansing wipes
  •        Feminine hygiene products
  •        Essentially anything other than toilet paper

Feeling creative? Hanging a fun sign in your bathroom as a reminder about flushing dos and don’ts can go a long way toward helping your septic system survive the summer holiday.

GO EASY ON YOUR GARBAGE DISPOSAL

We’ve said before that garbage disposals and septic systems don’t play well together. This is especially true during barbeque season, when food preparation and cleanup keeps it working overtime.

The problem comes when those hard-to-break-down food items make their way into your septic system and cause the sludge layer at the top to accumulate. If the beneficial bacteria in your septic system can’t keep up, it may impact the overall efficiency of your system and cause bigger headaches down the line.

WE’D LOVE AN INVITE (BUT ONLY FOR THE RIGHT REASONS)

At Paradise Valley Septic, we love a good 4th of July celebration. But we’d hate to crash the party because something went wrong with your septic system.

Check out our blog for more seasonal tips and general maintenance information, and don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE MONSOONS ARE OVER?

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Remember our blog a few months ago about how to prepare your septic system for monsoon season? Good news! It’s almost over. If you took the time to follow our advice, that should mean you can soon breathe a sigh of relief.

As we head into September and the heavy rains, thunderstorms and flash floods begin to diminish, now is the perfect time to check in on your septic system and make sure it survived the season intact.

FIRST THINGS FIRST, CHECK YOUR DRAINFIELD

If Mother Nature has mellowed out but the water over your drainfield still hasn’t receded, you could have a problem. Standing water that doesn’t resolve is a sign your drainfield may be failing. If that happens, your septic tank may overflow and cause sinks and toilets to drain slowly or back up into your home or office.

Other indications you may have a drainfield problem? A strong sewage odor outdoors or inside the residence, and a black slimy substance on the ground above your septic tank or field lines. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to call a professional right away.

THINK THERE MIGHT BE DEBRIS IN YOUR TANK?

Monsoon season can be rough on your septic system, and sometimes silt and debris can make their way into your septic tank. If you think this is the case, there’s a good chance your septic system needs to be pumped.

If you want to try to assess the damage on your own, make sure the water has receded enough that you can safely open your tank. If don’t feel comfortable taking a peek, call the experts at Paradise Valley Septic. We’ve been taking care of septic systems in the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas since 1958, which means we’ve been through a monsoon season or two and know exactly what to look for.

HAVE YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTED FOR GOOD MEASURE

Living in Arizona means taking a few extra precautions before and after monsoon season to keep your septic system running smoothly. Even if you don’t see an immediate problem, consider having a septic inspection performed after things calm down to ensure your system is still in good shape.

A certified inspector will conduct a thorough examination of your drainfield and all of your tank components so you can rest assured knowing your septic system will live to see another season. If we do see a problem, we’ll notify you immediately and get it taken care of as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

TRUST PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC TO HELP YOU WEATHER THE STORM

Before, during and after monsoon season, the experienced technicians at Paradise Valley Septic are here to help with all of your septic system needs. You can count on us for regular maintenance throughout the year, but we’re also here when things go wrong and you need unexpected repairs.

Contact us today to find out more or set up an appointment.

Monsoon Season Is Coming: How to Prepare Your Septic System

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With monsoon season approaching, it’s time to take precautions to ensure that your septic system doesn’t backup during the heavy rains.

It‘s possible for a compromised septic system to send waste water back into your home, leaving you with with a costly repair bill and the scent of regret. So, here’s how to keep your system flowing smoothly:

Monsoon Proof Your Septic System Beforehand

  • Make sure your system has been properly serviced and inspected by a professional. A poorly maintained septic system can turn big rains into a big mess.
  • Walk your drainfield and make sure the dirt isn’t compacted. Compressed dirt is less absorbent and won’t be as effective during wet weather.
  • Clean gutters and keep drainage and house runoff from flowing into your drainage field. Keeping excess water out of the drainfield will help prevent your septic system from overloading and backing up.

It’s Already Raining and There’s a Problem…

  • If the drains in your home are slowing and the toilets don’t flush with their usual vigor, your system is struggling. If the drainfield is flooded, you need to begin to reduce the amount of water going down the drain.
  • Conserve water to allow the drainfield to catch up. Don’t flush until you have to, and put off taking a shower.
  • Call a professional!

You Can See Clearly Now, The Rains Are Gone

  • After the heavy rains, is your drainfield still saturated? Chances are, your system may have sustained damaged and will need to be pumped as soon as possible.
  • If you suspect dirt or debris got into the system, it will also need to be pumped.

With some planning, and a little vigilance, monsoon season doesn’t have to lead to costly repairs. If you have questions or concerns about your septic system give us a call and let us set your system right.

YOU MEAN THERE’S MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF SEPTIC SYSTEM?

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About one in every five Arizona homeowners uses an onsite septic system for wastewater treatment and disposal, but it may come as a surprise to learn that not all of those systems are the same.

Whether you’re installing a brand new septic system or buying a home and curious about the existing system, it helps to understand something about the different types that are available. We’ve put together a brief overview to help you get started.

DIFFERENT SYSTEMS FOR DIFFERENT CONDITIONS

Septic systems fall into one of two main categories: conventional systems and alternative systems. Installing the right one has a lot to do with the location of the home (or business) and the surrounding soil and environmental conditions.

With conventional septic systems, also called standard or basic systems, the treatment process begins in the septic tank, where the wastewater is separated into layers. Solids fall to the bottom where they are broken down by the bacteria in your tank, and the partially treated wastewater is dispersed, with the help of gravity or a pump, to the drainfield.

WHY USE AN ALTERNATIVE SEPTIC SYSTEM?

Alternative septic systems are typically used in areas where conditions are not conducive to efficient drainage with a conventional system—such as a high water table or problems with soil type or depth—or in areas where advanced treatment is necessary. While most of these systems still make use of a septic tank, they also incorporate other methods to further treat the filtered wastewater and produce a cleaner end result.

For example, a sand filter system can be used in an area where there is not enough soil. The sand takes the place of the soil to complete the process of breaking down and dispersing the treated wastewater.

According to the Arizona Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, there are 20 different kinds of alternative septic systems approved for use in Arizona. These include sand filter systems, mound systems, evapotranspiration systems and aerobic systems, in which oxygen is used to ensure cleaner wastewater.

Something to keep in mind about alternative septic systems is the potential expense involved. Because of their advanced technology, these systems may be double or triple the cost of a conventional septic system. They will also have different maintenance requirements, so be sure to talk to a professional before making a decision.

GOT QUESTIONS? GIVE US A CALL

The experienced technicians at Paradise Valley Septic look forward to answering all of your questions about conventional vs. alternative septic systems, from price and installation to maintenance and repair. Call or send us a message today to get the information you need and the personalized service you deserve.

THE SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION: WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED ONE

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Like most large appliances in and around your home, your septic system requires regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly.

Here in Arizona, the only time a septic system inspection is mandatory is when a property changes hands. However, smart homeowners understand the value of performing inspections as part of your routine maintenance.

OTHER REASONS TO SCHEDULE AN INSPECTION INCLUDE:

  • If you notice a problem: Maybe you’ve noticed unusual odors around toilets or drains, sluggish or weak flushing toilets, sinks that are slow to drain, or wet spots or lush plant growth over your drainfield.
  • If you are planning to remodel or add on to your home: Not only do you want to make sure your septic system is up to the challenge, but you also want to avoid building above your septic tank or on your drainfield.

THERE ARE TWO BASIC TYPES OF SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION: VISUAL AND FULL

A visual inspection involves flushing the toilets and running the faucets for several minutes to surge the system and check for leaks or other problems. It should also include a walk-through of the yard area above the septic system.

While visual inspections are sometimes carried out by home inspectors, working with a qualified septic service professional is always recommended.

A full inspection is more thorough and examines the inside of your septic tank to check the water level. This helps the inspector determine if there is a leak or if the system is overloaded.

In most cases during a full inspection, the septic tank is pumped and the drainfield monitored for backflow. The inspector will also examine the pipes to ensure there is nothing blocking water flow from the house to the tank.

WHY CHOOSE PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC?

When your septic system inspection is carried out by our team of licensed septic inspectors, you’ll receive complete documentation of everything that was done—and the peace of mind that comes from knowing it was done the right way.

Paradise Valley Septic performs comprehensive, camera-assisted inspections that adhere to all ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality) standards.

If our expert technicians uncover any problems during your septic system inspection, they know exactly how to handle it—from clogged tanks to drainfield failure. We use only state-of-the-art equipment to repair, maintain and replace any and every part of any variety septic system.

As with pumping, if you can’t remember the last time you had an inspection or if more than a year has passed, it’s time to call us. Inspections not only alert you to larger—and potentially costly—problems, but they ensure your septic system is working efficiently and safely for everyone in your home.

SCHEDULE YOUR INSPECTION TODAY WITH PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC.

Or give us a call at (480) 351-1725. We can usually be there within 48 hours of scheduling.

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