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A Brief History of the Modern Septic System

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For those of us who live in developed countries, it’s easy to forget about the formidable dangers and unpleasant aspects that come from exposure to raw sewage. Indeed, mankind has been struggling to cope with waste materials since ancient times and, because it’s so important, the subject has been widely studied.

Although early human civilizations had been experimenting with “flush” toilets and crude sewage systems as far back as 3000 years ago, for the greater part of history country dwellers had to make due with utilizing bushes or digging shallow holes and then burying the contents.

The very first outhouse-like “water closet” was known to have been used in China around 206 B.C., but the first “modern” outhouse wasn’t in use until around 500 years ago, when Europeans first started realizing the benefits of sheltered elimination and the luxury of not having to constantly hunt for fresh ground.

Even though the outhouse was life changing for many, it was still subject to extreme temperatures, insects and odor, as well as the fact that a new latrine had to be dug every time one was filled up. But a better solution wouldn’t be in store until the mid-19th century.

Jean-Louis Mouras and the Septic Tank Prototype

Around 1860, a Frenchman named Jean-Louis Mouras, who had been hard at work trying to design a method of waste disposal which would allow him to take care of business without having to go outside, built the first concrete “septic tank” prototype.

He ran clay pipes from his house to the tank and used it successfully for ten years, after which he decided to dismantle it and see what had become of the contents. Both Mr. Mouras and his neighbors were surprised to discover that it contained mostly liquid with a layer of scum on top.

After that, Mr. Mouras contacted a scientist and began work to perfect his design so that in 1881, over 20 years after he’d built his prototype, he was able to successfully apply for a patent and begin sharing his invention with the rest of the world.

Septic Systems Take Hold in the U.S.

Although the French are credited with developing the septic tank, Americans are known for perfecting it. The first septic tanks began appearing in the U.S. in 1883 and the idea soon proliferated. Early American septic tanks were made of concrete or steel and emptied into drainage fields, following Mr. Mouras’s original design.

By the 1940s, septic systems were relatively cheap to build and were popular nationwide, but by the 1960s, it was obvious some big changes needed to be made.

First, older concrete and steel tanks were failing due to cracking and rust. It was imperative to find new materials with which to build new tanks, especially since urban areas were growing faster than new sewage treatment plants could be built, causing an increase in the need for new systems.

Second, concerns over the leaching of drainfield sewage into ground water caused local governments to begin regulating placement of drainage pipes.

The Modern Septic System

Today’s septic tanks are typically made of fiberglass, precast concrete, polyurethane, PVC or other plastics and, with proper care, are much more durable and functional than early septic tanks.

Likewise, modern drainfields are have been improved through the use of highly durable plastic pipes, as well as the practice of ensuring that drainage pipes are never too close to ground water. In states where water tables are higher, drainfields are often required to be built in aboveground mounds in order to maintain proper distance.

When it comes to septic systems, no one has more comprehensive knowledge and skill than the team at Paradise Valley Septic. Whether you need something as simple as tank pumping all the way up to a complete system installation, we’ve got you covered.

Contact us today with questions or to set up an appointment.

How Long Will Your Septic System Last?

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It would be nice if septic system owners could just flush waste down the drain and not worry about what happens afterwards, but alas, that is not the case.

If you want to get the most out of your septic system investment—and prevent flushing cash down the drain—you must research how to properly treat and maintain your system before problems arise.

There are many steps to be taken to help your system live up to its full potential and reach its maximum intended lifespan. How long your septic system will last depends on many factors, specifically the type of system you have and the conditions surrounding it.

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How Much will it Cost to Have My Septic Tank Pumped?

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If you know even a little bit about septic tanks, hopefully it’s that having them pumped at regular intervals is as necessary as having your car’s oil changed or keeping your roof in good repair: ignoring any of them will inevitably result in serious expense and hassle.

In fact, replacing a septic system can run between $5000 and $10,000. The good news is, depending on system type, tank material and soil quality, well-maintained septic systems can last 25, 30 or even 50 years.

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6 Ways to Keep Your Drainfield Healthy Paradise Valley Septic

6 Ways to Keep Your Drainfield Healthy

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A septic system is a complicated beast. It’s in our best interest to keep that beast happy, healthy and in good working order.

In a septic system’s elimination process, the drainfield serves as the beast’s digestive system. What goes in, must come out. Everything that goes down the drain gets sorted and eventually makes its way to the drainfield, where nature takes over. It’s really an amazing process.

But, in order to keep things working smoothly, we must keep the drainfield healthy. Here are six ways to do just that:

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7 Signs You Need to Pump Your Septic Tank

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When you are taking care of your home, you’ll find that some things have a way of telling you when they need something. Your ceiling leaks if your roof needs a patch, your lawnmower starts chugging if it’s clogged with grass, your hinges squeak when they need oil and your septic tank . . . well, let’s just say it works harder than most when it’s trying desperately to tell you it needs to be pumped.

And that’s a good thing, because the repercussions of a seldom-pumped septic tank can be severe. Septic tanks need to be pumped periodically in order to get rid of solid waste deposits that form on the bottom and top of your tank and put life-shortening stress on your entire septic system.

Many times septic tank additives are marketed to homeowners as a solution or substitute for pumping your septic tank. They are composed of bacteria or enzymes that claim to help soften or break down waste. Unfortunately, sometimes the the bacteria can cause more harm or add to your septic tank problems by delaying or masking problems. Research has shown there is no substitute for getting your septic tank pumped. Septic tank maintenance should become a part of your regular home maintenance.

Septic tanks are often neglected by homeowners because they are underground and out of sight. Just because you haven’t had any septic tank problems, does not mean you should neglect the maintenance schedule.

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7 Signs You Have a Serious Drainfield Problem

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We ask a lot of our septic systems. From washing laundry, to doing the dishes, to flushing the toilet, most of our everyday household activities put a strain on the system. And using too much water can seriously affect one of its most important parts—the drainfield. Continue reading “7 Signs You Have a Serious Drainfield Problem” »

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Septic System Installation: Why You Should Leave it to the Professionals

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Building your own home on bare land is a romantic idea that many people fall in love with. But when it comes to installing your septic system, it is essential to leave it to a contracted professional.

Just the maintenance of a septic system can be a hazardous and dangerous undertaking, let alone its installation. Beyond that, here are some of the major reasons you should consider a professional.
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Your Septic System has Bacteria: Why That’s a Good Thing

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It’s true: there is bacteria in your septic system. In fact, it has a large impact on how well your septic system will perform. Many of the problems people have with their septic systems, such as pungent odors, gurgling and sucking noises, and frequent stoppages, can be linked to a lack of bacteria in their septic system.

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