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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.

Going Green: How to Make Your Septic System Environmentally Friendly

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“Think green!”

“Environmentally friendly!”

“Eco-friendly!”

“Energy-saving!”

You probably hear these claims about household products and appliances regularly, as more and more Americans become “environmentally conscious” about using less, saving more, and recycling. But, does this apply to your septic system? Is it possible to make your septic system eco-friendlier?

As a matter of fact, it is.

By nature, your septic system is already environmentally conscious. First, it only has two major components: a septic tank and a disposal area (the drain field). It’s a relatively simple system when you think how just about everything else in your home today has a computer chip – including most of your major appliances. Even your thermostat might be voice-controlled these days.

The tried and true septic tank remains as simple and effective at waste removal today as it was 30 years ago. And, with proper maintenance and treatment, your current system can last just as many years.

Simple, effective, environmentally safe.
Your septic system removes disease-causing pathogens, bacteria, and chemicals from your wastewater every day. When sewage from your home’s toilets, and wastewater from your sinks and bathtubs flows into your septic tank, naturally-existing bacteria breaks down the waste and turns it into scum, sludge, and liquid effluent.

Solids settle to the bottom of your tank, and grease and fats rise to the top to form a layer of scum. Between the layers, the clear liquid effluent drains into your drain field where your soil absorbs it back into the ground.

The live bacteria in the septic tank continues to work hard to digest the solids and convert them into gases. When you keep this bacteria happy and healthy, your septic system keeps you and your family happy and healthy, too.

It’s pretty simple and pretty amazing that something that does such an important job in your home does it without chemicals or computer chips.

So, how do you keep your septic system healthy? Go green and follow these guidelines:

  • Dispose of non-biodegradable materials elsewhere. Never put grease, feminine products or diapers, cat litter, medications, lint, or medications down your drains. These items will disrupt your eco-friendly system and could cause major sewage backups.
  1. Put your coffee grounds in the trash. Or dispose of them in the soil around your outdoor or potted plants.
  2. Septic tanks are no place for toxins. Never put drain cleaners, antibacterial soaps, bleaches, or any other chemically-based cleaning products down your drains.
  3. Dispose of paint properly. Paint is perhaps one of the worst things you can put down a drain into your septic tank. It can clog the tank and disrupt the drain field.

We leave you with one final thought to contemplate: your septic system is already an environmentally-friendly system. What can you do to help it stay that way?

Have questions about your tank, drain field, or pumps? At Paradise Septic, we are experts in the field! One of our experienced technicians will be happy to answer all your questions and assist you with regularly scheduled maintenance. Give us a call or send us a message.

Get Your Septic System Ready for the Holiday Season

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The holiday season is upon us once again — along with fond memories of the food, the fun, the family and friends…the septic system backups.

Perhaps you’ve had a couple mishaps the last time 23 people came to dinner, or maybe it was when eight family members stayed at your house for a week with their two dogs.

Hopefully, your holiday memories don’t include septic system failures and backups, but if they do, you don’t have to make those memories again this year. Here are a few recommendations, tips, and ideas for you and your family to prepare for this holiday season without incident  – at least one involving your septic system.

Pump and prepare ahead of time.

You know that you should have your septic system pumped every three to five years for optimum efficiency and to avoid backups and failures. Even if it hasn’t been three years (but you’re expecting a house full of guests) it’s a good idea to have your system pumped before the festivities begin so you can be assured your tank will handle all the extra flushing and water usage.

It’s also a good idea to prepare food ahead of time if possible. Preparing foods that you can freeze or keep fresh a few days before the festivities will help prevent over-usage of water and kitchen drains. It also lets you, the host, enjoy the time with family and friends because you’ll have less to do once guests arrive.

Remind your guests what not to flush.

It may seem obvious to you and your family because you live at your home, but remember that not everyone know the Dos and Don’ts of a septic system. A few simple reminders for your guests will help everyone avoid a septic system mishap, or worse – an embarrassing situation.

Be sure to tell guests to avoid flushing the following items:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Paper towels
  • Diapers
  • Personal cleansing wipes
  • Anything other than the toilet paper you provide

Remind guests what not to put down the sink drains.

  • No oils, fats, or grease
  • No coffee grounds
  • No solid food waste
  • No bleach or other chemicals

Shower. Wait. Repeat.

You may not need to go so far as to establishing a shower schedule for family and guests, but it is a good idea to stagger the times people take them. If possible, avoid showering in multiple bathrooms at the same time. This can overload your septic system and slow the draining process.

The same thing applies to running the washing machine and dishwasher. If you can, distribute loads over a few days rather than running them back to back.

When it comes to the holiday season and septic systems, being prepared can make a big difference. Call Paradise Septic today to schedule your septic system maintenance before the holiday rush. And, should a situation occur, know you can count on us with our 50 years of experience serving the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas – during the holidays and every day.

Preparing Your Septic System for Fall & Winter: Three Simple Tips

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Did you know most septic tank problems are caused by a lack of maintenance throughout the year?

If your home or business has a septic system, a little preparation can go a long way toward keeping it running smoothly as we ease into the cooler months.

Here are three simple tips for safeguarding your septic system this season:

  • Have your tank serviced every 1 to 3 years.

Regular maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to maintain the health of your septic system—and fall is a great time to service your tank. Routine inspections ensure that small problems or issues don’t get out of hand, which means you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you won’t wake up to a disaster.

  • Clear the ground around your septic tank.

Are the lounge chairs still hanging around from summer? What about the yard work tools and equipment left on the lawn? All of these things, as well as leaves and other natural debris, should be cleared from the area around your septic cover and leach field to ensure your system is easily accessible in an emergency. Move heavy vehicles such as lawnmowers and automobiles that can damage your tank and drain lines if parked above your system.

  • Be water wise.

Install low-flow water fixtures and repair leaky faucets and toilets to help conserve water and avoid putting added strain on your septic system during fall and winter. In addition, survey your yard and do your best to divert other waters sources (e.g. surface water, sump pumps, downspouts) away from your septic system.

One final word of caution: don’t treat your toilet like a garbage can.

The more you put down your septic, the more often you will have to get it pumped. Keep out solid objects as much as possible, including food from your garbage disposal, paper towels, medications and other trash that can clog the system and prevent proper draining; only septic-safe toilet paper should be used. Check out our “Dirty Dozen” list of cleaning products and other harmful materials that should NEVER go down your drain.

We’re here for all of your septic system needs.

Seasonal maintenance is one of the best ways to make sure you get the most out of your septic system investment. Even though winter temperatures in the Phoenix Valley area average in the mid 60s, we still recommend taking these simple precautions to protect and preserve the life of your system.

Still have questions? Give us a call! At Paradise Septic our experienced technicians are ready and waiting to help you with all of your septic system needs.

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.

Sludge buildup - pump septic tank

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.

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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