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Septic Installation For Buffalo, NY

How often should my septic tank be pumped?

We recommend that a septic tank be pumped every two and five years. This varies due to usage. A good rule of thumb is to have it pumped every three years.

I have an overflowing vent pipe. What can cause that?

The vent pipe between your house and the septic tank consists of a trap and a vented tee in the sewer line. This trap keeps sewer gases (odors) inside the septic tank and out of your house. The pipe sticking out of the ground vents the change in air pressure as liquid flows out. If a blockage occurs downstream of the vent pipe, liquid ends up being vented, thus overflowing.

I have an alarm buzzing in the basement. What can cause that?

If your septic system has a pump, health department codes require a high-level alarm. This alarm simply buzzes when the water level inside the pump tank is too high. This usually means the pump is not working. First thing you should do is silence the alarm by pushing the silence button. Then, check the circuit breaker and make sure the septic pump breaker is turned on. If the breaker is on, go outside and look in the pump tank.

I see green sunken stripes in my yard. Could this mean there’s a problem?

Not necessarily. The natural biological action at work purifying water in a typical septic system does vent off some nitrogen and water vapor, thus acting as fertilizer for your lawn. In the drier months of the year, this is amplified. However, if these green stripes are wet and “mushy,” there is a probable failure that should be addressed.

New Systems and Property Transfers

Our yard is big, but we have lots of lovely trees. Could this cause a problem?

Unfortunately, trees have roots that search for water and nutrients, and a septic system has both to offer. The placement of the septic system should be kept away from trees. Certain species of trees have more aggressive root systems, such as willow and soft maple trees. Many times, tree removal is not an option. Who wants to cut down their beautiful trees? Steps can be taken to help protect the system from the root problem and prolong the life expectancy of the system.

Our yard is small, and we think we need to update our system. How do I find out what would work best?

Size of available working space for a septic system is very important. Working with your local health department and a competent septic system installer is critical. Sometimes, creative measures are necessary. Property, utilities, buildings, and plantings can all affect the placement of a system. Be sure to check on any previous jobs for your location.

We plan to sell our home soon. We’ve lived here 27 years, our kids are grown and gone. The septic system was here when we moved here.
Can we expect trouble getting it approved?

Keeping in mind that the average life expectancy of a septic system is 20-25 years, it may have working issues. Not all fail, but it is wise to investigate the possibility of having issues prior to putting an aged home on the market.

We’re selling Dad’s house and have no idea what is required for our system. Is there anywhere we can get that info?

If records or history data have not been kept by the homeowner, or are not easily found, checking with your local health department would be a good place to start. Also, local septic companies may be a good source. It is a very good idea to get your hands on as much historical data as possible.

Our realtor wants to list our house as a five-bedroom, but we bought it as a four-bedroom many years ago. The fifth bedroom was a covert we made.
Could this cause a problem down the road when we find a buyer?

Yes, it could. House size, or more importantly, the number of bedrooms within the home is a critical detail that aids in determining the type and size of the required septic system. If your present system was rated on a four-bedroom home, and it is sold as a five-bedroom, there could be a problem. The system may work fine, and pass the Health Department Dye Test, but it may not be large enough to pass as a five-bedroom system. Check this out in advance to list it correctly.