Homeowner’s Frequently Asked Questions
When should we have our septic system inspected?
Real Estate purchase. During the course of a home purchase homeowners will have the structure inspected by a licensed home inspector. You should also have the septic system inspected at the same time. The single most costly repair to a home is usually the replacement of a non-functioning septic system.
Major changes or Repairs. Homeowners often need to have their systems inspected to obtain building permits for constructing home additions or adding new buildings to their property (i.e.: pool house, barn, etc.) An inspection will determine the health of the system and whether it will be affected by the new construction.
Bi-yearly inspections. Routine inspections and maintenance, along with proper operating habits, significantly increases the potential that the system will operate well for many years. By inspecting the system on a regular basis, potential problems can be avoided and small repairs can be made before the effect on the system becomes catastrophic.
What is a septic system and how does it work?
A septic system is used for the treatment and disposal of household and industrial wastewater. The septic system is made up of two key components: the septic tank and the disposal field. The septic tank is a container usually prefabricated from concrete or, more recently, polyethylene. It receives waste water from the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. Heavy particles known as solids settle at the bottom of the tank as sludge and light materials float to the surface of the tank forming a scum layer. Natural forming bacteria in the system help to break down and liquefy the organic matter, which is carried to the disposal field as effluent.
A septic tank is sized by an engineer to allow enough time for settling of heavy particles and flotation scum. The partially treated effluent then flows from the septic tank to the sub-surface disposal field or bed.
The disposal field or septic bed consists of a distribution box and perforated distribution lines (laterals) that are installed below the ground in gravel beds or trenches where further treatment/filtering action takes place. Seepage pits can also be used in some areas.
The effluent is carried to the septic bed and passes through the distribution lines. It then passes through several feet of clean septic sand and eventually into the earth to recharge the aquifer. After passing through a correctly designed septic system the original wastewater is 100% clean.
Why do septic systems have a mound?
When designing a septic system, an engineer checks the level of the water table to ensure that it is at the required distance below the bottom of the disposal field. The size of the disposal field is determined by the number of bedrooms in the home. In order to ensure that the wastewater being treated enters the earth 100% clean, it must pass through a certain level of clean septic sand. To accommodate these requirements sometimes the bed needs to be raised above ground level.
Is there a way to avoid having a septic mound?
Recently the New Jersey DEP has approved the use aof septic systems that incorporate peat moss pods to help with the treatment of wastewater. Depending on the number of bedrooms in the home 1 – 4 pods can be used to treat the effluent after it leaves the septic tank. After being treated by the peat moss the effluent then travels to the septic bed before it is treated one last time and released into the earth. Because the peat moss pods can treat the wastewater more efficiently than the standard disposal field the new field is much smaller, thus eliminating the need for a mound.
What if a problem is discovered with my system during an inspection?
If you chose JJ&B Services as your septic inspection company our licenced engineer will be able to determine immediately the cause of any septic failure. Our on-site, field experienced technicians are prepared to give our clients a fair estimate as to the extent and cost of any repairs. In the event of a real estate transfer we guarantee to have all work completed in time for your closing. In some instances we are also able to care the costs of your repairs until closing.