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Frequently asked Questions

  • What is a septic system?
    Septic systems are comprised of two parts: An onsite septic system is a system designed to responsibly recover, restore, and return the water we use safely back into the environment where the traditional city hookup to the sewer system is unavailable. These systems are comprised of two parts, the tank and the dispersal field: A) Tanks - Provide a means to RECOVER the water used in the home and separate the sludge, fats, oils, & greases that enter into the septic system, while also reducing the Total Suspended Solids + the Biochemical Oxygen Demand levels of your effluent. Some systems have more than one tank. Often the extra tanks will utilize air pumps and additional media to further Restore the effluent prior to being sent out to the dispersal field. B) Dispersal Fields - Are the area of ground where we RETURN the effluent (treated sewage) to the soil. Dispersal fields come in many different shapes and sizes. There are sand mounds, in ground pressure beds, gravity distribution trenches, subsurface drip, & more. What people are often unaware of is that the soils in the dispersal field are a part of the RESTORATION process. The soils remove pathogens and bacteria from the effluent prior to being RETURNED to the water table, helping protect our precious water sources. A good septic system design will consider each part of the system with equal care. A poor design can still address the RETURN aspect of the design, but still ignore the RESTORE component. It’s always the goal for the effluent to go away and never be seen again, but even a poor design, can do that. However, a professional designer will ensure that the treatment system is well thought out and appropriate for the site, taking into consideration the implications of disposing of untreated effluent into the ground water.
  • Why do septic systems fail?
    Septic systems can fail due to various factors, including: Lack of regular maintenance: Without proper maintenance, a septic system can become overloaded with solids, leading to clogs and backups. Routine pumping and inspections are essential to prevent system failure. Improper system design or installation: If a septic system is not designed or installed correctly, it may not function efficiently or effectively. Poor design, inadequate sizing, or improper placement can contribute to system failure. Excessive water usage: Overloading the septic system with excessive water usage, such as running multiple high-water-consumption appliances simultaneously or dealing with leaks, can strain the system's capacity and hinder proper treatment. Flushing improper materials: Flushing non-biodegradable items, such as wipes, sanitary products, grease, or chemicals, can cause blockages and damage to the septic system, leading to failure. Tree root intrusion: Tree roots seeking moisture can infiltrate septic system pipes, causing cracks, blockages, and structural damage, impairing the system's function. Soil compaction or saturation: Compacted soil or saturation due to heavy rainfall or poor drainage can impede proper wastewater absorption in the drainfield, leading to backups and system failure. Age and deterioration: Over time, septic systems can deteriorate due to age, wear and tear, or lack of proper maintenance, resulting in decreased efficiency and potential failure. Regular maintenance, proper usage, and avoiding potential stressors can significantly reduce the risk of septic system failure. It is crucial to follow recommended maintenance practices and address any issues promptly to ensure the longevity and proper functioning of your septic system.
  • What is excavation?
    Excavation refers to the process of digging, removing, and reshaping earth materials for various construction, landscaping, or mining purposes. It involves the use of heavy machinery and tools to excavate or remove soil, rocks, or other materials from the ground to create a desired shape, depth, or space. Excavation is commonly undertaken in construction projects to prepare sites for building foundations, basements, trenches, or utility installations. It may also be necessary for landscaping projects, such as creating ponds, leveling terrain, or installing drainage systems. In the mining industry, excavation is employed to extract valuable minerals or resources from the earth. Excavation requires skilled operators and adherence to safety protocols to ensure the proper and efficient removal of materials while minimizing risks. It is a fundamental process in various industries and plays a crucial role in shaping the physical landscape to accommodate human needs and activities.
  • What are the electrical requirements for aerobic systems?
    Aerobic systems require a dedicated 110 amp. electrical stub out with a 20 amp. breaker (Non GCFI).
  • How long will the installation take and how long will my system be down?
    Typically, aerobic installations are completed in one day. On some occasions our cover-up crew may finish the installation on a second day. When we replace existing systems, your home is usually out of sewer service for less than half a day.
  • The dirt around my tank and lines settled, what now?
    It is normal for dirt to settle around tanks and lines. Only time and weathering can fully compact the soil around tanks. We highly recommend backfilling around the tanks with sand at the installation when possible. While sand will still settle, the effects will be minimal in comparison.
  • What will the lawn look like after install?
    Expect to replace sod in the area of the installation. We’re bringing in heavy equipment and excavating a lot of dirt. We will smooth the soil as neatly as possible, but expect to see a large area of dirt around the installation site.
  • Will this damage my sprinkler system?
    Heavy equipment operators cannot avoid digging into sprinkler lines and sprinkler heads. We will try our best to identify damaged sprinkler lines or components, but plan on calling your irrigation company to make any necessary repairs and test the irrigation system.
  • Will we be back after install?
    We want to meet the homeowner after installation for an orientation on the system. Please call our office to arrange a time and date.
  • What am I allowed to put in my septic system?
    Simple rule for all septic systems and really does apply to everyone on big city pipe as well… If you wouldn’t put it in your body, don’t put it in your toilet, sink, showers, or drains. Stay away from additives and drain cleaning products as they often move your problem from your tank out to your field. Paint, harsh chemicals, and bleach. All of these things will disturb the chemical balance in your septic tank and will often kill off the good bacteria required to run a healthy onsite septic system. Anti-bacterial soap. Again, this will kill the good bacteria in your onsite septic system.
  • How often should I have my septic tank pumped?
    On average, septic tanks should be pumped every 2 to 5 years. However, the frequency may vary depending on factors such as household size, water usage, and tank size. K&M Recommends all tanks be inspected or pumped annually for best results.
  • Can I use additives to improve the performance of my septic system?
    It is generally not necessary to use additives in a well-maintained septic system. Proper use and regular maintenance are typically sufficient to keep the system functioning optimally.
  • How can I tell if my septic system is failing?
    Signs of a failing septic system include sewage backups, slow drains, foul odors, lush or soggy areas in the drain field, and gurgling sounds in the plumbing. If you notice any of these signs, it's important to have your system inspected promptly.
  • Are septic system inspections necessary when buying or selling a home?
    Yes, septic system inspections are crucial during real estate transactions to ensure the system is in good working order. This helps avoid any surprises or costly repairs down the line.
  • Do we offer service plans?
    Yes! Our plans include BASIC PLAN - $250/YEAR For Basic contracts, inspections are performed every four months (3 times per year) and are set according to location. Customer is solely responsible for chlorine SILVER PLAN - $40/MONTH For Silver contracts, inspections are performed every four months (3 times per year) and are set according to location. Inspections with chlorine at time of inspection. Service call/Repair discount 20% GOLD PLAN - $60/MONTH For Gold contracts, inspections are performed every four months (3 times per year) and are set according to location. Inspections with chlorine at time of inspection. Warranty on compressor, pump, floats and control box. 1 free spray head per year, if needed. Service call/Repair discount 40% PLATINUM VIP FULL SERVICE PLAN - $90/MONTH Monthly inspection of system with inspections Chlorine supplied at monthly visits. (No more than 3 tablets per month) Clean air filter monthly and replace yearly. Clean pump screen as needed. Check sludge levels yearly. Warranty on compressor, pump, floats, and control box. 2 free spray heads per year, if needed. Free service calls
  • What type of treatment do I put in my aerobic system?
    If you have a liquid chlorine system, any cheap chlorine will work. The system will take roughly 3 gallons and the fill is located under the black cap on the riser. If you have a tablet system, you can get them from anywhere that sells pool supplies. They are 3-inch tablets that go into a 3in pipe next to the riser.
  • My aerobic system has a light on or audible alarm what do I do?
    High liquid level: The red light on a septic tank often indicates that the liquid level inside the tank has risen above the recommended level. This could be due to a blockage or malfunction in the system, preventing proper drainage and causing the tank to fill up more quickly than usual. Pump failure: If your septic tank has a pump to move waste from the tank to the drain field, a malfunctioning or failed pump can lead to an increase in liquid level and trigger the red light. This could be caused by electrical issues, mechanical failures, or a clogged pump. Alarm system malfunction: The red light itself could be the result of a faulty or malfunctioning alarm system. In this case, there may not be an actual problem with the septic tank, but rather an issue with the monitoring or signaling mechanism. Drain field issues: A failing or saturated drain field can cause the liquid to back up into the septic tank, leading to an elevated liquid level and triggering the red light. Drain field problems can be caused by factors such as soil compaction, excessive water usage, or tree root intrusion. Other malfunctions: There are various components in a septic system, such as float switches, control panels, or sensors, that can experience malfunctions or failures. If any of these components are not functioning properly, it could result in the red light being illuminated. It's important to note that these are general possibilities, and the exact cause of the red light can only be determined through a thorough inspection by a professional septic tank service provider, such as K&M Excavation. They will be able to diagnose the issue accurately and recommend the appropriate course of action to resolve it.
  • Do we offer financing?
    Yes! We partnered with wisetack to provide an easy financing solution.
  • Will my aerobic system work without power?
    Your system won't pump but should have enough capacity to get you buy until a tech can come out. It is important to call us as soon as possible considering the number of units impacted by natural outages.
  • Are septic systems grandfathered in?
    Yes, septic systems are generally grandfathered in. However, there may be local regulations that require certain systems to be replaced or upgraded. K&M Excavation can provide you with the necessary information to ensure your septic system meets all applicable regulations.
  • Can septic systems freeze?
    Yes, septic systems can freeze during cold weather. To help prevent freezing, K&M Excavation recommends that you insulate any exposed pipes and keep the area around the septic system free of snow and debris. Regular maintenance and inspections will also help reduce the risk of your septic system freezing.
  • Which septic system lasts the longest?
    The type of septic system that will last the longest depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the system, the type of soil it is built on, and the frequency of maintenance. Generally, concrete septic tanks are the most durable, but plastic and fiberglass tanks can also last for many years if they are properly maintained. At K&M Excavation, we can help you determine which type of septic system is best for your needs.
  • What is bad for septic systems?
    Anything that is not biodegradable can be harmful to septic systems. This includes things like grease, oil, coffee grounds, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, and other non-biodegradable materials. Septic systems should also not be overloaded with too much water, as this can cause backups and other issues.
  • How do I locate my septic tank?
    At K&M Excavation, we understand that finding your septic tank can be a challenging task. The best way to locate your septic tank is to contact us and we can arrange for a technician to come out to your home and use specialized equipment to locate and identify your septic tank.
  • How do I know when my septic tank is full or needs to be pumped?
    DEQ recommends that septic tanks be pumped every 3-5 years, however at K&M we recommend at the minimum a yearly inspection. Many problems can be easily addressed if caught in time. Depending on the size of the tank and the number of people living in the house, if your tank has not been pumped in this time frame it is possible that it is full and needs to be pumped. Other signs that your septic tank is full or needs to be pumped include slow draining sinks or toilets, foul odors, or standing water in your yard. If you suspect that your septic tank needs to be pumped, contact K&M Excavation for a free consultation and estimate.
  • When should I replace a septic system?
    The general rule of thumb is that septic systems should be replaced every 20-30 years. However, the exact lifespan of a septic system can vary greatly depending on how it has been maintained, the size of the system, the number of people using it, and other environmental factors. If your septic system is more than 15 years old, it is recommended that you have it inspected and evaluated for replacement by a professional like K&M Excavation.
  • Are septic systems covered by homeowners insurance?
    No, septic systems are not typically covered by homeowners insurance. It is important to check with your insurance provider to confirm. It is important to maintain your septic system regularly to avoid costly repairs. At K&M Excavation, we offer regular septic system maintenance services to help keep your system functioning properly. Contact us today for more information.
  • Can we pump out an RV?
    Yes, K&M Excavation provides septic system services for RVs. We are experienced in pumping out and maintaining septic systems for recreational vehicles. Please contact us for more information.
  • What is considered a failed septic system?
    A failed septic system occurs when your septic tank is no longer able to absorb and dispose of wastewater properly. Common signs of a failed septic system include wet spots on the ground, strong odors coming from your septic tank, slow drainage, and sewage backing up into your home. If you are experiencing any of these issues, it is important to contact K&M Excavation to assess the situation and recommend the necessary repairs.
  • Why should I use a certified installer??
    At K&M Excavation, we are a certified installer of septic systems. We are well-trained and experienced in septic system installation and maintenance, and we are committed to providing the highest quality service. We understand the importance of proper installation and maintenance to ensure your septic system is functioning properly and avoiding costly repairs in the future. Most importantly we are available to answer any questions you may have about your septic system and provide you with the best advice to ensure your system is working properly. We are licensed, insured and bonded. Other than being illegal, uncertified installers do not carry the responsibility to correct problems in the future. K&M is a full-service installer from soil testing to maintenance and repair.
  • What do I do to an aerobic system if there is freezing weather?
    Freezing weather can pose challenges for aerobic septic systems, as the low temperatures can impact their performance and potentially lead to issues. To prevent problems during freezing weather, here are some steps you can take to protect and maintain your aerobic system: Install a Tank Heater: A tank heater or heating system can be installed to provide a continuous source of heat to the aerobic tank. These heaters are designed to maintain a temperature above freezing, preventing ice buildup and allowing the beneficial bacteria in the system to continue their work. Keep the Aerobic System Running: It's essential to keep the aerobic system running during freezing weather. The circulation and aeration processes can generate heat, helping to prevent freezing within the tank and pipes. Do not turn off the system or reduce its operation during cold spells. Monitor Water Usage: Be mindful of your water usage during freezing weather. Excessive water entering the system can overwhelm it and increase the risk of freezing. Avoid running multiple loads of laundry or taking long showers in a short period. Spread out water usage throughout the day. Divert Warm Water: Diverting warm water from your home into the septic system can help raise the temperature inside the tank. You can redirect the warm water from your washing machine, dishwasher, or bath/shower to flow directly into the system. Unscrew sprinkler heads or cover them with abucket full of hay. If you unscrew them it will flow out in the yard but prevent the sprinkler from breaking. Maintain Adequate Aeration: Adequate aeration is crucial for preventing freezing. Ensure that the aeration equipment is in good working condition and that airflow is not obstructed by snow or ice. Regular Maintenance: Regular maintenance of your aerobic septic system is essential year-round but becomes even more critical during freezing weather. Schedule routine inspections and maintenance checks with a qualified technician to identify and address any potential issues. Be Prepared for Power Outages: In some cases, freezing weather can lead to power outages. If your aerobic system relies on electricity, consider having a backup generator in place to ensure it continues to operate during power interruptions. Consult a Professional: If you're unsure about how to protect your aerobic septic system during freezing weather, it's advisable to consult a professional septic system service provider. They can offer specific guidance and may recommend additional measures based on your system's unique characteristics. By taking these precautions and staying proactive, you can help prevent freezing-related problems and ensure the continued proper functioning of your aerobic septic system during cold weather conditions.

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