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Frequently asked questions about septic and sewer system installation, repair and maintenance.

We've assembled the most frequently asked questions we receive.  You can download all these frequently asked questions in our Getting Started Guide.

Q:  How often should the septic tank be pumped?

A:  At least every 5-6 years.  However, no two septic systems are the same in terms of their content.  Diet, lifestyle, and usage can affect the pumping schedule.  Just moving into a home with a septic system?  Once you have your system inspected to make sure your system doesn’t need to be pumped, you should have it pumped after 2 years.  At that time, based on the level of floating solids and sludge, you have a better idea of just how long you can go without having the system pumped.

Q:  Do I need a permit to repair or install a septic system?

A:  You need a permit to install a septic system.  You do not need a permit to inspect or expose your septic system.  WHAT ABOUT REPAIR?

Q:  How long does it take to install a septic system (new or replacement)?

A:  Typical installation is 1-2 days.

Q:  What are the steps to install a septic system?

A:  Here are 6 steps:
1.  Receive a free written estimate from Applegate Septic & Sewer.
2.  We draw out your system on paper and obtain the permit (complexity depends on the county/city where the installation is to occur).
3.  We schedule the work, typically within 1-2 weeks, unless it's an emergency installation.
4.  We perform the work, typically 1-2 days and obtain the Final Inspection and signed-off permit.
5.  Backfill (and haul-off if required) and clean up the job site.
6.  You tell your friends how happy you are with Applegate Septic & Sewer.  And if your not happy, let us know so we can address your concerns immediately and make you happy!

Q:  I have a septic system.  Should I add chemicals to it to aid in the breakdown of solids?

A:  Generally, no.  additional chemicals are not necessary because the normal amount of bacteria found in the waste from diets containing meat (beef, chicken and port) are sufficient to breakdown the solids.  If, however, the household diet does not contain meat, then you may need to add chemicals to aid in what would otherwise be normal breakdown.

Q:  How long should leach lines last?

A:  Typically, 20-30 years with proper maintenance and soil type.  Proper maintenance would include pumping the septic system every 5-6 years.  In terms of soil type, sandier soils are typically better than heavier, clay type soils.

Q:  Is it okay to cover leach lines with concrete or asphalt?

A:  No, it's not.  Doing so doesn't allow the sun to dry out the system and air to pass through thereby ensuring proper operation of the leach line itself.

Q:  Does it help to hydro-jet out the leach lines?

A:  No, the leach line or pipe is just the medium used to carry the water effluent.  The rock is what stores the water and soil is what takes it all away.  If the leach line is plugged with roots, soil, etc., hydro-jetting the leach line is only cleaning out the pipe.

Q:  What is the impact to landscaping during septic/sewer work?

A:  Realize that heavy equipment (backhoe, dump truck, etc.) are used to dig up the area where your septic take is/will be and where other ancillary pipes are/will be placed.  If you know the layout and location of your sprinkler lines. we will do our utmost to avoid and/or protect these areas as well as protect your landscaping.

Q:  Should I have a riser installed at the time the septic system is installed?

A:  Yes, having a riser installed allows for easy access and problem-free pumping down the road.  If you choose NOT to have a riser installed, every time you have your system inspected and/or pumped, the ground over the septic system cover will need to be removed, typically by a backhoe.

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