Residential Septic System FAQs
The most common place to start is with your Board of Health office. Newer homes and homes that are in the process of being sold require a Title 5 Inspection, which will include a diagram of the system. Bay State Sewage can provide locating services. There are two choices to locate your cover: (1) You can call us and have one of our experienced technicians from our service crew locate the cover(s) for a fee. At that time, they can recommend and measure a riser and cover to ground level and provide a free estimate to eliminate accessibility issues in the winter. (2) You may locate the cover yourself by following these steps: (A) Go to the basement of your home and find your main sewer pipe made of cast iron or PVC. Locate the pipe going towards the septic system – that is how deep it is relative to the ground. Your septic system will be in the same direction out as the main pipe. (B) Go outside in the direction where the pipe comes out from the house underground, measure approximately 10 feet out from the house and there will be 2-3 covers for your main tank (depending on the design). (C) Covers should be 20 to 24 inches round in order for us to pump out of them (note: see our types of systems page for a diagram). If you’re an existing Bay State customer, then we may have your approximate septic system location on file.
We recommend that our clients have their septic pumped every 1 – 2 years, depending on the usage. If your system is aging or you have a lot of people living in your home, you may require more frequent servicing. Pumping should be done on a regular basis for preventative maintenance.
You may experience some odors immediately following the pumping service; however, this odor should not last long and is not dangerous.
We estimate this process to take roughly 20- 30 minutes. It may take longer if we’re required to dig to reach the cover or if it’s been a long period of time since your last service.
Good question. A leaching field is a series of pipes extending from your distribution box (known as a D-Box, which distributes liquid from the tank to the field lines). The pipes have holes along the side, which allow water to leach out from your system. As the water seeps out, it filters through the ground and enters into the water table.
In most cases for Massachusetts and Rhode Island residents, all companies charge to locate your cover. The price varies, depending on the depth and how long it takes to dig. We recommend installing a riser and cover to grade as to not incur digging costs and to prevent problems in winter.
We imagine that’s extremely frustrating. We recommend you contact our specialists today to get a more accurate assessment. In order to gain a clearer picture of what the issue might be, be prepared to answer the following:
- Is the cover exposed?
- When was the last time your system was serviced?
- Have you lifted your cover and checked the level of the tank?
- Do you have a filter installed in your system?
- Where, exactly, are you backing up from?
That thick crust is a scum layer that has accumulated into a solid mass, floating on top of a liquid inside the tank. This may indicate a bacterial deficiency. Ask your Bay State Sewage technician if any environmentally friendly additives may be recommended to avoid this problem down the road. The only way to remove is by pumping.
A filter is an important component of the Bay State Sewage maintenance plan. A filter is one more tool to keep your leaching area free of solids. It is important to match the filter size to daily flow and to clean it periodically. Filters aid in preventing suspended solids and other material from entering into and clogging your leaching area. We install your filters in the outlet tee of septic tanks. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide a free estimate.
An aerobic septic system is made up of a mixer within your septic tank that agitates and aspirates the liquid in that tank. Oxygen will be introduced into the tank, helping to keep the live bacteria alive so that they can eat away at the solid matter.
Bay State Sewage is available to our Rhode Island and Massachusetts customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency services. If you’re looking for non-emergency same-day service, contact us directly to see if we can help you.
Yes. We also offer Title V inspections, video camera inspections, drain cleaning, light plumbing, septic repairs, lift/pump station installation or repairs, high-pressure water jetting, pipe repairs, maintenance programs, risers and covers to grade, drain cleaning and rooter service as well.
No, pumping should be done on a regular basis for preventative maintenance. Without regular pumping you could end up having to pay for a new system - at upwards of $25,000. Regular pumping "saves 65% over a 10 year period."
We recommend you use the following items sparingly, to protect the integrity of your septic system: antibacterial soap, bleach products (they kill good bacteria in your tank), powdered soaps, and water softeners. Homes with garbage grinders need to have their systems serviced more frequently.
Septic Repairs Service
We carry covers and risers by E-Z-Set. These risers and covers come with a heavy gauge plastic cover and riser and are lightweight but durable (holding 800+ pounds). We also can install concrete risers and covers. At the time of pumping, our technician will take the measurement and provide a free estimate.
Risers and covers are designed to be at ground level for easy access during the winter or in times of emergencies. Many people put planters and artificial or architectural rocks on top of them. Call us for style recommendations to hide covers and still have them at ground level.
Septic System Installation
Though we do not install systems we can recommend reputable companies in your area to help you.
No, Bay State Sewage does not perform sewer tie-ins, but we can recommend reputable companies in your area.
Septic systems are considerably expensive, and not everyone can afford to replace one out of pocket. Some towns offer funding through a betterment program or some banks offer low rate financing for septic repairs. Contact your local board of health or a bank directly to see if they offer these programs. We can always point you in the right direction.
Septic System Rejuvenation
No, once a system is in failure you cannot reverse the aging of the system. The life expectancy of a leaching facility is, on average, 20 years. There are things you can do, like high-pressure water jetting of the entire system and/or pumping more frequently, to extend the life after you experience problems. These options will prolong the life of the septic system until you can replace it.
Often times, ponding is the result of a failed septic system or if it is around the cover could be caused by a clogged filter.
Proper system maintenance is the key to a healthy system. Call us to discuss a maintenance plan and we’ll talk to you about how we can help with problems you are experiencing.
MA Title V Inspection
Our Title V inspection is an 18-page report required by Massachusetts. The sale of any home, addition to the footprint of the home or installation of a swimming pool may require an inspection. Call your local building department to find out if an inspection is required.
Your Title V inspection is good for two years but can be extended to three years if you have septic pumping service performed each year before the anniversary of your inspection date. Make sure to keep all paperwork.
Typically the field work takes at least two hours. Our office will then generate the report.
You’ll find out if you fail, pass, or need further evaluation from your local board of health on the day of your inspection. If you are home, we will review the results with you. If you’re not present, we’ll call you and take you through the results from start to finish.
Not necessarily. There are criteria within title V to get them to pass. Some towns have a local ordinance requiring failure. Give us a call or your local Board of Health’s local office can tell you if your town automatically fails cesspools.
Your inspector will tell you what steps are necessary to repair or replace your system.
Some digging is needed. Usually, 3 covers on the main tank and one on the distribution box needs exposing. We generally dig the cover by hand and are extremely careful to not disrupt lawns or flower beds. In some instances, small equipment is needed.
Drain Cleaning Services
This could be a sign that you need septic pumping. Call a Bay State customer service representative as soon as possible so we can help diagnose the problem.
It’s possible. If it’s been more than one year since your septic system was pumped, it may need pumping or have a blockage in a plumbing line. Call one of our customer service representatives to diagnose the issue and help you with the next steps needed to solve the problem.
Yes, our technician will have to enter the house to run water, flush toilets, and open cleanouts.
Bay State Customer Review
"Bay State Septic is super friendly and helpful. They performed a Title 5 inspection and a septic pumping was included. They have given me great advice over the years on how to keep my septic system working properly to help extend the life of my tank and system."
Dighton, MA 02715