What is a Septic Distribution Box?


When you think about your septic system, you likely think of two main parts: the tank and the drainfield. But do you know what a distribution box is? Also known as a d-box, the distribution box is an essential part of your system. What’s more, knowing how your distribution box works is crucial for keeping your system healthy and well.



A septic d-box is a container that receives wastewater from the septic tank. It’s buried underground in your leach field. The box is in charge of equally distributing the wastewater into the ground via field lines.



Like most of your septic system, the distribution box uses gravity. Since the leach field and box are located below the septic tank, the wastewater moves downhill as it enters the container. Additionally, the box has several holes with rotating devices. The devices control the wastewater flowing outward, ensuring an even amount enters each area of the leach field.

A working, reliable septic system relies on this function. If your distribution box is unable to evenly re-distribute wastewater, the liquid will accumulate in one section of your leach field. This can overwhelm the area, compromising the overall efficiency of the field.



If you notice flooding in one part of your drainfield, take note. Your distribution box is likely broken or blocked—and needs to be repaired or replaced.

This can happen due to several reasons, including:

  • Natural wear and tear
  • Sludge accumulation
  • Improper septic system care
  • Invading tree roots
  • Driving heavy machinery over the box
  • Flooding and other inclement weather conditions

The pipes leading to or from the box can also become clogged or damaged. Similarly, the rotating devices connected to the openings may fail, resulting in uneven liquid distribution.

Regardless, it’s important to call Paradise Valley Septic if you suspect a distribution box problem. The sooner the box is fixed or replaced, the sooner you can prevent larger septic issues down the line.



Distribution boxes can be made of concrete or plastic. As you can imagine, concrete versions are significantly stronger than their plastic counterparts. The boxes are also available in various sizes and shapes. The best choice depends on your specific tank size and type.



Staying on top of routine septic maintenance is one of the best ways to protect your distribution box. During your appointment, our experienced septic technicians can explain what a distribution box does and how it affects your system. We can also help you avoid future septic problems by identifying issues as soon as possible.

Contact us at (480) 351-1725 for professional, reliable septic service in the Greater Phoenix area.


Will There Be Smells After a Septic Pump?


Most homeowners recognize the importance of regular septic pumpings. Not only do they prolong the life of your septic tank, but they can also prevent backups and stinky odors. Yet, due to the nature of a septic pump, you may wonder if there will be smells after all is said and done.



It’s true that septic pumpings are effective for avoiding backups—and therefore, the stinky scents and headaches that come with them.

But sometimes, it can cause unpleasant smells too.

This isn’t an excuse to skip your routine septic pumping, though. Some causes of foul odors after a septic pump are normal and to be expected. In other cases, the odors might be due to a non-septic problem that requires immediate attention.



If your house smells like septic after a pumping service, here’s what might be to blame:

  1. Normal Air Circulation
    During the pumping process, the water in a septic tank is completely sucked out. This stirs up the natural (and smelly) gases in the tank, which can backtrack into your home. Don’t worry, though! The odor should go away in a couple of hours. You can speed up the process by running some water down every drain.
  2. Spilling During Pumping
    Ideally, your septic provider will perform the pumping in a neat and professional manner. This means zero stinky spillage outside of your septic tank. But if your septic technicians do a haphazard job, you may be left with septic waste on your property.No matter how bad the spillage looks or smells, do not clean it up yourself. This is unsafe. Ask the original septic provider to fix their mistake or consult a more qualified septic provider like Paradise Valley Septic.
  3. Damaged Toilet Seal
    Typically, toilets are connected to the floor with an airtight wax seal or ring. This seal stops flushed sewage from leaking onto your bathroom floor. At the same time, it stops smelly gases from filling up the bathroom. But like most things in a well-loved home, this seal can break over time.When this happens, you may have one stinky bathroom. The odors will likely be present even before your septic pump, but the process can simply worsen the smell. In this case, have a plumber replace the toilet wax ring.
  4. Faulty Plumbing Vents
    Plumbing vents help remove gasses and odors from your plumbing system. They consist of vertical pipes connected to your mainline. The pipes lead to a vent on your roof, which let the gasses out. When your plumbing vents are working properly, they also regulate air pressure in your septic system.However, if the vent becomes blocked, the gases will get stuck in the system. This will disrupt the air pressure and push foul odors through your drains, which may get worse after a septic pump. Again, you’ll want to contact an experienced plumber to fix the issue.



If you’re concerned about unpleasant smells after a septic pump, talk to the experts at Paradise Valley Septic. We can explain what’s normal during a septic pumping, so you (and your nose) know what to expect. Our team is also happy to address any questions you may have.

For professional septic service in the Greater Phoenix area, contact us at (480) 351-1725.

I Have a Septic System: How Many Loads of Laundry Can I Do in a Day?


For many folks, laundry is just another boring chore. But if you have a septic system, it’s crucial to think of laundry as anything but. As a major contributor to your household’s overall water usage, laundry can seriously impact the health of your septic system.

In fact, your laundry habits play a major role in long-term septic care and maintenance. This includes how many loads of laundry you do in a day.



Washing machines use a lot of water. Consider this: Older washers can use anywhere from 30 to 45 gallons of water per load, while high-efficiency machines use much less—about 5 to 30 gallons of water for the same load.

So, aside from investing in a high-energy washer, it’s wise to assess the way you do laundry. That’s because excess wastewater—from your washing machine or otherwise—can eventually strain your septic system.

With that said, avoid washing multiple loads of laundry in a single day. When you wash one load after the other, your system won’t have enough time to sufficiently treat and breakdown the waste. The result? Solid waste can build up, causing backups and drainfield problems.

This is even more likely if your septic system is overdue for a routine pumping.



Stick to one or two loads a day whenever possible. It’s the best way to protect your septic system and prolong its lifespan. If you decide to do two loads in a day, try to space them out. For example, do one load in the morning and one in the evening.

Admittedly, following these recommendations can be difficult if you aren’t home very often. But remember, the habit can make or break the fitness of your septic system. By spreading your laundry throughout the week, you can avoid potential septic problems in the future.



Be mindful of other household activities that rely on water, such as:

  • Taking showers and baths
  • Flushing the toilet
  • Using the dishwasher
  • Washing the dishes in the sink

The more these things happen when you do laundry, the more water will flow into your septic system. So, try to limit or avoid these tasks when it’s time to do laundry. (But obviously, if you need to use the toilet… please do!)

It’s also a good idea to wash your clothes when there’s a minimal household activity, like when the kids are sleeping or no guests are present.



When it comes to septic care, how many loads of laundry you do each day will make a difference. As a rule of thumb, try to spread out your loads throughout the week and always wash a full load. It’s also best to use liquid detergent.

If you have questions, talk to the experts at Paradise Valley Septic. We can provide more personalized recommendations based on the size of your system and household. Our team of septic technicians can also suggest the best pumping schedule for your situation.

To learn more, fill out our online form or call us at (480) 351-1725.

So…What Exactly Happens During a Septic Pump?



Routine septic pumping is essential for keeping your system healthy and well. In fact, it can be the deciding factor in its overall lifespan. But what happens during a septic pump, anyway? Let’s look at how a septic system is typically pumped.



In general, septic pumping involves the following steps:

  1. Locating the tank lid. Your septic technician will locate the lid of your septic tank. If you’re not sure where the lid is located, don’t worry! Our team can find it for you.
  2. Removing the lid. Next, your technicians will uncover the lids. Never attempt this yourself; it should only be done by a professional.
  3. Checking the tank’s liquid level. Once the lids are open, your technician will check the tank’s liquid level and compare it to the outlet pipe. This will help us determine if there are any leaks or issues with the drainfield.
  4. Pumping the tank. Now, it’s time to pump the tank. Your technician will insert a hose that is connected to a vacuum truck. The hose will suck out liquid and solid waste.
  5. Observing the outlet pipe. As the waste is pumped, your technician will check the outlet pipe for backflow. This will help them identify any drainfield backups or problems with the drainfield pipes.
  6. Washing the tank. Your technician will wash the tank with clean water to break down solids.
  7. Inspecting the tank. Your technician will examine the tank for signs of corrosion, damage, or leaks. This is just as important as pumping, as it allows your technicians to find issues before they get worse.
  8. Covering the tank lid. To complete the process, your technician will securely cover the lid.



To protect your septic system, keep an eye out for signs you need a septic pumping:

  • Slow draining or flushing. This is an early sign. In this scenario, you can avoid future problems by getting a septic pump ASAP.
  • Lush drainfield grass. This means excess waste is leaving your tank and “fertilizing” the drainfield grass.
  • Odor. If your toilets, drains, and septic tank area are stinky, you need a septic pumping.
  • Standing water. Water may pool on your property if your tank is full.
  • High nitrate concentration. Check the nitrate levels of your well water at least once a year. If your septic tank is full, nitrates can flow into the well water.



If you’re due for a septic pumping, contact us at (480) 351-1725 to schedule an appointment. We can explain what happens during septic pumps, along with how often you should get them. This depends on the size of your household and family.

Our team is also equipped to install and repair septic systems in the Greater Phoenix areas. Get in touch today!

The Best Dishwasher Detergent for Septic Systems



When you have a septic system, it’s extra-important to be mindful of what goes down the drain. This includes everything from laundry detergent to dish soap — and even toilet paper. But if you also have a dishwasher, it’s worth thinking about what kind of dish detergent you’re using, too.

Besides, it can be easy to toss in your favorite dishwasher soap and call it a day. This is especially likely if you’re used to washing dishes by hand or don’t use your dishwasher often. Regardless, in order to treat your septic well, choosing the best dishwasher detergent for septic systems is key.



Dishwashers, like washing machines, tend to use a lot of water. But when it comes to septic issues, this often isn’t the problem. Typically, the detergent is the one to blame.

For starters, dishwasher detergents labeled as “anti-bacterial” are bad news. They can kill your tank’s good bacteria, which are responsible for breaking down solid waste. This prevents your septic tank from filling up too quickly.

But without enough bacteria, solid waste will build up. The result? Back-ups, unpleasant odors, and a damaged drainfield.

Additionally, some dishwasher detergents have phosphates, which can kill the enzymes and bacteria in your tank. Phosphates are chemicals that help remove food and grime from your dishes. Unfortunately, these chemicals can seriously threaten the health of your septic system.
Phosphates are also toxic for the environment. After passing through a septic system, they linger in wastewater and enter natural bodies of water. Here, the phosphates feed harmful algae, which significantly decrease oxygen levels in the water. As a result, marine life (like fish) cannot survive.

In the United States, phosphates have been banned from laundry detergent. However, they’re still used in other types of household soaps – including dishwasher detergent. Only a handful of states have banned the use of phosphates in dishwasher soap.



When buying a dishwasher detergent, choose products that are:

  • Phosphate-free
  • Non-antibacterial
  • Eco-friendly
  • Biodegradable

Typically, a detergent that checks all these boxes will be labeled with these terms. They might also be called “septic-safe,” but it’s still wise to check the packaging and fine print.



In addition to choosing the right dishwasher detergent, there are other things you can do to protect your septic system while using the dishwasher:

  • Use the dishwasher when you aren’t doing laundry or using the shower. This can severely overload your septic tank. Instead, spread out your major water usage throughout the week or day.
  • Upgrade your dishwasher, if necessary. Older models tend to be less efficient than newer ones.
  • Always run the dishwasher with a full load. This way, you can make the most out of the water and energy.



Using the right dishwasher detergent for your septic system is the best thing you can do. Not only does it extend the life of your system, but it protects the environment as well.

For specific questions related to your septic, contact us at (480) 351-1725. One of our expert septic technicians will be happy to assist you.

Is Fabric Softener Bad for Septic Systems?



You already know that certain substances are bad for your septic system, which is why you make a conscious effort to keep your system functioning optimally. You follow the “no FOG” rule of keeping your drains free of fats, oils, and grease. You are careful about what your family flushes down the toilets, and you don’t do six loads of laundry in a row, so as not to overwhelm your septic tank.

These are all good ways to protect your septic system from damage and prevent backups, but if you’re using fabric softener for each load of laundry, you may be unknowingly disrupting the balance of bacteria in your tank. Here’s the truth about how fabric softener is affecting your septic system.


Fabric softener can have the same effect as cooking grease in your septic tank

You know not to pour cooking grease down your drain, but did you know that many fabric softeners are petroleum-based products? This thin layer of chemicals is what helps make your clothes feel softer, but it contains petroleum, as in oil.

Additionally, the most common fabric softening chemicals — quaternary ammonium compounds, or “quats” — have antibacterial qualities. These quats can actually kill the good bacteria in your septic tank — the ones that break down waste and keep your system running smoothly.

Many popular fabric softener brands also contain:

  • Acids
  • Silicone-based antifoaming agents
  • Emulsion stabilizers
  • Fragrances
  • Colors


While you don’t have to understand exactly what these chemicals are, what you do need to know is that they’re harmful to your septic tank’s self-sufficient system and equilibrium.

Some of the most popular fragrances and colors are a mixture of untested, toxic chemicals that can wreak havoc on your system and the environment. Petroleum products can also be toxic to the natural microbes in septic systems.


Natural alternatives are better for you and your septic tank

We understand that you want clean, soft clothes — who doesn’t? But, it’s much safer for you, your septic system, and the environment, if you choose natural alternatives to commercial brand fabric softeners.

You can find recipes for homemade liquid fabric softeners online, or you can simply add a half-cup of distilled white vinegar to your laundry during your machine’s rinse cycle.

Alternatively, you can use natural wool or bamboo dryer balls to add fluff and softness to your clothes in the dryer instead of the washer. (That won’t harm your septic tank at all!)


Start with a professional inspection from Paradise Valley Septic

The best way to learn if your fabric softener has caused damage to your septic system is to schedule a septic tank inspection. The experienced professionals at Paradise Valley Septic are experts at evaluating your entire septic system and identifying any existing or potential problems.

We can also offer suggestions for updating all the products in your home that might be harmful to your septic system.

For the best residential and commercial septic service in the Phoenix area, give us a call to schedule an appointment or contact us online anytime.



natural fabric softener balls

How Do I Know What Kind of Septic System I Have?



If you’ve recently moved into a new home, you might be wondering what type of septic system you have. This is especially true if your environment or property has unique conditions that may require a non-conventional system.
Besides, as a homeowner, this information is critical for routine care. The specific type of system determines everything from potential issues to necessary precautions.

To figure out what kind of septic system you have, consider the following factors:



If you live in a single-family home, you might have a conventional septic system. But if you live in a community such as a rural subdivision, you may have a cluster septic system with a shared drainfield.

Meanwhile, vacation homes often use chamber systems. This kind of system is gravel-less and is ideal for locations that produce an inconsistent amount of wastewater throughout the year.



Do you live near a body of water? If so, you might have a sand filter system. This type of system is used when there isn’t enough soil to treat wastewater. It uses a sand filter, which treats the water before it flows into the soil.

Houses near bodies of water that are vulnerable to contamination sometimes use aerobic treatment units (ATUs). These systems insert oxygen into the tank, which promotes bacterial activity.



Smaller lots, like those found along the coast, often use ATUs. That’s because ATUs require less space compared to standard systems.



Your property’s water table can also shed light on the type of septic system you may have. In locations with high water tables, the following kinds are often used:

  • Chamber systems
  • ATUs
  • Mound systems
  • Recirculating sand filter systems



Observe your property. Is there an elevated sand mound out back? This likely indicates a mound septic system, which involves a drainfield trench installed above the ground. Mound systems are typically used for locations with shallow bedrock or soil depth.



Do you get less than 24 inches of rain each year? You probably have an evapotranspiration system, which allows effluent to evaporate. The system depends on sunlight and heat, so it’s used in very dry climates.

Since too much rain or snow will cause the system to fail, you likely don’t have this type if you live in a rainy region.



Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what kind of septic system you have. However, if you’re still not sure, feel free to get in touch. Our team of expert technicians can help you determine the type, along with its unique features.

But what if you already know this information? It’s still a good idea to learn about your system’s specific needs. This way, you can take the proper steps to keep your tank and drainfield healthy.

Paradise Valley Septic is ready to lend a hand. To learn more about our residential septic services in Arizona, contact us at (480) 351-1725 or email us at mail@paradisevalleyseptic.com.


How Deep Should a Septic System Be?



When it’s time to install a septic system, its depth is one of the most crucial aspects. This not only determines how well each part works, but how well the parts work together. In other words, how deep your system is installed will influence its success.

However, if you’re like most homeowners, you likely want to keep the system hidden and out-of-sight. You might even be thinking of a deeper installation to ensure that the top of the tank is completely covered.

But a deeper placement could be difficult to access during routine pumpings. It could also prevent gravity from properly moving effluent into the drainfield.

And then there are the following factors, which affect how deep a septic system should be. Read on to learn about what to consider, along with the typical recommendations.



When it’s time to bury your septic system, there are several factors to consider:

Water Table

If you have a high water table, a deep septic installation may not be the best choice. You might need to add more soil to provide adequate absorption. This creates a mound that serves as an above-ground drainfield.

Soil Type

On a similar note, the contents of your soil also matter. High water tables are common in regions with high amounts of clay. A professional septic company—like Paradise Valley Septic—can determine your soil makeup during the planning process.

Property Features

While planning and designing your system, your technician will analyze the physical features of your property. This may include slopes, nearby bodies of water and drainage patterns of the land. From there, they can determine the ideal trench depth of your drainfield.

Type of Tank

It’s also important to consider the type of tank that’s appropriate for your property. Many tanks are made to hold up to 2 to 3 feet of soil on top, so placing them any deeper might violate the manufacturer’s warranty.



Let’s look at the typical depths for each part of a septic system:



Depending on the above factors, your septic tank may be placed anywhere between this range. It’s also possible to install it at ground level, which makes it easy for technicians to access.

But what if you want to install your tank below ground level but still make service easy? You can install a septic tank riser, which brings the opening of your tank closer to the ground.

It’s best to avoid placing your septic tank deeper than necessary, though. If it’s installed too deep, effluent might backup instead of flowing into the drainfield.



After effluent leaves the septic tank, it flows through perforated pipes in the drainfield. This area is typically 2 to 4 feet deep.

You don’t want to install your drainfield any deeper. The bacteria in the soil need enough oxygen to filter wastewater. If there’s too much soil, the friendly microorganisms won’t have an adequate oxygen supply—resulting in a dreaded septic backup.

Moreover, if you’re installing a gravity system, the drainfield will need to be deeper than the septic tank. This means your septic tank and drainfield can’t both be 4 feet deep. If this isn’t possible, you’ll need a pumped system.



As you can see, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Our team at Paradise Valley Septic can determine how deep your septic system should be. While we’re at it, we can also help you choose the best type of septic system for your property.

Besides, when it comes to residential and commercial septic systems, we’re pros! To book an appointment, fill out our online form or call us at (480) 351-1725.

Beautiful smiling young woman washing the dishes in modern white kitchen.

Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe for My Septic System?



When it comes to cleaning products, there’s nothing more iconic than a bottle of Dawn soap. The bright blue liquid is advertised to be gentle enough to clean baby ducks and strong enough to cut grease. Many people even use it for non-dishwashing purposes, like removing soap scum or fighting weeds.

Needless to say, the popular soap is touted as a mild dish liquid that can do no wrong. But is Dawn safe for your septic system? Let’s look at what you need to know.



Dish soap has an innocent reputation. It’s an ordinary household product, after all! The soap is also sold everywhere and leaves your dishes squeaky clean—what harm could it possibly do?

As it turns out, it can seriously damage your septic system. Like many household items, conventional dish soap is more likely to contain harsh chemicals and non-biodegradable ingredients. This could take a toll on your system’s well-being over time.

Specifically, household products can disrupt the levels of natural bacteria in your tank and drain field. These bacteria break down organic solids and filter wastewater. Without healthy amounts of bacteria, your septic system can’t properly do its job.

Harmful chemicals might also contaminate the groundwater and surrounding soil, which can upset the environmental integrity of your property.

Phosphates are major culprits, but anything that’s petroleum-based or anti-bacterial can pose a problem, too.
There’s also the possibility of septic clogs and backups. If certain ingredients aren’t biodegradable, they can eventually accumulate and clog your septic system.



Dawn produces many cleaning products. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on Dawn’s Ultra Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid. This is the classic blue dish soap labeled as “original,” which most people are familiar with.

And when it comes to your septic system, Dawn may not be the safest choice.

While the soap is free of phosphates, it’s not clear if it’s fully biodegradable. Dawn’s FAQ page states that their products have biodegradable surfactants—but they don’t mention the remaining ingredients.
According to the product’s ingredient list, the soap has:


  • Sodium lauryl sulfate. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a surfactant, is listed as an environmental toxin (and irritant to humans) by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
  • Sodium laureth sulfate. Sodium laureth sulfate is also used as a surfactant. The EWG lists 1,4-dioxane (an environmental pollutant) as a contamination concern of this ingredient.
  • Methylisothiazolinone. In Dawn, this acts as a preservative. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), methylisothiazolinone is “moderately to highly toxic” to marine and freshwater organisms.


Dawn also has a “D” rating on EWG. This is based on factors like “poor ingredient disclosure” and “potential for aquatic toxicity.” Furthermore, back in 2010, it was revealed that Dawn soap was petroleum-based.

Now, the formula may have changed since then. There also isn’t any specific research on how Dawn specifically affects septic systems. However, based on the available information, Dawn may not be the safest choice.



To err on the side of caution, use more natural dish soaps. Look for products that are biodegradable and free of the above ingredients. While you’re at it, avoid antibacterial formulas, which can harm the friendly microbes in your tank.



It’s true that Dawn isn’t as harsh as other soaps. Yet, there are definitely safer choices on the market. Our technicians can provide recommendations at your next septic appointment.

We can also discuss other products that are toxic to your septic system. With our guidance—and regular pumpings—you can keep your system healthy and well.

Paradise Valley Septic offers residential and commercial septic service throughout the Phoenix area. Contact us at (480) 351-1725 to schedule an appointment.

Man holding toilet tissue roll in bathroom looking at loo

What’s the Best Toilet Paper for Septic Systems?



Septic system maintenance isn’t just about regular checkups and inspections. It also depends on your household’s overall water usage and habits. And, as you probably already know, this involves what you flush down the toilet. Otherwise, you might end up with a failing septic system and a very expensive problem.

To avoid this nightmare, it’s important to choose your toilet paper with care. After all, this is the only thing—besides human waste—that should even go in the toilet. Let’s delve into the best toilet paper for septic systems and why they’re great options.



Standard toilet paper usually contains a variety of chemicals, like formaldehyde and chlorine bleach. These substances could mess with the bacteria in your septic tank and reduce its overall effectiveness.
But recycled toilet paper is produced with fewer chemicals, which is healthier for your septic system—and your family. Furthermore, the recycled kind breaks down easier than its traditional counterpart. This means it will dissolve quickly in your tank, reducing the chances of unfortunate septic backups.
When buying recycled toilet paper, always choose a product that’s made of 100 percent recycled materials.



As a paper product, conventional toilet paper will eventually decompose. However, this process requires a lot of time and water. Biodegradable toilet paper dissolves much faster. That’s because it’s made with natural materials such as cotton, wood fiber, and bamboo. This type of toilet paper is free of additives as well. The only drawback? Biodegradable toilet paper can be quite expensive, so keep this in mind before shopping.



If you must opt for traditional toilet paper, choose single-ply. Also known as 1-ply, this tissue paper is made with one layer of paper. Two-ply tissue, on the other hand, consists of two layers. (And 3-ply has three.)
Since single-ply tissue paper is thin, it dissolves like a charm in a septic tank. Meanwhile, multi-ply tissue takes longer to break down, which can quickly fill up your tank. It’s also more likely to clog your pipes.



In general, the best toilet paper for septic systems is thin and contains few chemicals. But if you’re not sure what to look for, check the labels on the packaging of toilet paper. Keep an eye out for words like “septic-safe” or “septic-friendly.” While you’re at it, try to use just one or two sheets during each bathroom trip. This significantly limits how much paper enters your tank, which reduces how fast it fills up.

The result is less frequent pumpings and fewer potential problems. Who can argue with that?
Our team is also happy to provide personalized recommendations, along with other tips for septic system maintenance.


Have questions? Contact us at (480) 351-1725 or email us at mail@paradisevalleyseptic.com.

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