Types of Septic Tanks: Which is Right for You?

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In Arizona, approximately one in five homeowners uses a septic system to treat and dispose of wastewater.

Needless to say, there are a lot of septic systems in the state! But did you know that they probably aren’t all the same?

There are more than 20 types of septic systems approved in Arizona. Each one is appropriate for different factors, such as certain soil depths. The best choice, as you can imagine, will depend on your property.

Let’s explore some of the most common options:

CONVENTIONAL SEPTIC SYSTEMS

A majority of homeowners are most familiar with this kind of septic system. Also known as a standard or basic system, this option uses a septic tank and drainfield. Wastewater from your home enters the tank, where the sludge (solids) and liquids separate. The “good” bacteria in your tank also work to degrade the sludge.

The liquid is pushed out of the tank with gravity or a pump. From there, it enters underground perforated pipes in the drainfield (or leach field). The liquid seeps into the surrounding soil, where bacteria further purify the water.

As for the sludge in the tank? This will naturally accumulate over time, so it’s important to get regular pumpings. This will ensure that the waste doesn’t back up into your home or flow into the drainfield.

ALTERNATIVE SEPTIC SYSTEMS

Standard septic systems are appropriate for most homes. But in Arizona, the land and soil can vary greatly, depending on your location. That’s where alternative septic systems come in.

These options also involve a septic tank. However, alternative systems use different methods to handle wastewater.

Examples of systems include:

Mound Septic System

Traditionally, the pipes in your leach field are installed underground. But if there’s a problem with the depth of your soil, it can be installed above ground in a mound. This mound will be made of soil and gravel.

Evapotranspiration Septic System

If you live in a dry environment that receives less than 24” of rainfall per year, this may be a viable choice. It disposes wastewater via evaporation through surrounding sand and plants.

Low-Pressure Pipe (LPP) Septic System

Do you have shallow soil? If so, an LPP system might be best. It has a tank and drainfield (like a basic system), but with a pumping chamber in between. This chamber, also called a dosing chamber, helps push along wastewater into the drainfield.

Intermittent Sand Filter System

In this system, wastewater flows through a sand filter before it enters the surrounding soil. This may be helpful if your property does not have adequate soil.

Plastic Leachfield Chamber

This option uses a conventional system tank. But in place of pipes in the drainfield, it uses plastic chambers. Not only are these budget-friendly, but they allow for better design flexibility and a smaller footprint. If these aspects are important to you as a homeowner, plastic chambers may be the way to go.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF SYSTEM WITH PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC

There are many types of septic systems to choose from, but Paradise Valley Septic is here to help. Our team of expert technicians can determine the best kind of system for your property and soil. We’re also happy to suggest alternative options, should you have specific concerns or priorities.

To get started, contact us at (480) 607-7763. We look forward to providing you with septic services in Arizona.

Why You Need to Pump Your Septic Tank

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Although owning a home can be extremely rewarding, it takes a lot of work. Top it off with your personal and professional responsibilities, and basic chores — like doing laundry — can feel like a drag! (We’ve all been there before.) However, if you own a septic system, it’s crucial to stay on top of your regular septic pumpings.

Admittedly, it’s easy to forget about septic tank maintenance. You don’t actually see the system each day, unlike the dishwasher or washing machine. Yet, if you forgo routine pumpings, you might be paving the way for preventable septic problems.

Let’s look at why you need to pump your septic tank—and what happens if you don’t.

1. Increase Your System’s Lifespan

Typically, a septic system should last for 25 to 30 years. The key, however, is to follow the best practices for proper maintenance.

With regular pumpings, you can reduce the risk of septic system failures. This also allows your septic provider to identify issues before expensive repairs are needed. Moreover, routine pumpings will minimize the chances of unfixable problems and the need for a septic system replacement.

2. Prevent Clogged Drains

It’s easy to take drains for granted until they slow down. This can make daily tasks, like taking a shower, extremely frustrating.

Pumping your tank will ensure that clogged drains are never an issue. This is especially important if you’re expecting visitors, as increased water usage can exacerbate existing septic issues.

3. Avoid Septic Backups

Remember, your septic tank’s job is to receive solid waste from your home. Over time, however, this sludge will accumulate and fill up the tank. Without regular pumpings, the waste will have nowhere to go but back… resulting in some pretty gross backups.

Aside from smelling terrible, a backup can be harmful for your family’s health. Septic sludge contains all types of disease-causing germs, including bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Needless to say, it’s not worth the risk, so be sure to keep up with those routine pumpings.

Contact Paradise Valley Septic for a Septic Pumping in Phoenix

Need a septic tank pump? Contact the septic technicians at Paradise Valley Septic. Our team can provide routine maintenance for your system and determine the best pumping schedule for your household. Most tanks need to be pumped every 1 to 3 years.

We can also explain what happens during a septic pump so you know what to expect. To get started, call us at (480) 351-1725 or complete our online form

Septic Tank Design 101

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If you’re ready to install a new septic system, it’s important to work with an experienced septic provider. A qualified technician can help you properly design your new tank, which will ultimately determine its efficiency and longevity. But what does septic tank design involve, anyway? Here are some of the most important aspects:

 

SEPTIC TANK SIZE

One of the most important factors is the size of your household. That’s because the number of bedrooms will determine how much water is used each day, and therefore, how big your tank needs to be.

Generally, a septic tank is made to receive approximately 120 gallons per bedroom per day. This number is based on the fact that an individual uses approximately 60 gallons of water each day — and that there are two people in every bedroom. Appliances like dishwashers or washing machines should also be taken into consideration.

Residential tanks can usually handle 750 to 1,250 gallons. However, other factors (like local government regulations and your climate) may also affect tank size.

 

SEPTIC TANK DIMENSIONS

Septic tanks are typically rectangular. Additionally, most tanks measure approximately:

  • 4.5 feet wide
  • 8 feet long
  • 6 feet tall

The exact dimensions of your tank will depend on its size.

As for how deep septic tanks should be buried? Depending on your water table, soil, and type of tank, your tank may be anywhere from 4 inches to 4 feet deep. A majority of tanks are designed to handle no more than 2 to 3 feet of soil on top.

 

SEPTIC TANK MATERIAL

The material of a septic tank needs to be watertight. Otherwise, wastewater will seep out and taint the surrounding environment.

Common materials used for septic tanks include:

  • Concrete
  • Fiberglass
  • Fiber-reinforced plastic
  • High-density plastic

The best choice depends on your landscape, as well as the type of septic system.

It’s worth noting that plastic septic tanks are cheaper and lighter than other options. But due to their light weight, they’re more likely to move around.

Back in the day, some septic tanks were made of steel — but this material is no longer recommended. Here’s why: Steel typically begins to rust after 20 to 25 years, leading to corrosion and structural damage. If this occurs on the top of the tank, it can be unsafe for people and animals on the ground over it. Likewise, if the bottom becomes corroded, sludge could leak out and contaminate the drainfield.

 

DESIGN YOUR SEPTIC TANK WITH PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC TODAY

Septic tank design should always be done by a professional — and Paradise Valley Septic is here to help. Our experienced technicians can create a tank and drainfield that suits your household size, while considering any local regulations and requirements.

And when it’s time for a routine pumping? We offer residential pumping services too. To learn more, contact us online or call us at 480-607-7763.

I’m Buying a Home: Is a Septic Tank Inspection Necessary?

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Congratulations! Buying a home is an exciting time in your life, especially when it means moving into a new space that offers the amenities your whole family wants. As you move forward in the process, your realtor will advise you of the importance of a home inspection, but if your new home has a septic system, you might be wondering about the protocol for that, as well.

 

Is a septic tank inspection really necessary before you close on a new home?

As the state of Arizona requires, a septic tank inspection is absolutely necessary before you buy the home. It’s up to the seller to obtain and schedule a qualified inspector who then provides a written report before the sale becomes binding. 

Here’s what you need to know before you move into your new neighborhood. 

 

Why is a septic system inspection important?

For the same reason you have a general home inspection, a septic system inspection provides valuable information into the health of your septic tank. As a homebuyer, you want peace of mind knowing that all the systems in your home are functioning properly – electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and septic. 

Thorough inspections of these systems can prevent you from purchasing a home with faulty wiring, leaky pipes, and a septic system in desperate need of maintenance or costly repairs. And, if the system is in need of major repairs, you can negotiate with the seller about contributing to the cost. 

Just like a wellness visit to your family doctor, a septic tank inspection alerts you to any minor problems before they become major issues. Isn’t it better to know that the system may need a few simple repairs to get it up to speed rather than waiting for a septic tank disaster to occur?

Take it from us – septic tank disasters rarely occur during convenient times. In our more than 60 years of inspecting and servicing residential and commercial septic systems in the Greater Phoenix area, we can tell you that most septic emergencies happen at inconvenient times, such as during family gatherings or the holiday season

 

Important questions to ask before a septic tank inspection

As you get ready to make an offer on a new home, it’s important to ask questions about the age, condition, and maintenance of the existing septic system, such as:

  • How often has the tank been pumped?
  • Where is the tank located?
  • Have there been any previous problems with the system?
  • What, if any, repairs have been done to the system?
  • How old is the septic system?

Once you own a house with a septic tank, we recommend inspections at least every three years for the health of the entire system and to ensure it’s operating at optimal capacity. 

Our inspections include a full analysis of the system from inside the home to the drainfield. We check for cracked plumbing, sluggish drains, and the levels of accumulated sludge, scum, and effluent in the tank itself. We alert you to any potential problems that are likely to become plumbing mishaps if you ignore them. 

At Paradise Septic, we’re experienced in all aspects of septic systems, from inspections to installations and repairs. Call us to schedule an appointment or contact us online today, before you sign the papers for your new home.

Can my septic system handle a holiday gathering?

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This year’s holiday gatherings may look a little different than they have in the past. Perhaps you’ll be inviting only immediate family or a few close friends instead of hosting a large crowd. Even so, your septic system is designed to accommodate a certain number of people on a daily basis. 

So, what happens when you host a holiday gathering? Can your septic system handle the extra flushes and water usage? Keep the information below in mind and you’ll be safe from septic tank surprises during this holiday season. 

 

First, understand the size of your septic system

Typically, your septic system supports a certain number of people based on the number of bedrooms in your home. For example, if you have a three-bedroom home, your septic tank size is based on 1.5+ people per bedroom. We calculate an average expected water usage from each person in the household and select an appropriate tank size to accommodate your family’s water consumption and plumbing needs. 

We also take other factors into consideration, such as whether or not your kitchen has a garbage disposal, your bathroom has a jacuzzi tub, or you regularly have more people living with you or staying at your house. That’s how your septic tank and drainfield size are calculated – or were calculated before you owned the house. 

 

Next, think about extra guests and water usage

If your septic system is doing its job during non-holiday seasons, it’s probably because you: 

 

Now, think about adding extra people to the mix

Extra people means increased water usage at the sink and extra flushes in the bathrooms. If you overwhelm your septic tank with a larger-than-normal volume in a short period of time, you could end up maxing out your drainfield capacity. What does this mean for you and your guests? Potentially, backed up toilets and an overflowing drainfield. 

This certainly doesn’t mean you should cancel your plans to host a holiday gathering this season. However, it does mean that if you want to avoid plungers and plumbing disasters, you should take these steps to minimize the shock to your septic system (and your party guests).

 

Plan ahead

Of course, you’re planning the party from the menu to the decorations, but you also need to plan ahead in terms of reducing your water usage in the days leading up to the soirée. 

  • Avoid doing several loads of laundry or running the dishwasher a few days before your guests arrive
  • Do as much food preparation as possible ahead of time to reduce your water usage on the day of the party
  • Schedule a septic tank inspection a few weeks before your gathering to make sure your system is functioning optimally
  • Check your drainfield

On the day of your party, be sure to inform your guests about the dos and don’ts of septic systems, including what’s OK to flush and what isn’t. (You can even hang a cute sign in your guest bathrooms to remind people.)

 

Ready for the challenge?

Think your septic system is ready for the challenge of a holiday gathering? The best way to find out is to contact the professionals at Paradise Valley Septic. We’re experts at evaluating your entire septic system and identifying any existing or potential problems – before you send out the guest invitations. 

In the Phoenix area, Paradise Valley Septic is experienced in all aspects of septic systems, from installation to maintenance and repair. Call us to schedule an appointment or contact us online today.

4 Common Holiday Mistakes with Septic Systems

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With the holiday season finally upon us, you’re likely gearing up to celebrate with family and friends. There are recipes to plan, gifts to buy, and rooms to decorate—just to name a few. Yet, if you own a house with a septic system, you may want to add “care for septic tank” on that list.

This is crucial even if this year’s gatherings are small due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The extra hustle and bustle at home—along with loved ones and college kids visiting for the holidays—can all take a toll on your system.

Fortunately, it’s possible to do this through small yet impactful habits. Start by taking note of the common holiday mistakes with septic systems and doing your best to avoid them. This way, you can close out the year (and start off a new one) free of expensive septic issues.

 

POURING FATS, OILS, AND GREASE DOWN THE DRAIN

The best part of the holiday season may very well be the rich and hearty food. But with this food comes a lot of fats, oils, and grease—also known as FOG.

Avoid discarding FOG in your garbage disposal or drain; it’s one of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make. Not only can the fats accumulate and block your drains, but they can disturb the beneficial bacteria in your septic tank.

(The same goes for coffee grounds, solid food waste, bleach, and other chemicals. In addition to FOG, these should not be put down the sink drains.)

If the bacteria are disrupted, the waste in our system can’t be efficiently broken down. This leads to a buildup of sludge, resulting in slow pipes and septic problems.

Of course, you and your family likely already know how to properly discard of FOG. But some guests may not be aware, so be sure to give them a heads up.

 

NOT REMINDING YOUR GUESTS WHAT NOT TO FLUSH

Similarly, remind your visitors to avoid flushing certain items. These objects can clog the pipes and cause serious septic issues down the line.

Ask your guests to avoid flushing:

  • Feminine hygiene products, including tampons and pads
  • Diapers
  • Paper towels
  • Personal cleaning wipes
  • Basically, anything except toilet paper!

 

NOT SPACING OUT WATER USAGE

Although spacing out water usage is always important, it’s even more crucial during the holiday season. Using too much water, after all, can cause your septic system to become overloaded.

You can spread out water usage by:

  • Doing laundry the week before
  • Avoid running the washing machine and dishwasher simultaneously
  • Staggering shower times of guests and family

 

NOT PUMPING YOUR SYSTEM IN ADVANCE

Finally, if you’re expecting a significant uptick in activity in your home, it’s wise to have your system pumped first.

Not due for a pumping? It might still be a good idea to get one, even if it’s been less than 3 to 5 years (the general recommendation for routine pumping). Otherwise, if you forgo pumping and host many guests, you’ll be more likely to experience septic problems due to excess water usage and flushing. 

By avoiding these common holiday mistakes, your septic system will thrive during the festive season. But why go at it alone? Paradise Valley Septic can lend a hand by providing residential pumping services and inspecting your septic tank. To get started, call us at 480-607-7763 or contact us online

Septic Tank Pumping Cost: What to Expect

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Whether you live alone or in a full house, pumpings are crucial for routine septic maintenance. For starters, regular pumpings can reduce the risk of backups, slow drains, and stinky odors—all of which can be a major headache. Routine pumpings also keep your system healthy and well, ensuring it can serve your home for years to come.

If you’re due for a septic tank pumping, you might wonder how much it will cost. Here’s what you can expect so you can budget accordingly.

 

FACTORS THAT AFFECT SEPTIC TANK PUMPING COST

As you can imagine, the final price tag of a septic tank pumping varies greatly. It depends on numerous factors, including:

Septic tank size

The larger your septic tank, the more it will cost to pump. After all, bigger septic tanks hold more waste, so they require more time to clean out.

Water usage

Your household’s water usage will determine how quickly your tank fills up. This affects how often you need septic pumpings, and ultimately, your overall cost of maintenance.

Hopefully, your septic tank is the appropriate size of your household to begin with. If you’re not sure, contact an experienced septic provider like Paradise Valley Septic.

Additional maintenance

If you’re overdue for a pump (or already experiencing septic problems), your tank may require additional services or repairs. This will be tacked on to the cost of pumping, thus increasing your total cost.

 

GETTING YOUR SEPTIC TANK PUMPED COSTS LESS THAN NEGLECTING IT

Until a technician inspects your septic tank, it’s difficult to determine the exact cost of a pumping service. However, it will certainly cost less than skipping regular pumpings.

Here’s why: During a pumping, the sludge at the bottom of your tank is cleaned out. This prevents clogged pipes and backups, ensuring you can avoid expensive issues like:

Although these problems can be a serious financial burden, they can be prevented by staying on top of routine pumpings.

 

CONTACT PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC FOR SEPTIC PUMPINGS

For an estimate on your septic tank pumping cost, contact Paradise Valley Septic. Our experienced team is highly knowledgeable in the factors that may affect your maintenance expenses. We can also suggest how often you should get your septic tank pumped, based on your household size and water usage.

Since 1958, we’ve served the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas. And we can’t wait to serve you, too! Call us at (480) 351-1725 or complete our online form.

Septic Tank Inspection: When You Need It and What to Expect

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Septic tank inspections are a lot like regular doctor’s checkups. When done routinely and properly, they give you a chance to spot problems before they become worse—and, in some cases, prevent them from happening in the first place.

But much like doctor’s checkups, septic tank inspections should only be done by a professional. Otherwise, you run the risk of overlooking or misinterpreting the “symptoms” of your system.

Here, we explain when you need septic tank inspections, along with what to expect.

 

SEPTIC TANK INSPECTION FREQUENCY

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, residential septic systems need to be inspected at least once every three years.

This is true even if your septic system seems to be working well and isn’t causing any problems. Here’s why: Septic failure often stems from small, fixable issues. These issues may not always be obvious, let alone cause noticeable problems. The key is to identify these hiccups before they lead to expensive system-wide failures.

Keep in mind that every household is different. Depending on your overall water usage and type of septic system, you may need more or less frequent septic tank inspections.

You should also schedule an inspection if you:

  • Notice a problem (such as standing water, stinky odors, or sluggish drains)
  • Are planning to renovate your home
  • Are moving into a new home with a septic system
  • Are overdue for a septic inspection or routine pumping

 

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A SEPTIC INSPECTION

In general, here’s what you can expect during a septic system inspection:

  • Consultation. Your septic provider will want to learn about how your system has been cared for thus far. They’ll ask questions about its maintenance history, along with any potential issues.
  • Visual inspection. Next, your septic provider will check the inside of your tank. They’ll look for signs of leaks, overload, and damage.
  • Pumping and drainfield test. Finally, your provider will determine if your drainfield is working properly. They’ll pump the tank and examine the area, where they’ll look for any backflow.

The inspector will also dig up the soil around the septic system and drainfield. Therefore, it’s important to keep the area clear of objects and other debris.

 

CALL PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC FOR A SEPTIC INSPECTION IN PHOENIX

Not sure if it’s time to get a septic tank inspection? Contact the professionals at Paradise Valley Septic. Our trained septic providers can explain when you should get inspections, along with what to expect. Contact us at (480) 351-1725 today.

 

Will There Be Smells After a Septic Pump?

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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.

 

WILL A SEPTIC PUMPING CAUSE BAD ODORS?

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.

 

CAUSES OF STINKY ODORS AFTER A SEPTIC PUMPING

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.

 

LET PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC HELP YOU AVOID SEPTIC ODORS

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.

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

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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:

 

TYPE OF HOME

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.

 

NEARBY BODIES OF WATER

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.

 

SIZE OF PROPERTY

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

 

WATER TABLE

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

 

SAND MOUND

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.

 

ENVIRONMENT

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.

 

CALL THE EXPERTS AT PARADISE VALLEY SEPTIC

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.

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