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Articles and opinions that could help protect you and your community from the environmental & financial damages caused by sewage (yuk).  And I am adding more articles that pertain to a wide variety of topics. 

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Septic stuff

Financial and other issues

Drugs in your drinking water Even that stylish bottled          water you bought this morning   The Real Real Estate Market Don't believe the experts...The biggest crash in history is here
City vs. Septic (angry) A confrontational expose' of why the sudden need to "hook you up" Spam An easy solution to a nagging problem
Marco Island-Dirty Politics An example of abuse you should look at I'm getting back into to a writing mood so get ready for a bunch more  
Danger in Delaware Read this and you will see how some states are ignoring the obvious in the name of progress  City vs. Septic  (nice) The question facing thousands of communities (the answer may shock you)
Death in the backyards of America Are you at risk...millions of you are    
Get on an annual inspection program Do this and save money and the environment    
When the city makes an offer... Do your homework before your checkbook gets sucked dry    
Where will your neighborhood be in 5 years? Something to consider    
The evolution of septic systems in the US Explains how we got where we are    
The build up of lake communities Those pristine lake cabins and cottages need a lot of help    
       

I get a fair amount of e-mail and phone-in questions. I am glad I am able to help a large number of these people with cheaper and easier solutions.

Like the lady that was going to buy a house and asked if an inspection was that important. After explaining it could save her a lot of money she agreed to have the pre-sale inspection. Within 2 days she got back to me and said the seller refused an to allow the inspection. She also learned the system needed extensive repairs. It was also learned this home was on the Health Depts. "hit" list and the up-grade would be forced within 2 years, regardless of who owned the home at that time. This womanís biggest regret was that these people will sell the home to someone else that would not bother checking and would get stuck with the tab.

Or the man that said "My wife the worry wart insisted we follow your advice and have the system inspected before we bought the house only to find out the system needed to be totally replaced. The sellers (an elderly couple) were genuinely surprised they had been living with a bad system all these years and agreed to pay for the new system and the inspection."

Naturally there are also the countless number of people that have been told (after a quick glance from a contractor, Health Official, or farmer Brown, the neighborhood expert on everything) their system is shot and will need to be totally replaced. However after doing a tune-up on their system which includes a PROPER pumping of the tank, cleaning the drainfield lines, installing washing machine and effluent filters, their system now works as good as new for about $500. Some people also need to include fracturing the soil, but $2,000 for a super tune-up is a lot cheaper than $5,000 to $20,000 for a whole new system.

For these people I am happy I have been able to help.

But then there are the people that I can not offer a low-cost solution. Like the people that bought a 40 year old house, lived in it for 8 years, never had the system pumped and inspected (because no one told them they should) and now have a failing system and have learned from the Health Dept. that it is an old cesspool that will need to be totally replaced at a cost of $21,000. $21,000 they do not have but the Health Dept. has given them 30 days or their house will be condemned and they will be forced out on the street.

For these people there is no quick fix and I am sorry I can not help them.

But then there are the people I am glad are getting squeezed. Like the man that inherited his house from his father 17 years ago. His septic system is a 4 inch pipe from his toilet directly to the ditch in front of his house. "Been like this for years. Never had any problems with it. But now because a few meddling neighbors are complaining about the smell the Health and Water guy says I have to pay $4,800 to put in a tank and drainfield. This set-up was good enough for my dad, itís good enough for me. How can I sue the County?"

I explained raw sewage in an open ditch is a significant health risk. More than 100 diseases and parasites can be transmitted from human waste through direct contact (where do children like to play after a heavy rain, flooded ditches) and/or indirect contact (what do dogs like to do when they find something stinky, roll in it. And where do mosquitoís breed, pools of water). That ditch is also going to eventually empty into a lake, stream, river, etc. The smell is an annoyance, the health risks are the real issue. As it is, more than 1200 Americans die every year from contaminated water and failing septic systems are the leading source of water born disease outbreaks in this country today.

His reply to me..."Youíre just another one of these environmental freaks. You probably get a kick-back from the government for every system they put in!"

First, the government does not install septic systems.

Second, if I was getting a kick-back for systems that were being replaced I sure wouldnít keep giving people advice on how to prevent system failure.

Third, youíve gone decades without treating your wastewater or paying for it and now you are whining because itís going to cost a few dollars and you are finally being forced to accept the responsibility that goes with being a homeowner.

And fourth, as far as I am concerned the government dropped the ball on this problem years ago and (in many parts of the country) are still not doing enough to correct/prevent the problem and who pays for this...we do.

A 3 part education program should have been implemented in the 1960ís when it began dawning on people that getting every home in America on a sewage treatment facility was not going to happen.

The first segment to educate is the contractors. Anyone can dig a hole in the ground, but to dig a hole that will effectively remove the bad things in wastewater is a different story and there are still contractors that are installing systems the way their daddy did before we knew anything about how to install proper treatment system.

The second segment to educate is the people that inspect the work of the contractors. If they donít know what a good system is how can they protect and insure the homeowners get a good system from the contractor.

And the third segment to educate is the users of those systems, the homeowners. Even the best system will fail if it is used wrong and how can someone use something right if they were never taught the doís and doníts.

What do I feel is the most important segment to educate? The homeowners. Why? Because when they find out they could be drinking today what they had for dinner last night they will make sure a contractor puts in a proper system. And when they learn how to properly use that system it wonít fail, which means they wonít have to pay to have it fixed again. Problem solved and you just stopped one of the major sources of pollution in this country today while saving money. Gee, that was a tough one to figure out.

There are some hard working and forward thinking people with these agencies: Ken Olson with the U of M Extension Service started doing community education classes 3 years ago, Dave Gustafson, also with the U of M, has been training contractors and inspectors around the country. Rich Piluk with the Health Dept. of Maryland has been known to go out and work on a problem system on Easter Sunday (with his kids in tow). Rick Fehr with the Health Dept. of Georgia had me come to his community to put on classes.

On the other hand, I have had homeowners ask me to come put on classes for their community only to have the local regulator say, "We donít need you or your education programs." Really. If you donít need it then why are your homeowners asking me to come? Apparently you are not doing your job and it is the people that pay your salary to protect them that are paying the price. Education is always better, cheaper and more effective than regulation, but apparently not everybody knows, cares or wants to do it the easy way, they would prefer to keep putting expensive Band-Aids on the problem.

It may sound like I am putting way too much emphasis on education but ask yourself this question and be honest about it, if the Health Department sent you a letter that said:

"We have inspected your septic system and have found it does not meet todayís code requirements. Whereas your system is construed to be a menace to public health you are served notice you have 10 days to have that system replaced with an approved system. Failure to comply will result in daily fines of up to $1,000 per day until the system is brought up to code. Further failure to comply with this notice will result in the condemnation of your property and you will be forcibly removed from the property until said repairs and fines are satisfied. If no action is taken the property will become the property of the state and possible criminal charges will be filed."

In other words, put in a new system in 10 days or you will get fined and lose your home and go to jail. Can you afford to write out a check for $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 or more to replace your septic system tomorrow? Think it doesnít happen...Ask Kent & Glenda Duell. They lost their property, got fined $128,000 and each sentenced to 60 days in jail. They are currently out on $58,000 bail awaiting appeal.

Let me ask you again: Can you afford to write out a check for $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 or more to replace your septic system tomorrow?

 

I just came across your web page and found it very amusing and informative.  

I have been a septic tech for 13 years now and you wouldn't believe the ridiculous things Iíve heard come from people, the worst being "Iíve had my septic tank for forty years with no problems and never had it cleaned.  I don't understand why it's not working now-you want to charge me how much to clean it??".

Man it's always the contractorís fault that the system is failing or we are just trying to rip someone off, not help them out. you have a great website keep up the good work and keep'em straight. 

K & H Septic

Those BAD Additive's

From: Dennis Hubbs, Hubbs Septic Svc.
Date: 25 Nov 1997
Time: 00:57:31
Remote Name: 173-213-208.ipt.aol.com

Comments

 

I run a small septic service in central New York. Throughout the past 27 years of pumping tanks, and replacing systems I've noticed that people around here really haven't a clue what the long term effects are from the use of "Rid-X", "Septic Helper", or other enzyme type additives in their systems. For years now we've seen leach fields, and dry wells literally destroyed by such chemical additives. I find it hard to believe that in all these years that companies like this can still be getting away with such an elaborate SCAM. They even have the nerve to solicit me on my business phone to sell their product. I recently asked one of their sales people to send me some information on the product they were pushing because she claimed that this "Septic Helper" would purify the output of my residential septic tank to the point of drinkability...LOL. As if that wasn't enough, I no sooner got off the phone when her supervisor called me back to confirm my order of a SIX year supply of this stuff!!! Of course I said NO, and then I couldn't get them to send me any literature. This post seems to be getting loooong winded so I'd just like to part by saying that it has been a pleasure to FINALLY vent my years of frustration on this subject to someone that is hopefully familiar with this. I'll check back sometime to see if anybody replied with similar experience or opposite maybe.

 


 
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