Key Peninsula Septic Care Incentive Program

If you are a Key Peninsula resident in need of septic service, you’re in luck. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is now offering an incentive program for homeowners. You can save up to $450 on your next septic inspection, riser installation or pumping. Here at FloHawks, our service technicians are experienced in working with the county Health Department and we can help you file the proper paperwork to receive your incentive.

Follow these steps to participate in the septic care incentive program:

  1. Choose a certified septic system service provider.
  2. Schedule your service here. Let us know that you are participating in Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Septic Care Incentive Program.
  3. Download the form here and fill in your information. When the service technician arrives at your home, give them this form to receive:

✓ $125 off a routine inspection (required to receive other discounts below)
✓ $125 off riser installation (inspection required first)
✓ $200 off tank(s) pumping (inspection required first)

Important information:

  • Savings are valid for properties with onsite septic systems in the Key Peninsula only. You must have a gravity or pressure distribution system. Not valid for home sale inspections.
  • Septic systems require ongoing inspections. The county will notify you when a routine inspection is due.
  • Questions? Contact Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department at (253) 798-4788 or EHsepticsystems@tpchd.org.

Key Peninsula Infographic

Lake Tapps Septic Care Incentive Program

Are you a Lake Tapps Resident and looking for a TAPPSWISE Certified Septic Care Provider? Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is now offering an incentive program for homeowners. You can save up to $450 on your next septic inspection, riser installation or pumping. We are teaming up with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to keep your septic system in good working order. At FloHawks, we are experienced in working with the county Health Department and we can help you file the proper paperwork to receive your incentive.

Follow these steps to participate in the septic care incentive program:

  1. Choose a certified septic system service provider.
  2. Schedule your service here. Let us know that you are participating in Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Septic Care Incentive Program.
  3. Download the form here and fill in your information. When the service technician arrives at your home, give them this form to receive:

✓ $125 off a routine inspection (required to receive other discounts below)
✓ $125 off riser installation (inspection required first)
✓ $200 off tank(s) pumping (inspection required first)

Important information:

  • Savings are valid for properties with onsite septic systems in Lake Tapps only. You must have a gravity or pressure distribution system. Not valid for home sale inspections.
  • Septic systems require ongoing inspections. The county will notify you when a routine inspection is due.
  • Questions? Contact Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department at (253) 798-4788 or TappsWise@tpchd.org with “TappsWise Incentive Program” in the subject line.

Lake Tapps Infographic

4 Easy Ways to Find Your Septic Tank

yard

You may think it’s easy to keep track of something on your property as large as a septic tank but if your septic tank lid is buried underground, as they often are, it may be more difficult to locate than you think. In some cases, particularly if you are not the home’s original owner, you may not have any idea as to where the lids are located. If your property is particularly large, that further complicates matters. Below are some simple tips that may help you locate your septic tank lids.

Let Sewer Pipes Lead the Way

Your septic tank and drainfield are typically installed parallel to the sewer line that extends from your home into the yard. In your home’s basement or crawl space, you may be able to locate a 4-inch sewer pipe where it leaves the house that can lead the way to your septic system. Follow the pipe across the yard by probing every 2 feet or so. Septic tanks are required to be at least 5 feet from the house, although most are between 10 and 25 feet away.

Check County Records

Most counties keep records of building permits, including the installation of septic systems on a particular piece of property. Typically, these “As-builts” contain a diagram with dimensions that can help you locate the septic tank on your property. If your home is located in Thurston, Pierce, Mason, King, or Kitsap Counties, check here to find more information on how to get your home’s as-built drawings. A diagram of your septic system may also be included as part of your home inspection when you purchased the property. If you are able to get a hold of your home’s as-built drawing, be sure to look at the relative orientations of the tank and your house, and the distance from the tank to the side of the house that the sewer exits. Don’t forget that landmarks may change over time depending on when the tank was installed.

Dig Up the Lids

dig

An as-built drawing will indicate how many lids there are for your septic tank. Depending on your septic tank setup, your system may include two or three lids. Septic tanks are typically rectangular in shape and measure approximately 5 feet by 8 feet. In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground. You can use a metal probe to locate its edges and mark the perimeter. If you do not find the lid by probing, shallow excavation with a shovel along the tank’s perimeter should reveal the lid.

Schedule Maintenance

Once you’ve located the tank and found the lids, it’s time to give FloHawks a call and schedule your maintenance service. Remember, do not attempt to open the tank yourself. Concrete septic tank lids are heavy, and many require specific lifting tools to remove. Most importantly, an open tank can be very dangerous because of its hazardous wastewater and toxic fumes. It’s best to leave this part to the professionals. If you are unable to find your septic system lids, or prefer FloHawks do it for you, skip the tips provided above and simply give us a call. Also, if you’d like to add risers to your septic tank for easy access in the future, FloHawks can do that too.

Disguise the Lids

Now that you have gone through the trouble of locating your tank, digging up the lids, and adding risers, you should keep that area clear and visible, so you don’t have to go through the same process next time you are due for septic tank maintenance. However, septic tank lids can be a bit of an eyesore! Some ways that you can hide your lids in plain sight are to cover them with an object like a lightweight plastic rock, a bird bath or a planter box.

FloHawks has been locating lids and servicing septic tanks since 1968. Our trained professionals are ready to help with all of your septic tank needs. Schedule service online or call us today at (800) 356-4295.

Keeping the Environment in Mind

earth

Since today is Earth Day, it’s gotten us thinking about things that we can do to help protect the environment on a daily basis. With so many homes using septic systems in the Pacific Northwest, it is important to keep the environment in mind. That means taking good care of your septic system.

If you do not routinely maintain your septic tank, it may lead to a system failure. Such failures could result in expensive repairs. If your septic tank overflows or otherwise does not function properly, you could be putting your health and quality of water in harm’s way. Some major issues include:

  • Threat of contaminating local shellfish beds and beaches
  • Exposing your family or pets to sewage
  • Excessive nitrogen and phosphorous levels, which leads to algae growth and lower oxygen levels in lakes, rivers and streams
  • Contamination of surface water and ground water with nitrates and disease-causing pathogens

Here are a few things to keep an eye out for on Earth Day and every day:

Soggy spots on lawn

If the drainfield is clogged, it will flood and cause sewage backups. The blockage creates an unclean environment for the grass. Areas of more lush grass growth over the septic tank may be signs that the tank is leaking or backing up and spilling effluent – a sign of potential trouble.

A Foul “Rotten Egg” Odor

Sewer gas is a complex mixture of toxic and non-toxic gasses that can be present at varying levels depending upon the source. It is formed during the decay of household waste, typically the anaerobic decomposition of sewage and sludge. A common source of sewer gas odors in the home is a “dry trap”. This occurs when a sink, shower, floor drain, or toilet is not used for a long time, and the water in the trap eventually evaporates out, allowing the sewer gas to enter.

Excessive Water Usage

One way to cut down your water usage is to collect and reuse the greywater in your home. Although greywater looks dirty, it does not need to be immediately flushed into the sewer or septic tank. This type of water is still considered safe to use and it can be repurposed. For example, you could use your dishwater to water your lawn or plants. Using greywater can reduce the amount of water going directly into your septic tank at any given time.

Avoid Chemical-based Drain Cleaners

Chemicals that are strong enough to clear a clog in your drain will also cause damage to your skin and eyes, not to mention the environment. Chemical drain cleaners get washed into the sewer system and eventually the local waterways and can damage plant and animal habitats. Environmentally aware homeowners opt for greener solutions for drain cleaning. These harmful cleaners also kill the good bacteria living inside the septic tank that work to break down and clean the wastewater.

Protect Your Drainfield

Even though your drainfield is buried, and might not be the first thing on your mind, it is important to know where your pipes are so you don’t drive or park on them. Your pipes are sensitive to pressure and the weight of a vehicle may cause the pipes to crack. Cracked pipes allow roots to begin growing inside the pipes and will eventually create large blockages that will require extensive plumbing work to remove and restore.

Along with keeping your septic system in working order, hopefully these tips will get you thinking about other things you might be able to do the make the environment a little cleaner on Earth Day.

For more information on Earth Day, and to learn what you can do, visit https://www.earthday.org/

earth

Drain Cleaning: Using Chemicals to Unclog Your Drain May Not Be the Best Solution

drain

Slow drains are a common plumbing problem. If you notice that your shower or sink seems to be draining slower than usual, time is of the essence. A slow drain can quickly get worse over time and turn into a drain that is completely blocked. Although many homeowners may resort to reaching for a chemical agent for tough clogs, you may be surprised to learn that using a chemical clog remover as your first line of defense may not always be the best option.

drain2While using a chemical drain cleaner can be a temporary fix, professional plumbers agree that chemical cleaners are rarely effective and are used far too frequently by consumers. Most importantly, chemical cleaners can cause more problems than they solve. Some chemicals can be harmful to pipes and actually cause serious damage. Using a chemical clog remover can cause serious backups into other pipes in your home. A backup into the dishwasher or washing machine could potentially cause a very serious issue.

Clog removing chemicals can also damage professional plumbing tools. A drain snake is a commonly used tool to unclog pipes and it can be damaged by these chemicals. It is a long flexible metal rope with a spiral of metal at the end and is fairly low-tech. Some companies may even charge for the damaged equipment which could cost as much as the service itself.

Chemicals that are strong enough to clear a clog in your drain will also cause damage to your skin and eyes, not to mention the environment. Chemical drain cleaners get washed into the sewer system and eventually the local waterways and can damage plant and animal habitats. Environmentally aware homeowners opt for greener solutions for drain cleaning.

In addition to chemical cleaners being harmful for you and the environment, we also recommend that they not be flushed down your drains because the toxicity of such products can cause a serious imbalance within your septic system. These harmful cleaners kill the good bacteria living inside the septic tank that work to break down and clean the wastewater. Pouring chemicals down the drain can actually increase the rate of digestion,
and may result in your tank needing to be serviced more often than what is typically required.

Instead of using a chemical cleaner, first, try a simple way to unclog a drain and use a plunger. This may save you a lot of trouble. Keep in mind that sometimes a DIY repair project can cause more harm to your plumbing than the clog itself. If your shower or sink is still draining slowly after plunging it and you haven’t been able to correct the situation, it’s time to call FloHawks for professional help. Exerting too much force can permanently damage a pipe or fixture. FloHawks has trained experts with professional tools that can clear blockages deep in drain lines.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A little precaution before a crisis occurs is preferable to a lot of fixing afterward, and the same goes for your plumbing. Clogs can be prevented by having a professional inspection every two to three years to ensure things are functioning properly. Regular maintenance inspections can help identify potential issues early on and save you headaches down the road, particularly if you have a septic tank.

FloHawks has been clearing drains since 1968. We will unclog your drain and provide maintenance tips for keeping your drains flowing freely. We know how much headache a clogged drain can cause – that is why we are available for drain cleaning, drain clearing and all your plumbing needs. Contact us online or call us today at (800) 356-4295.