Tips & FAQ

Discover one of our many Tips & FAQ, answering many commonly asked questions.

DO'S & DONT'S

TIPS & TRICKS


Learn the do’s and dont’s, know the warning signs, and find the resources you need to ensure you have a healthy working septic system.


1Items to Avoid in your Septic System

The following guidance is a collaborative effort of wastewater professionals within the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA). The purpose is to identify common issues that can cause problems with the operations of newer onsite treatment and traditional septic systems. Many operational problems exist today because owners are unaware of the results of daily practices to these systems.


  • Inert Materials

    Plastic, rubber, scouring pads, dental floss, kitty litter, cigarette filters, bandages, hair, mop strings, lint, rags, cloth, and towels do not degrade in an onsite treatment system. Inert materials build up solids and lead to system malfunction, clogging, or increased need for cleanout of tanks.


  • Paper Products

    Disposable diapers, paper towels, facial tissues, baby wipes, lotions, or scented/quilted toilet tissue does not readily dissolve in an onsite treatment system. It is important to remember that excessive amounts of toilet tissue do not easily decompose and can lead to system malfunctions, backing up, or the need for the more frequent cleanouts of system.


  • Food Wastes

    Do not put animal fats, bones, grease, coffee/tea grounds, citrus/melon rinds, corncobs, or eggshells down the sing. It is not recommended to use garbage disposal; the best advice is to throw everything in the trash. Spoiled dairy products and yeasts of the microbes that do not degrade sewage and are recommended to be thrown either outside or in the trash. Pickle juices or any kinds of vinegar are strongly advised against as well.


  • Household Products

    Do not flush female sanitary products, cotton balls or swabs, or condoms into the system. Antimicrobial soaps and automatic disinfection tablets (blue, clear or otherwise) may kill the organisms needed to consume waste.


  • Medications/Ailments

    Normal use of over-the-counter medications will not affect the performance of onsite systems; however, do not flush expired medicines/antibiotics into an onsite treatment system. Some prescription medications are known to cause biological disruption. Diseases or conditions which can affect septic system function include bulimia, severe infections (including AIDS), cancer, chronic diarrhea, intestinal/colon bypass, or other gastrointestinal conditions.


  • Commercial Additives

    Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Small Flows Clearinghouse report that there is no evidence to support the use of additives with normally functioning onsite treatment systems. Some septic tank additives have been shown to do more harm than good. A normally functioning system should not require additives. RID-X and products alike are never recommended by Brighteyes


  • Chemicals & Toxins

    The following materials kill the microbes necessary for the biological treatment to occur: paint, paint thinner, solvents, volatile substances, drain cleaners, automotive fluids, fuels, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, metals, disinfectants, sanitizers, bleach, mop water, floor stripping wastes or excessive use of household chemicals and backwash from water softener regeneration.


  • Laundry Practices

    Because onsite systems process water as it enters the system, laundry should be spread out over the week and not ran all at one time. Excessive use of detergents, especially those containing bleach, can affect system performance. Liquid detergents are recommended over powder. Fabric softener sheets are recommended over liquid softeners, and bleach should be used sparingly and at half the rate indicated on the container.


  • Clear Water Waste

    Excessive flows from A/C discharge lines, floor drains, gutters, whole house water treatment systems, and sump pumps can increase the flow to your treatment system. These flows can at least disrupt, if not destroy, your treatment process.


2Maintaining a Healthy Septic System, Avoid These Entirely

Follow these simple tips & tricks to aid in maintaining a healthy septic system!


  • Avoid non-biodegradable products, chemicals and solids (tampons, cigarette butts, condoms, or other similar items, hair, bandages, rags, strings, coffee grounds or cereals).

  • Avoid paper towels and handy wipes; no matter what the box or manufacturer, etc. says.

  • Avoid water from gutter or floor drains.

  • Avoid water conditioning backwashes / discharge from water softener, and purifier, sanitizer, or conditioners. It is saltwater in an extreme concentration. Bacteria doesn’t do well in a salty environment.

  • Avoid dehumidifiers and air conditioner discharges.

  • Avoid chlorine & chemicals in excess

  • Avoid adding hot tub and jacuzzi discharges

  • Avoid water from excessive loads of laundry. Loads should be spaced out. (1 day of the whole family's laundry is a no-no!)

  • Avoid water from leaking fixtures including “sneaky-leaky” toilets.

  • Avoid disposable baby wipes / diapers / hand and facial wipes - Despite what the manufacturer says, do not flush! Always dispose of them in a garbage can to avoid costly removal.

  • Avoid excessive toilet paper. Try to use less of it, or just throw in your garbage can. Although most toilet paper is bio-degradeable, it makes the system work harder in order to break it down.

  • Avoid Latex, plastic or metallic objects – (If you haven’t, wouldn’t or couldn’t eat it – Don’t throw it in septic tank system!)

  • Avoid discharge from garbage disposals

3Septic Smells, Inside & Outside the Home
Inside the Home

If you have a septic odor coming from your drains in your home, it is most likely due to a dried out p-trap (possibly in a bathroom that is rarely used) that is rarely used, that is allowing septic gasses from your septic back into your home. One remedy is to periodically fill the rarely used sinks and tubs with water and let them drain out. Also, if there is a floor drain, such as in a laundry room, that drain should periodically be filled with water so the p-trap will not dry out.

Septic odors could also occur because of a clogged plumbing vent on your roof. These vents, which equalize pressure in your drainpipes and keep odors out, will need to be periodically cleaned out – just as your gutters need to be cleaned.

If a septic odor in your home persists, you will probably need to call a professional plumber.


Outside the Home, Conventional/Traditional Style Tank

If you have a "conventional or traditional-style" septic system and have an odor, it may indicate that:

  • The tank needs to be pumped

  • The drain fields may have failed or tanks may be leaking sewage


Outside the Home, Aerobic Treatment Style

If you have an aerobic treatment system and there is an odor from the septic tanks themselves or when the sprinklers activate - especially a strong septic odor, which has also been described as a "rotten-egg smell" - this type of odor may indicate:

  • Your tanks need to be pumped.

  • One of the manholes may not be completely covered or a concrete lid may be broken, or, if a plastic lid, the seal on the lid may be leaking.

  • The aeration tank may not be receiving the appropriate amount of air, which can be caused by a stopped-up air system, broken air lines, clogged air filter or improperly operating air compressor or aerator.

  • Overuse of water, such as washing a lot of laundry in one day.

  • Septic odors are being trapped near the ground by high air pressure, especially on a very hot, windless day.

  • One of your neighbors has a septic problem and the septic odor is coming from their sprinklers when they activate.

  • Other operational problems, not listed above, peculiar to your particular brand of aerobic treatment unit.

4South Texas Permitting Agencies

Below is a partial list of permitting agencies with which we work in South Texas:


COMMONLY ASKED

FAQs


Let us see if we can’t put your mind at ease with answers to our most frequently asked questions. Don’t see your question here? Reach out to us. We’re more then happy to see if we can’t help!


1Is the aerator/compressor supposed to run 24/7?

Yes, aeration is a critical part of the treatment process so the aeration device must run constantly to ensure proper digestion and treatment of the waste.

2How often does the septic system need to be pumped?

Pumping can vary depending on the size of family, frequency of entertaining, and the lifestyle it should be determined by the service provider by performing a settable-solids test. When the system reaches 50% or more.

It most likely needs a cleanout. There are occasionally situations when something has happened to the system and it has to be pumped (paint or grease dumped down the drain etc.) to fix the problem.

3How much is the compressor/aerator running 24/7?

There are 2 most commonly used types of compressors used for an aerobic septic system


  • The Hiblow Linear compressor draws 1.9 amps = with a life span of 2 to 3 years

  • The Gast Rotary Vane compressor draws 3.8 amps = with a lifespan of 5 to 10 years

4How long do the compressor/aerator last?

The life span does vary by brand. Some last a lot longer, and some (unusually) expire early. But, typical lifespans for the Hiblow is 2-3 years while the Gast Rotary Vane has an average lifespan of 5-10 years.

Fortunately, both the Hiblow and the Gast compressors can be rebuilt, at your request, considering that they all wear differently. Our compressors are given a 2-year warranty upon installation and maintain the standard manufacturer warranty as well.

5Will anti-bacterial soap effect my septic system?

In a commercial application, Yes. However, in a residential application, this typically is not an issue for a normal sized household. Anti-bacterial soaps are designed to kill both good and bad bacteria. The treatment system is breeding good in order to digest the waste which is being killed off by the anti-bacterial soaps and the system’s ability to treat wastewater is being compromised.

6Is it safe to use bleach in my septic system?
Bleach should be used sparingly and at half the rate or less as indicated on the container. Oxygenated bleaches are recommended.
7What should I do if my alarm is going off?

Push the system's silent button and give us a call. Our trained professionals can walk you through troubleshooting your system to determine the possible nature of the malfunction. If needed, an appointment can be set for a technician to come out and perform service at your location.


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8Why does nothing happen when I press the "Test" button on the alarm?

You have to push the test button and hold it for 10-20 seconds; there is a built-in delay. If after 20 seconds you do not hear an alarm, the device itself may be malfunctioning. If you think your alarm needs service, reach out - we'd be happy to assist you!


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9How much will a service contract cost me?

For Harris County residential contracts are $250, For Liberty and Chambers counties, residential contracts cost $200. Commercial contracts are customized to suit your requests and systems needs. We are more than happy to discuss the contract details and costs with you. Please call our office at (936) 258-3080.

Prices listed above are for reference only, and are subject to change at any time. Please always check with your county for guaranteed up-to-date rates.


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  • Lynn S.
    Very impressed. Showed up on time! Very professional and showed tedious detail on cleaning tanks and submersible pump. Highly recommend if you like perfection!
    Lynn S.
  • Adrianne P.
    Honestly can’t say enough good things about the staff... my husband was out of town and they got me back up and running. Previous companies had really messed up my system and they took the time to explain everything to me and got it fixed. Very very professional. Thank you so much. Will be recommending them to everyone I know.
    Adrianne P.
  • Teresa M.
    I spoke with Mandy on the phone in the morning and had set up an appointment for the next day. Later the same day she called me and said her guys were available. They located our two tanks in no time. Super friendly, professional service that I highly recommend and at a very reasonable price!
    Teresa M.
  • Amber M.
    The owner is very knowledgeable in all aspects of the business. The home builder I used was extremely impressed with his work being they were not a local builder and hadn’t worked with Brighteyes septic in the past. We are beyond pleased. Will use for any future needs.
    Amber M.
  • Jason C.
    We were in a time crunch and they came the next day and were very quick and efficient. They had to make adjustments to get it done and respected the urgency. The gentlemen who came out were very nice and hard working. It cost less than we expected Thank you so much.
    Jason C.
Brighteyes Septic Truck

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