Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are having routine maintenance performed or installing a brand new septic system you probably have many questions. Below you will find a variety of the questions we answer on a daily basis. If you have further questions or we can assist you in any way, please feel free to contact JS Construction at 916-479-2455.



What is a septic system?

The septic system is an on-site sewage treatment and disposal system buried in the ground. A properly working system will treat the wastewater coming from your home and distribute the clean water safely back into the environment. A failing system, however, will harm the environment by polluting waterways and wells or contaminating the ground surface.


What is considered proper maintenance of my septic system?

Maintaining your septic system requires regularly scheduled pump outs and a satisfactory bacteria presence to aid in the digestion of organic solids. Neglecting proper maintenance will cause system distress and ultimately, system failure.


Why does the septic system need pumped out periodically?

As the septic tank is used, sludge accumulates in the bottom of the septic tank. Most tanks are designed to have enough space for three to five years of safe accumulation of sludge. When the sludge level increases beyond this point, sewage has less time to settle properly before leaving the tank. As the sludge level increases, more solids escape into the filter bed or leach bed area. If sludge accumulates too long, no settling occurs before the sewage escapes directly to the absorption area. When this happens your system will become faulty and needs to be replaced. To prevent this, the tank must be pumped out.

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How often should my septic system be pumped out?

Generally speaking, for any size septic tank it is recommended to have the system pumped out every 3 to 5 years. This can vary depending on factors such as:

The size of your household.
The amount of medication used in the home.
Garbage disposal use.
Does the system have adequate bacteria to aid in the digestion of organic solids.


What are the signs of system distress?

Signs of system distress include:

Toilets and sinks draining slowly.
Gurgling sounds in your plumbing.
System backups.
Wet areas of the yard with standing black water.
Black water coming from your homes outlet.
Foul odors in the home.


If my system is in distress what should I do?

Your options depend on a number of factors. To begin with, when was the last time you had the system pumped? Secondly, do you have an adequate leach field, leach bed, sand filter, etc?

However, some problems may not be visible or easy to determine due to the underground makeup of septic systems. Problems can range from a clogged line, to a saturated system or you might have an overstressed system due to inadequate size or improper design for your needs. Deterioration of some tanks can also occur, depending on the type of tank used in your system.

There are any number of problems that can cause system distress and it is best to contact a professional to determine your next course of action. Don't wait until you have an emergency situation to get help. Contact JS Construction at 916-479-2455 and we will promptly be at your service.

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Is it true that not maintaining my septic system causes damage to the environment?

Yes, According to the U.S. Census, at least 10 percent of onsite septic systems fail. State agencies report that these failing systems are the third most common source of groundwater contamination. Failing septic systems due to improper maintenance may result in waste ending up in waterways, or your well, yard or house. It could even end up in someone else's drinking water. However, it can be avoided with an adequately sized, well maintained, properly working septic system.


How do septic systems work?

A septic system functions as a, "holding Tank" where natural bacterial decomposes human waste into environmentally acceptable components. The major part is water, that is mixed with some other components that are consumed by the bacterial action, gases, and undigested solids. The end products, called effluent are discharged to the on-site environment. If maintained properly, septic systems cause no harm to the local underground environment.


What are the parts of a septic tank system?

A septic system has two major parts:
A tank (typically 1200 to 2000 gallons) and a disposable area (Seepage pits, or leach lines, etc.).

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How long does a septic system last?

This varies on proper maintenance. Some can last for decades. Others, only 5 – 10 years or less. Proper maintenance is the key.


What do you look for when you do an inspection?

During an inspection, our service professional will try to determine the following:

The type of system. (Dry wells, leach lines, pumps, aeration system, etc.)
The capacity of the tank.
Is the liquid in the tank at the proper level?
Is there any surface discharge observed.
Did water enter the tank from the house?
Is the outlet tee in place?
Is the tank in good working condition?
Does the tank have lids and risers and are they in good condition?
Does the level of solids in the tank warrant pumping?
Does the system work properly.

Our service professional will note any repairs needed and provide a thorough report of his findings.


We hope this page has answered some of your questions. If we can assist you in any way, please contact JS Construction at 916-479-2455.

Thank you for your interest in JS Construction. We look forward to working with you in the future.

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