Here are some frequently asked questions about our services, and what’s safe for your septic system.

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  • General
  • Septic System
  • Septic Tank
  • Septic System Repairs
  • Septic Drain Field Remediation
  • Septic System Design & Installation
  • Septic System Inspections
What areas do you offer septic system services in?

We specialize in the repair of residential septic systems in the rural counties surrounding Edmonton including: Strathcona, Sturgeon, Beaver, Camrose, Leduc, and Parkland.

How much do your services cost?

Septic system repairs and services can range from $249 for an onsite evaluation upwards as maintenance, repair, or replacement components are required and proposed.

There really is no average as it highly depends on the type of service you need.

Do you guarantee your work?

Yes. We support all manufacturer’s warranties on the equipment we sell and install and extend our 20-year Workmanship Guarantee on all installations.

Can I wait to have this fixed?

No. Any septic system issue is progressive and the damage it can cause to your home and health is significant.

Do you offer financing?

Yes. We offer easy financing with low monthly payments and up to 20-year amortization (OAC).

Why is septic service so expensive?

The thing is, it might not be expensive. If you’ve contacted a different septic service provider and they are recommending a full replacement, then you may be wary about the cost. However, a proper site evaluation will lead to proper repair and cost. We know that one of the greatest barriers for homeowners hiring septic services is that they’re scared of the cost. If we can repair your system and avoid a full replacement, we can help you save thousands of dollars instead.

Almost everything in a septic system is repairable, but not all septic service providers focus on repair. The best way to find out the cost is to call us to get an onsite evaluation done so we can recommend the right service.

How long do septic systems last?

When maintained properly, septic systems can last anywhere from 20-40 years before needing a full replacement. Septic fields with advanced treatment in the septic tank can last indefinitely.

Why am I having issues with my septic system when it rains?

Heavy rain will increase the amount of water flowing through the soil in addition to the wastewater from your home. Fact: the soil can only accept and percolate a specific volume of water over time. When the amount of water (a combination of rain and septic water) exceeds the soil’s maximum capacity to absorb, it will stand on the surface. As a septic field age, it becomes less and less absorbent over time due to organics deposit from the wastewater settling in the soil. The good news is, this can be reversed with certified soil remediation.

Will bleach harm my septic system?

Yes, harsh chemicals like bleach can kill functioning bacteria that are essential for the process of breaking down wastewater/sewage effluent.

Are septic system fumes harmful?

Yes. Many gasses and toxic fumes are created inside the septic tank, which could include methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulphide. Entering a septic tank should only be performed by certified personnel with the proper equipment.

How do septic systems work?

A septic system works by collecting all household wastewater in a secure vessel (septic tank) where solids are broken down into sludge (the solid portion of sewage waste) and scum (fat, oil, and grease). Effluent (black water) exits the tank into a drainfield where it is naturally filtered by bacteria in the soil and safely returns to the environment.

How much do septic systems cost?

All septic systems are custom designed for the home, property, and residence it services. The cost of a full/new septic system has many considerations to achieve an installation permit. The size, location and (required) design can all affect the cost dramatically and each element must be considered to achieve a permit in all provinces in Canada. For an accurate and current cost, have the project quoted by an experienced and licensed trade.

How do I know which septic system is best for my home?

The best septic system for your home will be a combination of the minimum requirement permitted for your region (regulatory & government requirements) and any options you wish. Septic systems are designed with both of these in mind by professional installers. The best septic systems meet the regulatory minimum requirements, match the use of the occupants, have predictable life and will be a financial asset to the property.

What is a septic system?

A septic system is an onsite wastewater system that’s required for all rural properties that are not connected to a city’s main sewage system.

What parts make up a septic system?

A septic system consists of three main components: a septic tank, a distribution system, and drainage. Other important parts of the system include the pipe connecting the home to the septic tank, a pump, timer, floats, and the high water septic tank alarm.

Are water softeners bad for septic systems?

The biggest effect a water softener, iron filter, or other filter has on most septic systems is that they introduce a large volume of water, sometimes up to 150 gallons or more, very quickly into the septic tank. This can cause unwanted mixing in the tank and will reduce the amount of time the contents of the tank are allowed to dwell in the tank for processing before they’re pushed downstream and out to your drainfield.

A good portion of the salt used passes through and forms restrictive layers in your soil, causing the soil to lock up and reduce infiltration rates in the soil. Another big concern is chlorine injection systems causing problems for the bacterial cultures contained in them.

Are bath bombs bad for septic systems?

There are a wide variety of bath bombs available, all with varying ingredients. As always, we recommend “more natural products” when it comes to anything that goes down the drain. If you’re diligent and search out natural products, or even make your own, you should be fine to use bath bombs.

Is drain cleaner safe for septic systems?

Wherever possible, we always recommend using as natural a product as possible. There are enzyme-based cleaners that do a good job of clearing clogs. Harsh chemicals may work great on your pipes, but can damage septic tanks as well as the bacteria you need to be thriving in them for proper septic system operation. The best solution to a clogged drain is using a snake or an auger to clear blocked lines.

Can you use Flushable wipes with septic systems?

If there is one thing we have to fish out of septic pumps, filters and equipment more than anything, it is “flushable wipes.” These are simply never a good idea to flush down the drain – and yes, this includes those labelled and marketed as “septic safe.” This one is always a no-no.

Is regular CLR safe for septic systems?

The main active ingredients of CLR are lactic acid and gluconic acid. In moderate amounts, used infrequently, these should not have an overall adverse reaction in the septic tank. That said, they can in no way help it. Our best recommendation would be to dump it into the bush where you know it cannot hurt your septic system and ultimately get returned to nature just as it would be if you flushed it down the drain.

Is pine sol safe for septic systems?

Any disinfectant is something to worry about when it comes to your septic system. It is interesting to note that we often hear customers saying they feel uneasy, they feel like they’re polluting, if they dump their bleach or disinfectant products onto the soil in the bush — yet somehow they aren’t making the connection that emptying them down your drain is literally putting them into the soil. Given there is no difference in outcome, why risk harming the bacteria in your septic system?

Can you put Kleenex in Septic Systems?

Kleenex (or any brand of facial tissue) does not break down easily. It should not be flushed down the drain, instead should be thrown out as you would paper towels. If you’re unsure about this and want to test it, take a facial tissue and lay it flat in your hand. Pour some water into it and cup your hand to “catch” the water. Watch to see whether the water dissolves or beads up on the tissue.

Are Detergents safe for septic systems?

The more natural the better when it comes to detergents. Detergents with harsh chemicals should be avoided when possible. The biggest factors when it comes to laundry are (1) spreading out your loads instead of having “laundry day” and doing several loads back to back, and (2) putting a filter on your washing machine outlet. Polyesters, nylon and other synthetic materials will rinse down the drain with other lint from the laundry cycle. These will never break down in your tank and should be captured with an inexpensive laundry filter available at most hardware stores and online.

What are the Best Laundry Detergents for Septic Systems?

When it comes to cleaning products, we always recommend natural over “chemical” options. Some of the brands we have had good luck with would be Ecos, MealPower by Melaleuca.

Is ammonia safe for septic systems?

Ammonia is not considered a disinfectant, so it should not harm the bacteria in your septic system. The main concern with ammonia is introducing more nitrogen into the system, and affecting the chemical reactions which normally take place in your septic system. When used in moderation, ammonia can be considered safe for your septic system.

Are laundry pods safe for septic systems?

These are relatively new and their overall safety is currently unknown. The pod material in laundry pods and dishwasher detergent pods is designed to dissolve in the wash to release the detergent. The concern with these is that the plastic material may potentially return to solid form out in your drain field. As such, currently we cannot recommend pods for either washing machines or dishwashers.

Is Borax safe for septic systems?

Borax is a good non-toxic cleaning product that is considered septic friendly, at normal concentrations and usage amounts. Borax is considered a safe alternative that is less harmful to the bacteria in your septic system.

When should septic tanks be placed?

Septic systems, including the septic tank, should be placed at a time of year when frost does not exist in the ground. The best time is seasonally when the ground is warm and dry.

Can septic systems be repaired?

Yes, most septic systems can be repaired when failures occur. Most septic system issues can be remediated, which is a fraction of the cost of installing a new septic system.

Do septic tanks freeze during winter?

Typically, no. Septic tanks are buried at a depth where the temperature inside the tank combined with the flow of (warm) water mitigates freezing inside the septic tank. Freezing can occur in the delivery line (pipe) leading to the septic field or in the soil. Frozen pipes are repairable with injected steam and/or in-line heat trace.

Septic tanks can freeze if left without regular use for extended periods of time, such as winter holidays longer than a week. A septic tank should be emptied of contents for extended absences in winter months.

Will my septic tank work without power?

The design of the septic system may or may not require power. If a pump is used to distribute the wastewater, power is required. Some septic systems use gravity or a siphon which do not require power.

Why is my septic tank alarm going off?

Septic alarms alert you when the sewer water level in the septic tank is too high and poses a potential risk of overflow and backup. When your septic tank alarm goes off, the system needs attention.

What are the most common septic tank problems?

The most common septic tank problems are blockages due to non-biodegradable materials being flushed or drained, a slow drain or backup due to blockage, and hazardous chemicals that kill the bacteria needed to break down solid waste. The best way to prevent these common issues is to avoid flushing or draining non-biodegradable materials and harsh chemicals.

Do I need to clean the filters in my septic tank?

If your septic system has filters, they should be cleaned at least once per year, more often with heavy use or loading.

How often should a septic tank be pumped?

Depending on the number of occupants in your home and how often wastewater is being flushed or drained, septic tanks should be pumped every 2-3 years.

What is the difference between a septic tank and a holding tank?

Both are ‘septic tanks’ by definition as they are intended to collect wastewater. A holding tank does not have any drainage feature such as a field, mound or otherwise and must be pumped out when full as the wastewater has nowhere to go. A septic system is comprised of a septic tank, delivery system (outlet) and drainage system. Holding tanks have no outlet.

How do I know if my septic system has failed?

Septic system failure is quite evident – it could be standing water in your drain field, leaking sewage back into your home, a foul odour, and sinks and toilets not draining properly. If you suspect your septic system has failed, call us right away and we will respond promptly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Is a septic system repair legal?

Yes. We are a fully licensed and recognized trade. SepTech Canada is a registered service provider, insured, bonded, and certified with extensive documentation provided to every client.

Can I do part of a septic repair now and the rest later?

It depends on the repair. A certified technician will advise you if it can be done in stages or if it’s something that needs to be done completely. Our priority here is safety – we will only agree to do a repair in stages if it can still keep your family and your property safe.

Why have I never heard of a septic repair?

Most septic service companies focus exclusively on full system replacements and don’t offer the newest technology that can repair and restore their septic system back to health. Simply put – wastewater management (septic) has evolved and continues to focus more on science and technology and less on plumbing every day. This is what makes SepTech Canada an exceptional service provider – we are the only fully licensed trade and certified company in our industry that prioritizes repair and remediation whenever possible.

What is a septic drain field?

The drainfield is a shallow excavation created in unsaturated soil that is used to eliminate impurities from wastewater released from the septic tank.

How does a septic drain field work?

Effluent (wastewater) travels from the septic tank to an underground network of perforated pipes. The wastewater goes through a final treatment process that removes pollutants so that it can safely return to the groundwater below.

How long is a septic drain field?

Septic drain fields are custom designed for each home they service and can range from very short and small to very large. Basically, the larger the home, the larger the septic field must be.

How deep is a septic drain field?

Septic fields are typically buried pipe or trenches (or both) at a depth of approximately 1 – 3 feet below the surface. Location, design, and weather can be factors in design considerations for the best depth.

How do I take care of my septic drain field?

You can take care of your septic drain field through proper maintenance of the entire septic system, which includes scheduling an annual septic system inspection. Never flush or drain non-biodegradable items such as cigarettes, diapers, sanitary napkins and tampons, or hazardous chemicals. The drain field is the final step in the process of treating wastewater, and so an issue with the septic tank, pipes, and the entire system can impact the drain field.

Can you rebuild or relocate my mound/field?

This completely depends on the property and other factors, including how simple or complex the operation is. Drain fields across Canada require permits and we will need to assess the situation before we can decide.

What does ‘Lifetime Warranty’ mean?

Our Lifetime Warranty is valid on the equipment we install that bears this guarantee, assuming that is used for the purpose intended and that it is properly maintained.

What factors need to be considered in the design of the septic system?

When designing a septic system, some of the most important factors to consider are local codes and regulations, the size of the household, testing the soil, type of septic system, and the client’s budget.

What is included in a septic system design?

A septic system design includes the septic tank type and size, septic field design, pump sizing, piping specifications, septic tank accessories such as alarms, and ensuring that the design and installation meet all local regulations.

Do I need a septic system inspection?

Yes. All of the work requires onsite pre-inspection. If you are purchasing a property that has a septic system, a pre-inspection is not required by law but is highly recommended to help you avoid costly issues down the road.

When should a septic system be inspected?

We recommend an annual inspection to prevent emergency services and address potential problems early.

What is checked in a septic system inspection?

A septic system inspection should include:

  • A full assessment of the drain field area
  • Any landscaping or grading concerns that may influence system operation
  • Any concerns regarding sizing of the system compared to occupancy of the home
  • The condition of mechanical and plumbing equipment, alarms, etc. including testing and analysis of their performance
What are the types of septic system inspections?

A septic inspection can range widely depending on the information and detail requested by the homeowner. This can be as short as a walk-through for information and confidence, the ‘walk & talk’ with a certified technician all the way up to an extensive investigation with cameras, video, and vessel entry (tank) to confirm the validity of the septic system on the whole with a lengthy written report.

Why is a septic system inspection important when buying a home?

Before purchasing a home with a septic system, you’ll want to be absolutely sure that the system is in good working order. If the previous homeowners did not disclose an issue with the septic system during the process of the home sale and you sign off on the final contract, you can end up needing a full system replacement that can cost you thousands of dollars. By then, the home is fully yours and it is no longer the responsibility of the previous homeowner to pay for any repairs or replacement. It’s better to be proactive and request a septic system inspection before making the final purchase.

What is a septic system inspection?

A septic system inspection is a thorough test to assess the integrity and condition of the septic system. A proper inspection involves checking the entire septic system’s health and not just the septic tank as the tank is only one part of the system.

How much does a septic system inspection cost?

Septic Inspection services range from $249 – $699 depending on the extensiveness required and depth of reporting.

How long does a septic system inspection take?

A typical septic inspection that includes testing, documentation, and observations will take approximately 1.5 hours onsite and 1 hour for written reporting.

Should a septic tank be pumped before an inspection?

No. The septic system should be in a regular operating state with contents present to test the system as well as observe it in use.