Q: We are looking at purchasing a house on a septic system. What type of information could you provide that would help us understand more about the current system?
A: My first goal is to map out the location of all the components so that you know where they are located. Secondly, we examine the condition of the two main components, the septic tank and the leach field. Using minimally invasive techniques combined with years of experience we are able to gauge how well the system is performing and how close it is to being expired. We also use this time to educate potential buyers who may know little about septic systems.
Q: I have heard that a filter on a septic tank can prolong the life of the leach field, how do I know if there is a filter on my tank and if there isn’t, can one be added?
A: As of 2007, Septic tank manufacturers were required to put filters on the effluent side of the tank. If your system was installed in 2007 or later, you definitely have a filter that should be cleaned regularly. If you do not have a filter, one can definitely be added at anytime which can indeed prolong the life of your leach field by minimizing the infiltration of suspended particles.
Q: Every spring we see water come out of a crack in our block foundation wall, can we repair this crack from inside the basement?
A: Absolutely not! The blocks of a block foundation are hollow, sealing the crack on the inside will not prevent the water from entering that block. It may prevent it from coming through that same crack but the water will still seep into the block and eventually find a new way to come in. A cracked block wall can only be repaired by excavating and repairing the block from the outside. A poured foundation however CAN be repaired from the inside. We do so by carefully injecting a resin in the crack from top to bottom which if properly done seals it all the way through.
Q: We got water in our basement for the first time this Spring, does that mean we have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to repair the problem?
A: No it doesn’t. My first question is always, what changes were recently made to either the landscaping or the way you managed your snow? Often people will change their landscaping outside without thinking of what it will be like in the Spring. Adding new gardens tight to the house can sometimes create a bowl for water to sit in. If new driveways and walkways are tilted towards the house, water will pool tight to the foundation. The purchase of a new dog who likes to dig holes tight to the foundation wall can be a problem. The sudden desire to snow blow a path around the house can invite frost to penetrate deeper and closer to the house which can cause a problem during the Spring melt. Shoveling the snow off your roof and piling it tight to the house can be a problem when it starts to melt adding more water to that area then usual. If it’s the first time you get water in the basement ask yourself, what has recently changed outside?
Q: I’ve been told that I’m getting water in the basement because of hydrostatic pressure and the only solution is an internal weeping tile system. Is this correct?
A: In my opinion, hydrostatic pressure is a rare occurrence. If your external weeping tiles are blocked, collapsed or expired, water will not be able to escape the perimeter of the foundation which will eventually seep into the basement. This buildup of water will create a pressure because it has nowhere to go. An internal weeping tile system may alleviate this pressure but it won’t be as effective as an external weeping tile system. In addition, when addressing the problem from the outside, you are exposing the entire foundation wall which gives you the chance to repair any cracks that could allow water to enter through.
Q: I don’t have a sump pump system, should I get one put in?
A: No. Sump pump systems are installed when your weeping tile cannot drain out on its own. If you don’t have a sump pump system chances are your weeping tile is connected to the municipal storm system or connected to the sanitary sewer system both of which are buried deep at your weeping tile level allowing your weeping tiles to automatically drain out on it’s own. Often rural homes that have no sump pump system and are not connected to municipal services have their weeping tile drain out at the crest of a hill somewhere on their property. When problems start to happen we often install sump pumps systems to help us discharge weeping tile water at a chosen location.