Frequently Asked Questions

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What are Cesspool/ Septic Systems?

These system have been installed since the late 1800s, replacing the old outside facility commonly known as the outhouse. A septic system is a mini on-site sewage treatment system used when municipal sewers are not available.

Septic systems on Long Island usually consist of a primary receive (septic tank) and a drainage area (cesspool or drainage field). Homes constructed after 1972 will have a septic tank as the primary receiver. Some homes built prior to 1972 will have a Cesspool as a primary receiver and a cesspool or multiple cesspools serving as the drainage area. If properly installed and maintained on a regular basis, your septic system will provide many years of trouble-free service.


How Do Septic Systems Work? 

Waste water leaves your home through a pipeline called the main line, then enters the septic tank (primary receiver). The septic holds the waste for primary treatment where solids and liquids are separated by gravity. The heavy digested solids called sludge accumulate at the bottom of the tank. The lighter materials (grease and oils) are called a scum layer that floats to the top of the liquid. Natural bacteria generated by the solid waste partially decomposes the waste in the septic tank and reduces the amount of solid material by as much as 60%. In addition, by using the Automatic Liquid Septic Dissolving System, it will increase the breakdown of solid material.

The septic tank is only one part of your system. It is designed to remove the solids from your waste water as shown above, prior to the waste water entering the cesspool (drainage area). Solids and sludge should be pumped from the septic tank every 2 years (as recommended by the county health department) by A-1 Sewer & Drain, a licensed septic hauler to prevent solid material from entering the cesspool. This will avoid costly repairs to the cesspool drainage area commonly referred to as the overflow.


What is an Overflow?

The cesspool (drainage area) commonly referred to as an overflow is designed to leach water only. The cesspool should receive water only—solid waste will clog the drainage area.

The homeowner should have A-1 Sewer & Drain Service Service, Inc., inspect the overflow system when the solids and sludge are pumped from the septic tank to insure proper drainage. If it is determined that the overflow requires service the homeowner may elect pumping, aeration, and application of drainage additives to the overflow to restore drainage.


Why Do Systems Fail?

Generally, systems fail due to the lack of maintenance. When the septic tank is not pumped on a regular basis, it will become overloaded with solid waste. This overloading will cause the solid waste to enter the cesspool (drainage area). The cesspool will become clogged since it is not designed to handle solid matter. This will cause the system to overfill leading to the possibility of waste backing up into the household.


How Long Should a System Last?

A properly installed septic system with proper maintenance will provide many years of trouble-free service in most cases.


What are The Signs of a Failing System That Should be Pumped or Replaced?

  • Low spots beginning to appear in the yard regardless of whether any of the above symptoms have occured
  • Gurgling sound in the plumbing
  • Sluggishness when flushing the toilet
  • Plumbing backs up in sinks, bathtubs, showers, etc.
  • Ground is mushy underfoot
  • Grass in the yard is growing faster and greener in one particular area
  • Obnoxious odors inside/outside of your home


How Do I Maintain My Septic System?

A failing septic system is not like your car when it is low on oil; no red light will go on to warn you of a problem. The US Department of Health, Education, and Public Health states: "A septic system will serve a home satisfactorily only if it is properly designed, installed, and adequately maintained. Even a good system which does not have proper care and attention may become a nuisance and a burdensome expense. Remember, a septic tank-soil-absorption system which does not function properly frequently becomes a neighborhood health hazard." Pollutants from a poorly functioning system can cause serious damage to the environment. It is very important to have A-1 Sewer & Drain Service, Inc., remove the buildup of solids before they reach the level of the outlet piping. Solids entering and clogging the soil absorption area are the number-one reason of system failure

A-1 Sewer & Drain Service, Inc.
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Member of the Long Island Liquid Waste Association.
Cons. Afrs. #43328-MP / #LW-013 / #H06042000 / DEC #1A796 & Multiple Townships throughout Nassau & Suffolk County

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