By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Business name: CSI/Culley's Septic
Address: 107 Coburn Rd., Berlin
Owners: Jeff and Chrissi Curtis
Contact Information: 508-366-5055, 978-838-0200
How long have you been in this business?
“We'se been in the septic business for 15 years. We'se owned Culley's since 2004,” said Jeff Curtis, who owns CSI/Culley's Septic with his wife, Chrissi.
“Culley's has been an established septic service in the Lancaster and Nashoba Valley area for over 60 years. We bought it from Robert Culley, Sr.,” Chrissi added.
The business is certified to do Title 5 septic system inspections throughout Massachusetts and provides both residential and commercial pumping, repair and installation services in towns within a 30-mile radius of Berlin, including round-the-clock emergency service.
How can homeowners maintain their septic systems?
“A general guideline is a family of four on a 1,000-gallon tank should be pumped every year. On a 1,500-gallon tank, every two years,” Jeff said. “If there are heavy solids, we'sl suggest pumping more often. If the solids aren's so heavy, we'sl tell you if you could go another year.”
“The life of a system depends on the lay of the land, the groundwater level, soil and usage. The major way to keep your septic system as long as you can is proper maintenance. Would you go for 10,000 miles without changing the oil in your car? Why would you let your septic system go for 10 years?” Chrissi said, noting replacing a septic system starts at approximately $20,000.
“We charge $235 to pump a 1,000-gallon tank, $285 for a 1,500-gallon tank, normal sizes of most residential systems. With every pumping we insure the tank is 100 percent cleaned out and inspect the baffles. We'se in the business to make it last,” she added.
What causes problems with septic systems?
“Baby wipes are a big problem. They claim to be biodegradable. They are not,” Chrissi said.
“Garbage disposals are absolutely not septic-safe. Never put a disposal on a septic system,” Jeff recommended. “Food particles don's break down like human waste. Over a period of years, a disposal will clog the leach lines. Under a Title 5 inspection, if the septic system is not designed for a garbage disposal, the disposal has to be removed. ”
“Water softener systems can knock 8 to 10 years off the? life of a septic system,” Jeff said. “If a salt-based water softener discharges into your septic system, a Title 5 inspector will tell you to remove it. When the water softener back-flushes, it discharges a high content of salt that kills the bacteria in the septic system.”
“The salt also eats at the components of the system,” much like road salt on a car, noted Michael Keyes, who does the pumping for Culley's.
“We recommend having the water softener discharge into a separate gray-water tank, because it can throw you into failure quickly,” Chrissi said.
How about Title 5 inspections?
“We'se had a lot of Title 5 requests this winter, and we have a hard time doing them because the ground is frozen. If you'se planning to sell your house, schedule the Title 5 inspection in the summertime. The certificate lasts for two years. You have to have a Title 5 done whenever you sell a house,” Chrissie said.
“And after we are done with the Title 5, the lawn will look exactly the way it looked before we got there,” Jeff promised.
Editor's Note: The preceding is not an endorsement and is presented for informational purposes only.