By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Berlin—Regular servicing of a home septic system is the surest way to avoid problems, recommends Jeff Curtis, who owns CSI/Culley’s Septic with his wife, Chrissi.
The company, which serves communities within a 50-mile radius of Berlin, offers pumping services, as well as Title 5 inspections, needed before a home is sold. It is certified to do Title 5 septic system inspections throughout Massachusetts and provides both residential and commercial pumping, repair and installation services.
If a homeowner plans to put the home on the market next spring, Curtis said there is still some time to do the Title 5 inspection now, before the ground freezes, though it is unlikely the lawn will grow back until spring. The inspection is good for two years.
Otherwise, he said, homeowners who will be selling should call now to schedule that inspection as early as possible in the spring to avoid any delays in closing a sale. “And after we are done with the Title 5, the lawn will look exactly the way it looked before we got there,” he promised.
With winter coming on, he suggested people who plan to be away for the cold weather turn the water off in their house to avoid damage and backups if pipes do freeze.
For routine septic system maintenance, “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,” Curtis said. “If there are heavy solids, we’ll suggest pumping more often. If the solids aren’t so heavy, we’ll tell you if you could go another year.”
Systems with 1,000-gallon tanks are usually older. New and replacements systems now require a 1,500-gallon tank, he noted.
Along with regular pumping, Curtis recommends commercial-grade bacterial additives that homeowners add to their system monthly, particularly if they have a water softener.
Water softeners, he said, should be installed so that they discharge their waste water into a separate tank, not into the septic system, because the high salt concentration in the softener waste water will kill the bacteria in the septic system and corrode the system much as road salt corrodes a car.
“Water softener systems can knock eight to 10 years off the life of a septic system,” Curtis said. “If a salt-based water softener discharges into your septic system, a Title 5 inspector will tell you to remove it.”
It is also illegal to install a garbage disposal that discharges into the septic system, he pointed out, “even if the disposal claims it is ‘septic-safe.’” Improperly-installed garbage disposals also have to be removed to meet Title 5 requirements.
“Garbage disposals shouldn’t be installed on a septic system because the garbage and grease does not break down like human waste,” he said. “Over a period of years, a disposal will clog the leach lines.”
Curtis has been in the septic business for over 17 years. “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., in 2004,” he said.
For more information, see Culley’s website, www.csiseptic.com, or call 508-366-5055.