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CENTRAL OREGON SEPTIC SERVICES SINCE 1951

(541) 382-5251

CENTRAL OREGON SEPTIC SERVICES SINCE 1951

(541) 382-5251

The McDonald Septic Service fleet of pumper trucks covers Central Oregon.  Our trained technicians service:

Bend | Redmond | Sisters | Terrebonne | La Pine | Pronghorn | Crooked River Ranch | Tumalo | Eagle Crest | Sunriver

From restaurant grease traps to residential septic tanks, to planned unit development (PUD) and community septic systems, McDonald Septic Service is the septic service of choice.

OREGON DEQ #38243

You don’t even have to be home for us to provide service.  We are dog, horse, chicken, goat, sheep and cow friendly.

We at McDonald Septic Service believe prevention is a septic systems best friend.  However, bad things happen to good systems.  If you are experiencing:

BACK UPS

ODORS

SLOW DRAINS

MARSHY GRASS

Give us a call.  We can help return your septic system to health.

PLANS AND PERMITS FOR MY SEPTIC SYSTEM

The McDonald Septic Service fleet of pumper trucks covers Central Oregon.  

Our trained technicians service:

Bend | Redmond | Sisters

 Terrebonne | La Pine | Pronghorn

Crooked River Ranch | Tumalo

Eagle Crest | Sunriver

From restaurant grease traps and residential septic tanks, to planned unit development (PUD) and community septic systems, McDonald Septic Service is the septic service of choice.

OREGON DEQ #38243

You don’t even have to be home for us to provide service.  We are dog, horse, chicken, goat, sheep and cow friendly.

We at McDonald Septic Service believe prevention is a septic systems best friend.  However, bad things happen to good systems.  If you are experiencing:

BACK UPS

ODORS

SLOW DRAINS

MARSHY GRASS

Give us a call.  We can help return your septic system to health.

PLANS AND PERMITS FOR MY SEPTIC SYSTEM

ARE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING HAPPENING?

The toilets don’t flush even using a plunger

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Water is surfacing over a tank or drainfield

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Water drains slowly from sinks, tubs or washer

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Water is backing up in the bathtub

IF THE ANSWER IS YES, CALL (541) 382-5251

WHAT CAUSES SEPTIC TANKS TO FAIL?
FAILURES

FAILURES CAN POLLUTE WATER SOURCES

That means it is not treating and disposing of sewage in a safe, sanitary manner. In a properly operating septic system, the solid material in the sewage is settled out in a septic tank and stored until removal by pumping.

The effluent from the tank is still sewage. It has a strong odor and contains large quantities of disease-causing organisms. This effluent is treated and absorbed in a soil absorption (or leach) field. No matter what the cause, septic system failure is a nuisance and a health hazard that should be corrected promptly.

BAD BEGINNINGS

IMPROPER DESIGN OR CONSTRUCTION

Improperly designed and/or constructed septic systems are doomed from the start. These systems usually fail in a few months because they are inadequately sized, installed in impermeable soils, or not properly constructed.

Temporary or permanent water tables, bedrock, or impervious soil are all considered limiting layers. The soil is the most important part of the septic system and must be properly evaluated and protected. If the soil is too “tight”, or too wet, it will not absorb all the wastewater, forcing it to the surface.

The soil profile should be evaluated by a local health department sanitarian or a registered soil scientist to ensure that it is appropriate for wastewater treatment and disposal.

When constructing a septic system, it is essential that all components of the soil absorption field be level. If a line lies at too steep a grade or if the distribution system is not level, the wastewater will not be evenly distributed to all portions of the soil absorption field. This may overload one part of the field. The heavy equipment used in home construction can compact the soil.

During construction of the house, the area designated for the soil absorption system as well as the required replacement area and the area directly downhill should be fenced off to keep out heavy vehicles. Also, constructing and excavating a system during periods of high soil moisture can result in excessive soil smearing and compaction.

UH-OH

ACTIONS TO AVOID

Do not just pipe the sewage to the road ditch, storm sewer, stream, or a farm drain tile. So doing pollutes the water and creates a health hazard.

Do not run the sewage into a sink hole or drainage well. This pollutes the groundwater.

Do not wait for the system to fail before pumping the septic tank.

Once a system permanently fails, it is usually too late to pump the tank. In some cases corrective measures are not enough — a new system must be constructed. A properly designed, constructed, and maintained septic system can effectively treat wastewater for many years.

PEOPLE

SUCCESS LIES WITH THE HOMEOWNER

Those that use the system have the most influence over it.  While fluffy, thick toilet paper may be preferred by humans, it is not that friendly to septic tanks.  If you can’t part with your favorite brand, just realize that your tank may need more frequent pumping.  

Here is a short list of the things that are detrimental to the proper operation of your septic system:

Cooking Grease

Baby diapers

Handi-wipes

Feminine hygiene products

Powdered dish washing and laundry detergent

Chlorine bleach in large amounts

Solvents, Paint, Chemicals

Certain medications such as injectable insulin and medication used during chemotherapy may require more frequent pumping. If in doubt, call McDonald Septic Service.

 

WATER

HIGH WATER USAGE

Using more water than the soil can absorb is the most common reason for failure. The sewage is forced to the surface or backs up into the house. This kind of septic system failure is often the result of one of three problems.

Either the system is improperly designed or the residents of the house have changed their water use habits (for example, an increase in the size of the family or the addition of a water-using appliance).  An aging system may also contribute; an older system accepts less water.

Surface water draining from roofs, driveways, and roads onto the soil absorption field area can also put an extra load on the system. If the soil is saturated with clean water, even seasonally, it cannot accept any more wastewater.

The untreated wastewater will then either rise to the surface or back up into the house.

DAMAGE

PHYSICAL DAMAGE

Driving, paving, or building on top of a soil absorption unit can damage the field. Pipes can shift or be crushed and the soil compacted. Damage of this sort can make it difficult to locate the septic tank and prevents access for regular pumping. Tree roots can also clog the soil absorption field. Plant the area in grass, not trees or shrubs.

MAINTENANCE

LACK OF MAINTENANCE

The septic tank should be pumped about every 3 years to remove the sludge and scum retained in the tank and prevent clogging of the soil absorption field. More frequent pumping is needed if a garbage disposal is used in the home. Biological and chemical septic tank additives are not necessary and do not eliminate the need for pumping. A septic tank is equipped with baffles at both the inlet and outlet. The inlet baffle prevents short-circuiting of the sewage and the outlet baffle prevents the floatable scum from moving out into the soil absorption field.

In time, these baffles can deteriorate and drop off into the tank. The condition of the baffles should be checked when the tank is being pumped. Replace those in poor condition with sanitary tees.

REPAIRS

CORRECTIVE ACTION

Any repair or new installation of a septic system must be approved by the local sanitarian and a permit issued by the local health department. Water conservation reduces the amount of water the absorption field must accept. It also reduces the flow through the septic tank allowing more time for solids to settle out.

Water conservation can prolong the life of any soil absorption system. Installing an alternate soil absorption field involves constructing a second soil absorption system and diverting all of the wastewater to it for at least one year to rest the original field. The fields can then be alternated.

Repairing physical damage such as leveling the distribution box or repairing crushed or broken pipe helps to restore the system. Tree roots interfering with the operation of the soil absorption field must be removed. Improve surface and subsurface drainage by diverting all surface and groundwater away from the soil absorption field. The soil must absorb all the wastewater from the house. Surface and groundwater only adds to the load.

U.S. HOUSEHOLDS ON SEPTIC SYSTEMS

Attribution given to Kaye LaFond, MS Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University

Infographic: America’s Septic System – Published on www.circleofblue.com on October 16, 2015

 

HOW DOES MY SEPTIC SYSTEM WORK?


Septic tank illustration below property line showing mechanics of residential septic systemSeptic System Operation

Any material that goes down the drain travels through underground piping into the septic tank. The above is a general representation of a standard septic tank showing the inlet from the home and the outlet to the drain field.

The Scum Layer which floats on top of the center water layer is made of lighter-than-water materials. Toilet paper, human feces, and grease, are the primary normal scum layer ingredients. The natural enzymes and bacteria found in the septic tank break down the Scum Layer. Feminine hygiene products, paper towels, handy wipes, condoms, and hair are also found in the scum layer but they do NOT break down. These items should NOT be flushed down the toilet. When the Scum Layer becomes thick enough it blocks the inlet from the house, often causing smelly messes inside the home.

The Sludge Layer at the bottom consists of anything heavier than water that settles to the bottom. Dirt, car keys, undigested waste, and even cell phones create a thick black oatmeal-like consistency that if left unchecked will become thick enough that it will exit through the outlet to the drain field. When this happens the lines themselves, and eventually the drain field itself, will become clogged, sometimes causing permanent damage.

Septic tanks need periodic removal of the scum layer and the sludge layer to prevent backups into the home and damage to the drain field. Septic tanks should be pumped generally every 2-5 years. 

 

ADDITIVES AND PUMPING FREQUENCIES
ALL ABOUT ADDITIVES

SEPTIC TANK ADDITIVES

McDonald Septic Service does not endorse using septic tank additives.

However, septic tank additives come in two basic types: chemically or biologically based.  Chemical additives are usually comprised of strong oxidizing agents and organic chemicals.

Biological additives are designed to enhance the biological activity in the septic tank by increasing its level of bacteria and enzymes.

Solid biological additives tend to be composed primarily of cereal grain or a similar filler; liquid biological additives tend to be composed of almost 100 percent water.

What’s the bottom line? Many agencies and environmental protection departments consider most septic system additives to be ineffective and some to be actually harmful to your system. For example, organic solvents may clean your household pipes and septic tank but possibly increases the risk of groundwater contamination.

The addition of yeasts and other biological cultures may disrupt the biological activity in the septic tank or cause clogging in the drainfield.

Studies have found that one of the only times septic systems may need help is when the house occupant is taking a long course of antibiotics or other drugs that may kill the naturally occurring bacteria in the tank.

Buyer Beware Several states and the Environmental Protection Agency provide a limited type of approval for septic tank additives. This approval does not mean that the additives are in any way effective or performs according to the manufacturer’s claims, it just means that the additive contains no hazardous materials. It has been said,

 “If the additive is safe to use, it is probably ineffective. If it’s effective, it’s probably not safe to use.”

 

WHEN DO I PUMP?

PUMPING FREQUENCIES IN YEARS

    FOR YEAR-ROUND RESIDENCES

                                                                        NUMBER OF RESIDENTS
Tank Size (gallons)     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8
        500     5.8     2.6     1.5     1.0     0.7     0.4      0.3      0.2
       1000   12.4     5.9     3.7     2.6     2.0     1.5      1.2      1.0
       1250   15.6     7.5     4.8     3.4     2.6     2.0      1.7      1.4
       1500   18.9     9.1     5.9     4.2     3.3     2.6      2.1      1.8
       2000   25.4   12.4     8.0     5.9     4.5     3.7     3.1    2.6

 

THIS CHART IS DESIGNED TO PROVIDE REPRESENTATIVE SEPTIC TANK PUMPING FREQUENCIES.  FOR EXAMPLE:  

For a household of (4) residents and a standard 1,000 gallon tank, the recommendation would be to pump every 2.6 years (2 1/2) years.

ARE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING HAPPENING?

The toilets don’t flush even using a plunger

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Water is surfacing over a tank or drainfield

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Water drains slowly from sinks, tubs or washer

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Water is backing up in the bathtub

IF THE ANSWER IS YES, CALL (541) 382-5251

WHAT CAUSES SEPTIC TANKS TO FAIL?
FAILURES

FAILURES CAN POLLUTE WATER SOURCES

That means it is not treating and disposing of sewage in a safe, sanitary manner. In a properly operating septic system, the solid material in the sewage is settled out in a septic tank and stored until removal by pumping.

The effluent from the tank is still sewage. It has a strong odor and contains large quantities of disease-causing organisms. This effluent is treated and absorbed in a soil absorption (or leach) field. No matter what the cause, septic system failure is a nuisance and a health hazard that should be corrected promptly.

BAD BEGINNINGS

IMPROPER DESIGN OR CONSTRUCTION

Improperly designed and/or constructed septic systems are doomed from the start. These systems usually fail in a few months because they are inadequately sized, installed in impermeable soils, or not properly constructed. In Oregon, several inches of unsaturated soil must be present between the soil absorption system and a limiting layer. Temporary or permanent water tables, bedrock, or impervious soil are all considered limiting layers. The soil is the most important part of the septic system and must be properly evaluated and protected. If the solid layer is too thin, the wastewater will not be treated before it enters the groundwater. If the soil is too “tight” or too wet, it will not absorb all the wastewater, forcing it to the surface.

The soil profile should be evaluated by a local health department sanitarian or a registered soil scientist to ensure that it is appropriate for wastewater treatment and disposal. When constructing a septic system, it is essential that all components of the soil absorption field be level. If a line lies at too steep a grade or if the distribution system is not level, the wastewater will not be evenly distributed to all portions of the soil absorption field. This may overload one part of the field. The heavy equipment used in home construction can compact the soil.

During construction of the house, the area designated for the soil absorption system as well as the required replacement area and the area directly downhill should be fenced off to keep out heavy vehicles. Also, constructing and excavating a system during periods of high soil moisture can result in excessive soil smearing and compaction.

UH-OH

ACTIONS TO AVOID

Do not just pipe the sewage to the road ditch, storm sewer, stream, or a farm drain tile. So doing pollutes the water and creates a health hazard.

Do not run the sewage into a sink hole or drainage well. This pollutes the groundwater.

Do not wait for the system to fail before pumping the septic tank.

Once a system permanently fails, it is usually too late to pump the tank. In some cases corrective measures are not enough — a new system must be constructed. A properly designed, constructed, and maintained septic system can effectively treat wastewater for many years.

PEOPLE

SUCCESS LIES WITH THE HOMEOWNER

Those that use the system have the most influence over it.  While fluffy, thick toilet paper may be preferred by humans, it is not that friendly to septic tanks.  If you can’t part with your favorite brand, just realize that your tank may need more frequent pumping.  

Here is a short list of the things that are detrimental to the proper operation of your septic system:

Cooking Grease

Baby diapers

Handi-wipes

Feminine hygiene products

Powdered dish washing and laundry detergent

Chlorine bleach

Solvents

Paint

Chemical

Certain medications such as injectable insulin and medication used during chemotherapy may require more frequent pumping.  In in doubt, call McDonald Septic Service. 

 

WATER

HIGH WATER USAGE

Using more water than the soil can absorb is the most common reason for failure. The sewage is forced to the surface or backs up into the house. This kind of septic system failure is often the result of one of three problems:

IMPROPER DESIGN

WATER USAGE HABITS

AN AGING SYSTEM

Surface water draining from roofs, driveways, and roads onto the soil absorption field area can also put an extra load on the system. If the soil is saturated with clean water, even seasonally, it cannot accept any more wastewater.

The untreated wastewater will then either rise to the surface or back up into the house.

DAMAGE

PHYSICAL DAMAGE

Driving, paving, or building on top of a soil absorption unit can damage the field. Pipes can shift or be crushed and the soil compacted. Damage of this sort can make it difficult to locate the septic tank and prevents access for regular pumping. Tree roots can also clog the soil absorption field. Plant the area in grass, not trees or shrubs.

MAINTENANCE

LACK OF MAINTENANCE

The septic tank should be pumped about every 3 years to remove the sludge and scum retained in the tank and prevent clogging of the soil absorption field.

More frequent pumping is needed if a garbage disposal is used in the home. Biological and chemical septic tank additives are not necessary and do not eliminate the need for pumping.

A septic tank is equipped with baffles at both the inlet and outlet. The inlet baffle prevents short-circuiting of the sewage and the outlet baffle prevents the floatable scum from moving out into the soil absorption field.

In time, these baffles can deteriorate and drop off into the tank. The condition of the baffles should be checked when the tank is being pumped. Replace those in poor condition with sanitary tees.

REPAIRS

CORRECTIVE ACTION

Any repair or new installation of a septic system must be approved by the local sanitarian and a permit issued by the local health department.

Water conservation reduces the amount of water the absorption field must accept. It also reduces the flow through the septic tank allowing more time for solids to settle out. Water conservation can prolong the life of any soil absorption system.

Installing an alternate soil absorption field involves constructing a second soil absorption system and diverting all of the wastewater to it for at least one year to rest the original field. The fields can then be alternated.

Repair physical damage such as leveling the distribution box or repairing crushed or broken pipe to restore the system.

Tree roots interfering with the operation of the soil absorption field must be removed.

Improve surface and subsurface drainage by diverting all surface and groundwater away from the soil absorption field. The soil must absorb all the wastewater from the house. Surface and groundwater only adds to the load.

U.S. HOUSEHOLDS ON SEPTIC SYSTEMS

Attribution given to Kaye LaFond, MS Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University

Infographic: America’s Septic System – Published on www.circleofblue.com on October 16, 2015

 

HOW DOES MY SEPTIC SYSTEM WORK?

SEPTIC SYSTEM OPERATION

septic system operation illustration of the mechanics of a septic system

Any material that goes down the drain travels through underground piping into the septic tank. The above is a general representation of a standard septic tank showing the inlet from the home and the outlet to the drain field.

The Scum Layer which floats on top of the center water layer is made of lighter-than-water materials. Toilet paper, human feces, and grease, are the primary normal scum layer ingredients. The natural enzymes and bacteria found in the septic tank break down the Scum Layer. Feminine hygiene products, paper towels, handy wipes, condoms, and hair are also found in the scum layer but they do NOT break down. These items should NOT be flushed down the toilet. When the Scum Layer becomes thick enough it blocks the inlet from the house, often causing smelly messes inside the home.

The Sludge Layer at the bottom consists of anything heavier than water that settles to the bottom. Dirt, car keys, undigested waste, and even cell phones create a thick black oatmeal-like consistency that if left unchecked will become thick enough that it will exit through the outlet to the drain field. When this happens the lines themselves, and eventually the drain field itself, will become clogged, sometimes causing permanent damage.

Septic tanks need periodic removal of the scum layer and the sludge layer to prevent backups into the home and damage to the drain field. Septic tanks should be pumped generally every 2-5 years. 

 

ADDITIVES AND PUMPING FREQUENCIES
ALL ABOUT ADDITIVES

Septic tank additives come in two basic types: chemically or biologically based.

Chemical additives are usually comprised of strong oxidizing agents and organic chemicals.

Biological additives are designed to enhance the biological activity in the septic tank by increasing its level of bacteria and enzymes.

Solid biological additives tend to be composed primarily of cereal grain or a similar filler; liquid biological additives tend to be composed of almost 100 percent water.

What’s the bottom line? Many agencies and environmental protection departments consider most septic system additives to be ineffective and some to be actually harmful to your system. For example, organic solvents may clean your household pipes and septic tank but possibly increases the risk of groundwater contamination.

The addition of yeasts and other biological cultures may disrupt the biological activity in the septic tank or cause clogging in the drainfield.

Studies have found that one of the only times septic systems may need help is when the house occupant is taking a long course of antibiotics or other drugs that may kill the naturally occurring bacteria in the tank.

Buyer Beware – Several states and the Environmental Protection Agency provide a limited type of approval for septic tank additives. This approval does not mean that the additives are in any way effective or performs according to the manufacturer’s claims, it just means that the additive contains no hazardous materials. It has been said,

 “If the additive is safe to use, it is probably ineffective. If it’s effective, it’s probably not safe to use.”

 

WHEN DO I PUMP?

PUMPING FREQUENCIES IN YEARS

    FOR YEAR-ROUND RESIDENCES

TIPS FROM DESCHUTES COUNTY OREGON

TIPS FROM DESCHUTES COUNTY

Don’t flush harsh chemicals down sinks, toilets, or showers. These chemicals (bleaches, lyes, drain cleaners) will kill off the bacteria that digest the sludge in the septic tank. Using these chemicals may save you time, but will shorten the life span of the drainfield and lead to costly repairs. Some powdered laundry detergents have been found to cause a very hard scale in the septic tank. This will reduce the efficiency of the system. Try using liquid detergents whenever possible. They are more soluble and break down faster in your septic tank. Cooking oils are not digested in the septic tank. Light oils may pass through the tank and go directly into the drainfield which then clogs the pores in the drainfield and reduce its life span. Try to collect all oils and dispose of them with your household waste.

McDonald Septic Service has a service radius of 100+ miles from Bend, Oregon

Not sure your area is covered?  No problem; just give us a call to find out.

 

(541) 382-5251

 

 

BEND OR

McDonald Septic Service has a service radius of 100+ miles from Bend, Oregon

Not sure your area is covered?  No problem; just give us a call to find out

.

(541) 382-5251

BEND OR