Septic Inspection services

Septic Inspection Services: Ensuring Lewiston Maine’s Well-being

A properly functioning septic system is crucial for any home or business in Lewiston, Maine. Septic systems that are not regularly inspected and maintained can fail, leading to backed up drains, odors, and even raw sewage surfacing on your property. That’s why periodic septic inspections by a professional service are so important. In this blog post, we’ll look at what exactly septic do, why routine inspections matter, and what to look for in a quality Septic Inspection service in Lewiston Maine.

What Exactly Does a Septic System Do?

First, let’s review the basics. A septic system is an onsite wastewater treatment solution commonly used in rural areas not connected to a sewer system. The typical septic setup includes:

  • A septic tank – This is a buried, water-tight container normally made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It holds the wastewater and allows the solids to separate from the liquid.
  • Drain or leach field – The liquid portion of the wastewater flows from the septic tank to perforated pipes buried in gravel-filled trenches. Here, it slowly seeps into the surrounding soil.
  • Baffles – These prevent the solid materials in the tank from exiting into the drain field.
  • Vent pipe – This releases sewer gases from the tank.

In summary, the septic system provides primary treatment of wastewater by separating solids from liquid before disposal. Properly treated sewage is critical for community health and maintaining sanitary groundwater and wells.

Why Annual Septic Inspections Are Necessary

Many homeowners forget their septic tank even exists – as long as there are no obvious issues with drainage or odors. But even if a septic system appears to work fine on the surface, problems can be brewing underground. Without periodic inspections, you might not discover an issue until the system fails completely. And septic failures can be extremely expensive and messy to remedy.

That’s why the EPA and local regulations typically mandate septic inspections at least once every 1 to 3 years. Some reasons why experts recommend annual checkups include:

  • Accumulated solids – Even a well-designed tank will accumulate solids over time, which can clog the drainage system if not periodically pumped out. Annual inspections allow the level of accumulated solids to be checked.
  • Structural problems – Tank lids can crack over time, pipes connecting the tank can settle or break, baffles can deteriorate – letting solids escape. Early detection saves money and prevents failures.
  • Drainage issues – Slow drainage in your drains, wet spots around your leach field, and ponding water can all indicate a problem underground. Identifying and addressing minor drainage issues promptly can prevent the need for major septic repairs down the line.
  • Impending failures – There are often signs of impending septic system failures that can be detected during a professional inspection, like contamination in the drain field or abnormal ponding.
  • Upgrades – Septic inspection services in Lewiston Maine can advise you if your older system needs any upgrades to meet current codes and function optimally.

Regular septic inspections protect your investment and help prevent unpleasant and costly failures in the future.

Septic Inspection 101: What’s Checked and Why?

Now let’s get into the specifics of what a thorough septic inspection from a qualified Septic Inspection service in Lewiston Maine entails.

Septic Tank Inspection

First, the tank lid is located so the tank’s contents and components can be visually examined. A professional inspector will check the following:

  • Sludge/solids level – The inspector measures the level of accumulated solids at the bottom. If they occupy over 30% of the tank, it likely needs to be pumped to prevent clogs.
  • Scum layer – The thickness of the oily scum layer at the top is measured, as a thick scum layer can block the outlet baffle and drainage.
  • Baffles/Effluent screen – The inspector verifies that outlet baffles are intact to prevent solids discharging into the drainfield. Newer tanks have an effluent filter screen as well, which must be cleaned periodically.
  • Separation – The contents should have clear separation of sludge, scum, and liquid layers. Mixed layers indicate a potential problem.
  • Structural issues – Any cracks, leaks, or corrosion along the inlet/outlet pipes, baffles, and tank walls point to structural deterioration.
  • Water levels – High water levels inside the tank can impede proper wastewater treatment. The inspector checks for optimal operating water levels.
  • Odors – Sewage odors, often from a broken baffle or uncovered vent pipe, are checked.

This visual inspection provides valuable insight into how well the septic tank is functioning and the level of solids/scum buildup present.

Drain Field Testing

After assessing the tank itself, the septic inspection service in Lewiston Maine moves on to examine the buried drain field. Tests can identify developing issues before they become catastrophic failures. Professional inspection methods include:

  • Dye testing – Harmless dye is flushed down drains, with absorbent pop-ups placed around the drain field to check where it emerges. Improperly working laterals or clogs will show in the dye pattern.
  • System pressure – Applying air pressure to the system can indicate leaks and broken pipes not visible underground. Pressure loss points to cracks/damage.
  • Groundwater test – Testing groundwater from a monitoring well determines if wastewater is improperly escaping from the drain field, indicating soil clogs or pipe issues.
  • Wetness – The ground is checked for overly wet areas, standing water, or sogginess – all signs of drainage problems.

Through these tests, an inspector can determine if the buried drain field components have any underlying issues impacting proper wastewater dispersal.

Further Evaluation

If any concerns turn up from tank and drain field examinations, further evaluation methods a septic inspection company may employ include:

  • Dye tracer – Colored dye poured into the system helps trace the wastewater flow into surrounding soil. Slow or improper dye patterns point to drainage obstructions.
  • Camera inspection – A camera scoped into the pipes provides a visual of any interior cracks, blockages, or pipe damage.
  • Pressure testing – Applying air or water pressure to isolated system parts can reveal leaks and defects.
  • Trench excavation – Partial drain field excavation directly reveals any pipe issues, damage, or clogging present underground.

When issues are suspected, a combination of evaluation approaches helps precisely identify any actual faults or problems.

What to Look for in a Septic Inspection Service

Not all septic inspectors offer the same range of services and expertise. When hiring an inspector, keep the following guidance in mind:

  • Experience – Choose an established company with ample experience specifically inspecting residential and commercial septic systems in your area. Look for certified, trained professionals.
  • Offerings – Ensure they inspect both the septic tank AND drain field/leach bed using a variety of testing methods as outlined earlier. Inspection visuals through camera feeds can also add helpful insight.
  • Thorough evaluation – The inspection report should provide details on the tank components, levels of solids/scum, any structural defects, functionality of drain field and pipes, and whether pumping is recommended. Photos of inside the tank are helpful as well.
  • Advice – A quality septic inspection service in Lewiston Maine focuses on advising you on any necessary repairs, improvements, or replacements – not just identifying problems, but offering solutions. They should explain all concerns and next steps in everyday terms.
  • Licensing – Verify licenses, insurance, and registrations are up to date. Licensed septic professionals must renew their state licenses periodically.
  • Affiliation – Prefer companies affiliated with professional septic inspection associations, which require adherence to codes of ethics and standardized practices.
  • References – Ask for multiple references from recent residential customers to ensure reliably satisfactory service. Follow up on any provided references.

By keeping these criteria in mind when selecting a Septic Inspection service in Lewiston Maine, you can have confidence in the inspection report findings and improvement recommendations.

Septic System Do’s and Don’ts for Homeowners

While professional septic inspection services in Lewiston Maine provide vital periodic system checkups, homeowners should follow recommended tips in between inspections to maintain proper functioning:


  • Inspect your tank annually if it’s over 10 years old, or shows any signs of problems.
  • Have your tank pumped every 3-5 years based on usage and recommended pumping frequency.
  • Keep exact records of tank pumping, inspections, repairs, and property plumbing modifications.
  • Learn the location of your septic system and drain field. Diagram it on a site plan if unsure.
  • Have an effluent filter installed on your tank outlet if not already present.
  • Divert rainwater and surface water runoff away from the drain field location.
  • Call a professional whenever you experience backed up drains, slow drainage, odors, or overly wet ground.
  • Plant only grass over and near your septic system components. Roots from trees and shrubs can damage pipes.
  • Follow pumping and maintenance guidelines from your last qualified inspection company.


  • Enter a tank – poisonous gases are present.
  • Allow vehicle traffic over any part of your septic system.
  • Plant anything over the drain field except grass.
  • Dig without knowing tank and line locations.
  • Flush anything except human waste and toilet paper – no grease, wipes, diapers, etc.
  • Use drain cleaners and other additives that can harm your septic system – they are unnecessary.
  • Use a garbage disposal excessively as it can increase tank solids.
  • Allow backwash from home filtration systems to enter your tank.
  • Ignore signs of problems until an emergency arises – preventative maintenance is key!

Be Septic Smart

In summary, proper wastewater treatment and dispersal is essential for households and businesses not connected to centralized sewer systems in Lewiston, Maine. Septic systems require periodic inspections, pumping, and maintenance to sustain long-term, trouble-free functioning. Educate yourself on your system, hire reputable Septic Inspection services in Lewiston Maine for annual checkups, and follow good usage habits between professional inspections. Proactive septic system care provides peace of mind and prevents the nuisance, mess, and expense of emergency repairs – keeping your property and Maine’s water resources healthy for years to come.

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