Morse Engineering and Construction Industries

Buying a Lakefront Home with a Septic System

- Friday, December 02, 2022
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic System

It can be a very frustrating and costly mistake not to understand all the requirements of waste disposal at your new lakefront home…especially in Massachusetts.

A. Town Sewerage

To avoid some of the problems involved with on-site septic waste disposal systems, many lakefront homeowners take advantage of connecting their homes to the municipal sewer system. Connecting to the sewer system can reduce the potential for environmental contamination and health hazards caused by old septic systems and cesspools, and offer a cost-effective alternative to systems that require pump-outs and often need expensive repairs.

To connect to town sewerage, homeowners obtain quotes for private contractors to connect their property to the sewer line/stub in the street. The work also entails a proper abandonment of the old waste system according to relevant specifications.

If the property you are looking at has town sewerage, it could be important to research town records to see that the work was completed with proper adherence to laws and regulations.

In addition, it is important to ask if there are any outstanding betterment fees and what party is responsible for paying those fees at Closing. Most of the time, this is the Seller’s responsibility. However, it can be a negotiating tool.

A sewer betterment assessment is a fee assessed by municipalities to properties that have been “bettered” by the construction of a public sewer. The value of those properties are said to have been improved and therefore, are “bettered”.

What about Septic Systems?

The purpose of a septic system is to retain solid waste in the tank and to dispose of effluent waste water into the ground without contaminating the environment.

In simplest terms, a septic system consists of a holding tank which retains solid waste and grease from household waste water, and an absorption system or “leach field” which disposes of liquid wastewater or “effluent” which leaves the septic tank for absorption below ground into soils at the property.

Typical Septic System

Properly designed and installed on-site septic systems are very functional and sanitary. Private septic systems serve more homes in the US and many other countries than any other waste disposal method. However, components can be costly and do not have an indefinite life. Therefore, there are some questions that you will want to ask.

First, the best information you can obtain is a copy of the as-built septic plan. This is usually recorded with the Town Board of Health. This plan tells you exactly where the septic system is located.

You’d probably want to know how often the septic system has been pumped and whether it has a current Title 5 Inspection.

With conventional septic systems, it is always a good idea to conserve water whenever possible. You’ll want to choose commercial drain cleaners carefully, as many may be harmful to the groundwater and to your leach field. When septic systems are not pumped routinely, the leach field may become clogged. Bleach, drain cleaners, chemicals and paints may harm beneficial microorganisms essential to the systems operation. And, as a general rule, garbage disposals cannot be used with septic systems.

Septic systems that are designed, installed, and operated properly will treat wastewater as well as any municipal sewage system. In fact, some septic systems do a much better job! The tanks will require pumping every 3 to 5 years.

Cesspools

A cesspool combines the septic treatment tank and absorption system into a single component. In its most basic and traditional form a cesspool is a hole in the ground lined with stone or concrete block to form a masonry-lined pit into which sewage is discharged. Solids (sewage from the building) remain in the pit, effluent is absorbed into soil below and at the sides of the cesspool. Cesspools as a means to dispose of sewage have been around since the late 1400’s at the beginning of the Renaissance. Cesspools require pumping every 1 to 2 years at a cost of approximately $200 to $300.

The concern with cesspools is that they may overload the capacity of the soil to remove bacteria, viruses, and phosphorous, and to nitrify ammonia and organic nitrogen compounds. Some communities will fail cesspools automatically via Title 5 regulations. Some accept them if they are functioning properly and meet other criteria. It is important to understand what you are buying.

Tight Tanks

Tight tanks are similar to septic tanks, except that they have no outlet and must be pumped out at regular intervals…usually monthly. Title 5 strongly discourages the use of tight tanks, but they are allowed in situations where an existing system has failed and there is no other feasible alternative. Tight tanks are not allowed for new construction or increases in design flow.

When purchasing a home with a tight tank, you’ll want to request copies of maintenance invoices for the last year. Then, determine the usage of your family and how that will impact those costs. Normally, tight tanks are sized from 1500 to 2500 gallons. Each pumping can cost from $175 to $250 (assuming frequency discounts).

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: lakefrontliving.com


Warm Thanksgiving Wishes to You All

- Friday, November 18, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving

Our path to personal and professional success is paved by- and with- the quality souls with whom we have surrounded ourselves. And, we consider you a member of our extremely valued fraternity of customers, vendors, service providers, mentors, and friends. It has been a strange couple of years, and we all have each other to thank for surviving and thriving. For this we give thanks.

This Thanksgiving we would like to use this week's blog to communicate our heartfelt appreciation for all the support, loyalty, service quality, and passion for our business we have received this past year. Going forward, our commitment is to even better strengthen our business and our relationships throughout into 2023 and beyond.

Warm Thanksgiving wishes, to you all.


Common Septic Tank Issues During Winter

- Friday, November 11, 2022
Morse Engineering and Construction

Frosty weather can cause significant trouble to residential and commercial septic systems. During the cold season, several issues may arise and can impair the water treatment. From the freezing ground to freezing pipes and tanks, all of these can cause major damage to septic systems.

Determining what complications to expect and how to prevent them is key to a winter without any setbacks in septic systems. Here are some septic system issues and helpful tips on how to deal with them:

Freezing Septic Tanks and Pipes

Frozen tanks and pipes are the most common problem for septic systems. Once snow or frost falls around the septic tanks and surrounding areas, problems may arise. When the components of a septic system freeze, it slows down or stops natural bacteria from breaking down waste in the tank. If the wastewater is not sufficiently broken down, the system can be overloaded and may cause clogging. Additionally, if the wastewater accumulates in a frozen line and ruptures, this poses a significant health hazard.

How to deal with it?

  • Set up a cover on a septic tank or simply cover it with a blanket during winter, particularly at night.
  • Running the water and using your septic tank every day will also reduce the possibility of freezing.
  • Mulch, leaves, or plants are also a recommended cover for your pipes.
  • Avoid cutting grass in the soil treatment area at the end of fall. The extra grass length can help trap the snow, providing insulation over the field.

Snow and Soil Pressure

Be careful where you park your vehicle as it can cause compacted soil and snow. Ensure that there are no heavy objects in the area above the septic system. Compacted soil and snow above could reduce the insulation of your septic system and build pressure to solidify the septic tanks. This will impede the proper treatment and drainage of the wastewater in the draining fields.

How to deal with it?

To prevent these issues, aerate the soil around your system before the winter season arrives. Aside from that, clear the snow from your septic system, but stop moving around where your system is installed.

Overused/Improper Use by the Guests

Winter is also holiday season meaning there are more celebrations and parties, and more meal planning and increased visitors. Your septic system could be overworked with additional shower and toilet use, laundry, and food preparation.

How to deal with it?

Try arranging a scheduled time for showers and dishes. Besides that, remind visitors of the proper use of the bathroom and kitchen sinks when staying with you.

Irregular Usage

The process of digesting organic waste by anaerobic bacteria keeps the septic tank warm. This is why irregular use of water during cold weather can affect the septic system.

Using warm water on a daily basis will also help keep pipes from freezing. When septic tanks are not used frequently, they are more prone to freezing. In unoccupied properties, systems are unable to sustain a constant temperature due to the low level of water and sewage that flow through the system. This can cause damage to the septic system.

How to deal with it?

If you or your family are planning to be away during the winter, empty your septic tank. You should schedule a pumping first before traveling to help keep the septic tank parts from freezing and bursting.

Breach in Water Pipes

Faulty pipes can worsen the possibility of damage in the winter season.

Leaks during the cold weather will also increase the chances of freezing, which will further weaken the system. Clogs cause the wastewater to accumulate in the pipes. Frozen drainage can end up causing damage to the septic tank, which can also contaminate drinking water.

How to deal with it?

These problems can be solved by replacing or fixing leaky pipes before the winter arrives. Also, both clogs and leaks should be taken care of as soon as they are spotted in order to avoid these problems from becoming severe.

The best way to avoid these problems is by taking precautions and making preparations before the cold weather begins. Homeowners need to ensure that their septic systems are fault-free and not prone to freezing.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: build-review.com


Conditional Pass or Failed Septic System Inspections

- Friday, November 04, 2022
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries - Septic System Inspection

A system with certain components which need repair or replacement can qualify for a conditional pass on the inspection report. Upon completion of replacement or repair of the specific system component, and with the approval of the Board of Health, the system will pass inspection.

Examples of system components eligible for a conditional pass include:

  • A metal or cracked septic tank,
  • A broken or obstructed pipe,
  • An uneven distribution box,
  • A malfunctioning pump chamber.
  • Soil absorption systems and cesspools cannot be repaired under a conditional pass.

If a system fails inspection and the owner decides not to sell as a result, the owner still has an obligation to repair the system.

A failed system must be upgraded within 2 years, unless the local Board of Health or MassDEP authorizes an alternative schedule.

The septic system inspector is responsible for determining that the system meets or fails Title 5 standards as of the date of the inspection. If a system fails shortly after a sale, the buyer may have legal recourse, but it may be very hard to prove that the system was in failure at the time of the inspection.

Source: mass.gov


3 Indications You Need Septic System Repairs

- Friday, October 28, 2022
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic System Repairs

1. Foul Smells

Water drained from your sinks, washing machine, dishwashers, bathtubs, and toilets all go to your septic tank. A pipe or tank leak will not only form a pool around your drainage but also discharge unpleasant odors.

Septic tank systems excrete toxic gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, which can be hazardous to your health. Prevent this by consulting septic tank maintenance experts to determine if your tank or its pipes have leaks.

2. Slow Drains

Items like food scraps and hair strands can clog your pipes and may result in slow drains. Sometimes, this problem can be resolved by using drain cleaning products.

However, if you notice that every drain in your house is simultaneously slow and accompanied by gurgling sounds, you may have a backup.

If pumping doesn’t work, then the pipes that flow to the tank are obstructed. Hire a septic tank maintenance expert, as they have the tools and equipment to detect and remove these blockages.

3. High Nitrate Levels

Leaks in your septic tank can flow to your groundwater and contaminate your well water. This will result in a high nitrate concentration and cause methemoglobinemia, or “blue baby” disease, a condition that prevents the blood from supplying the tissues in the body with oxygen. Have your well water tested regularly for the presence of high nitrate levels.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: connect2local.com


Preparing Septic Systems for Winter in Seasonal Homes

- Monday, October 24, 2022
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries - Septic System for Winter

For seasonal homeowners who are closing a septic system for the winter helps prevent the system from freezing, prolongs the life of the system, and keeps it operating at a high level. Below are some tips to consider when preparing your cabin's septic system for the winter months.

Preparing the Drainfield

Stop cutting the grass over the drainfield in mid-September; the extra grass length will capture snow, which provides insulation. Consider placing a snow fence near the drainfield to help capture drifting snow on the drainfield to add to the natural insulating blanket of snow.

Make sure all inspection pipes have covers to keep cold air from flowing into the drainfield pipes.

Winterizing the Water Pipes

Do not add automotive antifreeze, salts, or any other additives to your plumbing.

Even if the heat is left on, it is still a good idea to drain water supply lines. Shut off the water where it enters the house and drain all lines.

Drain the pump and then run it for a couple of seconds to be sure all water is out of the lines. Drain the system by opening all the faucets, and then leave the faucets open.

Completely drain the pressure tank. Flush the toilets and add RV antifreeze to the toilet tanks at the recommended dilution ratio.

Check flexible hoses in sinks and bathtubs to be sure they are drained completely. Remove and drain inlet hoses for the dishwasher and clothes washer. Clear the water valve by starting the machine for a few seconds; then drain the tub. Remove the drain hoses and drain completely. Disconnect the electrical supply to the pump, water heater, softener, washer, and dishwasher.

Drain the water heater and water softener with a hose after power is disconnected. RV antifreeze can be added to traps in sinks, bathtub and shower drains, wash tubs, floor drains, and sump pumps.

If you do not drain the water lines for the winter, be very sure that there are no leaks or drips. This constant, low flow of water can cause septic system freezing.

Cleaning/Pumping the Septic Tank

Consider pumping the tank if closing the cabin for the winter. If a tank is left full but the system is not used during the winter, the sewage will get very cold or possibly freeze. If you live in an area with a high groundwater table, you should only pump the tank if it was designed for such conditions.

In the spring, it will take some time for the frozen sewage in the tank to thaw, meaning the septic tank may not be able to accept fresh sewage until the sewage in the tank thaws.

Source: pineconepresscitizen.com


Reasons to Hire a Septic Design Company

- Friday, October 14, 2022
Morse Engineering and Construction

Your septic system is a vital but often overlooked part of building a home or adding an addition. When you’re planning on building a new home or adding onto your property, it’s easy to get caught up in design touches – but don’t take the septic system for granted. Below are a few reasons you should consult a specialized septic system design company for any home construction project.

1. A Thorough Site Evaluation

Many contractors know how to install a septic tank, but many don’t have the expertise or resources to perform a complete site evaluation first. After examining the soil conditions, the slope of the site, and other factors, a septic system design company can recommend solutions and take steps to prevent serious issues before they ruin your beautiful new home.

2. Getting the Right Design for Your Project

Determining the best septic system for any property depends on a number of factors, including the number of people in your household, area weather conditions, the state of the soil on your property, and local ordinances. Septic professionals will take all elements into account to ensure you get a system of the proper size and type to suit your needs.

3. In-Depth Understanding of Local Regulations

In most areas, septic system installations are strictly regulated, with expensive consequences for those whose tanks aren’t up to standard. Septic system design companies have the necessary training, certification, and experience to satisfy regulatory requirements. They’re also deeply knowledgeable about local government rules. They’ll submit all proper paperwork before excavation begins to ensure you don’t later run afoul of the law.

If you’re in need of a septic design company, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: connect2local.com


Septic Systems: 3 Common Types

- Friday, October 07, 2022
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic Systems

Septic systems are underground wastewater treatment structures for areas without centralized sewers. These structures allow safe wastewater treatment to prevent contamination of drinking water and crops. Although it has the same purpose, knowing the types of septic systems and how they work helps determine which suits your household. Here are a few to consider.

What Are Different Septic Systems

1. Septic Tank

A septic tank is a buried, water-tight container commonly made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its design keeps water inside the tank for a day to filter out the solids by allowing it to settle down. Then, partially treats sanitary wastewater and discharges it into the soil for complete treatment. It relies on the soil’s natural filter capabilities to remove the remaining bacteria. This mechanism replenishes the water table for the healthy growth of vegetation. Consider installing septic tanks if you have a property larger than an acre to avoid additional costs of new pipes for the public sewage system.

2. Conventional System

Unlike septic tanks that rely on soil, conventional decentralized systems consist of a tank and a drainfield to treat wastewater. The drainfield uses gravel or stone to filter effluent. Additionally, it has a fabric on top of the stones to prevent contaminants from entering the clean gravel. Then, the wastewater flows out to the soil for further treatment. This system can be suitable for single-family homes or small businesses.

3. Aerobic Treatment Unit

ATUs (Aerobic treatment units) have an air pump that injects oxygen into the treatment tank to break down organic matter. This is an alternative system for unsuitable locations for conventional systems. For example, homes with smaller lots, inadequate soil conditions, and areas with high water tables. Additionally, it offers a higher level of treatment due to the natural bacterial activity of the injected oxygen. However, this system requires electricity and more maintenance to keep it operational.

If you’re in need of septic installation, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: connect2local.com


Septic Installation Do's and Don'ts

- Thursday, October 06, 2022
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic Installation

Septic installation will manage wastewater and should be planned well in advance when you’re constructing a new home. If you’re ready to begin land clearing and excavating to install your septic tank, familiarize yourself with these do’s and don’ts to avoid costly and hazardous issues in the future.

Do:

Acquire appropriate permits.

Different cities and areas have different rules and regulations regarding construction restrictions. Get your project approved and avoid costly fines by talking to an experienced contractor to understand what permits are required before breaking ground.

Hire septic installation & excavating experts.

While it may be tempting to complete your septic installation yourself to save money, you’ll likely need a team of contractors to operate heavy equipment for excavating and land clearing. Find a reputable company in your area that’s licensed, insured, and familiar with the type of project you’re doing. You should also ask for references that can confirm they can complete your project safely and on schedule.

Don’t:

Build over your drainage field.

The drain field contains a system of pipes where water is filtered and reabsorbed into the ground. To protect your system and keep it running smoothly, don’t plant trees or shrubbery on the drain field as roots could grow into the pipes. You should also avoid using this area for parking or covering it with a hard surface, like asphalt or brick.

Forget to factor expansions or renovations into your plan.

Septic systems are available in a variety of sizes based on the size and capacity of the property it’s serving. If you’re planning an addition to your structure, don’t forget to update your septic system accordingly to prevent backups and issues filtering a higher volume of wastewater.

If you’re in need of septic installation, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: connect2local.com


Septic System Installation FAQ

- Friday, September 23, 2022
Morse Engineering and Construction

A septic system keeps the waste from your household safely contained so it can be disposed of by a technician. Before that can happen, the septic system installation is performed by a team of highly trained engineers and trenching contractors. It’s essential to hire professionals to ensure the work is handled properly and follows the local regulations and building codes. Below are some frequently asked questions homeowners have about the installation process.

What Is a Septic System?

The septic system is an underground wastewater treatment system that consists of the septic tank, drain field, and piping. It is connected to your home and moves the wastewater or effluent from it to the septic tank where the waste is treated and separated into three layers. From there, it is further filtered until it reaches the drain field. The tank will need to be pumped every one to two years to remove sludge and prevent backups. How Is the Installation Performed?

The installation process can vary depending on the size of the system, but typically it takes up to seven days to complete. The excavation team will dig a large hole in your yard. Contractors will install the necessary components, such as the tank, piping, and drain field, before re-filling the area with soil. After the installation process, the technicians will perform a rigorous inspection to ensure the system is working properly. How Long Will the System Last?

A septic system is designed to provide many decades of reliable and efficient wastewater treatment. If properly installed, a concrete model can last for 40 years. To keep it working, it will require regular maintenance and pumping. Plumbing issues can result due to blocked pipes and other problems. A clogged drain field is typically the most serious problem that can occur, and will need to be replaced as needed. How Can I Keep the Septic System Healthy?

Avoid putting anything down the drain or toilet that will destroy the natural flora and healthy bacteria that the system needs to filter waste. Bleach and harsh chemical cleaners should be avoided. Regular pumping and maintenance from a certified septic technician will ensure your system provides many years of performance.

If you’re in need of septic installation, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: connect2local.com