A septic tank, for most of the time, will work perfectly and you’ll rarely think about it. If you treat your system well and maintain it regularly you’ll rarely come up against a problem. That said, there are plenty of times when we’ve been called to a septic tank problem and had to carry out emergency work and repairs.

The best way to treat your septic tank is with regular tank inspections, some occasional pumping, and by not overloading it with foreign objects that should be disposed of in the garbage, not down the toilet!

If you don’t look after your septic tank then you’ll soon find that you can’t run any water, so you’ll have no showers, toilets or washing facilities.

Regular septic tank inspections are highly recommended to avoid disasters.


Why would a septic tank go wrong?

There are two main reasons your septic tank could fall foul of problems.

  1. Lack of good tank maintenance

Even if you’re really sympathetic to your tanks and only flush and pour what you should, a septic tank will still struggle if you don’t maintain it. For just a few hundred dollars a septic tank inspection can spot and stop problems before they become so big that you end up with $1,000s of damage repair work.

  1. Misuse of the system

The only waste you should be flushing is water and human waste. Don’t be tempted to flush other objects. We don’t feel we need to list them, as you know what we mean. Anything other than your own waste shouldn’t be going in.

Look after your septic tank and don’t try to get rid of anything you shouldn’t, and you’ll be just fine.


How will you know if your septic tank is in trouble?

How will you know whether you have an issue with your tank? Well here are three signs to look out for:

  1. Slow to drain
  2. Standing water
  3. Bad smells

Let’s have a look at some tell-tale signs…

  1. Slow to drain.

If you notice that your sinks, shower, or bath tub are draining slower than usual then pay attention. Also, if you notice fresh vegetation growing in your drain field that could also be a sign you have an issue and need an inspection.

  1. Standing water.

If you notice that standing water is starting to collect near your property, this could be another sign that you have a problem. If it’s unusual, get an inspection booked.

  1. Bad smells.

Notice a sewer-like smell? That’s not nice (or normal). Smells often indicate that your system isn’t working at its optimum and you need to have a professional take a look and see what’s failing.

Time is of the essence in these cases as larger problems can start to happen very quickly once your system signals to you that it’s not performing as well as it should.

Call us out! It could be the difference between a simple repair and disruptive and costly works.


When does a septic tank need pumping?

Ideally (depending on use) your tank will need to be pumped every 1-3 years. A quick tank inspection (ideally once a year) will tell you in good time and this can be the difference between peace of mind and one of the examples above!

Essentially a tank will need to be emptied when the sludge at the bottom of your tank reaches the limit or the scum at the top starts reaching too far down into the tank.

Once this happens the tank needs pumping otherwise it will overflow and flood the neighbouring land. You really don’t want that – trust us, we’ve seen it all!


Get serious about septic tank maintenance…

If you look after your septic tank then it will look after you for years… decades… and even longer. An annual septic tank inspection is your best bet and if you live in the Colorado area then we’d love to chat about doing this for you.

It’s a far better approach than waiting for a disaster to happen.

A quick inspection will spot problems before they become more than a little issue and that’s far more cost-effective than waiting for Armageddon in your back yard!


What are the Main Differences Between Septic Tanks and Main Sewers?


Hopefully you don’t need to give much thought to the sewage that’s removed from your property. But the safe removal of waste and the way it happens is obviously important to your home, building, and health.


When everything is in good working order the safe removal of sewage is often silent, efficient and forgotten.


There are two very different systems that we wanted to share with you to help you to understand the differences between them.


Most homes will have a system linked up to the main sewers with a network of pipes that flushes and washes the waste into the public sewers.


Depending on your location though, this might not be an option, so some less connected locations will have a septic tank instead, which is situated within the boundaries of the property and maintained by the property owner.


That’s the obvious main difference, but what are the other differences when it comes to septic tanks and main sewers?



The main one is who’s responsible for looking after everything. The majority of homes and buildings will be hooked up to the public sewer system and will incur a utility bill each month, which is a fee for their use. The main benefit here is that, although you’re charged each month to use the system, you’re not responsible for the sewers and the local bodies are tasked with keeping them in good working order for you.


Septic systems however, are the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain. Owners need to keep them cleaned, flowing, and emptied when appropriate. Septic tanks are a great system, but they do require regular cleaning and maintenance. You can find out more about how they work here.


Waste management

If you’re linked up to the main sewer lines, then they will carry your waste away to a nearby a treatment facility to remove harmful waste and treat the water, manage the harmful gases etc. Once you flush, or empty your bath, shower or basin, you’re no longer in control of it.


If you own a septic system then your waste leaves your property and heads into the nearby holding septic tank. In here the waste is treated in a natural way. Various elements of the waste naturally separate and leave the final waste that will need to be removed occasionally with a regular septic tank service.


The way they work

With a sewer system, the nearby treatment facility works to remove contaminants and dangers from the waste. When the water is safe once again, it’s discharged back into local water supplies and thus recycled.


A septic system works in much the same way, as in it treats the waste water with a view to releasing it back into the environment. However, the tank works with the waste on-site, and sends the ‘liquid effluent’ back into circulation via a drain field.



Quite obviously, the sewer system is not yours and the only cost to you is the monthly bill from the utility provider. The cost will depend on your location and in some areas the waste is included in your other utility bills and most likely with your water bill.

On the other hand, a septic system is yours and although it most likely comes with the home or building, you’re responsible for the maintenance and cleaning. Buying it in the first place and replacing parts is down to the owner of the property and it’s also their responsibility if anything ever goes wrong.



As mentioned above, your local authority is entirely responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of a public sewer system.

If you own a septic system, then it’s you who’s responsible for repairs and cleaning of your septic tank and its connected pipes and drain field. You’re usually responsible for drains inside the boundaries of your property. Many homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—that is, the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main (which is usually located in the street) and the building. The sewerage company is responsible for lateral drains, which are outside of the property boundaries, and sewers.


If something goes wrong…

If and when something happens to your sewer system, you simply call your local authority and report the issues and they will come out and fix it.

If you have a problem with your septic system, then you need to call out a company like us to inspect the septic system and then repair it as needed.


Which is best?

You might not get a choice if you’re a long way from the main sewer system, but the main benefits of a sewer system are peace of mind, convenience, and of course little or no responsibility for anything that goes wrong.


A septic tank is yours to repair and maintain. But a well-maintained septic system is going to work just fine and in the long run is a more cost-efficient method of removing your waste.


Maintained well, a septic system causes fewer headaches…

One of the most important parts of owning and using a septic system is to make sure you’re looking after it. A couple visits from us every year will ensure it never overflows and that the entire process is working well and serving you in the best way.


Septic tank maintenance can be arranged right here or by calling us now on (970) 453 – 2339.




A septic tank is an underground and watertight container made mostly from fiberglass, plastic or concrete. They tend to be rectangular and are sunk into the ground.

A septic tank will give you a safe disposal of waste water in an eco-friendly way and for this reason they’re widely used in areas with poor drainage or those in more remote or rural locations which are not connected to the sewage network.

Waste from your home or building is flushed out into the tank for it to be treated. The water is then put back into the ground above the tank and the waste is removed. This avoids the need for sewage pipes to be trunked to the property, although in many cases this isn’t possible due to their location.
A septic tank is usually the only sewage option to the property and rarely an actual choice to the property owner over a more efficient, sewage system.

The idea of a septic tank is to allow nature to turn the waste into three layers.

These layers are:

  1. Scum: A top layer where oil and grease naturally floats to the top above all the waste.
  2. Effluent: The middle layer comprises of watery waste called effluent, which is mainly water with some waste particles, and this makes up most of the tank.
  3. Sludge: At the bottom of the tank the heavier waste sinks and forms a sludge.

Much like a modern sewage system, the septic tank is designed to take harmful waste away from the home or building and treat it so that the water can be used once again. It’s a natural process but needs a well-maintained tank and professional care to ensure it’s doing its job.

Here’s a simply step-by-step to explain how the septic tank works

  1. Waste water is flushed into the tank just like it would be into a sewage in a normal domestic situation.
  2. The water runs into septic tank which is a buried (usually in the garden) where it lies with the specific job of holding the wastewater for long enough that the three layers form.
  3. The solids in the waste will settle and naturally sink to the bottom where they form the sludge.
  4. Then the oils from the waste float to the top to form the scum.
  5. Septic tanks will have a filter or outlet pipe preventing the sludge or scum escaping into the drain field area and contaminating the effluent water.
  6. Then the liquid wastewater (called effluent), and only this, leaves the tank into the drain field area.
  7. The drain field is a special treatment area that that’s excavated and filled with unsaturated soil. The water passes through this soil which acts like a filter and treats it before finally allowing the water to be dispersed as groundwater, usually to water or nourish some nearby crops or gardens.

The waste water percolates the soil, giving it a natural way to remove any harmful bacteria that will live in the waste. The main enemy to the health of people and the environment is the ‘Coliform bacteria’ which is found in the intestines and can cause serious illness to the environment and other animals and humans.

The job of a septic tank is to make sure that this bacteria doesn’t get exposed to anyone or anything.

This really useful video explains exactly how your standard septic tank works and gives a quick visual guide to explain the process the waste goes through.



What happens to the scum and the sludge?

Simply put, that’s where we come in. Your septic tank will need emptying every 1-2 years, although this will depend on the number of people in your home or property as this will determine the amount of use the tank has.

A well-maintained tank usually falls into this timescale and this will ensure you’re not going to suffer with any leaks or worse still, an over-filled tank resulting in sewage leaking from the full-to-busting tank.

Water will always find a way and it pays to have a good septic tank schedule and a booked ‘de-sludge’ with a company like us every two years at least.

If you already own a septic tank you’ll probably aware that everything you flush down your toilet or put down the kitchen sink will pass through your septic tank. The following things should be kept out:

If you limit what you put down your drains to waste and water your system will thank you for it!

Other services we offer for septic tanks are:

Other areas that affect your septic tank

Good maintenance is a must with a septic tank if you want it to perform to its best but there are some other factors that may cause you some issues if you’re not careful.

These can be similar to the following:

As with any area of a septic tank it makes a lot of sense to have a maintenance plan in place and keep your eye on the situation and efficiency of your tank. We use CCTV cameras to inspect the tank without causing too much disturbance, which minimises potential problems.

A septic tank is a live system and the bacteria and other elements require the perfect environment to do their thing. A well-maintained tank will do just that.

If you’d like to talk to us about keeping your septic tank well-maintained then please do contact us today.