What should I do after having my septic tank cleaned out?

Here is a water system question that comes up occasionally among homeowners:

What to do after your septic tank is pumped at Home?

The answers to that question are surprisingly varied in local tradition and folklore! Some homeowners are very dogmatic with their beliefs and practices surrounding this event. We have found some homeowners who stoutly declare that the only way their septic tank functions properly after cleaning is if they put a dead chicken into the tank after it’s pumped! This, they claim, re-starts the bacteria in the septic tank, and everything works wonderfully. Others ascribe to a legendary method of adding a large bag of dog food to the tank after cleaning…they say when they fail to add the dog food, their tank will not function properly. Still, others keep a special supply of yeast on hand to flush down the toilet when their tank has been pumped out. They feel that this special additive will keep the septic bugs happy, and keep all bad things from occurring.

Based on our many years working in the residential septic system industry, we have found that in most cases, there is no need to add anything to your septic tank after pumping.

Human waste coupled with kitchen waste is full of bacteria and enzymes which are fully sufficient to break down the residential waste that comes from most homes.

Washington State University has a helpful study on this topic, which we feel encapsulates our experience in the field.

Septic Tank System Additives

Safe additives will likely be ineffective, while an effective additive will likely be unsafe to use. Money spent on additives would better be spent pumping your septic tank every three to five years.

There are certain cases where home septic tank additives can be helpful for cleaning your plumbing system…

  • We have had customers who were undergoing chemotherapy who experienced adverse effects on their septic tank, due to the chemo-killing bacteria in the tanks.
    We have also had customers who used more than normal amounts of bleach or Clorox in cleaning, which affected their septic tanks.
  • In cases like this, we recommend a product called BioClean, which is a mix of bacteria in powder form, that activates when it is added to liquid. This can increase the bacterial count in the septic tank to help overcome higher levels of toxic influent.
  • At times, a leach field may become clogged with solids from overuse. We have had success with opening the ends of leach fingers and cleaning out the solids from the lines using a hydro-jetting machine. Once the solids are cleaned out, we flush clean water back into them, mixed with a high concentration of BioClean bacteria. This helps to break down the remaining solids with a shock treatment of very high bacteria content, and many times a failing leach field can be brought back to life in this manner.

So…in most cases, the best thing to do after pumping your septic tank is…Flush The Toilet! If you need to schedule a septic tank cleaning, pumping, or inspection, don’t hesitate to call Shankster Bros. at any time.

Can I have a septic tank without a leach field?

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

Here in Northern Indiana, the question is often asked…”Can I have a septic tank without a leach field?” Let’s look at that question a bit closer in this blog.

First of all, we need to define the question a bit…

Are you wondering if you can install a new septic system for a new home having only a septic tank, but no leach field?

If so, the short, easy answer is no. The Indiana State Department of Health, (ISDH) writes the codes that govern septic systems in Indiana. The code states that new homes constructed in Indiana shall be designed and plotted to allow sufficient space on the property to adequately treat the wastewater generated by the home on-site if they are not connected to a municipal sewer system. This means that new home construction must be served by a septic system that consists not only of a septic tank, but also provides a system to treat the wastewater, and release the clean water back into the environment…such as a leach field, sand mound, Advanced Treatment System, (ATS), or another method approved by ISDH.

What about an existing home whose old system has problems, is failing, and needs replaced?

The ISDH has provisions in its codes for homes whose septic systems have failed, and are in need of repair or replacement. As long as there is sufficient space on the property, including all setbacks, (50’ from well, etc.), wastewater is to be treated on-site.

In the event of insufficient space, due to small lots that were platted long ago, causing an inability to meet setbacks, such as 25’ from a body of water, etc., for an existing property with no other options, a holding tank may be installed. This is really the only scenario given in the Indiana code where a home may be served by a septic tank with no leach field.

Here in Northern Indiana, we have a lot of lakes, which have many small lots plotted around their perimeters many years ago, with a lot of older homes constructed on them. Over the years, many of the small septic systems serving these homes have become overburdened, resulting in system failure. Due to the small physical lot sizes, often when you block out a 50’ radius from the well, and 50’ radius of all neighboring wells, and 25’ from the lake water’s edge, there is actually no land left to treat the wastewater safely. In this case, a sealed Holding Tank may be installed.

Let’s look at the question from an alternative angle…

“Can I have a septic tank with no leach field?”

drainfields treatmentMaybe you have an old farmhouse, built a hundred years ago, and no one has any idea where the septic tank is, or if it even has one. There are no records because the county didn’t keep those kinds of records long ago…and you may be wondering… “where does my wastewater go?”

In this case, You may be the owner of a septic tank with no leach field!

Many years ago, in the history of mankind…there was a time when builders constructed houses in the country served by septic tanks, but the wastewater went straight from the septic tank through a drainage pipe, eventually ending up in a creek or drain way. These systems tend to work flawlessly for many years, providing no problems for the homeowner…except for polluting the waters of our beautiful state.

These systems are no longer legal, and the state requires that they are not allowed to be repaired without bringing them up to code. In order to bring a system like this up to code, it will require the addition of a leach field component to treat the wastewater before releasing it.

Call Shankster Bros. today for all your septic system problems and needs!

What Causes a Septic Tank to Back Up?

What Causes a Septic Tank to Back Up?

septic tank backup

It’s time to look at a topic that may cause chills to run up and down your spine… and with good reason! What would cause a septic tank to back up?

The answers to that one seemingly simple, innocent question are as many and varied as the people who use the facilities emptying into the septic tanks! Let’s look at a few of them together.

Answer #1 on Septic Systems Backing Up

A septic tank backs up because it’s tired of going forwards.

Haha. Gotcha on that one, right? Ok, so I couldn’t resist one very corny joke.

About Your Septic Tank Backup

One of the first things to determine is whether the backup is actually from the septic tank itself, or whether it may be a clog in the plumbing lines somewhere.

Sometimes customers who experience a backup will call in to have their septic tank pumped, and once our technicians pump the tank, the backup is still just as backed up as ever. The reason is often a clogged plumbing line rather than an actual backed up septic tank. Some common causes for clogged plumbing/drainage lines leading to the septic tank are listed below.

Common Causes of Your Septic Tank Backing Up

Tree Roots

This is one of the most common plagues of drainage lines everywhere, even though we love those lovely lawns shaded by a giant, stately old oak or maple trees, right? They’re so beautiful. While it’s true that the upper part, easily seen and appreciated, is beautiful, these trees have a sinister counterpart underground – the wicked root system which is always in search of water.

Tree roots have an uncanny ability to sense water from far away and will go to great lengths to penetrate whatever stands between them and the precious water they so badly need for survival. If a tree root finds the tiniest of cracks in a drainage pipe, it will send a hair-thin root in through that crack to begin sucking up the water and sending it up to the tree.

Once inside, two things begin to happen simultaneously. The tiny root immediately sends out more threadlike roots inside the pipe which begin growing instantly. These roots grow and multiply inside the pipe, sucking up the nutrient-rich water and sending it back to the tree. At the same time, as these roots grow, the tiny root going through the tiny crack in the pipe also grows. As small as it is, it has tremendous strength. It will eventually burst the pipe completely, causing a rupture in the line, which can bring further complications.

Minor root infestations can be treated by a high-powered water-jetting machine, and/or a mechanical augering cutter tool. Once the roots have been cut out and removed, they should be treated with a root-killing chemical to prevent or delay reinfestation. Major infestations will have to be repaired by digging up the infested pipe, removing and replacing it with a new pipe. Special care needs to be given to the connection points in these repairs, as the slightest crack will result in a repeat of the original problem in time.


Do not ever pour grease down your sink. Period. This is one of the surest ways to bring about a backup of your plumbing lines and your septic tank.

Grease will coagulate once it comes in contact with water. It will then harden into a firm substance inside your pipe, and eventually clog your pipes completely, resulting in overflowing toilets, sinks, and showers. Have I said enough?

Some other things not to put down your drains that may cause a backed up septic tank include:

  • Baby wipes
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Feminine products
  • Condoms
  • Bleach
  • Hair
  • Diapers
  • Dental floss
  • Medications
  • Paints
  • Paper towels

Any or all of these will work together to form the perfect backup recipe. Yes, we have seen all of these terrifying scenarios, along with many more, such as false teeth, sunglasses, and even the overuse of antibacterial soaps.

Improper Plumbing Installations

Sometimes a do-it-yourselfer or a novice plumber may install piping with insufficient fall, or drop, in the piping. This causes the water in a flush to run too slowly, permitting the solids to settle to the bottom of the pipe as the water drains away. By the time the next flush comes along, these solids have dried out and attached to the bottom of the pipe, and buildup begins to occur, finally leading to a clog, and causing a backup.

Effluent Filters on the Outlet of Your System

These are designed to protect your leach field from overload, preventing costly repairs of your septic system. Their function is to keep all solids within the septic tank and allow only water to go out to the leach field.

These filters require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure their proper functioning. Failure to clean and maintain your effluent filter will eventually cause… yep, you guessed it… backup!

Excessive Rain or Flooding

Especially in situations where groundwater and surface water are not properly diverted and drained away from your septic tank and leach field, heavy rains or prolonged wet or rainy seasons often result in backups in your septic system. The long-term cure for this is to have proper drainage work done to ensure that your septic system is kept protected from stormwater. For all these problems and many more, give us a call at Shankster Bros. to find solutions!

FAQs on Septic Systems Backing Up

What are some other warning signs of my septic system backing up?

Signs of a septic tank backup include:

  • Slow drains
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Sewage odors
  • High nitrate levels

How often should I have my septic tank pumped to prevent septic tank backup?

If you’re wondering why your septic tank is backing up often, regular septic tank pumping is essential to prevent backups and maintain the health of your system. The frequency of pumping depends on factors such as the size of the tank, the number of people in the household, and the usage habits.

Can I use chemical drain cleaners if I suspect a backed up septic tank?

No, your typical household chemical drain cleaners should not be used in your septic system. It can cause harm to the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank and may worsen the problem.

What should I do if sewage is backing up into my home?

If your backed up septic tank is causing leakage into your home, it’s essential to act immediately to minimize damage and health risks. Be sure to stop using the water in the house, avoid flushing toilets or using drains, and contact a professional septic service provider for emergency assistance.

Contact Shankster Bros. for All Your Backed Up Septic Tank Needs

Need assistance? We’re here to help! Get in touch with our team today.

Can You Have a Garbage Disposal With a Septic Tank?

Can You Have a Garbage Disposal With a Septic Tank?

Today we’re going to look at a topic that has haunted many rural homeowners for centuries… Garbage Disposals!

The modern garbage disposal was invented in the 1920s by a brilliant man in Wisconsin named John Hammes, who went on to create the brand known today as InSinkErator. This gentleman unwittingly created a masterpiece which in turn became the cornerstone for a century of bitter debates about the effects of Garbage Disposals on Septic Tanks, on Plumbing Piping, and on Wastewater Treatment Plants.

To use or not to use a garbage disposal, that is the question.

New York City banned the use of Garbage Disposals in the 1970s, fearing that if they were used widely, they might cause blockages of their sewer system. This rule survived until 1997 when studies proved that residential Garbage Disposals would not harm the city’s Treatment Works. Commercial Garbage Disposals, however, are still illegal today in New York City.

Throughout the years, controversy has raged among professionals over the use of kitchen sink Garbage Disposal devices.

There are two major downsides to Garbage Disposals.

The first is Fats, Oils, and Greases. Known in the Sewage Treatment world as FOG.

The fear among professionals is that having a garbage disposal will cause homeowners to dump lots of fats, oils, and greases down the drain via the Garbage Disposal. FOGs are harmful to septic tanks and to Municipal Treatment Plants alike. They slow down the breakdown of solids by handicapping the bacteria.

If you have a garbage disposal, and even if you don’t, one of the biggest things to remember is Never to dump any kind of Fats, Oils, or Greases down your drains! This is a sure way to harm your Septic Tank.

The second pitfall with Garbage Disposals is unavoidable “Waste”.

It is a fact that garbage disposals allow totally unprocessed raw waste to enter the septic tank without having been digested by the human body. This creates a lot of raw matter for the septic tank to break down. This raw waste is coming in without being accompanied by bacteria generated by the human body to help break it down.

Use of garbage disposals are not necessarily discouraged for Septic Tanks, but if you do use a garbage disposal, you should increase the frequency of your septic tank cleaning schedule to offset the increased inflow of undigested waste.

Many modern septic tank systems use effluent filters on the outlet of the septic tank. Homes using garbage disposals may notice the filter clogging more often than those without. Again, you will need to increase the frequency of your servicing of the septic tank systems and filter to compensate for the use of the Garbage Disposal.

Like your mom always tried to teach you,

Eat your food…clean up your plate…and whatever you do, DONT DUMP GREASE down the Drain!

Can a septic tank fill up from too much rain?

Can Septic Tank Fill With Rainwater, Causing Flooding?

Q. Is rain water supposed to go into my septic tank?

A. No.

Q. Should my downspouts or gutters be routed into my septic tank?

A. No. No.

Q. Should the sump pump in my basement be routed into my septic tank?

A. No. No. No.

Q. Can a septic tank fill up from too much rain?

A. Unfortunately, yes, this happens sometimes for a few different reasons, and often with disastrous results.

The Septic System on your property has been designed through much scientific study using lots of data, including a specific soil analysis of your property by a soil scientist, a site study by a contractor, all reviewed by the local Health Department to determine exact parameters for your septic system.

It has been designed to treat the contaminated water from your home, and eventually release clean, safe water back into the groundwater of the earth.

Think of your backyard like a huge sponge.

If you pour dirty water on the top of a dry sponge, the sponge will retain most of the dirt particles and allow the cleaner water to pass through and be released below.

This is a simplified picture of your home’s Septic System.

All the wastewater that goes down your drains must flow through the Septic Tank, where nearly all of the solids, (poop, toilet paper, kitchen waste), are retained. Then the water is sent out into your backyard sponge through a network of piping to be absorbed and filtered through the soil before being released back into the groundwater of Indiana.

If storm water from any source is allowed to enter the Septic System, it could overwhelm the capacity of the system to treat the water, and will likely result in an overflow of the system to the surface, and/or a severe backup in the house.

A few ways that could happen with your system:

Improper connection of any of the drainage plumbing to the Septic System.

  • Sump pump connected to the Septic System
  • Downspouts connected to the Septic System
  • Floor drains, footer drains, or yard drainage connected to the Septic System

Improper Surface Water Routing

  • Water from your downspouts dumps out right on top of your Septic Tank, or your Backyard sponge, (Leach Field).
  • Water from all of your yard puddles right on top of your Backyard Sponge, (Leach Field), each time it rains.

Improper Subsurface Drainage

  • An underground drainage pipe is dumping water into some portion of your Septic System.
  • Subsurface water in your yard is flowing downhill through the soil and flooding out your leach field below the surface of your yard.

Fortunately, all of these terrifying scenarios are possible to correct. Some of them are easier and less costly than others.

Remember that your Septic System was carefully designed according to soil analysis and calculation of residual water levels on your property. It was calibrated to receive and treat an amount of water consistent with the size of your home. If an overzealous previous owner was in a do-it-yourself mode and decided to hook up some piping to drain some of the water in the yard, that could be why your toilet is refusing to flush when it rains…!

The goal with a Septic System, (Or Leach Field), is to preserve a relatively dry sponge in your backyard, so the soil can adequately treat the wastewater it is designed to absorb. To attain this, we need to make sure that the storm water is not being fed into your system either by piping or simply by ponding on top of your Septic System.

Look for more detail on this subject in my next blog titled “Two types of Water”!

How Much Does It Cost To Clean Out a Septic Tank? See Breakdown

Cost To Clean Out

How Much Does It Cost To Clean Out a Septic Tank? See Breakdown

When the time comes to have your septic tank cleaned out, an important question arises…

“How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?”

see tank pumpingThe answer is not as clear cut as you may think, but it’s also not going to require a 4-year degree to figure out. There are a few factors that affect the price you may have to pay to do the “Mega Flush” that will clean out years of accumulation from your laundry, toilet, showers, sinks, and jacuzzi.

Let’s get started.

First of all, you should know that septic tanks are like people. They come in all shapes and sizes, they range in age from new to ancient, their health conditions vary tremendously, and they have varying manners and personalities.  Some are timid and prefer to remain hidden from view, buried beneath the surface. Others are more assertive, with bold risers, flashing lights, and even audio alarm systems to let others know of their impressive presence. Still, others are geeky enough that in the event of a problem, they can actually call our office and let us know they need to be serviced!

Yes, we are still talking about a septic tank.

And then there are some who, when they get in a bad mood, will belch or burp like a demented old man, or try to talk to you up through the drains, while the more aggressive ones have been known to “spout off” in the back yard like an upset spouse. Not to mention the ones who are more like the teenage boy who had too many burritos for lunch and insists on relieving his flatulence in the middle of the kitchen while you are trying to prepare dinner! What is that awful smell?!!!

At Shankster Bros., we have been sponsoring a clinical study, which should be coming out in journals shortly, entitled, “Various Personality Disorders Common to Septic Tanks.” But that is for another day.

The costs pertaining to the cleaning of a septic tank can be divided, (or multiplied), into 4-5 categories:

1.) Size of tank

2.) Accessibility of tank

3.) Location of property in relation to the service area

4.) Frequency of cleaning

5.) Volume the amount of gallons

Let’s break these costs down:

1.) Size of tank in gallons

As I mentioned, septic tanks come in all shapes and sizes. Some people are surprised to learn that septic tank sizing requirements for homes are based on the number of bedrooms, churches are on the seating capacity of the auditorium, factories on the number of employees, and campgrounds are on the number of campsites.

Current septic tank sizing requirement guidelines in Indiana are as follows:

5 bedroom home: 1500 gallon tank
4 bedroom home: 1250 gallon tank
3 bedroom home: 1000 gallon tank
2 Bedroom home: 750 gallon tank
1 bedroom home: 500 gallon tank

Interestingly, any jetted bathtub like a hot tub or jacuzzi with more than 125-gallon capacity also counts for an extra bedroom. Bear in mind that many systems installed nowadays are equipped with a secondary tank that serves as a pump station to pump your sewage out to the leach field or sand mound, where it is distributed through piping and receives its final treatment before leaching away into the ground. This means you may have two tanks to clean.

2.) Accessibility of tank

Unfortunately, some septic tanks have been installed in very unhandy places. Think…under the deck….under the garage floor…under the new living room that was added on a few years back…under that giant pine tree, I planted 40 years ago….etc! Yes, we have seen all of those situations, and many, many more.

Also having to do with accessibility is whether or not your tank is fitted with a Riser. This is a pipe on the lid of your septic tank that extends to the surface of the ground. All modern tanks are required to use risers, however, many older tanks do not have them. This may require digging to expose the access lid for your tank, and, yes, additional cost. Access risers can be added to older tanks to keep from repeating the effort and cost of digging up the access lid each time the tank needs to be cleaned. Some service providers have extra charges if they have to use more than one length of hose to reach your tank…fortunately for you, Shankster Bros. does not!

3.) Distance from the service area

Many service providers have a sliding scale price depending on the location of the customer relative to their service area. For example, Shankster Bros. is located in Northern Indiana. If we get a call from a client in Kentucky, we will have to charge more than for a local customer in Kosciusko, Whitley, Wabash, Fulton, Elkhart, or surrounding counties.

4.) Frequency of cleaning

Some of our customers are using tanks that only store septage, instead of leaching it out, especially around some of the lakes. This means they have to be pumped out very frequently, even as often as once per week. In these special situations, we can offer discounted prices due to the frequency of the service.

5.) Volume the amount of gallons

Some customers, like campgrounds or large commercial facilities, or even wastewater treatment plants at times have large volumes they need to dispose of. In this case, again, special pricing will need to be quoted. So when you call the office for pricing, have the following information available, and the receptionist will be able to quickly quote your job:

  • Address of the property needing cleaning service
  • Size of the septic tank, (If known)
  • Whether or not your tank has an access riser

Or, if you are one of our more than 19,000 customers, all of that information is already on file attached to your name or address, and we can quickly look up your information on file with either Shankster Bros, Strombeck Bros, North Webster Septic Tank Service, or Shepler Septic Tank Cleaning, and give you an instant quote based on your filed information.

A general average cost to clean out a septic tank in Northern Indiana is as follows, although you can see specific pricing varies according to the parameters I have outlined above:

1000 gallon tank cleaning – $200 – $300.00
Per gallon over 1000 gallons – 7 cents per gallon
Dig fee – $75.00 per hour
Line cleaning – $225 – $300.00
Retrofit Riser – $190.00

If you need to schedule a septic tank cleaning, pumping, or inspection, don’t hesitate to call Shankster Bros. at any time.

How to find your Septic Tank at Home

Septic Tank at Home

How to find your Septic Tank at Home

Have you ever stopped to wonder what happens to the stuff you flush down the toilet?
Kind of gross to think about, right?

If you’re conjuring up images of cobwebby crawlspaces with lots of creepy-crawly unmentionable creatures sliding, slithering, creeping, or crawling over crusty, rusty, ooey-gooey piping which is oozing out slimy goo from every joint, you may not be too far off. I hope you are. Especially if I’m the lucky guy you call to come fix your toilet that just doesn’t want to flush.

That’s why I want to help teach you how to find your septic tank. If your toilet, sink, or bathtub begins to gurgle, burp, belch, or starts emitting other kinds of strange noises or odors, (Or even worse, Liquids!), don’t panic. Just call 911 and calmly ask for help.

Or better yet, read this blog to find out where in the earth your septic tank might be hiding.

Septic tanks are known for their uncanny abilities to win most games of hide-and-seek with the average human competitor.

Many are the embarrassed humans who have endured the questioning stares, or peeking through the blinds by neighbors who watch with growing concern as they wander aimlessly around the yard, peering behind the bushes, prodding under the flowers, kneeling for a better look under the back deck, gingerly poking at the driveway, all while calling out “Here septic tanky tanky tanky!” And they wonder who to call for help when, after hours spent poking, prodding, stroking, and calling, the neighbor shakes his fist at the sky and disappears into the house muttering and shaking his head, only to reappear a few minutes later and begin to repeat the process with the same results.

The good news is…I can give you a few tips that may help you win the game on how to find your septic tank, gain the respect of your neighbors, and quite possibly turn you into the neighborhood expert on Septic Tank Locating!

Contrary to popular belief, septic tanks Usually do not hide in attics, basements, or any of the many closets you may have in your home.

We will start with the easiest scenario first.

Grab your favorite drink and relax in your favorite spot for a minute. Now gradually start your normal brain functions, but direct them towards your yard. Yes, that’s right, your yard. Forget all about the toilet. Or sink. Or tub. Or whatever it is that is
the root of that panic rising in your chest.  Your yard.

Septic tanks will usually be located in one of your yards. One of the first clues will be the location of your well. Your well? Yes, your well.

The septic tank should not be in close proximity to your well.

So wherever your well is located, you can rule out that area first. Your septic tank will likely be on one of the other sides of the house.

Now that we have ruled out the area with the well, let’s think of some other things. Septic tanks are normally installed with their tops buried under the surface of the ground, usually submerged at least 12 inches or so. Sometimes the depth can be much greater, or a little less. Often there will be a plastic access tube or a concrete riser structure which extends from the top of the tank to the ground surface to allow access for the tank to be emptied by a Septic Pumping company…AKA Shankster Bros.

Many septic tank installers will attempt to blend these access risers into the surrounding landscaping so they don’t create an ugly eyesore.

So the next step is to go over your yard in your mind, searching for any round, plastic lids. These may be black or green and may be from 10 inches to 24 inches in diameter. Secondly, if that comes up negative, think about any round, square, or rectangular concrete lids that may be in your yard or landscaping. Often these will be nearly flush with the surface of the ground so that a lawnmower or rake could go right over the top of it without damaging it.

Start in the areas of your yard closest to your house, and work outwards from the perimeter of your house. Usually, the septic tank access will not be closer than 10 feet to your house, but sometimes in the case of an older home or a later addition to the home, they may be closer.

If you have not been able to locate the septic tank yet, we may need to leave the couch, and go downstairs. Hopefully, you have a basement. Otherwise, you may need to peek in the crawlspace. If your house has no basement or crawlspace, we will use some other clues.

Now that you are in the basement or crawlspace, try to identify the main drainage pipes that carry the wastewater from all your bathrooms and kitchen. These should all converge into one larger pipe, (Usually 4″ in diameter), and exit the house through one of the walls. Identify which wall the pipe exits, and try to estimate the approximate location and the direction the pipe is going outside your house. Now go outside.

Check the area where the pipe comes out of the house. There may be a PVC pipe extending to the surface, with a threaded cleanout cap on it. If you find this, you’re well on the way to victory.

If your house is built on a slab, with no basement or crawlspace, look at the roof. Look for a vent pipe coming out of the roof. Often the piping inside your house will have a vent that runs straight up, all the way through the roof, and sticks out the top. If you locate that vent, it may give you an idea where the piping is exiting the house.

Now continue outward from the house a few feet, looking for that round, square, or rectangular lid. If you can’t find it, look for an area in the yard that may be slightly sunken. Sometimes skillful installers may use round or square patio stones to conceal the access port. If you see one of those, you might try checking under there in case it is covering the access.

If you have been experiencing problems with the toilet or other fixtures draining, you may also want to look for an area that is more damp or wet than the rest of the yard. This could be where your tank is hiding. If all of these tips have not brought you to victory, and you start to notice your neighbors peeking through the blinds with those worried looks that neighbors are so prone to….give us a call!

We have found septic tanks in many strange and unpredictable places. Here’s hoping you win the game on how to find your septic tank. Here tanky, tanky, tanky! If you need to schedule a septic tank cleaning, pumping, or inspection, don’t hesitate to call Shankster Bros at (260)-982-7111. any time.

What Things Should I Never Put Down the Drain?


What Things Should I Never Put Down the Drain?

This is a common question we hear often, and it’s not only important for those with septic systems. All of us should be intentional about what we put down our household drains, as the use of hazardous chemicals, bio-hazards, and products like oil or gas can make a significant negative impact on the local environment and groundwater.

But these concerns are even more valid with a septic system, as the monetary and environmental costs fall to the septic system owner if the system fails or becomes compromised.

So, here’s our shortlist of things to never put down your drain and into your septic system.

Solid waste. While it’s OK to use a garbage disposal occasionally with a septic system, it’s unwise to rely on it too heavily. Avoid solid food waste if possible, even small pieces of solid waste such as coffee grounds.

Chemicals. Bleach and other intense household cleaners can kill the healthy bacteria in your septic tank and can cause harm to your system. Consider switching to more Earth and septic-friendly cleaners such as castile soap or essential oils.

Too much water. Dishwashers and washing machines are incredible time-saving tools but should be used wisely. Load your appliances fully before running and avoid running too frequently in a 24-hour period to avoid overloading your septic drain field.

Grease or fat. Washing grease down the drain is an easy solution, but it can cause headaches later. Scrape excess fat off of cooking pans and into the trash to avoid clogs, slowdowns, or septic system overloads.

The important thing to remember is that your septic system can last for many years if you care for it properly and stay aware of septic system health and maintenance. If you need to schedule a septic tank cleaning, pumping, or inspection, don’t hesitate to call Shankster Bros at (260)-982-7111. any time.

Does Having a Large Family Mean I Should Pump My Tank More Often?

Does Having a Large Family Mean I Should Pump My Tank More Often?

Septic tank pumping and cleaning are like any other regular household maintenance, it is largely dependent on how much you use the item requiring service.

For instance, those who drive for work need more regular oil changes than someone who drives rarely. Your HVAC system in your home needs more maintenance if you live in an extremely hot or cold climate versus a locale where you can usually keep your windows open. And, if you have a large family, or just use a lot of water, you probably need to pump your septic tank more frequently than you might think.

If you use a septic system for professional laundry, such as an Airbnb where you are washing linens regularly, or if you have a garbage disposal or water softener installed in your kitchen, these are factors requiring more frequent service of your septic system.

If you have a large family (more than four people in your household) or a long-term uptick in your household count (such as a foreign exchange student or elderly relative) it’s probably a good idea to pump your septic tank once every 12-18 months instead of the usually recommended 2-3 years.

Septic tanks can back up or fail entirely if not maintained properly

As always, if you notice any foul smells, slow drainage, or other signs of septic tank backup, call and get your septic tank professionally inspected and pumped IMMEDIATELY. No matter how many people are in your family or how often you use your plumbing, septic tanks can back up or fail entirely if not maintained properly, and the fall-out can be costly, time-consuming and unpleasant for everyone.

If you don’t remember the last time you got your septic tank pumped, it’s probably time to schedule a septic service. If you recently purchased a property that has a septic system and you aren’t sure what the maintenance has been like in the past, it’s probably time to schedule a septic tank pumping.

No matter how big your family is or what shape your septic system is in, we can help. Call Shankster Bros today to schedule your septic maintenance. Call us at (260)-982-7111

When is a Good Time For a New Septic Installation?

time for septic installation

When is a Good Time to Install a New Septic System?

Obviously, a functioning septic system is essential to the health, well-being, and comfort of your home and family members. A single unusable shower, dishwasher, sink, or toilet is an inconvenience enough, imagine if all of the plumbing in your property wasn’t working – that’s truly unfortunate and uncomfortable for everyone.

So, it’s essential to keep your septic system in good working order, but sometimes even the best-cared-for septic systems must be replaced. But when is a good time to install a new septic system?

Septic System Inspection

Well, first, make sure that the replacement of your septic system (or certain elements within it) is truly the best option. No matter what piece(s) of the septic system you replace, it’s going to be an inconvenience, so please call us, the Shankster Bros., for a professional inspection of your septic tank, drain field, piping, and outflow systems to make sure that you are making the best use of your time and money with regard to your septic system.

Septic System Installer

tank installationRemember that a professional septic system installer is essential to the speed, efficiency, and quality of your new septic system if you do decide to replace your current system. The professional septic installer will make certain that you are inconvenienced for a minimal time, that your new system will last many years and that you won’t have ongoing septic system problems.

One thing to remember, like all outdoor maintenance, is that weather plays an important role in the success of your septic system project, no matter the size. So, even if the snow or rain is coming down now, maybe start with making some initial appointments for the months to come. Nice days will be here before we know it, and like with all construction and farm work, outdoor professionals get even busier and harder to book when the weather turns fair; so get on the calendar and start your plans ahead of the rush.

If you’re noticing problems with your septic system or septic tank give us a call today!

No matter when or how you decide to replace your septic system or pieces within it, we promise to give you the best possible advice and most economical and efficient solutions to your septic system problems. Call us anytime for honest and expert advice – at Shankster Bros we are your local septic experts!  Call us at (260)-982-7111 for an inspection today!