Septic Tank Odor: How to Eliminate it

Septic Tank Smell: How to Eliminate it

While the idea of a septic tank and system seems like an unclean option for waste management, most septic systems rarely exude any septic tank odor or unpleasantness, even after years of service. Of course, the key to keeping your septic system working properly and smelling fresh is regular septic tank maintenance and proper practices.

It’s important to know what causes the occasional septic tank odor though, so here’s a brief overview of the problem:

Micro-organisms (healthy bacteria, etc.) are positive forces that naturally occur in a septic tank and process the organic matter in the tank completely naturally. This is what makes your septic tank work: waste enters the tank and is broken down over time. As these organisms process or digest the material, they produce large quantities of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, methane gas, and organic acids.


These gases can result in a highly acidic pH level, which can in turn damage the essential micro-organisms in the tank. When this happens, the organisms stop the good work they were doing (digesting the organic matter) which can cause an increase in hydrogen sulfide gas. This release of gas is often described as smelling like rotten eggs, and as you can imagine, it’s very unpleasant for the septic system owners and users!

Avoid Toxic Chemicals

The easiest way to avoid this smelly gas buildup is avoiding toxic chemicals which can kill the bacterias and organisms in the tank, and making sure that the septic tank is not being overloaded with water or waste, which can overwhelm the organisms and cause the excess gas mentioned earlier.

Routine Tank Pumping and Cleaning

Another key element of septic tank health is obviously professional septic tank pumping and cleaning, which improves the overall health of the organic matter working in the tank as well as ensures the tank does not become overloaded by water or waste.

Contact Us

If you start to smell something unusual or unpleasant coming out of your drains or septic field, call us immediately. We’re always happy to offer emergency septic service and cleaning, or we might able to recommend some homeowner solutions (we also have some blog-posts here on the site that have some great resources as well.)

Septic Repair: Why You Should Always Leave it to the Professionals

Septic Repair: Why You Should Always Leave it to the Professionals

For most homeowners, weighing the pros and cons of what to hire a professional for and what to DIY can be stressful and overwhelming. For most people, normal household maintenance and repair projects are enjoyable, and an easy way to cut costs.

So, it stands to reason that some home and business owners would want to either install, repair, or maintain their own septic systems. After all, why pay for a professional septic service? Wouldn’t most handy homeowners be able to manage their own septic tanks and perform their own septic repair?

Well, yes and no. Yes, you can, as the property owner, do some commonsense things to keep your septic running smoothly, which we’ve discussed before on this blog. Things like avoiding overuse of your garbage disposal, using septic-friendly cleaning supplies and watching your water use can all keep your septic tank, drain field and septic system running well.

But, no matter how careful you are, needing a septic repair is part of life if you own a property with a septic system. So here are our reasons to avoid DIY septic repairs:

Do-It-Yourself can cost you much more

Small mistakes in septic system repairs can create big headaches, either immediately, or even worse, a year or two down the road. We’ve seen supposedly simple homeowner repairs go wrong and cost the property owners thousands of dollars in unforeseen costs, plus the aggravation and delay of having to do things twice.

The materials alone are costly in septic systems, so it’s smart to have a professional handle maintenance, installation, and repair. Save yourself the cost and hassle, and give yourself the peace of mind of having your septic system repaired right the first time.

You do not want to cause water pollution

Every septic system requires a permit from your local municipality. This is to prevent shoddy workmanship from polluting local water sources and making sure that your community government can crack down on bad or incompetent individuals who might be causing issues in the local watersheds.

This is a truly critical piece of the septic system puzzle and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You don’t want to cause pollution to your own water or your neighbors, and you certainly don’t want to be held liable for any contamination either. This is why it’s best to contract with an ethical, experienced and insured professional for your septic repairs.

Septic systems are actually very complex

While septic systems are basically wastewater tanks and drainage systems, which sound somewhat simple, the truth is that septic systems are deceivingly complex. There are multiple pipelines, chambers, baffles, mixers, and valves that all need to be installed and maintained properly in every system, and the necessary adjustments vary depending on your land’s elevation, soil makeup, annual rainfall and more. If you hire a local, dependable septic company, like Shankster Bros, for your septic system repairs, you can rest assured that we will know what your system needs and how to serve you best, while keeping costs down and your septic system working properly.

Don’t DIY your septic system installation, repair or maintenance – call the professionals today at Shankster Bros.

How to Protect Your Septic System & Conserve Water

How to Protect Your Septic System & Conserve Water

Did you know that almost 98% of the earth’s water is saltwater? Amazing, right? Saltwater is not potable or usable for most human and animal functions, such as drinking, bathing, etc. Therefore it’s essential that we conserve water, keeping the freshwater we have fresh for ourselves, our plants, animals and our environment, as well as future generations. Conserving water doesn’t just mean “saving” water, but also using water wisely – don’t use more water than necessary and be a good steward of the water we have access to.

Clean water is a limited resource, and conserving it for future generations is good for us, good for the planet, and – bonus! – good for our septic systems. Did you know that conserving water can reduce problems and increase the effectiveness and lifespan of your family’s septic system?

Too much water can overload your septic tank and cause it to require more frequent pumping, or it can overwhelm your septic drain field and cause flooding, backups and equipment breakdowns. While freshwater is essential to your life, there are some easy and relatively painless ways to cut down on your water use and conserve water for your environmental and septic system health.

Here are our water-saving suggestions:

Invest in a water-saving toilet, which can reduce water usage by as much as 60%! This is a huge savings for your family and your septic system. While older toilets required several gallons just to move solids through the pipes, newer toilets have better technology and can do the same job with much less water (sometimes less than 2 gallons per flush!)

  • Space out your water use. Avoid running water-using appliances overnight and try to stagger baths, shower, and other major water uses throughout the day. This gives your septic system a break and also cuts down on water use.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes, to avoid overloading your septic system. Also, it might be worth looking into the viability of newer, high-efficiency dishwashers and washing machines for your family’s needs.

Lower your water consumption and your energy bill by using low-flow showerheads. Just this simple change can save almost 3,000 gallons of water per year for most families, and it will also reduce your water-heating cost significantly.

Turn off the faucet while shaving, brushing teeth, scrubbing pots or other non-essential water-using activities. Not only does this significantly help with conservation, but it also gives your pipes and septic field a break during the day.

Avoid over-running the shower or bath tap. While it’s understandable to wait for hot water, try not to walk away from the bath or shower while it’s running to avoid too much water waste. If you want more tips on water conservation or prolonging the health of your septic system, please feel free to check back on the blog or give us a call anytime. At Shankster Bros., we are your local septic experts and we’re happy to help.

Septic Service in Indiana – 6 Steps to a New Septic System

We love our home state of Indiana and we strive to be one of the foremost septic system maintenance companies around here. We excel at septic pumping, farm drainage, septic system maintenance and more because we know our local ecosystems, municipal regulations, and best practices so well.

You need a local septic service company, and one with a long track record of success and environmental awareness for any level of septic service. We strive to be the best option for you!

Most states have slight variations to septic system laws for ongoing maintenance and new installation. We follow our state’s regulations for all maintenance, and we know that in Indiana, there are six basic steps to a new septic installation.

The Six Steps to a New Septic System in Indiana

  1. Evaluation (hire a licensed soil scientist to evaluate the soil on your property. This should be done in conjunction with a septic system professional.)
  2. System Requirements (questions to ask as you plan your system: how many people will be using the system? Any unusual needs or high-volume concerns?)
  3. Design (where to place the tank, drain field, etc. to render an effective solution for your unique location.)
  4. Permitting (your county will need to sign off on the permits for your new system, inspecting periodically to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the new septic system.)
  5. Installation Bids and Interviews (shop around for the best installation quality and value.)
  6. Septic Tank and Drainfield Installation (this is the fun part – get your septic system installed in working order.)
  7. Inspection (After an inspection from your county official, enjoy the peace of mind of a well-running system for yourself and your household.)

While installing and maintaining a septic system isn’t complicated, it is essential that you have a trusted advocate throughout the process. We’re glad to be that resource for you. We are happy to answer any questions about the permit process in Indiana, the unique environmental concerns we experience here or anything else you might need information on, with regards to your septic service needs. As always, if you have questions or concerns about your septic tank, please give us a call at (260)-982-7111

Need a Septic Tank Inspection or Tank Pumped? This checklist will help.

Need a Septic Tank Inspection or Tank Pumped? This checklist will help.

We’ve talked about septic tank pumping, cleaning, and routine maintenance quite a bit on this blog, but what are the things you should check when getting a septic tank inspection or your septic tank pumped? Here’s our checklist for your septic pumping professional. Whether it’s a routine pumping, a new-home purchase septic tank inspection or an emergency septic rescue, these are the essential pieces of your system:

Septic tank lid

Having an old or damaged septic tank lid is extremely dangerous for both pets and people, and it can also lead to yard debris, trash, or other foreign materials getting inside the tank and creating flow problems. Your septic tank pumping company should be able to check your lid and replace it if necessary.

Inlet and outlet baffles or tees

Sometimes pieces of the tank can go missing, or become broken or clogged. When baffles or tees are compromised on either side of the septic tank, this can cause serious complications to your septic system performance.


If your tank is not full before pumping, it’s likely you have a septic tank leak. Also, watch out for over-saturated soil around the tank, or a tank that refills while being pumped – not a good sign.

Sludge in the outlet, and high liquid

If there is sludge or solids in the outlet pipe, and a liquid level in the tank that is over the top of the outlet pipe, you either have a clog in the outlet or a problem in your drain field. It might also mean that your tank is not breaking down the solids effectively, which might mean other septic tank problems.


Root systems are a major cause of septic backup, so ask your septic tank company to check around the tank for excess roots. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove trees or vegetation to ensure adequate drainage, but we try to create an environment in which both your septic system and your landscaping can thrive.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about your septic tank, if you need to get it pumped, cleaned or need a septic tank inspection, please give us a call at (260)-982-7111. We’re happy to help with any routine or emergency maintenance, and we pride ourselves in efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly service.


Septic Tank Best Practices – What to Do and Why

Septic System Best Practices – What to Do and Why

As a full-service septic pumping and excavation company, we get a lot of questions about how to maintain a septic system, particularly after a home or business owner has had a septic tank or drain field emergency. Like most things around your home, it’s normal to not think about how it works until it doesn’t, but keeping your septic system running is actually simple, just follow these septic best practices.

Get your tank pumped regularly

Firstly, it is important to get your septic tank pumped regularly. Most tanks need to be pumped every 2-5 years, depending on the size of the tank and the number of people using the septic system regularly. 

Don’t flush specific materials down the drain

Avoid flushing or disposal of an inorganic material such as lint from laundry machines, sanitary products, diapers, cigarettes, etc. The bacteria in your septic tank will not be able to degrade these materials effectively and they can make their way into the drain field, causing permanent clogs and expensive repairs.

Use caution and try to avoid overuse

Modern conveniences like garbage disposals and automatic toilet bowl cleaners are great inventions but can cause serious problems for your septic system. Even organic material through the garbage disposal can clog your drain field or overload your tank, so use caution and try to avoid overuse. Most flush-activated toilet cleaners contain bleach, which kills the beneficial bacteria you want in your septic system.

Be aware of any household leaks

While no one likes leaks, dripping faucets or running toilets can be very damaging to your septic system. Septic systems are designed to “rest” when you do and give the land an opportunity to “recharge” and avoid over-saturation. Therefore, keep your appliances and fixtures well-maintained, and avoid running appliances such as dishwashers and laundry machines overnight.

Avoid strong chemicals and cleaners

Avoid bleach and antibacterial soaps for cleaning or hand-washing, if possible. These strong chemicals can kill important bacteria in your septic tank, which keeps the tank from performing as it should. This can cause solid waste to flow into the drain field, and create excessive biomass growth.

Water conservation

Finally, conserve water. It’s not only good for the planet, but it’s good for your septic system, too. Be mindful of how much you use your shower, dishwasher, and other fixtures, and try to cut back when and where you can. The less you tax your septic system, the better it will perform for you and will stay in good shape for many years to come.

We’re happy to help with any septic services

If you have any questions about these septic tank best practices or want to know if you need your septic tank pumped, please don’t hesitate to call us at (260)-982-7111. We’re happy to answer any questions and we want you and your family to be happy and satisfied with your septic service for years to come.

Septic Tank Inspection Checklist For Installation Services


Septic Tank Inspection Checklist For Installation Services

Here’s an easy-reference checklist for your septic tank installation. While septic systems are very common in the U.S., (nearly 30% of homes have a septic tank!) they can be complicated to install and keep up, if you haven’t done it before or are moving to a new area.  

Here is our quick-reference checklist for any septic system and septic tank installation. As always, if you have further questions or need more personalized help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

  1. Learn about home septic system permits for your area

Your installer should have up-to-date and easy-to-understand knowledge of the unique environmental concerns of your area, but it’s always wise to do some research for yourself as well. Calling your local county planning or building office should point you in the right direction, and give you an idea of the costs and timeline involved in a new septic.

  1. Look at multiple septic options and installation quotes

Every septic professional has a different view of the ideal installation timeline and what’s best for your environment. Become educated by looking at all of your options as well as getting multiple quotes from installers to make sure you get the right treatment and price for your septic project.

  1. Locate and protect your septic system area

Talk to a septic installer or your local Health Department about the placement of your new septic system. Usually, an independent soil scientist will need to evaluate the soils to determine the best location. After your site is selected, be sure not to drive through the area with anything larger than a lawnmower, as any disturbance can render the site unusable.

  1. Decommission or remove an old septic system

We encourage homeowners to keep older septic systems running smoothly with regular septic tank maintenance and cleaning, but sometimes, old systems simply need to be retired. Maybe you’re moving into an older home that’s been vacant or used as a rental, or maybe your area has experienced severe weather that has affected your septic permanently. During installation of new your septic system, be sure to have the old system either removed or decommissioned according to the best practices in your area.

  1. Get a timeline for pump system installation and plan for water outage

Every installer is different, but because of the nature of septic system installations, your water will need to be turned off for at least some of the installation time. Get a reasonable quote for the time involved in your installation, and plan for your plumbing to be off during that time.

  1. Find out about landscaping options for Septic Tank Systems

Most drain fields do best with grass coverage but find out from landscapers and septic professionals in your area what works best for tanks and drain fields. You can still have beautiful landscaping with a septic system in place, you might just need a few minor adjustments.

  1. Inspect and Record System

Ask for a full record of your installation, and a professional inspection before you begin use of your new septic system. With careful documentation, maintenance, and a little planning, you will have a worry-free septic system for years to come. All of these are important factors, will help you through the process with a septic tank inspection checklist.

At Shankster Bros., we’re here to help with your septic tank and drainage needs. Please get in touch with any questions or concerns about septic tank systems and we’re happy to help.

Be in the know: The ins and outs of Septic Tank Pumping

Be in the know: The ins and outs of Septic Tank Pumping

Once you hire Shankster Bros (septic tank cleaning company in Indiana). to inspect, service, and pump your septic tank, it is our responsibility to do the job right with minimal cost, inconvenience, and delays. However, many homeowners like to know how their systems work, so here’s an overview of the ins and outs of septic tank pumping:

Keep a Septic Cleaning Schedule

The average septic tank pumping and cleaning schedule is every 3 to 5 years depending on household size, wastewater needs, and overall usage. (See some of our previous blog-posts about keeping a written schedule of septic services.) Regular cleanings and pumpings remove the accumulation of the scum and sludge layer in your septic tank, helping your septic system work efficiently and cleanly.

Accumulated Solids in Your Septic Tank

The total depth of the scum layer floating on top of the septic tank combined with the sludge layer in the bottom of the tank should never equal more than one-quarter of the contents of the septic tank. If it does, because of insufficient service, there is a high likelihood that the accumulated solids will flow into the outlet pipe and out into the drain field lines, causing plugging and drain field failure. If you have a septic drain field failure, septic tank pumpings will need to be done more regularly until the drain field is repaired. Repairing, or in some cases, replacing, a failed drain field can be an unpleasant and often costly enterprise for the homeowner, which is why we suggest regular maintenance instead.

Digging Up Your Septic Tank Lids

Most septic tanks are buried 1 to three feet underground, and many have risers that extend to the surface, providing easy access for cleaning. However, some tanks are simply buried with no lids at the surface, requiring more extensive investigation and digging in order to service them. Of course, we always endeavor to keep your property as clean and undamaged as possible when we service your septic system.

If you are not the original owner of a septic system, or if it is a particularly old system, it might take more work to service. We are experienced in servicing all levels of septic systems, however, so we are happy to help, no matter how unique your situation.

If you have any questions about how to service your septic tank pump system, find your septic tank or drain field, or about the needs of an older septic system, give our office a call today at (260)-982-7111.

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Pumping Your Septic Tank

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Ignore Pumping Your Septic Tank  

Are your sinks, bathtubs, and toilets slowly draining? Are you noticing spongy or soggy areas of water on the ground or above the septic tank?  If so, most likely you’re one of the almost 25% of US households who have a septic system installed in their home that needs to be pumped or cleaned. One of the aspects of being a septic tank homeowner is having to deal with the routine maintenance of emptying your septic tank. Therefore, it’s critical to know why you shouldn’t ignore pumping your septic tank.

Your septic tank pump system is important because it disposes of all of the waste in your home, including household chemicals, excrement, food scraps, and bath water to name a few. A septic tank system features four components: the wastewater pipe which connects to your home, a septic tank to digest solid waste, the perforated pipes to allow liquid waste to seep into the drain field, and the surrounding soil to counterpoise waste contents. Understanding how your septic system works is essential in order to spot any signs of failure. The following are three reasons why you shouldn’t ignore pumping your septic tank.

  1. Solid waste builds up over time and doesn’t decompose quickly which can contaminate your water.
  2. Your tank will overfill with excess discharge and back up your waste system if you don’t pump it periodically.
  3. The overflow from your septic tank will flood your drain field and create a breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies that spread infectious diseases.

The process of pumping your tank is not always a pleasant one, but a necessity we’re not only happy to assist you with, but it would also be our pleasure.  

If you live in northeastern Indiana and have a septic system, farming operation or other residential drainage or wastewater needs, we would be honored to earn your business.

Shankster Bros. is a family-owned company that understands the unique needs of Indiana farmers, homeowners, and rural clients. We know the weather patterns, water-use regulations and unique needs of the land here, and we believe that it is our job to help land-owners, agriculturalists, homeowners, and business people steward our natural resources well through effective wastewater management and drainage. We have been in business since 1999, we are fully licensed, and we can address almost any problem or service in agricultural and residential drainage, throughout northeastern Indiana.  

We provide a complete menu of septic system services including:

  • Installation
  • Inspection
  • Line Cleaning
  • Septic Tank Maintenance
  • Repair
  • Septic Tank Pumping
  • Septic System Design
  • Excavation and Bulldozing Services

If you have questions about how to service your septic system, what your farm drainage needs are, or when to schedule a septic tank pumping or repair, don’t hesitate to call us. You also might find helpful information here on our blog. We’ve taken the time and effort to compile high-quality posts with helpful tips, guidelines, and resources for your education and convenience.

Thank you for trusting us with your homes, businesses, and farms in northeastern Indiana. We are honored to help manage your wastewater, drainage, septic and excavation needs, and we work hard to earn your repeat business and your referrals. Please give us a call at (260)-982-7111 today!

Septic Tank Pumping Schedule – Should you have one?

Septic Tank Pumping Schedule – Should you have one?

Creating a septic tank pumping schedule isn’t something most homeowners think about often until they have a soggy drainfield, plumbing problems or a back-up of wastewater. Then, septic pumping is all any homeowner can think about until the issue is resolved, which can be costly and time-consuming, not to mention smelly and inconvenient.

Schedule Septic Tank Pumping

So, we believe that everyone who owns a Septic system (for a private residence, business or farm building) should keep a septic tank pumping schedule. This takes the guess-work out of your maintenance and gives you peace of mind about your plumbing so that you don’t worry about forgetting, overlooking or ignoring potential septic problems.

Keep in mind that sudden up-ticks in use (such as a party, houseguests, seasonal workers or other loads on the septic and wastewater system) can speed up the schedule and make more frequent pumping necessary. By the same token, if your building is vacant for some length of time, you might lengthen the period between septic tank pumping safely.

United States EPA Recommends Often Septic Tank Service

You might be surprised how often the United States EPA and septic system professionals recommend you service your septic tank. For instance, it’s generally agreed that a family of four with a 1000 gallon tank should pump their tank every 2.5 years. Unfortunately, there’s not a hard-and-fast rule or schedule for every septic system, but we’d be happy to give our recommendations based on your usage, occupancy, and lifestyle.

A nice benefit we offer here at Shankster Bros is we evaluate your septic tank size, number of occupants in the home, and condition of your tank, and recommend a service interval. We then contact you to schedule service at the recommended time.

Surprisingly, many people with septic systems do not keep a pumping schedule, which causes emergency septic problems. You’re much better off to pump your septic tank on time and keep your building’s plumbing running smoothly, rather than procrastinating and causing more expensive services in the future.

If you’re not sure how big your tank is or when it was last serviced, please give us a call (260)-982-7111 and we’d be happy to help you troubleshoot.

Here’s a great resource created by the EPA for you to print out and use. We suggest putting this somewhere you will remember to check it and keep it updated.

Click -> Septic Tank Pump Schedule
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