Serving the Lower Mainland
Septic Tank Services

Whether you are a business owner or a homeowner, the proper functioning of your septic tank is a very important aspect that is often overlooked. All of the wastewater in your home is eventually collected in your septic tank. That means any waste from toilets, bathing, laundry, dishes, drinking and cooking is deposited down the drain and to the septic tank.

When you consider the amount of waste a family produces on average, it is easy to see why routine maintenance is essential. Domestic wastewater contains many contaminants that may pose a threat to human health and the environment if not properly managed. At Three Points Plumbing and Heating, we are trained experts and we are here to help.

septic tank diagram

When a septic system fails it can be quite a shock. Most homeowners don't give their septic a second thought until it fails. Whether it's an emergency, planned maintenance or you just have a question give us a shout. We serve all of the Vancouver Area from West Vancouver to Langley, BC, and we’re happy to arrive promptly when you need us.

We Service All Septic Systems

A septic tank is normally made up of two chambers: the sedimentation chamber and the control chamber. The sedimentation chamber is designed to hold at least 24 hours of wastewater fl ow, with additional storage capacity for sludge. It is in this chamber that solids settle out and break down into liquids, gases and sludge.

This is an important process since the accumulation of solids would soon fill the tank if they were not broken down. In addition to the settling of solids, grease and soap scum rise to form an airtight scum layer in the sedimentation chamber. The formation of the scum layer is important to maintain an oxygen-free environment in which bacteria digest the sludge.

We provide all kinds of heating and plumbing services such as:

There are many different configurations for septic systems. The most common systems are listed below.

Disposal Field

The disposal field manages the wastewater effluent that is discharged from the septic tank. The effluent is naturally treated as it percolates through the soil.

The two most common types of disposal fields are the trench type field and total area type field. Although typical installations are described below, modifications are sometimes made to satisfy site-specific requirements and needs.

  • Trench Type Field is most common and consists of a series of shallow trenches up to 1 meter deep. The waste travels through perforated pipe which are encased in gravel. The system is covered by geotextile and topsoil.
  • Total Area Type is similar to the trench type but covers a smaller area. A radial system of perforated pipe is layed out where waste is distributed from a central hub.
Aerobic Tanks

Aerobic tanks are similar in construction to septic tanks, but the treatment process is quite different. They are also typically more expensive but they release a purer effluent. In an aerobic tank, air is mixed into the wastewater to promote the growth of oxygen-using aerobic bacteria. A stirring agitator or an air compressor is used to supply oxygen to the aerobic bacteria.

The wastewater feeds the bacteria, which then breaks down complex organic compounds in to simpler, inoffensive ones. The effluent is released into a disposal field for further treatment. The sludge must be pumped out of the tank regularly by a registered sewage hauler.

Holding Tanks

Holding tanks are commonly used for wastewater collection in cottage country or in areas where disposal fields are not permitted. Holding tanks are normally single compartment tanks that need to be regularly pumped out by a registered sewage hauler. A holding tank must be constructed of concrete, fibreglass, polyethylene or other approved material and must bear a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) stamp.

Sewage Ejector System

The sewage ejector system consists of a septic tank and pump, an underground pipe extending to the discharge area, and an aboveground discharge point. In this system, the wastewater effluent is sprayed onto the ground surface at the discharge point, where it percolates into the surrounding soil.

Some evaporation of the effluent will also take place, although the amount varies with outside temperature. Although not mandatory, it is recommended that a gravel bed be installed around the discharge point to minimize erosion, pooling of effluent and odors. The area surrounding the discharge point should also be fenced to keep out children, pets and livestock.

Septic System Maintenance

It is critical to schedule routine maintenance for your septic tank in as failing to do so involves very costly consequences. Should your septic system fail, replacing it will cost thousands of dollars, yet is an easily avoidable situation. With routine preventative maintenance, you would be spending only a few hundred dollars per year. Save yourself money today by calling Three Points for routine septic maintenance!

Follow these tips to keep your septic system running the way it's supposed to:

  • When the bottom of the scum is within 3″ of the bottom of the outlet device, the tank should be pumped To measure scum accumulation, nail a 3″ square block to a 6′ pole and poke the block through the scum layer. Carefully move the pole up and down to feel the resistance as you move the block up against the bottom of the scum layer. Mark that place on the pole that is level with ground. Then feel around for the bottom of the outlet pipe and mark that level on the pole, if the two marks are 3″ or less apart, your tank needs to be pumped.
  • When the top of the sludge layer is within 12″ of the bottom of the outlet, the tank should be pumped To check the sludge level, wrap a rag around the bottom 3 feet of the 6′ pole and fasten it with tape. Push the towel down to the bottom of the tank and twirl it. Mark the pole at the ground level. Pull it out after a few minutes and measure the difference between the top of the sludge layer (the top of the black material on the towel) and the bottom of the outlet pipe (marked when you checked the sludge level). If this distance is 12″ or less, have your tank pumped.
  • Inspect your system once each year Generally, septic tanks should be pumped every three to five years. Inspection, by you or a professional, may show that you need to pump more less often. Regular pumping ensures that solids will not flow from the septic tank into the drain field.
  • Pump out your septic tank when needed Don’t wait until you have a problem. Routine pumping can prevent system failures. If you can’t remember when your tank was last pumped, your septic system may be living on borrowed time.
  • Keep accurate records Keep a diagram of your system’s location and keep a record of system maintenance for future owners. Keep this information in the house.
  • Practice water conservation The less wastewater you produce, the less strain on your system. By reducing your water use, you can extend the life of your drain field and decrease the possibility of system failure.

If you notice any problems with your septic system the best course of action is to call an experienced Three Points technician to inspect your system and all of its related components. Three Points Plumbing and Heating's residential septic repair and maintenance services are second to none, so when you call Three Points you’re guaranteed the results you want.