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Heavy rains lead to pricey septic issues for some

Sunday, Aug 25, 2013 5:39 PM
Last updated Monday, Aug 26, 2013 1:08 AM
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Increased rainfall is wreaking havoc on sewer systems and costing some homeowners thousands of dollars.

“You see a lot of people out there that you feel sorry for,” said Tony Burnley, the owner of Burnley Sanitary Sewer & Drain Service in Thomson. “They’ve got some serious problems.”

As of midnight Saturday, 45.32 inches of rainfall have been recorded at Augusta Regional Airport, resulting in the fifth wettest year-to-date total on record. It’s more than 15 inches above totals last year.

Businesses specializing in septic repair said system failures from the rainfall have increased business.

“It’s tripled,” said Kevin Cole­man, the owner of Drain Sur­geon of the CSRA.

System failures can cause contamination of water by bacteria, viruses, nitrates, oils, detergents and other household chemicals, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Exten­sion Web site. They can also cause health problems by exposing humans to raw sewage.

It all starts with a gurgle in the drain. From there, homeowners could be only hours away from a serious septic problem.

Coleman said no homes seem to be immune to the trouble, but low-lying homes are especially vulnerable.

“There’s so much rain it’s saturating the ground and the water from septic systems has nowhere to leak to,” Coleman said. “It’s causing everything to back up.”

Homeowners are left with the option of pumping the sewage for several hundred dollars or replacing the system for thousands of dollars.

Pumping is only a temporary fix, but it’s one that can be more appealing to the home­owner’s wallet.

“Sometimes it will get you by until the rain subsides,” Burnley said.

The better option is to call the health department, which might advise having a soil scientist perform an evaluation, he said. The finding could result in pumping the sewage to an area with higher elevation.

That option could be financially challenging, Burnley said.

“There are a lot of people out there that have ground water problems every time it rains,” he said. “We have some customers that we pump several times every year.”

The good news is that conditions could be drier this week. The National Weather Service forecasts mostly sunny conditions through Friday.

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soldout
1280
Points
soldout 08/26/13 - 05:32 am
2
0

The sun is your friend

I was told that a spetic system works by the evaporating of 75% of the liquid. If that's the case get the shade off your drain fields and things may improve.

Adam Bomb
324
Points
Adam Bomb 08/26/13 - 06:51 am
0
7

Septic tanks are obsolete

In Richmond County there is an ordinance requiring those living less than 200 feet from a sewer line to be hooked into that sewer line. It's very apparent that there are many homes and businesses that have chosen to ignore that mandate. Their actions are costing the county thousands in lost Utility fees. And the other tax payers are footing the bill. This is 2013, not 1913. Get rid of the troublesome septic systems and get hooked up. Come on Augusta Utilities, do your job and obey the law. Septic tanks are a health issue and should be banned.

Little Lamb
40104
Points
Little Lamb 08/26/13 - 07:49 am
4
0

Call, Raise

Well, there's a state law that sewer collection systems are to be leak tight, but Augusta's collection system is anything but. Augusta Utilities should not put the pressure on people to connect to a non-conforming system.

nocnoc
30764
Points
nocnoc 08/26/13 - 09:29 am
3
0

Do I seem to remember correctly

The Augusta Sink Works by Bush Field has had more than a dozen OVERFLOWS (millions of gallons) in the last 20 years.

As we increase the sewer systems to connect new subdivisions, what is being done to get that stuff to the Sink works and process it.

What about the Augusta Water and Sewer works funds that were marked for upgrades, maintenance, expansion... The funds raided by Downtown Politicians a while back for other reasons?

So I am guessing, if every house was taken off Septic Tank and put on sewer (to increase revenues) the ARC system could not handle it anyhow.

Plus there is no longer an expansion fund to do it...

Did Fred Russell help provide data for the article ☺?
Because some how I feel A septic Tank tax is coming...

corgimom
19214
Points
corgimom 08/26/13 - 09:40 am
1
0

Adam Bomb, there are people

Adam Bomb, there are people living in the City of Augusta, in parts of Laney-Walker and Bethlehem, that STILL, in 2013, don't have flush toilets.

It's well-known.

Little Lamb
40104
Points
Little Lamb 08/26/13 - 11:45 am
1
2

Voters

Yeah, Corgi, and they vote, sometimes multiple times.

Sweet son
8219
Points
Sweet son 08/26/13 - 12:22 pm
2
0

Septic Tank Systems

They are built to leak in the drain field. That is why it is called a drain field. They cannot be sealed. Solid waste remains in the tank and is eaten by micro organisms. The liquid portion goes into the drain field and is absorbed by the surrounding ground. Nothing new!

They work very well and the only reason there is trouble this year is because of 45 inches of rain.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/26/13 - 01:34 pm
2
0

Sorry, adam....I don't need

Unpublished

Sorry, adam....I don't need to pay for your [filtered word]. I have my own sewage treatment plant in my front yard. And, it doesn't stink like yours does.

KSL
105707
Points
KSL 08/26/13 - 06:58 pm
0
1

I totally disagree with Adam

I totally disagree with Adam Bomb

KSL
105707
Points
KSL 08/26/13 - 09:20 pm
0
1

And agree with Pal. Ours is

And agree with Pal. Ours is in our backyard. We have lived in our house since 1974. Had it cleaned out once about 15-20 years ago. We were told, once they got into, that it didn't really need it

Obsolete, I don't think so. For the greenies, think of the energy I am saving. over the treatment plant, the miles of sewer line that have to be run and the cost. I could go on about labor costs, plant expansions, etc.

KSL
105707
Points
KSL 08/26/13 - 09:25 pm
1
1

Adam

Run a benefit cost analysis of treatment for running miles of sewer lines and possibly punp stations, most of which operate on electricity.

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