The following is meant to be a general guide that can help to ensure safety when dealing with your septic system, drains and sewer lines.

Cesspool systems commonly in use on Long Island are actually mini sewage treatment plants that, when maintained properly, provide an economical and effective way of processing your raw sewage. While they often give trouble-free service for years with little or no attention, eventually, they will need to be serviced. When they do, it is of the utmost importance that you call a licensed service professional and preferably one who is familiar with the specific conditions (types of soil, drainage characteristics etc.) in your area. Only with a knowledgeable, licensed service professional can you be sure that you're getting proper service and that attention is given to all safety considerations, both for the customer and the service technicians.

One of the most common hazards encountered by service technicians is when, prior to calling for service, the homeowner has attempted to open clogged drains with 'over-the-counter' drain clearing chemicals. These can be extremely dangerous and before they start inspection or service, technicians must be informed that the substances are present in the system.

There are also a number of naturally occurring and volatile gases (hydrogen sulfide, methane, carbon dioxide) present in systems that can react badly with certain chemicals and this further compromises the safety of technicians or anyone else in the home. It is important to be aware of these hazards when using any drain opening preparation. Be certain to read and follow all directions, to always use protective gloves and effective eye protection. When storing them, make sure that chemicals are marked clearly and take all steps to ensure they are not accessable to children or pets.

Again, before starting service. it is of the utmost importance that technicians be made aware of any harsh chemicals that may have been introduced into the system.

Here are some additional important points to be considered:

  • Never use electrical appliances, tools or lights close to the septic system. These can cause electrical shock or explosion.

  • No smoking, open flames, charcoal or gas grills near system. Gasses may be present and can cause explosion.

  • Never try to enter a sanitary system. Trapped gasses may be present and can cause asphyxiation. There may be harmful bacteria, viruses, and disease causing organisms.

  • Keep children and pets away from the system. Never park vehicles over cesspools or septic tanks.

  • Always use licensed service professionals for your septic system repairs or maintenance. (LILWA membership is an indication that a company maintains high professional standards and is staffed by well-trained professionals.)

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