A PoopReport Short: Septic Scammer Trick
In what I hope is the final installation of daphne's Septic Tank Poopgate 2013, I wanted to share with you a piece of information that a technician from our septic company told me today while he was installing a floater tree in our septic pump.
One of the biggest scamming tricks that septic companies will use in order to take more of your money involves the outgoing baffle. The baffle is a long, sieve-like (perforated) cylindrical piece of plastic and the compartment it sits in. This contraption filters what enters your drain field, i.e., in order for the effluent to reach your drain field, it must pass through the baffle, whose job it is to catch any solids before they leave the tank. The baffle should be cleaned out every couple of months.
If you are not supervising an unscrupulous septic company employee carefully, he or she might take that opportunity to intentionally break the insert of your outgoing baffle or the holder itself. Whether it meets its end by being roughly pulled out of its holding place at a bad angle, or it is crushed by a poop-crusted work boot, the end result is the same: you will be charged for it. You might even be told there is no way to re-install a baffle and that an entire tank replacement is necessary.
I was dumbfounded when Septic Guy Two told me this, because I remembered what happened to us around 2007, when we suffered a back-up in our downstairs bathroom. A larger company sent two employees out, and while I was making some coffee for them, they were in the back yard uncovering our tank. When I went out back later to see what they had been doing, one of the employees pulled up a shattered white piece of plastic and told me that it was the insert for the outgoing baffle, and that it needed to be repaired. I did not know a damned thing about septic tanks at the time, so I did not consider how odd it was that a perforated plastic sleeve was straight-up broken--not rotted out, eroded, or brittle from chemicals or time, but broke-ass broke. We were charged close to $1,500 for a baffle replacement, 1,500-gallon tank draining, and a one-pound dose of some high-power bio-enzymatic bacteria booster. What Septic Guy Number Two told me makes so much sense now; I had been duped by a company that I found has a one-star rating on Yelp. Ouch.
If you are interested, here is short video showing the outgoing baffle cover of a two-compartment septic tank much like ours. You might be able to make one yourself if you are familiar with the materials you see:
And here is a video of a toilet-trained cat peeing, just because: