Meet Brad Beals our Septic Division Manager

Brad Beals

Brad brings a level of professionalism within the industry thats hard to beat. In this day of increasing health and ground water preservation Brad has invested years acquiring skills and certifications to deliver knowledge, value and state of the art installations. You simply cant get more tickets then this fella!. Easy to talk too and appreciates good communication, give Brad a call to discuss your septic system concerns.
Licensed:

  • • Designer/Planner
  • • Installer
  • • Maintenance provider
  • • Inspector
  • • Residential/commercial/Industrial
  • • Member of BCOSSA & ASTTBC

Vortech Septic provides complete septic system designs, maintenance and installations.

As registered with ASTTBC and BCOSSA, our systems meet all health board requirements within this often challenging industry from system repairs to complete onsite treatment systems often working with engineers to assure standards and compliancy are met for our clients needs. If your building a new home or renovating or your current septic system is having troubles and requires immediate attention, give us to call discuss how best to resolve or address your concerns.

Below are a couple of new septic Installations recently completed for our clients.

The first series of pictures illustrates a Type 2 treatment system using drip system dispersal bed

This property was exceptionally challenging to work with due to irregular lot grades, landscaping as well rock out outcrops. By incorporating treatment we are able to meet the requirements of this homes sanitary demands by reducing the size of the dispersal bed using a drip system. This time dosed design allows the dispersal bed to conform with the irregularities of the properties grades and slopes while keeping in with the property set back requirements.

Preliminary site clearing for dispersal bed
Preliminary site clearing for dispersal bed
Drip line install for the dispersal bed
Drip line install for the dispersal bed
Fished dispersal bed cover/rake
Fished dispersal bed cover/rake

The following pictures illustrate the complex septic tank and treatment system Installations. The tanks required an above ground placement due to steep grades as well rock outcrops. Large 3-4ft rocks were delivered to the site for our retaining wall system installation. A permeable aggregate was used to fill around all the tanks and components to provide seasonal drainage and assure tank ” heaving” or lift does not occur. The homes original septic tank was located under a sundeck where we exposed, pumped out, filled and decommissioned. The main sewer from this location was then trenched approximately 110ft down the property slope and connected to the new tanks. From here the treated effluent is delivered to the drain-field using a time dosed pump driven system. The following pictures demonstrate the stages of tank and retaining wall installation.

Rock delivery for tank retaining wall system
Rock delivery for tank retaining wall system
Retaining wall development
Retaining wall development
Tank placements with aggregate backfill for drainage
Tank placements with aggregate backfill for drainage
Finished tank placement with top soil
Finished tank placement with top soil
Tank Placements on Aggregate
Tank Placements on Aggregate
Tank Placements on Aggregate
Tank Placements on Aggregate
Bio-Nest treatment connections/lines
Bio-Nest treatment connections/lines
Finished tank placement with top soil
Finished tank placement with top soil

This system is a Type 1 pressured distribution. Type 1 suggests there is no treatment system required within the septic tanks rather the soil from the drain field acts as treatment for the effluent.

Our clients required a new system as theirs had expired. The placement of the drain field was approximately 500ft from the home/tanks requiring the effluent to be pump driven.

This is a low maintenance system requiring annual inspection service to assure floats and operating levels are set correctly as well outlet filter cleaning. Septic tanks should be pumped out every three years, as service Vortech offers as well.

The first series of pictures illustrates the pressured drain field from site prep to completion.

Site clear and bed prep
Site clear and bed prep
PVC pressured distribution layout & orfice shields
PVC pressured distribution layout & orfice shields
Aggregate cover
Aggregate cover
Top soil cover, final bed rake
Top soil cover, final bed rake
Pump chamber installation
Pump chamber installation
Pump chamber installation
Pump chamber installation
Final tank placements
Final tank placements
Soil tamping and compaction
Soil tamping and compaction
Final cover and grade detail
Final cover and grade detail

Several other recent system installations

Septic Installation VorTech Plumbing


Septic Installation VorTech Plumbing


Septic Installation VorTech Plumbing


Septic Installation VorTech Plumbing
Septic Installation VorTech Plumbing


System Types

The type of septic system required for your project can vary depending on the usage details of the facility to be serviced, on-site soil and groundwater conditions, the available area for a septic field, etc. Septic systems in BC servicing under 5000 Igpd are generally divided into three categories as follows:

Type 1

Type 1 systems are defined as any on-site septic system using a septic tank as the primary means of sewage treatment. Septic tanks are equipped with screened effluent filters and high-level alarms, and Type 1 disposal fields can consist of subsurface trenches, at-grade seepage beds, or above-grade sand mounds. Type 1 disposal fields can sometimes be gravity fed, but pressurization is recommended to increase system reliability and services life. Pressurization of the disposal field may be required as per current guidelines and regulations.

Type 2

Type 2 systems are defined as any septic system using a Type 2 treatment plant as the primary means of sewage treatment. Type 2 treatment plants are required to produce effluent quality that meets or exceeds the following standards:

1. 5-day Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD5) ≤ 45 mg/L
2. Total Suspended Solids (TSS) ≤ 45 mg/L

Type 2 treatment plants usually employ aerobic treatment processes (i.e. adding oxygen) to treat domestic sewage, using an integrated air blower to mix oxygen with the sewage. As with Type 1 systems, Type 2 disposal fields can consist of trenches, seepage beds, or sand mounds. Type 2 disposal fields are typically smaller than Type 1 fields, and can sometimes be gravity fed. However, pressurization is recommended to increase system reliability and service life. Pressurization of the disposal field may be required under the current regulations.


Type 3

Type 3 systems are defined as any septic system using a Type 3 treatment plant and a disinfection unit as the primary means of sewage treatment. Type 3 treatment systems are required to produce effluent quality that meets or exceeds the following standards:

1. 5-day Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD5) ≤ 10 mg/L
2. Total Suspended Solids (TSS) ≤ 10 mg/L
3. Fecal Coliform (FC) ≤ 400 CFU/100ml

This effluent is of a very high quality, and a properly functioning Type 3 treatment plant produces very clear, odourless effluent. Type 3 treatment plants usually employ aerobic treatment processes (i.e. adding oxygen) to treat domestic sewage, using an integrated air blower to mix oxygen with the sewage. However, different methods can be used to achieve this effluent quality. Disinfection is achieved using chlorination/de-chlorination, ozone, or ultraviolet (UV) light. UV systems are most common due to low capital cost and ease of maintenance. The vast majority of Type 3 disposal fields are pressurized, and can consist of subsurface trenches, seepage beds, or sand mounds. Type 3 disposal fields are typically smaller than Type 1 or Type 2 fields.
In some cases Type 3 systems are used even when Type 1 or Type 2 system conditions exist on the subject property. This is usually done when the space available for the disposal field is small, and a large reduction in field size is needed. A Professional Engineer is required to oversee any Type 3 septic project in BC. Some jurisdictions also require removal of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from the effluent prior to effluent discharge. This removal can be achieved using different technologies.


How do septic tanks work?

You’ve come to the right place if you want to learn about septic systems and how to care for them.

septic truck

What is the purpose of your septic system?

A septic system collects and treats your household waste. A properly functioning septic system protects:

– the health of your family and neighbours

– the value of your property

– the local water supply and environment

How does your septic tank work?

Your toilets, showers, laundry, sinks, dishwasher and garbage disposal all drain to your septic tank. There the waste settles into three layers:

– Top layer: Soap, fats, oils and hair float to the top and form a layer of scum.

– Middle layer: Water, with some suspended solids, is the largest layer.

– Bottom layer: Sewage solids, food and foreign debris sink down and form sludge.

Beneficial bacteria are able to digest a small amount of the organic waste, but most of the solids stay in the tank in the form of sludge. Fats and oils do not get digested at all, and they stay as floating scum.

The water flows through to the second chamber of your septic tank. Any solids or scum still in the water should get trapped by the secondary chamber. Ideally the outlet of the septic tank has a filter that catches any particulates.

Only water should exit the septic tank. If any solids or scum flow out with the water, the particles will clog your absorption field.

In older tanks, inflowing waste simply pushes an equivalent amount of water out to the drain field. New systems are designed with a third compartment or dosing chamber, so that a specific amount of water is sent in doses to the drain field. If your septic tank is higher than your field, this is achieved with a dosing siphon. If your septic tank is lower, there is a pump to lift the water to the field.

Does the cold climate affect your septic tank?

Yes, the organic matter does not decompose as quickly in cold climates because there is less bacterial action. The beneficial bacteria that live in septic tanks work best at 98° F. Warm water from your shower or dishwasher helps, but the average temperature of septic tanks around here is too low for efficient digestion. Sludge builds up faster, which means septic tanks need to be pumped more often.

How does your absorption field work?

The septic tank removes all the solids, so that only water enters your absorption field (also called a leach field or drain field). A distribution box (D-box) divides the water equally among several trenches that have perforated pipes or chambers. These pipes run through a long bed of gravel or sand that is 2 to 3 feet below ground level. Some systems use a mound above ground level.

The water leaches or drains into the ground, where it is naturally filtered and purified. Some of the water evaporates, some is taken up by plants, and some percolates down to the aquifer.

Why is it important to maintain your septic system?

A septic system should last about 25 years. However, many systems fail prematurely due to neglect. Replacing a leach field can cost $10,000-$30,000. Regular pumping of your septic tank is one of the most important things you can do to protect your leach field. If your septic tank becomes too full of sludge or scum, solid particles will escape to your field. These particles will clog your field, and the water won’t be able to drain.

Does your tank have a dosing siphon or pump?

Newer septic systems installed will have a dosing chamber. This might be a third section of the tank, or a completely separate tank. If the dosing chamber is higher in elevation than your field, it will use a siphon to send doses of water to the field. If it is lower in elevation, you will have a pump to lift the water to the field.

Fields designed for use with a dosing system are smaller than older fields. If your dosing siphon or pump is not working correctly, it can cause the field to fail prematurely. Ideally the siphon or pump should be tested yearly, but at least have it done every few years when the septic tank is pumped. If the dosing siphon was correctly installed, it is usually trouble-free. Lift station pumps have a life span of 2-10 years, depending on the pump quality and usage

Septic system dos and don’ts

A septic system should last about 25 years. However, many systems fail prematurely due to neglect. Replacing a leach field can cost $10,000-$30,000. Regular pumping of your septic tank is one of the most important things you can do to protect your leach field. If your septic tank becomes too full of sludge or scum, solid particles will escape to your field. These particles will clog your field, and the water won’t be able to drain.

Do pump your septic tank every 2-4 years

Do locate ALL of your septic system lids and keep them accessible, yet secure.

Do keep your tank fittings, including siphon or pump, in working order.

Do repair any dripping faucets or leaking toilets, which overload your septic tank.

Do use water-saving appliances, toilets and shower heads.

Do a little laundry every day instead of lots of loads in one day.

Do use lint filters and sink strainers.

Do limit the use of your garbage disposal, or pump your tank twice as often.

Do limit the use of bleach and anti-bacterial hand soap or detergent. These will hurt the beneficial bacteria in your septic tank.

Do plant grass or small plants over your leach field.

Don’t put sanitary napkins, tampons, paper towels, condoms, diapers, wipes, facial tissues, cigarette butts, or excessive toilet paper down the toilet.

Don’t put oil, fats or grease down the sink.

Don’t put paint, photographic solutions or other hazardous chemicals down the drain.

Don’t add bacteria, enzymes, yeast or other products. They aren’t necessary and may increase the amount of suspended particles entering your leach field.

Don’t allow trees or shrubs to grow on your field.

Don’t allow vehicles, large animals or anything heavy on your field.

Don’t allow hot tubs, rain gutters or surface water to drain into your septic tank.

Don’t pile up snow on your leach field.

How often should your septic tank be pumped?

About every 3 years is a good rule of thumb. It depends on the size of your tank, the number of people using the house, and how much food, fat, plastics and paper are put down the drain. Septic tanks in our area build up sludge faster and need to be pumped more frequently than tanks in warmer climates.

Can the sludge be measured to determine a pumping schedule?

Yes. The tank should be pumped when the sludge and scum together reach 1/3 of the liquid capacity. You can determine the sludge thickness by using a long stick wrapped with a white towel, similar to measuring the oil in a car. Remove the lid over the primary chamber of the septic tank (the lid closest to the house). Poke a hole in the scum layer, and lower the stick to the bottom of the tank. Let it sit a few minutes, and then pull the stick straight up. The black area on the towel is the sludge depth, and it should measure no more than a third of the total wet area of the towel.

If this process does not appeal to you, have the tank pumped every 2-3 years to be safe. The pumper should report the sludge and scum thickness, and you can adjust your pumping schedule accordingly.

How often should the filter be cleaned?

Septic tanks installed are required to have an effluent filter. This is a plastic mesh tube or brush that fits in the outlet tee of the secondary chamber. The filter catches anything that might otherwise clog up your absorption field. They are very good to have, as they will prolong the life of your field. However, they do need periodic cleaning, as a clogged filter can cause sewage to back up into your house.

Ideally the filter should be cleaned twice a year. If you only do it once, choose autumn, so you can get through the winter without problems. Remove the second septic tank lid, and pull the handle of the filter towards you. Rinse it off with a garden hose, being sure that the septage falls back into the septic tank. It is not necessary to scrub the filter spotless.

What our customers say:

  • "I cannot say enough good things about my experience with Charles and the crew at Vortech. I have used their services on two separate occasions and both times I was impressed with their professionalism and excellent customer service. This is a professional, trustworthy, and reliable company that I highly recommend to everyone. They give upfront and honest quotes. They come prepared and their work is fast, efficient, and dependable. Based on prior experience, this is not a given in this industry. So before you go with the big name alternative, consider giving Vortech a call instead. I will never call anyone else."

    Nissa Bell
    Victoria B.C.
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