Makeshift Efforts to Repair Failing Septic System No Cure for New York Homeowner

A do-it-yourself attempt at repairing a failing septic system has landed one Buffalo-area homeowner in hot water with legal and health department authorities. Jeffrey Karalus blames poor health and temporary disability for his failure to address the situation more promptly. Karalus is now facing steep fines from the city of Elma and could receive further penalties from the Erie County Health Department for allowing untreated sewage and wastewater to drain onto the surface of his lawn.

Complaints from Neighbors Brought Problem to Light

The situation was brought to the attention of local authorities by a neighbor. Judy Augustyn believes that the septic tank system in question failed over a year ago. According to Augustyn, Karalus opted to jury-rig a system that incorporated an aboveground pump and hose arrangement rather than repairing the problem or replacing the system. Since that time, the smell from the Karalus back yard septic system has been unbearable. Augustyn complained throughout the summer months to city officials and the Erie County Health Department before an inspection visit was made and the fine was assessed. Karalus has agreed to have his septic system repaired by a local company to bring it back into compliance with local, county and state codes for these household waste treatment plants.

Quick Fixes Don’t Address the Underlying Problem

As Jeffrey Karalus now realizes, do-it-yourself remedies for septic system problems are rarely a good idea. Regular pumping, inspections and repairs should be scheduled with a trained and knowledgeable plumber or septic system specialist. In many cases, what appears to be a failing septic system can be brought back to full function with just a few simple repairs and replacements. For systems that constantly require pumping and maintenance just to keep up with the household production of waste, however, a different approach may produce good results.

Septic Aeration Systems Can Improve Efficiency

Installing a septic aerator can help homeowners avoid the expense of replacement and the financial drain of fines and penalties due to an improperly functioning tank. Septic aerators work inside the tank to oxygenate the standing water, allowing for the growth of highly efficient aerobic bacteria in this enclosed environment. Aerobic bacteria colonies are far more effective in breaking down waste and producing purer, cleaner water for delivery to the drain field. By contrast, anaerobic bacteria produce dangerous gases, unpleasant odors and take much longer to break down particulate matter and organic materials in the septic tank environment.

By installing these advanced systems, homeowners can avoid or remediate many common septic tank problems and can ensure a healthier and safer environment for friends, neighbors and family.

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