Septic Outlet Filter Cleaning in Ferndale

septic outlet filter ferndale

If your septic system is clogged, how can you find out what’s causing it? Maybe something was thrown down the drain that didn’t belong there. Or maybe you’ve got a clogged septic outlet filter. Knowing how this filter works and why it needs to be kept clean is just as important as pumping the septic tank.

It’s a Screening Device

If you have a mesh strainer for your kitchen sink, you have a pretty good idea of how an outlet filter works. Located in the outlet, the filter acts like a strainer, collecting solid material. Like any strainer, it fills up over time.

Cleaning the Filter

Because of the filter’s location, this is not a job you can do yourself.  Depending on the size of your home and number in your household, the cleaning frequency will vary. An OSS inspection will determine an appropriate interval, usually three to five years for most households. A professional can also examine the filter for signs of damage and decide when a replacement is necessary.

Consequences of a Dirty Septic Outlet Filter in Ferndale

When a filter gets old, it catches less large particles, which leads to backups before it’s time to pump. Some older septic systems don’t have a filter at all. An OSS inspector will be able to determine this and you can have one installed.

We Clean and Install Outlet Filters

Lil John Sanitary Services handles the dirty work, from septic system maintenance to grease trap cleaning. An outlet filter is an inexpensive contraption that prevents costly repairs; taking care of it can add years of life to your system.

Septic Outlet Filter Cleaning in Ferndale

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme


Posted on March 30, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Grease Trap Requirements for Bellingham Food Establishments

grease trap requirements bellingham

If you own or manage a food-service establishment in Bellingham, you’ve probably already heard of FOG management. (Fats, Oil and Grease) If you’re considering a new business in the industry, you’ll no doubt become very familiar with it. Grease trap requirements are very specific, and most restaurants and eating establishments will be required to have and maintain a grease trap.  

Very Few Exceptions

Here are two examples to illustrate how specific the rules get. No grease trap needed if all you serve is fat-free yogurt with disposable cups and spoons. What if you have a coffee shop? Probably no grease trap needed – unless you serve espresso and baked goods. Hmmm… is … that … still a coffee shop?  

Bellingham Law

Bellingham Public Utilities have the final say regarding whether your business requires a grease trap or not. Check out the Uniform Plumbing Code regarding size and fitting requirements. The consequences of not installing a grease trap are serious. The city/county public health department can shut you down until you comply.

Slippery Slope

Another FOG ordinance to understand is the 25% rule regarding grease trap maintenance. The trap needs to be cleaned when the device’s holding tank is filled to 25% capacity. A professional sanitary service company is needed for this.

Don’t DIY – Call a Pro

Keep up with grease trap requirements, and keep FOG waste from entering your septic tank or the municipal sewer system. Call Lil John Sanitary Services. They’ll clean out the tank, clean the intake and outtake pipes where possible, and check intake valves. This local family-owned business is also ready to service other on-site systems, such as portable toilets and septic tanks

Bellingham Food Services Grease Trap Requirements  

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme


Posted on February 28, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Septic System Maintenance for Pet Owners in Bellingham

septic system maintenance for pet bellevue

Most homeowners know better than to throw solid objects down the drain. For pet owners, though, additional precautionary measures are in order. Septic system maintenance for pet owners isn’t rocket science, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind. 

Regarding Pet Hair

Pet hair, like human hair, is a common drain-clogging material, and while it’s biodegradable, it does take a while to completely break down. You can easily reduce the buildup of both pet fur and human hair with a mesh strainer. We often discover excess pet hair during a septic pump. Find a strainer for $2 to $3 at your local hardware store.

Watch For Digging

Some breeds of dogs have a tendency to dig holes, and larger breeds can dig holes deep enough to expose the pipes. While a dog’s paws aren’t likely to damage the pipes, they can disrupt the drain field. This can mess with the field’s ability to let waste back into the water table. This is also just as bad for your dog, because it could be exposed to partially treated waste water.

Cat Litter 

Our OSS inspections also commonly reveal a buildup of cat litter in septic systems. Regardless of what the package says, don’t put kitty litter down the drain. The litter petrifies the poo, which makes it harder for septic bacteria to break it down.

Experts at Septic System Maintenance for Pet Owners

Lil John Sanitary Services tackles various pumping jobs, including grease trap cleaning. Contact us today if you have questions about maintaining your septic system. We’re here to help!

Help with Septic System Maintenance for Pet Owners in Bellingham

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme


Posted on January 31, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

How Does Laundry Affect Septic Systems in Deming?

laundry affect septic systems demingIf you have a septic system in Deming, you’ve probably already asked yourself, “How does laundry affect septic systems?” We’ll explain how washing clothes in the wrong way can harm your septic system.

Laundry and Septic Systems: What’s the Connection?

The average American household completes about 300 loads of laundry every year. Depending on your washer, you use between 5 and 45 gallons of water per wash cycle. Because all the wastewater from the wash cycle enters the septic tank, it takes time for the system to separate the waste from the water. A sudden surge of water can disrupt the tank’s treatment solutions. This leads to plumbing backups and a flooded drain field.

Preventive Measures You Can Take

When you schedule an annual OSS inspection, the inspector will recommend a septic pumping interval based on your current usage level. If your system is overdue for a pump, it will have a harder time handling a water surge.

Regarding doing your laundry, follow these tips:

  • Be careful to set the washer to the proper load setting. Setting a small laundry load for a large setting is not only a waste of water; it also burdens the septic system unnecessarily.
  • Space out your laundry. Instead of doing a load of colored clothes right after the whites, wait several hours.
  • When it’s time to replace the washer, choose an Energy Star model. These use about half the water as standard washing machines.

Want to Learn More About How Laundry Can Affect Septic Systems in Deming?

We are a septic system and grease trap cleaning service based in Bellingham. Contact us at Lil John Sanitary Services if you notice backups or a slow drain. Doing laundry affects your septic system more than you might think; being mindful of the frequency of your wash cycles can help.

How Laundry Can Affect Septic Systems in Deming

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme


Posted on December 29, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

What’s the Ideal Septic System Size in Maple Falls?

septic system size maple falls

More Maple Falls homebuilders are choosing to install septic systems rather than choosing the often more expensive option of connecting to the municipal sewer line. If you decide to go this route, one of your first decisions will be determining the optimum septic system size for your residence. 

Why Septic System Size Matters

Septic systems hold wastewater for about 24 hours. During these hours, the bacteria separate the solids from the liquid before releasing the effluent, or waste, to the drain field. If your system is too small for the size of your home, the pipes build too much pressure, preventing the waste from entering the tank. The excess water inhibits waste breakdown by diluting the bacteria. If your system is too large, the tank won’t have enough water to encourage bacteria growth. Both situations lead to ineffective waste breakdown, which costs more due to increased septic pumping and inspection intervals. 

Septic System Sizing Guidelines

So how is size determined? By the amount of water used per household. Consider this estimate:

  • Two-bedroom or 1,500-square-foot home: 750-gallon septic system
  • Three-bedroom or 2,500-square-foot home: 1,000-gallon septic system
  • Four-bedroom or 3,500-square-foot home: 1,250-gallon septic system

These are just rough guidelines. Building codes in your area may also impact the tank size required for your home. A septic inspector can determine the optimal septic tank size based on all of the above factors. The bottom line is that bigger is not better. In addition to size, you’ll want to use best practices for septic systems to keep yours in top running order. 

We Maintain Septic Systems in Maple Falls

Lil John Sanitary Services performs septic checkups for Maple Falls homes. We’re also grease trap maintenance experts for Maple Falls businesses. Septic systems aren’t one-size-fits-all units; contact us today for a free consultation!

Maintenance for Every Septic System Size in Maple Falls

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme


Posted on November 28, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Grease Trap Vs Grease Interceptor: What’s the Difference in Blaine?

grease interceptorIf your business includes a commercial kitchen, then it most certainly has a grease trap or a grease interceptor. Most people are either unfamiliar with the latter, or they use the terms interchangeably. While the two may serve the same function, they’re not identical.

What Is a Grease Trap?

Let’s start with the more common grease trap. As you may know, a grease trap collects fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from cooking deposits. This prevents the solids from entering the plumbing system.

You can usually locate the grease trap directly under the sink. The size ranges from a shoe-box to a small refrigerator. The contraption is designed for low-flow plumbing, meaning it can handle plumbing pressure up to 50 gallons per minute.

What Is a Grease Interceptor?

A grease interceptor is for larger scale applications and can handle a flow rate exceeding 50 gallons per minute. Due to the heftier bulk, technicians have to install interceptors outside of the building rather than under the sink. They’re usually installed underground with access via a manhole cover. Grease interceptors are found in hotel restaurants and diners that serve on a nearly non-stop basis.

Cleaning Interval

Grease traps require more frequent cleanings since they have a smaller storage capacity. We recommend a cleaning about once a month. Grease interceptors require a cleaning every three months.

Of course, frequency is dependent on kitchen activity. As a rule of thumb, you need to clean grease traps and interceptors once they fill to one-fourth capacity. Blockages usually arise once traps and interceptors exceed this level.

We Clean Grease Traps and Grease Interceptors in Blaine

We pump grease traps and interceptors for businesses and conduct OSS inspections for residential septic systems. If you operate a food establishment in Blaine, contact Lil John Sanitary Services. Municipality codes require interval grease trap and grease interceptor cleaning. Contact us today for more information.

Grease Interceptor & Trap Cleanings for Blaine Businesses

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme.


Posted on October 29, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Advice About Septic Systems and Water Softeners for Everson Homes

septic systems and water softeners eversonResearch on the relationship between septic systems and water softeners goes as far back as the 1970s. The prevailing belief is that water softeners have a negative impact on the septic tank and drain field. Do the studies support this notion?

How Water Softeners Work

Water softeners remove mineral salts (usually calcium and magnesium) from water that can cause deposits in pipes and on flat surfaces. They provide your household with soft water and also prevent mineral buildup in the pipes.

Water softeners remove the mineral salts using resin beads. The water softener’s brine tank stores salt and adds water to the system to produce the brine. The salt water cleans the resin so the beads can do their job in a continuous cycle.

Do Water Softeners Damage Septic Systems?

The idea is that the brine discharge harms the beneficial microbes in the septic tank. This hampers the septic system’s ability to break down solids. The homeowner now needs to schedule more frequent septic tank pumping, or that’s the belief.

According to studies, water softeners not only do not harm septic systems, they actually help. The soft water contributes to septic tank performance. The sodium in the brine also aids in bacterial health.

Having soft water also means less use of abrasive soaps and detergents when bathing or doing dishes. Reduced use of detergents means less strain on the septic system. Chemical-based cleaners interfere with effluent breakdown.

Some homeowners also express concerns that too much brine discharge can overwhelm the drain field. However, studies show that water softeners produce no more water discharge than any other water-using appliance.

Septic System and Water Softener Tips for Everson Homeowners

Regardless of whether you use a water softener, the septic system requires regular OSS inspections. Contact Lil John Sanitary Services for septic tank pumping and grease trap cleaning. The correlation between septic systems and water softener is not a cause for alarm.

Septic Systems and Water Softener Experts near Everson

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme


Posted on August 31, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Septic System Lifespan: How Long Do They Last in Lynden?

septic system lifespan LyndenDo you know your septic system’s date of installation? Many homeowners  in Lynden wonder about their septic system lifespan. Do you assume it will last as long as your house remains standing? 

The Typical Lifespan of a Septic System

We can’t really give you a solid figure regarding a system’s longevity because so many variables come into play. If we had to give you a number, we would say about 25 years, plus or minus 10 years. This is based on the factors we describe below.

Septic System Lifespan Factors

Septic systems undergo different degrees of stress, depending on the household activity. Do you regularly use the garbage disposal? How often do you do the laundry? A full family with multiple kids will subject a system to more stress than, say, a retired couple of two.

Even if the system does last roughly 25 years, that doesn’t mean those will be 25 years of trouble-free operation. Typically, homeowners only schedule a septic tank pumping or OSS inspection when they experience a problem. This is the wrong approach. To ensure maximum longevity and reliability, you should schedule regular maintenance yearly, or at least every two years.

Failure to conduct maintenance causes untreated solids to build up. Over time, this can damage the tank, the pipes, the leaching system and the distribution system. This could result in premature failure within as little as 10 years, even if the system is fairly new.

We Do Tank Pumping & Inspections

As the homeowner, you play a huge role in how long your septic system holds up. Contact Lil John Sanitary Services for maintenance. We also do grease trap cleaning and septic system work for facilities. Contact us today for a consultation.

Prolonging Your Septic System Lifespan in Lynden 

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme


Posted on July 30, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Can You Clean Your Grease Trap Yourself in Ferndale?

clean your grease trap FerndaleTo keep your grease trap functioning at its peak in Ferndale, you need to empty it every now and then. Can you clean your grease trap yourself, or does this type of cleaning require a professional? We can’t provide a straight “yes” or “no” answer; consider the following variables.

You CAN’T Clean Your Grease Trap IF…

First, you need to know what kind of grease trap you own. Larger dining establishments and cafeterias usually have units which process between 500 and 2,500 gallons of grease. You will find these outside and right below a manhole cover on the company’s premises. Do you have the manpower, time, and resources necessary for cleaning out a grease trap of this monstrous size? In this scenario, you almost definitely need to hire a professional service company.

Smaller Establishments Probably Can, BUT…

Smaller establishments may have smaller units located inside the shop. DIY cleaning for these traps is far more manageable. However, even if you decide to go the DIY route, your county may require licensure. King County, for example, requires owners to have a Certificate of Competency. Some states require a septage hauler’s license.

Why so many hoops to jump through just to clean a grease trap? Improper grease trap maintenance can create serious sanitation issues. Our recommendation is to hire a professional. Most professional cleaners have the certification, expertise and equipment to handle grease traps of all sizes.

Besides, as a restaurant owner, your priority should be providing high-quality food and excellent dining service. Leave the elbow grease to us.

We Service Grease Traps in Ferndale

Besides services grease traps, we also pump out septic tanks and perform on-site sewage inspections. Contact  Lil John Sanitary Service for your next scheduled grease trap maintenance. This ensures the job is done right on the first go. Cleaning your own grease trap is doable, but is it worth the hassle?

We Clean Your Grease Trap For You in Ferndale Eateries

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme.

Posted on June 30, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

What Are the Advantages of Septic Pumping and Maintenance?


Advantages of Septic Pumping Bellingham
When was the last time you scheduled a septic pumping? Neglecting routine maintenance can cause problems down the road. As you’ll see, the advantages of septic pumping go well beyond clog prevention.

Advantages of Septic Pumping at a Glance

With respect to septic upkeep, homeowners tend to have an ‘out-of-sight-out-of-mind’ mentality. Since your septic system is almost completely hidden, the only time you’re aware of it is when there’s a problem. Regular pumping keeps the system healthy and your water clean. A backed-up septic could potentially contaminate the freshwater supply. Maintenance keeps bacteria and other harmful substances out of your water. 

Regular Pumping Prevents Odors

A properly running septic system disposes wastewater into the leach/drain field. If the system backs up, waste can overflow into the soil, creating boggy and unsanitary areas. Sewer gas, methane and ammonia gas from household waste, emanates from this boggy soil, which smells terrible.  Keeping your system maintained prevents this back up from occurring.

Increases Property Value

If you’re putting your home on the market, you can bet the septic system’s health will influence the property value. Home buyers do not wish to inherit a house with a septic system in disarray. A real estate agent evaluating your home will most certainly recommend OSS inspections to boost property value.

Septic Mainenance for Bellingham Homes

Your septic system needs regular maintenance. iI your property is connected to a septic system rather than to the municipal sewer line and you want to be sure it’s in good working order, contact  Lil John Sanitary Services We cannot overstate the benefits of septic pumping. We also clean grease traps for Bellingham businesses.

Advantages of Septic Pumping for Bellingham Residences

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme

Posted on May 30, 2020 |Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business