Hi! If we haven’t met, I’m Robyn Haines, co-owner of Ecowater Services with Warren Haines.
Over the next few issues of our e-news I am going to put the magnifying glass on some important aspects of ATU ownership. In this edition, we’ll be looking at planning ahead and how you can minimise “bill shock” when it comes to some of the costs associated with maintaining your ATU.
Planning ahead is about the ongoing maintenance of a home or property. In the seven years I have been talking with ATU owners, I can’t count the number of times that the need for a pump out has been bad timing financially or came as a complete surprise.
So to help you be prepared, I strongly recommend you take regular notice ofITEM 11 Anaerobic Chamber on your Quarterly Maintenance Report (QMR). This is where you will find the information you need to plan ahead for the considerable and unavoidable cost of a pump out.
Kitchen and laundry appliances, walls with paint, floors and other fixtures and finishes all, at some point, need either proactive or remedial care. Same goes for your ATU system - it really is just another household appliance. And it actually is inevitable - one day your ATU will need to have all the solid waste removed, or in other words - be “pumped out.”
While the measure of fullness of the anaerobic chamber is not a guess by your technician, what they see in your ATU is strongly influenced by the “cultural practices” of the residents. In other words, what goes down the drain or is flushed away can drastically change what can be “seen” and how the ATU “behaves”.
If your technician suspects that your system is getting full they will then use a “sludge judge” to accurately measure the percentage of fullness - i.e. the amount of solid matter in your ATU. As an ATU gets “full” the air pump and water pump will be under a heavier load. Failure to schedule a pump out when the ATU is full can cause costly damage not just to your pumps but also the infrastructure of your ATU.
THE COST OF A PUMP OUT
The minimum that you should plan for is $1400 (based on an ATU capacity of 6500L). Ecowater Services only recommend experienced septic truck operators. Use caution if you are getting quotes - discuss their experience and the volume they are quoting you on. Expensive damage can be incurred by using inferior service providers.
If you have any questions about what has been reported on your QMR please don’t hesitate to contact us in the office or ask your technician when he is on site. If you would like to discuss “pre-paying” to prepare for the cost of a pump out please contact Harvey at the office.
In the next issue of e-news I’ll go through some of the other terminology that your technician uses in ITEM 11 on the QMR.
Thanks for taking the time to educate yourself about your ATU.