Spring in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – Sun, rain, wind, snow.  We’ll soon be blessed with warmer days!  Looking out the window as the sun still hasn’t set, I can’t help but to think about all the fun and ambitious things that spring brings.

As Spring unfolds many homeowners start thinking about outdoor type projects. i.e. landscaping, porches, decks, patios, retaining walls, ponds, water features, gardens, new trees, shrubs, etc.   Below are some tips to help you avoid some common problems during your next spring or summer project.

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Keep in mind and be extra cautious around septic tanks, drain fields, leach fields, and sewer and septic lateral drain lines. Avoid a potential disaster by having them located prior to beginning your Spring landscaping projects. Most people know it’s the law to call before you dig. National 811 service however, does not locate private utilities like sewer lines, septic lines, tanks, drainfields, storm drains, etc.

To most; underground utilities are just that, “underground” = out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t already know the location, depth, and layout of your sewer or septic system, this is the perfect time to find out. By having a video inspection and locate of the lines and tank, you’ll not only gain valuable information to help with future periodic septic system maintenance, potentially detect “underlying” problems before become an issue, and make more educated design decisions for your project.

We; as well as most plumbing companies, septic companies, and state and government entities recommend having a
septic system serviced (pumped and inspected) every 3-5 years dependent on the size, capacity, and
type of system you have on site. To better accommodate regular and necessary maintenance have Poly or PVC risers installed on your septic tank to eliminate the need for future excavation. They don’t have to be an ugly green eye-sore in your yard either. Check out septic lids that match your landscape. Oh and you don’t need a licensed contractor do to that. Risers are fairly inexpensive..  and with a little ambition to dig (or some good friends and a healthy beer supply), you can do it yourself!
dig for beer
If you’re on city sewer, you may or may not already understand that you; as a homeowner, are
responsible for the proper care and maintenance of your own private sewer lateral (main line) from the
house to the street. In many municipalities, you’re responsible all the way to where it ties into the city main (under the street or alley).  More information regarding private sewer lateral responsibility in the City of Coeur d’Alene can be found here.

sewer in street

Because the home in the picture above has basement plumbing, the sewer lateral in that case was over 7′ deep.  In some cases though, sewer or septic lines can be quite shallow. Thus a simple excavation for a landscaping project like planting a tree, or installing an automatic sprinkler system could lead to damage of you sewer or septic system. Likewise, planting a tree too close to your sewer or septic lines or drain field, regardless of the depth, may cause future problems with infiltration from tree roots. Inevitably leading to a back-up.

trees by sewer

Spring is the time when trees start come out of that “semi-dormant” winter state and start searching for
water and nutrients from the soil. If you have a break, crack, or offset joint in your sewer or septic lines or a leaky septic tank; you’re not only allowing untreated wastewater into the aquifer and nearby lakes and streams, but you’re providing an incredible source of nutrients for your landscape. Sure the trees, shrubs, and lawn may look lush, green, and great, oh and those veggies in your yard?  Truly “organic”.  (and you just thought you were a green thumb ;)).  The sewer back-up that occurs when a blockage happens however, will quickly turn those beauties to beasts.


Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections and locates in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, or to schedule an inspection, contact us at: 208.818.8241

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