Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a digging charge? 

The first 4 inches of digging are FREE.  There is only a fee if your cover is deeper than 4 inches below grade.  Koberlein can also install a riser to raise the level of your cover to be within 4 inches of the ground level.  This will help you avoid a digging fee in the future.

Why does my septic system back up or clog?

There are many reasons why a septic system may backup or clog.  Contact us to discuss your specific issue.  There are a few standard questions we will ask to help us diagnose the problem:

  1.  When was the last time you pumped your septic tank?  Long periods of time between septic tank pumping can cause a variety of issues.
  2. Do you have a filter in your septic system?  Filters keep the hair, grit and grime from clogging your leach field lines.  Dirty filters clog the system.
  3.  Where are you backing up?  Depending on the location of the back-up (toilet upstairs or downstairs or outside breakout of liquid on sand mound), we may need to have one of our technicians on site to help clear the clog.

How can I find out where my septic tank is located? 

First, look fora 4” or 6” white pvc pipe or 24” round plastic lid in the ground.  These will be immediately next to or on top of your tank.  If you cannot find the pipe or lid, depending on the age of your home, your local Sewage Enforcement Officer or Board of Health Office may have a diagram of your septic system, also known as the “As-Built” plan, on file. Finally, if you cannot locate a diagram or plan, Koberlein Environmental does provide locating services.

How can I determine the capacity of my septic tank? 

Your septic system diagram or “As-Built” Plan will include the capacity/size of the tank.  If the Sewage Enforcement Officer or Board of Health does not have your records on file, Koberlein Environmental can measure your tank size for you and calculate its volume.  If you are a Koberlein Environmental customer, we’ll already have this information on file!

What is “proper working level”? 

The proper working level is where the water level in your tank meets the outlet “T” of the tank.  As water enters your tank it should push water out of your tank through the outlet “T” and pipe.  After approximately one week from the date of septic tank pumping, the water in your tank will return to a “proper working level”, about 1 foot down from the top of the tank.

How often should I pump my septic tank? 

At a minimum, you should pump your tank every 3 to 5 years according to PSMA guidelines.  More frequent servicing may be required depending upon the age of your system, how much water your system is handling on a regular basis, how many people live in the home, and the condition of your system.  Regular pumping reduces the likelihood that solids will build up to a level in your septic tank where they are displaced out into your absorption field along with gray water.  Accordingly, regular pumping extends the useful life of your drain field and can help you avoid costly repairs down the road.

How long does it take to pump out the septic tank? 

Pumping the liquid out of the septic tank usually takes 30 minutes.  The service may take longer if we need to run out extra lengths of hose, dig off the tank lid, back flush excessively heavy solids in order to completely clean your tank, or if we run into any unexpected problems.

What is Septa Field? 

Septa Field is a highly concentrated, commercial grade, bacterial additive.  We add it to your dose tank or distribution box so that the beneficial bacteria come into direct contact with and consume the sludge, soap scum and grease that may have accumulated in the lateral pipes in your leach field or sand mound.  Used regularly, Septa Field can extend the useful life of your absorption field.  We recommend that you use it each time you pump.

What are your hours? 

Typically,Koberlein Environmental is open 7am to 4pm, Monday through Friday, and 7am to 12 noon on Saturdays.  We have technicians on-call 24/7 for emergency services on nights and weekends.  We do not monitor our e-mail 24/7, but all telephone calls are answered so don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help.

What areas do you serve? 

We have an extensive fleet and coverage area.  Please consult our service area map section on this web page.  Generally, we cover Wayne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Lackawanna, Wyoming, and Luzerne Counties in PA, and Sullivan, Ulster, and Orange Counties in NY.

What is an aerobic septic system? 

An aerobic septic system utilizes air (oxygen) to enhance digestion (decomposition) of the solids in wastewater (septage).  Typically, the tank in an aerobic system has a pump or mixer which will agitate and aspirate the wastewater in the tank.  The infusion of oxygen in the wastewater optimizes the naturally occurring bacteria in the septage, which in turn reduces sludge levels in the tank and further “cleans” the gray water before it is displaced to the absorption field.  Koberlein is the region’s exclusive, licensed distributor of the Norweco Singulair Green Advanced Aeration System.  See our web page section on the Singulair Green System for more details on this highly effective aerobic system.

Is the white pipe my cover? 

No.  The white pipe is actually a vent pipe.  The white pipe allows for the transfer of gasses from your system and for the introduction of oxygen, which helps maintain a healthy environment for the bacteria to digest solids in your tank.

Do I have to be home when you pump my tank? 

No, it’s not required.  However, we do recommend that you be present if possible so that we can review the condition of your septic system with you in person.

Do you offer a neighborhood discount? 

Yes, depending upon your location and the number of tanks to be cleaned.  Contact our office for more information about neighborhood or multi-customer pricing and to discuss septic tank pumping costs.

Do you bill? 

Koberlein Environmental requires payment at the time of service.  We do accept cash, checks and all major credit cards.

Can you dispatch someone out today to pump my septic tank? 

Koberlein Environmental is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency service.  If you are not experiencing an emergency, but want same day service – give us a call.  Often we do provide same day service!

My washer is backing up, is that a septic issue? 

Possibly.  If your septic tank has not been pumped recently, we would want to pump the tank first.  If the problem persists, a drain cleaning technician will then be sent out to clear the line with a jetter or rooter.

How far down the line can your cable go? 

We have cables that range from 8 to 100 feet.  Typically, we extend cables several hundred feet to reach a clog or obstruction.

Why does my tank need to be pumped before you provide line or drain cleaning services? 

If the tank has not been recently cleaned, it will need to be pumped first if a main line is clogged.  Pumping out the contents of the tank enables the drain cleaning technician to force out a clog.  If you have not had your septic system serviced in more than 6 months, pumping the tank first may actually remove the clog.

Why is my toilet flushing slowly? 

It could be a sign that your septic tank needs to be pumped or that your drain field is not taking water.  It could also indicate that you have a clog in the line if you recently had your septic tank pumped.

Can you service a French Drain at my home? 

Yes.  Please call us for a pricing quote on clearing your French Drain.

How much does it cost to have a new septic system installed? 

The price of a new septic system varies according to the size and type needed.  Contact Koberlein’s Excavation and Installation technicians to receive a quote for your particular system.

Do you do sewer tie-ins? 

Yes.  Contact our Excavation and Installation technicians for more information about sewer tie-ins in your area.

If I can’t afford a new septic system, what else can I do? 

We can assess the condition of your septic system and probably present you with several options before installing an entirely new system.  Contact us today to set up a septic system assessment.

Why do I have ponding in the yard?

Ponding can result from a break in a line, poor drainage of surface water, or it could mean that your absorption field needs to be cleaned and jetted.  Contact us to discuss the proper steps to take.

What should I avoid putting down the drain? 

Generally, only toilet tissue and wastewater should go down a drain. Grease, paint, food particles (plates should be scraped into the trash before they are washed) vegetable/cooking oil, thick or sugary liquids, plastic and feminine products, kitty litter, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, etc. should be kept out of your drain and septic tank.  Also, do not use bleach or anti-bacterial products excessively.

Can you video inspect any line?  What are the limitations? 

We are able to video inspect a line as long as there is no blockage or heavy, cloudy liquid in the line that will prevent us from seeing the image of the pipe on the camera.

Jetting vs. Snaking  – what is the difference and how do we decide? 

Jetting (which uses high pressure water from a rubber hose and steel jetter head) is generally used for soft blockages (grease, soap clumps, paper, etc).  A Snake (which is a rigid mechanical device, usually a cable or wire) is used to help clear hard blockages in the line (matted hair, roots, etc).  The best method to use to clear the line depends on where the cleanout access is, how long the line is and if the access is inside or outside the house.