Septic System FAQs | Buttermore's

Septic System Specialists

Ledyard, CT       EST. 1980

CT Lic. 5875

Serving all of New London County

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Take a moment to read through our FAQs

Do you have after hours and emergency service?  

We offer after hours and emergency service on an "as available" basis. Please call our work number at 860-464-8852 or cell at 860-625-1036. The call will be forward to the cell phone if we are out of the office. If there is no answer, please leave a message. Additional charges may apply to after hours and emergency service.




Look through our FAQs and get in touch.


"Buttermore had the entire job started and cleaned up in two days. They were very professional and provided excellent workmanship (I have many photos of the new drains and connections before it was back filled). They took as much care as possible to protect my flowers and plants and explained everything in detail every step of the way. Their equipment very clean, the workmen were clean and polite, and the property was left clean and tidy. I would recommend them highly and will use again."

— Barbara O'Brien


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My septic tank is full — how often do I need to have it pumped?  

First, a properly operating septic tank should always be nearly full (approximately 8-10" below top). It is recommended that a residential septic tank be pumped every 2-5 years with normal usage. If the tank is less than 1000 gallons, above average usage, a garbage grinder, or experiencing problems, it should be pumped more frequently.

Last time I had my tank pumped it cost quite a bit less, why?

Like everything else, our costs have gone up, but septic disposal costs have gone through the roof! The Ledyard treatment plant raised disposal fees 50% in one jump in July of 2009 and Norwich treatment raised fees 50% in November of 2009.

How much does it cost to have my septic tank pumped out?  

Generally speaking, to pump out a 1000 gallon septic tank we charge $275.00 and charge $.21/gallon after that. At the time of pumping we will fill out a "10 Point Septic Tank Assessment" on the receipt noting condition of the tank, level of the tank, amount of solids, flow back from leaching field, location of the tank, and recommended future pumping intervals. We can also locate and dig up the tank if needed at an additional charge. If location and depth are unknown, we may need to bring in a small machine to dig. If the tank is deeper than 12", the state code requires installation of risers and caps to be within 12" of the surface. We can dig up the tank and install risers and caps if needed.

What are "baffles" and why are they so important? 

Baffles are structures within the septic tank which keep the inlet pipe clear and prevent solids from leaving the tank and eventually clogging up the leaching field. Different types of tanks have different types of baffles. Often on older tanks, the baffles (either concrete, metal, or plastic) erode away and fall off. This needs to be repaired! It is a relatively small repair and may save your leaching system. Usually to repair a baffle is between $500 and $700.

Do you accept credit cards?  

Yes, we accept MasterCard, VISA Discover and American Express.

I have a dry well that is failing, why can't you just put in a new one?  

As CT licensed septic installers, we follow the standards set by the CT Department of Health. Dry wells were commonly used prior to the mid-70s and worked well. Today for repairs, we must try to get as close to a "code complying" system as is reasonable and acceptable to the local health department. Although dry wells are still acceptable, the conditions in which they may be used is very limited. Usually existing failing dry wells need to be pumped, filled in, and another type of leaching system installed.

What are some signs of septic system failure?  

Some signs of septic system failure include gurgling in pipes, frequent clogs or plunging required, slow drains, overfull septic tank, wet spots, extra green patches of lawn, and possible odor.

How does a septic system work?  

A septic system or onsite wastewater recycling system has 2 basic components: a septic tank and a leaching system connected by pipes. The septic tank is where the breakdown of waste begins. In the tank, bacteria starts to break down organic matter, so some solids sink and others float. The grey water in the middle then flows through the outlet baffle to the leaching system. The grey water in the leaching system is then allowed to percolate into the ground as it is naturally cleaned. There are many types of leaching systems such as pipe and stone, galleys, infiltrators, dry wells, and others.

How much does a replacement septic system cost?  

The cost of a replacement septic system varies greatly depending on a variety of factors. To replace a basic 3 bedroom leaching system with an in-ground system is approx. $12,000. If the tank also needs to be replaced, it is usually around $2000 more. There are many factors which affect the cost such as poor soil, high water tables, ledge, fill systems, pump systems, and other site restrictions.

Do you give free estimates?  

Yes, we would be more than happy to come out to your place and look at your situation and give you a verbal ballpark price based upon your situation and our experience. In order to give you a quote, we need additional information such as location of current system, location of wells and waterlines, property lines and number of bedrooms. We will then need to arrange for test holes with your local health department to obtain soil info such as soil profile and perk rate. We usually charge $400.00 for a small machine and an operator plus the Health department fee which is usually around $150. The Health Department will then record the results. With that information, we can size and plan for the repair and after discussion with the health department, we can then give you a verbal price. If the verbal price is acceptable, we will draw up a plan, submit it to the health department, and upon their approval, give you a written quote for the work. Remember, we will always work hard to get you the most cost effective system as is reasonable and acceptable by the health department.

I still have questions, can I call you?  

Yes, Please call, and we can discuss your questions and situation. Call Steve at 860-464-8852.