What is a holding tank?

A holding tank merely holds sewage; it does not leach away into the ground. The tank has only one compartment, therefor, it can only hold a limited amount of sewage. The sewage must be pumped out by a vacuum truck and disposed of properly. As you can imagine, because holding tanks do not process sewage, they need to be serviced much more frequently than septic tanks.

What is a septic tank?

A septic tank is used for taking in waste water from a source, treating it, and then leaching it into the ground through mounds or a field. They have 1 or more chambers; one which allows for the sewage to separate, and the second which acts as a pumping chamber. The fluid is then leached out into a field or mound where bacteria breaks it down further. The size of septic tank required is determined by the number of bedrooms in the home, not the number of people; this is because the septic tank must be equipped to service a full household.

Although septic tanks utilize the work of bacteria to breakdown sewage and slowing drain into the ground, they require a service technician to pump out the tank. Over time the separation and drainage produces a build up of solid sewage in the tank. It’s required to have your system pumped out periodically.

Why do we need a septic system?

Every time you flush your toilet, wash clothes, or empty something down the drain you create wastewater or, to us in the business, sewage. A question that people sometimes pose is, “Why can I not simply dump this wastewater outside someplace?” There are three main reasons why waste water is harmful to the environment and thus three main reasons why we cannot do this.

One reason is that it stinks! Things tend to get very smelly very fast when wastewater is dumped directly outside. This is due in part to reason two. Wastewater contains solids and other chemicals that influence the environment. Organic material that is contained in wastewater gets broken down by bacteria within the environment. This decomposition causes the smelly odor associated with wastewater.

Wastewater also contains nitrogen and phosphates that trigger the growth of algae in lakes and streams. Excessive algae growth can block sunlight and pollute water. Suspended solids make water appear murky and can affect how well fish and other aquatic animals can breath and see. Eventually wastewater will destroy a lake or streams ability to support life.

Reason number three is wastewater contains harmful bacteria. Human waste naturally has coliform bacteria (ex. E. coli) and other bacteria that can cause deadly diseases. If this bacteria reaches a water source (such as your drinking well) the results can be fatal over a large area. Children who play outside are at an even greater risk. As they may come in direct contact with any contaminates in the area.

In order to ensure that such things do not happen to our environment we have wastewater treatment plants, septic systems, as well as laws and regulations that prohibit the dumping of raw wastewater directly into the environment.

My pipe to the drainfield or my drainfield is froze, can it be thawed?

Yes, most times it can be thawed. In most circumstances we do not recommend it. This is because the effluent flowing through the pipe from the septic tank moves at a very slow pace. When the ground around the pipe is frozen it causes an ice dam that stops the flow entirely allowing the pipe to fill completely and freeze. We can thaw the ice out of the pipe but not the ground around the pipe. Once we thaw the line, chances are that it will refreeze in a day or so.

 Why did my sewer lines freeze?

The most common cause is lack of snow cover. This could be Mother Nature not providing us with enough snow before the sub-zero weather arrives. Plowing or driving vehicles, snowmobiles, or ATV’s over the system can also cause the system to freeze. Even a deer trail crossing one of the lines can cause that line to freeze!

Any one or more of the following items combined with the above can cause your septic system to freeze.

  • A high efficiency furnace generates a small stream of water when it is running.
  • A faucet in the house has a slow drip.
  • The toilet has a slow leak. (This is the hardest one to catch)
  • Your septic has manholes above grade.

For most systems there may be one or more of the above conditions present and it does not freeze. It is when there is a disruption in usage that this will occur, when you leave your cabin or your home for a week or more it may freeze. When you are present, each time you flush, do the dishes, shower, or wash clothes it melts any ice that may have formed keeping any ice dams from forming.

Is there something I can do to prevent it from freezing?

If you have a high efficiency furnace, make sure it has a condensate pump.
Make sure that there are not any leaky faucets in the house.
If you think it could be the toilet, put some food coloring in the tank and without using it for a few hours see if the colored water is in the bowl. If so, replace the valve inside the tank.
If your system has manholes above grade you can cover them with straw, hay or leaves to insulate them. This can also be done on top of the sewer lines.


What is your service area?

Please click here to view a map of our Portable Restroom Rental and Pumping service areas.

What do you do with what you pump out of my tank?

We recycle it. It’s an organic fertilizer used to grow crops for indirect human consumption after it’s been treated with hydrated lime to kill off potential germs, reduce vector attraction, and lower the odor. If inorganic materials are detected the waste is hauled to a treatment center.

What is the ‘City Disposal’ fee on my bill?

The City Disposal fee on your is the cost incurred for having your waste treated at a treatment center. There are several reasons this could show up on your bill:

  • Trash in your tank
  • Soil is too saturated at the disposal sites due to weather
  • Snow covered terrain
  • Frozen terrain

We make every effort possible to avoid charging the city disposal fee. Waiting one day for servicing can make the difference in avoiding this fee.

Why do I smell sewage? Where is it coming from?

If you smell sewage inside the house, it is most likely a drain trap that is allowing sewer gas to enter the house.

Dry Drain – Most systems are engineered to have liquid sit at specific points in your system. This is done to block the smell from your tank traveling up the pipes and into your home. The first thing to try is to fill the designated points with liquid again by releasing a safe amount water down your system. If the smell persists we recommend you contact us to have one of our certified technicians diagnose the situation.

If you  smell sewage outside of the house and there is not a backup, it most likely sewer gas being emmitted from the roof vent.

Vent Filters – We have carbon vent filters available for purchase please click here or contact us for more information.

System Back Up – You should notice standing sewage in this case; contact us to have issue resolved.

We recommend that you contact us to have one of our professional certified technicians diagnose and solve the issue for you. Do not try to fix the problem yourself without proper knowledge and experience or you could end up dishing out thousands for repair.

I just bought a house and have never had a septic.  How do maintain my system?

There are many things you need to know about your septic system and steps you can take to prevent failure. We cover this subject in our knowledge base; please click here and scroll down to System Care and Maintenance to learn about proper system maintenance.

Do you recommend any products?

Yes. Lynn’s Honeywagon has done extensive research and testing of products on the market. They can be found on our products page; please click here to view the brands and products we recommend for you to use.

What is safe to flush?

Sewage and gray water. Click here to learn more about what is safe for your system.


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