Home Owners Beware! Aerobic Septic Rip Off

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lostntexas

Fairfield, TX

#1 Aug 30, 2010
Are you happy with being forced to buy a so called “Maintenance Contract” on your aerobic septic system in order to renew your license each year with the local permitting authority?

The terms “Maintenance Contract” and “Maintenance Provider” is misleading. The only real requirement of the so called “Maintenance Contract” is the testing and reporting requirement.

Your permitting authority needs a chlorine residual number to enter into their data base 3 times a year in order to show TCEQ that the aerobic systems in their jurisdiction are being maintained and the affluent being discharged into the environment is not a hazard to the public health.

The problem is the permitting authority doesn’t want to do the job of going out and collecting the data. They’d rather set in their nice little air conditioned office and have the home owner pay someone else to do their job for them.

The testing and reporting is being performed by the “Maintenance Provider” the very same individual or company that installed the system. This company or individual could not be trusted to inspect and report that the system was installed correctly, after he completed the installation. He was inspected by an employee of the permitting authority.

They know that if they allow the installer to inspect and report on the installation that he would be likely to cut corners in order to save money and not always install the system as specified, unless someone was watching over him. The very same individual or company acting as a “professional maintenance provider” has the very same conflict of interest as he had when acting as “professional installer” and can not be relied on to inspect and report honestly on his maintenance duty’s any more than he can be relied on inspect and report on the installation.

The home owner pays the license fee and gets nothing in return from the permitting authority. The home owner keeps the chlorinator supplied and pays for the chlorine disinfectant for the maintenance provider to test the residual chlorine and send a report to the permitting authority. The home owner pays for maintenance he does not get, and when his system breaks down the home owner pays through the nose for repairs and tank pump outs.

No one is watching these guy’s, why should they clean the filters or check the discharge pressure on you air compressor when they can let it go and charge you $500.00 to $ 1,000.00 to replace it every few years? Why should they take a sample of and test the chlorine residual when they can just look to see if there is chlorine tabs in the chlorinator and write a number on a report?

The results of this system is the permitting authority draws a good salary for being on a continual coffee break.

The “Maintenance Provider” rides his gravy train to the bank and the home owner pays and pays and pays.

Texas State Representative Jim McReynolds is now looking into this situation and if you have had any bad experiences with aerobic septic system maintenance providers you need to have your voice heard.
scott davis

Granbury, TX

#2 Nov 5, 2010
I was a septic installer for 8 yrs in tx and i can tell you without a doubt that it is all about money with tceq. We were a million+ dollar a year company (not a fly by night) and it got so bad with tceq that one morning I walked out, fired 21 employees and listed equipment and trucks for sale. The final straw was when tceq made a new license for maintenance provider which of course meant another yearly fee, another continuing ed class(more money) so what they created was a situation where they basically said we were smart enough to install this system from scratch and insure it was working properly to not smart enough to tell if it was still working properly 4 mos later. When they did this I had over 300 maintenance contracts on systems I had installed so it was either get there license or pay someone to take over the contracts so me being the hard head I am I paid thousands for someone to take over these contracts. these people arent worried about the environment only lining there pockets.
Brad McMahon

Sanford, FL

#3 Jul 4, 2011
The situation is just as bad here in Florida. Most of this outrageous (and pointless) OVER-regulation is due to U.N. Agenda 21... Google it.
AEROBIC SYSTEM MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS -- PURE SCAM
I own a nearly new home, built in 2008. At the time of construction, county code mandated an Aerobic wastewater treatment system on any buildable lot less than 1.5 acres. Given the typical 1/4 acre to 1/2 acre lots covering 99% of Palm Bay, this means that EVERY new home MUST include an Aerobic treatment system. County code also dictates that each system owner MUST apply for an operating license ($150 / 2 years) AND have a concurrent "maintenance contract" in force with a local septic system company ($300 / 2 years). The operating license & maintenance contract must be applied for & paid at the same time, and only thru an authorized septic installer.
Seems the septic installer is also forced into the role of county tax collector... I bet they're thrilled with that!
I'm sure that whoever cooked-up this scheme had at least some good intentions in mind. As usual, they also knew NOTHING of the lying, cheating & outright fraud that automatically follows govt. mandated programs.
The "Operating License" is nothing more than a TAX. The money goes to fund ANOTHER state-owned bureaucracy & lots of expensive office space... For a group of people who never leave the building!! Just another group of useless form-shufflers.
The "maintenance contract" is equally laughable.$300 buys you (4) "inspections" (one inspection every six months), and NOTHING else! The septic company does NOT "maintain" the system in ANY WAY. If something goes wrong with your system, ANY and ALL repairs are EXTRA!
The $300 "Maintenance Contract" specifically DOES NOT COVER ;
**** Pumping the tank, if needed,$300 at time of service.
**** Service calls,$85 per trip to your location.
**** Repair parts such as a replacement air compressor (approx. every 2 years,$800)
**** Parts OR Labor for even minor repairs and manufacturer-defined "maintenance items".
As an example, the maintenance instructions for my septic system air compressor states..."clean the compressor air filter at least every (6) months, and REPLACE the air filter once a year." I wanted to know if the filter really WAS being replaced, so I put a small dot of purple magic marker on the filter element about a month before my last contract renewal. 20 months later, the small purple dot is still visible, along with a large HOLE thru the middle of the filter!
Think about this... If, IF the "maintenance man" replaces normal wear-items & does his work carefully, several BAD things happen... from his perspective;
1. The cost of those 'maintenance items', like filters, come directly out of Mr. Repairman's pocket, cutting-into his $300 pure profit from the sale of worthless contracts.
2. A rotary vane compressor might last 36 months IF the air filter is changed AS NEEDED, perhaps 3 times a year in some dry, dusty locations. That means Mr. Repairman will have to wait 3 years for his next repair payday. If he IGNORES the filter, cleans it roughly & leaves holes in it, the compressor is now sucking-in DIRTY air, AND IT WILL FAIL SEVERAL MONTHS EARLIER! Thanks to NO maintenance coupled with BAD maintenance, Mr. Repairman now gets to replace a 30-month-old air compressor. Dirt causes wear AND excessive heat inside a compressor, shortening it's life... and costing the customer BIG money.
Exactly the SAME scenario holds true for every other component of your Aerobic System. Mr. "maintenance contract" man has ZERO incentive to clean or even adjust anything! Sloppy or non-existant "maintenance" helps to keep those expensive "repairs" coming along...OFTEN! How do YOU spell..."Revenue Enhancement"..?
Brad McMahon

Sanford, FL

#4 Jul 4, 2011
AEROBIC SYSTEM MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS -- PURE SCAM

I own a nearly new home, built in 2008. At the time of construction, county code mandated an Aerobic wastewater treatment system on any buildable lot less than 1.5 acres. Given the typical 1/4 acre to 1/2 acre lots covering 99% of Palm Bay, this means that EVERY new home MUST include an Aerobic treatment system. County code also dictates that each system owner MUST apply for an operating license ($150 / 2 years) AND have a concurrent "maintenance contract" in force with a local septic system company ($300 / 2 years). The operating license & maintenance contract must be applied for & paid at the same time, and only thru an authorized septic installer.

Seems the septic installer is also forced into the role of county tax collector... I bet they're thrilled with that!

I'm sure that whoever cooked-up this scheme had at least some good intentions in mind. As usual, they also knew NOTHING of the lying, cheating & outright fraud that automatically follows govt. mandated programs.

The "Operating License" is nothing more than a TAX. The money goes to fund ANOTHER state-owned bureaucracy & lots of expensive office space... For a group of people who never leave the building!! Just another group of useless form-shufflers.

The "maintenance contract" is equally laughable.$300 buys you (4) "inspections" (one inspection every six months), and NOTHING else! The septic company does NOT "maintain" the system in ANY WAY. If something goes wrong with your system, ANY and ALL repairs are EXTRA!

The $300 "Maintenance Contract" specifically DOES NOT COVER ;

**** Pumping the tank, if needed,$300 at time of service.

**** Service calls,$85 per trip to your location.

**** Repair parts such as a replacement air compressor (approx. every 2 years,$800)

**** Parts OR Labor for even minor repairs and manufacturer-defined "maintenance items".

As an example, the maintenance instructions for my septic system air compressor states..."clean the compressor air filter at least every (6) months, and REPLACE the air filter once a year." I wanted to know if the filter really WAS being replaced, so I put a small dot of purple magic marker on the filter element about a month before my last contract renewal. 20 months later, the small purple dot is still visible, along with a large HOLE thru the middle of the filter!

Think about this... If, IF the "maintenance man" replaces normal wear-items & does his work carefully, several BAD things happen... from his perspective;

1. The cost of those 'maintenance items', like filters, come directly out of Mr. Repairman's pocket, cutting-into his $300 pure profit from the sale of worthless contracts.

2. A rotary vane compressor might last 36 months IF the air filter is changed AS NEEDED, perhaps 3 times a year in some dry, dusty locations. That means Mr. Repairman will have to wait 3 years for his next repair payday. If he IGNORES the filter, cleans it roughly & leaves holes in it, the compressor is now sucking-in DIRTY air, AND IT WILL FAIL SEVERAL MONTHS EARLIER! Thanks to NO maintenance coupled with BAD maintenance, Mr. Repairman now gets to replace a 30-month-old air compressor. Dirt causes wear AND excessive heat inside a compressor, shortening it's life... and costing the customer BIG money.

Exactly the SAME scenario holds true for every other component of your Aerobic System. Mr. "maintenance contract" man has ZERO incentive to clean or even adjust anything! Sloppy or non-existant "maintenance" helps to keep those expensive "repairs" coming along...OFTEN! How do YOU spell..."Revenue Enhancement"..?
Ryan

Palm Bay, FL

#5 Jun 27, 2012
Bought a new home.. never lived in and sat fir nearly a year. Now I know why! Who wants to spend nearly an average of over $300 to maintain a septic system when in previous residents I only had to have it pumped every 5 years that was the same price. What a GIANT RIP OFF!!! Just another way to screw the consumers, but what di you really expect.. help from the city?? good luck
txwwes com

Boerne, TX

#6 Oct 15, 2012
my rotary veins aerators run about 8 years before i rebuild the veins in it. replace the air filters in my contract. the maintenance is important in my area of san antonio due to diffusers clogging every few months making aerators strain to push air through. clogged weirs backing up systems due to improper use by the homeowner putting whatever they want into the systems. i adjust sperayheads and trim grass around lids. call homeowners with concerns and rebuild linear aerators for 105.00 the kits are available no need to replace a part that is rebuildable.dont be fooled. any questions i can answer please dont hesitate to ask. i will not charge and can give you a reasonable answer as best as i can.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK...... TEXAS WASTEWATER ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS
lgman

Dallas, TX

#7 Dec 18, 2012
I am a homeowner in North Texas. My current Maintenance provider for my septic system has not left any type of record with me that he has indeed checked my system over the past year. I doubt he has been by since my aeration pump has been out of order (not running) for about 4 or 5 months. I know this because when the odor became bad I checked the unit and found ants had shorted the motor. I have now replaced the pump assembly and repaired the broken line that feeds the diffuser in the tank.
David

United States

#8 Dec 20, 2012
I have talked to everyone I know that has these systems. They have never and I have never seen maintenance performed on the filters, etc. It is in the interest of the provider to not perform preventative maintenance as they are not responsible for the accelerated wear. They profit from failures, why would they want to prevent them. We have silicone in the phillips screw heads holding the hatches down. The silicone is untouched.(Can't service filters w/o opening hatches) "A test of ethics" They say "you were not around when they perform the maintenance exactly when scheduled"....never around, none of us.... what about the screw heads, how do they remove the screws w/o disturbing the silicone?
This is typical government control, you have to expect it to be corrupt.
I service my own hardware and pay the ransom as necessary.
lostntexas

Fairfield, TX

#9 Dec 20, 2012
Yeah David that’s the problem I was having.“No Maintenance At All” was being done while I was under contract. When I complained to the local authority I was told to try another maintenance provider. They know what’s going on but don’t care all they want to do is set in the office and enter those worthless inspection reports into their computer data base. I stopped buying the contracts 3 or 4 years ago, Just received another letter the other day about being out of compliance, telling me I could be fined $500.00 a day. Been ready to go to court for years , hope this time they will follow through. The regulation is clearly unconstitutional and needs to be struck down in court. I don’t know about the local regulation in your area but mine reads as follows (“ALL” required maintenance must be performed by a valid maintenance provider.) When I talked to my local administrators I pointed out that the contracts they approve does not require the maintenance to provide any maintenance (only the inspection, testing and reporting and the contract was allowed to name the homeowner as the responsible party for maintenance of the chlorinator.
There is no way any homeowner in this area can comply. The best answer I could get is that if I buy the contract I would be considered in compliance. More people need to tell them to take the contract and shove it and take this thing to court. That’s the only way they will fix the problem.
upsetncentraltx

Gatesville, TX

#10 Dec 25, 2012
Okay so we flushed the tank on the 23Rd on Christmas I did it again, could not find any trouble in the tank or line that I dig up. Had a plumber friend who does not usually maintain these systems, told me he thinks my elevation his off causing water to stand *and have clogs in my system. So I am frustrated blown away and angry as hell I am in a less then six year old home and this thing has been nothing but problems really could faulted home this home and not look back. As for the contractor told him I had clogging issues he attempted to give me a class over his cell phone, what a joke this is from the same guy who convinced me he was the greatest and would be at my beckoning sureeeeeeeeeee. So I am in bed writing this testimony venting with the rest. I can't begin to tell you how to start a repair effort on this mess.
Glenn

UK

#11 Jan 7, 2013
I just bought a mobile home from my brother I law that is located on my property. He has had a maintenance contract in place since 2001 and now that it is mine I am responsible for this contract. We have already changed the water pump (bought it at Lowes for 1/3 of the price the maintenance company wanted) as well as the air pump (also bought a direct replacement pump on line and installed it myself for a heck of a lot less than the maintenance company wanted to charge me). Never the less I have investigated doing maintenance on the system myself and found a Texas law for on-site sewage facilities (aerobic systems) which allows homeowners to do their own maintenance. I would like to know if anyone has challenged this law. If you can’t click on the link just Google “Texas administrative code 285.7”

http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac $ext.TacPagesl=R&app=9 &p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_ tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1 &p_tac=&ti=30&pt=1 &ch=285&rl=7

I went to my county office and spoke to them and they told me that Montgomery County law supersedes this state law and I am obligated to get this maintenance contract. I also ask if I could get a license to inspect my own system and they told me I need to become an apprentice for two years with a septic company and go through a lot of BS.
lostntexas

Fairfield, TX

#12 Jan 8, 2013
Hi Glenn, I hope to get a summons to court soon. I believe the law can be challenged because of the deceptive of the so called contract. The contract provides 3 “administrative inspections” no maintenance is provided. They industry didn’t want the public to know it would cost them $200.00 a year just to pass safety inspections. TAC 285 redefines “ maintenance” as including routine performance checks and examinations. That’s about as stupid as defining coffee as including water. The fact that the “maintenance contract” is deceptive as to what it provides should be enough. There is also the conflict of interest involved by allowing the provider to act as inspector for the authority and perform work for hire on the same equipment he inspects for compliance with water quality standards. Why would he perform the property maintenance when he can make much more money by repairing the system once it fails. Next point, the contract allows the provider free access to your property 3 times each year. Who are these providers? They have no authority to enter your property. No one has done a background check and no one at the county or state accepts any responsibility for what they do while at your home. Could they be sex offenders, felons or thieves? Without accepting responsibility for their actions while at your home does the State really have the power to demand you allow them in? This is a bad law that needs to be challenged. My next home may be jail but I’ll be damned if I sign that contract.

Since: Jan 13

Walthamstow, UK

#13 Jan 9, 2013
I sure would be interested in hearing how you do in court fighting this law. I am in Montgomery County and the people at the permit office told me that in a sense the county law supersedes the state law and maintenance contracts are a requirement of the county. He stated that they have over 26,000 aerobic systems in Montgomery County. What county are you in and have you gone to the local county permit office? Would be interested in hearing what they say. I do like your point about the maintenance people coming on my property when I have no idea who they are. Please keep me informed.
lostntexas

Fairfield, TX

#14 Jan 10, 2013
Gfunalock - Yes they can issue an order or resolution more stringent than state law.
Texas H&S code 366.032 If the order or resolution adopts more stringent
standards for on-site sewage disposal systems than this chapter or
the commission ’s standards and provides greater public health and
safety protection, the authorized agent ’s order or resolution
prevails over this chapter or the standards. I am under the authority of the Trinity River Authority their order R-1048-1 states - all required maintenance must be performed by a valid maintenance provider. However the contract they want you to buy names the owner as the party responsible to maintain the chlorinator. Disinfecting the wastewater is the most important single maintenance activity on the system and the homeowner does that and many more activity’s that the provider simply doesn’t want to do because of the money involved. I discussed this many times with TRA and explained that buying the contract didn’t not bring me in compliance with their order. They would never tell me that buying the contract would bring me into compliance and only say that if I bought a contract I would be “considered in compliance”. Ask your county for a copy of the order you need to comply with. Chances or yours will be like mine and impossible to be in full compliance with.
Outraged2

Weslaco, TX

#15 Mar 25, 2013
These stories are outrageous. If I understand the implications of these regulations, a homwowner's only recourse is to go after the "authorized service provider" if they do not actually perform the contractual services they agreed to. Would this hold up if the homeowner proves, by identifying parts that were not changed, that the company fraudenly charged for filters or repairs that were not done? Would this cause the provider to lose their license? Can the homeowner demand copies of official reports to the TCEQ? If not, why the hell not?
This whole scam is absolutely absurd. The extortion of money from homeowners that is protected by the State is unconscionable.
madashellintexas

Bellaire, TX

#16 Apr 7, 2013
legally corupt!this must stop now.
FAYLVN

Longview, TX

#17 Apr 20, 2013
Sounds like we need to appear at county meetings and get this "local" law revoked. Documentation of the corrupt nature of the "maintancenc agreement" providers should be done with marking and pictures using cameras with dates on the pic. or a local paper with date on it in the pic. If state/federal laws can be appealed then surely local can be too!
stan the man

Corpus Christi, TX

#18 Apr 29, 2013
They come and and leave a checklist of items they have inspected. One is backflush system. Ha! The valve has been covered with soil. They never have touched it or anything else. However I pay 325.00 a year for nothing. They inspected the other day and my air pump went out the next day. The unit was installed by A&R here in Corpus Christ, tx. They also are the maint. providers. Talk about being bent over.....
lostntexas

Huntsville, TX

#19 Apr 29, 2013
You can always do what I did. Tell em NO. It's been over 3 years now and all they do is threaten to file charges. I'm a free man I don't buy crap I don't want to buy.
stan the man

Corpus Christi, TX

#20 May 1, 2013
My air pump went out so I called A&R here in Corpus Christi,TX. They are the ones who installed my tank and do the so called service contract. The guy quoted me a price of $725.00 to change out a $325.00 pump that has 2 wires. I decided right then that I will do my own pump changes and such. It's pretty easy stuff. You don't have to be a septic scientist. He said " I can't come out there for free, I gotta make something". I wonder how many $ 325.00 a year contracts he has? It's a total scam and a ripoff.

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