Stamie E. Lyttle Co. A Richmond Septic and Sewer Company
When most people think of septic systems, they think rural areas only. But actually in suburban Richmond a lot of homes and businesses are still on septic systems. Virginia law requires that those systems be pumped every five years. That’s where a company like Stamie E. Lyttle Co. can be your friend.
Lyttle and Barnes Sanitation was formed by Stamie Lyttle and Fred Barnes in 1947 for the purpose of installing and maintaining septic systems. In 1967 the company became Stamie E. Lyttle Company and in 1982, Lyttle Utilities, Inc. was formed as a full service utility contractor. Together they form the Lyttle Companies.
While their business isn’t limited to septic systems, that’s how they got their start and they’re still a leading provider and service company for those systems.
Basically a septic system is a mini wastewater treatment plant for your home. It treats the bath, toilet and laundry water from your home. When you flush your toilet or send water down the drain from a bath or laundry, the liquids and solids run through the sewer line into your septic tank. The tank will hold both the water and debris until the solid organic material falls to the bottom of the tank. Natural bacteria slowly break down the organic material.
Important to the proper functioning of your septic system is the drainfield. The water from your septic tank flows through trenches and seeps into the ground. Just like your septic system, the drainfield needs to be maintained.
In addition to regularly having your septic system pumped out every five years, you need to take care to maintain your drainfield, or the area where the decomposed waste water seeps through trenches from your septic tank. Stamie Lyttle says you should keep these things in mind.
Never drive or park vehicles, cars, trucks, tractors or any other heavy equipment over your drainfield. Your septic tank could cave in and your drainfield could collapse.
Plants that love water, such as willow, maple, locust, sycamore and bamboo should be kept at least fifty feet away from the drainfield lines. These plants dig deep for water and can work their way into the distribution lines, boxes and drainfield trenches. This can clog your septic system and cause it to fail.
If you plant a vegetable garden, keep it out of the drainfield as well. While the nutrients might actually help your plants to grow, bacterial from sewage disposal could pose a health risk.
The best thing you can do with your drainfield is maintain it as a grassy lawn, or perhaps plant a non-edible flower garden. But don’t use mulch. Your local nursery can tell you what plants are safe to plant hear the drainfield area.
If you own a Jacuzzi, a large jetted bath tub or a swimming pool, Lyttle recommends that you have a separate absorption system or a dedicated septic tank for this water. Releasing 40-100 gallons of water or more will cause the suspension of sediment with the tank. These solids could flow into the drainfield and cause system failure.
If you have a garbage disposal, you want that both on a separate outlet as well as flowing to a 1500 gallon septic tank or grease trap that only receives waste water from the kitchen. The liquid from this system can flow to your primary drainfield or to a separate drainfield. These separate system needs to be pumped more frequently on a 1-3 year cycle.
The builder, developer, utility contractor, sub-contractor, realtor and yes, the homeowner is responsible for ensuring that cable routes for buried utilities (such as electrical, natural gas, water, telephone and cable TV) do not cross through the drainfield. Digging a trench can cause the water to move in an opposite direction from your drainfield, causing it to rise to the surface instead of seeping into the ground as designed.
Mulch over your drainfield is not recommended because evaporation is a principal part of the removal of the water from the system. Mulch by design holds water in the soil. Using it over your drainfield could cause the system to fail.
Stamie Lyttle also says that spray irrigation systems should not be installed over the drainfield or the reserve drainfield. The design plan for your drainfield accounts for annual rainfall but not for irrigation. The additional water from an irrigation system can overload the drainfield and again cause it to fail.
Stamie Lyttle services the Great Richmond community including Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Powhatan, Goochland, New Kent, Mechanicsville, Charles City, Hopewell and Prince George.