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For some preparing for holidays means cleaning out septic... - KOAM TV 7

One Joplin family learned the hard way

For some preparing for holidays means cleaning out septic tanks and drain pipes

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For some Four State residents holiday preparations include the plumber.  Hillbilly Pumping & Hauling has crews busy emptying septic tanks and snaking pipes.

Customers such as Patty Wheeler of Joplin want to avoid embarrassing back ups when company comes.  Wheeler says she's experienced a Thanksgiving Day septic back up and its not fun.  Plus, she says it costs a lot more for a holiday fix than a preventative clean out.

"About 10 or so years ago over Thanksgiving we had our daughters-in-laws come and that was  an embarrassing thing for that all to come up through the basement - it just ruins your Thanksgiving," says Wheeler.  "We had noticed an odor coming up from the basement.  My husband replaced the o ring and thought with the holiday coming and guest coming we just really didn't want a backup in the midst of all our holiday preparation and fun."

But the plumbing companies will get even more calls after family's visit.

Extra toilet and shower use can cause septic tanks to overflow and many people put the wrong things down the garbage disposal clogging pipes.

"A few years ago we took a soup bone out of a  toilet because someone dumped a pot of beans in there that they were done with - forgot about the bone in the bottom," says Larry Wald of Hillbilly Pumping & Hauling.

A couple of the worst offenders are celery and rice.

"It's like pure starch, it gums up and it becomes a mess if it just doesn't have enough water  flow behind it," says Wald.  "Celery, you would think it would chop it right up, but celery is so stringy when it gets into the pipes it starts hanging up and acting like a net and it tends to stop up pipes real bad."

Wheeler says preventative maintenance costs less and Wald says holidays are tough to staff.

"When you only have three guys working and you have 15 people calling it's a juggling effect sometimes," says Wald.

Getting rid of the waste on holidays is its own problem.

"The disposal plants where we take waste from septic tanks they're closed down on most holidays and most take two-three day holiday - we can only do stuff till our trucks are loaded and full," says Wald.  "You don't know how full your septic tank is at any one point.  It's just best to make sure its empty before the holidays."

Snaking pipes in the city sewer system can also prevent clogs and backups for homeowners.

Hillbilly Pumping & Hauling will be closed on Thanksgiving but expects lots of calls on Friday and Saturday.

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