The Real Estate Show -with DEQ Septic Systems
The Real Estate Show -with DEQ Septic Systems
Full Video Transcript Below
[00:00:00] Alice Lema: Well, good morning, Southern Oregon. And welcome back to the real estate show. I am Alice Lema, I am your host today. I'm a broker at John L. Scott here in beautiful, but freezing Southern Oregon. And what a crazy week we've had. Right. In addition to a lot of housing activity, we have shut down the I five freeway and that's like our main artery to everything.
[00:00:31] So one of the interesting side effects of that, which I thought was not only wonderful, but a little funny was we started getting phone calls from people who were stranded. And some of them stayed in Ashland. Cause you know, they, they blocked off exit 14 and 19. Some came back to Medford. Yeah.
[00:00:48] And there was hey, what's this place all about it, looks nice. What's going on here? Can I buy a house? So talk about making lemonade. That's that's pretty cool. Isn't it. Anyway, we still have a pretty robust housing market here in Southern Oregon, and we are a few days shy of the Christmas holiday. And the buyers are still out on a shopping spree is what we decided to call it.
[00:01:12] Interestingly enough, the showing rate seems to have subsided a little bit. The numbers are down from how many people are going through each property. And I'm talking about kind of the under 500 range right now the over 500, over 700 completely different market. Buyer's market now, not that many showings, not as many offers everything's taking longer, but under 500, we still have a pretty good clip.
[00:01:38] And it's exciting. So it's really fun to watch somebody go on the market. You know, here it is in December and maybe only have a few showings, but, but they get offers. So whoever is out looking at houses right now, they're darn serious. So just want to reassure sellers that you might not get as many people through your property right now, but the ones that you will get are ready to write an offer, if they like. So that's really exciting. And again, reminds us a little of the early spring market. But here we have it in December.
[00:02:11] here we go. Today on the show we have two representatives from DEQ state of Oregon department of environmental quality. Two of my favorite people. We have Dylan Darlene who is public affairs officer for DEQ. And we have Marty Easter, who is one of the field techs who goes out to talk about your septic, look at the whole, talk about what kind you need, evaluate your proposals. Really, really interesting. A guy to talk to. And there's a amount of money available to homeowners and small businesses.
[00:02:49] And this is sponsored by DEQ. They're doing loans for people to do repairs and replacement on their property. Now DEQ is funding it, but you have to go through a different party. And we're going to talk all about that right after this break. So do not touch that dial. The real estate show, we'll be Right back.
[00:03:12] Well, welcome back folks to the real estate show. I'm Alice Lema, I'm your host here today. I'm a broker at John L. Scott here in a lovely, but freezing Southern Oregon. And I'm so happy to have two of my favorite gentlemen be guests today from DEQ. That's the Oregon department of environmental quality. We have Marty Easter and Dylan Darling. Welcome back gentlemen.
[00:03:36] Marty Easter: Hey good to see you Alice.
[00:03:40] Alice Lema: Yeah, well we've had a kind of a weird year. Another one. So we just wanted to check in recap kind of what's been going on at DEQ for 2021. And you know, maybe we talk a little bit about what's coming in 2022.
[00:03:55] Marty Easter: Sounds good. Sounds good.
[00:03:58] Alice Lema: So one of the things that people are still struggling with is when they're buying and selling rural property. The septic systems, sometimes they're not super well-maintained. And I think before we got started Dylan, you were talking about some kind of special help assistance, financial assistance, and homeowners might get now.
[00:04:22] Dylan Darling: Yes. Thank you, Alice. And just to introduce myself to your listeners, I'm Dylan darling, and I'm a public affairs specialist for DQ, basically spokesperson spokesman. And I work, I cover the Western region, which includes Southern Oregon. So it's nice. Be talking to folks down there. And Marty, I'll give you a quick moment and then I'll go into this exciting thing I want to talk about. Do you want to introduce yourself?
[00:04:50] Marty Easter: Definitely. Thanks. So Marty Easter, I'm the onsite septic inspector, one of them for Jackson county now in Southern Oregon and our DEQ office. And just appreciate the time and.
[00:05:02] Alice Lema: I know our listeners just love having you guys on, so, okay. Back to you, Dylan, let's, let's talk about what homeowners can do if they don't have enough money.
[00:05:12] Dylan Darling: Yeah. DQ, there was an affordable loan program and this is something that we had for a while from 2016, until it then ran out of funding. Couple of years ago, back in 2020. And The good news some nice, good news to share this year is that the Oregon legislature they directed some money back toward it.
[00:05:37] And so $2 million is going to this affordable loan program, which says then a nonprofit lender called Craft 3, and they handle take in applications. And figuring out who might be eligible, actually distributing the funds and they call it the clean waddle loans program. They just started taking applications from anyone or around Oregon back on November 1st.
[00:06:05] And this is for repair or replacement of failing septic systems. As Marty can tell you as someone who, who works with these, repairs and replacement can be really expensive. And I can give some more info in a little bit, but the takeaway is if you're interested in learning more and maybe even applying, you can find [email protected]/ cleanwater. Just wanting to, to share that with you.
[00:06:34] Alice Lema: Well, and that's really nice because I know a lot of people think DEQ is a three letter word and it's really not. You guys are there for the general public, you're there to assist the citizens, the businesses. And this is just another way that state of Oregon is being helpful. So we're super happy to hear about that. And Dylan, you said that was available not only to homeowners, but possibly small businesses.
[00:06:59] Dylan Darling: Yeah, definitely. Thanks for asking that, Alice the small businesses can apply and these include restaurants, convenience stores, small manufactured home, or RV Parks, a number of types of small businesses.
[00:07:14] You know, a key point is you need to be on a septic system. If your supplied by city sewer, unfortunately not available to you, but this can help small businesses along with homeowners.
[00:07:29] Alice Lema: That's super cool. Super cool. So, Marty thanks for coming back. You're the person that kind of goes out in the field. That's where I usually see you, but why don't you tell our listeners kind of who you are and what you do?
[00:07:42] Marty Easter: Yeah, definitely appreciate it. And just to tag onto what Dylan said, this affordable loan program is we had a couple years. It was great, especially for some individuals who have fixed incomes, but all of a sudden, you know, they're septic systems now failing, what do they do?
[00:07:59] They have some great programs at Craft 3 to be able to help those individuals. I don't know all the specifics. I'm not a loan originator by any means, but give them a call. Check them out on the website and there they are pretty quick and really easy to work with. So I've seen a lot of people would be helped by by this, in Southern Oregon so in the past. So excited to have them back, but yeah my day to day can be a wide variety like today. You said Alice, you know, it's freezing, it's snowing today. And Usually it forces me inside because the majority of my time I spend out in what we call a soil test pits. And these test pits are roughly four to five feet deep, two feet wide.
[00:08:41] And we go in there on sites that are either bare land looking for septic approval. Or could have, like, we were just talking about, a repair that's needed. And so we go out and look at the soil types, the water table and based on that, put those factors into our role and then be able to tell what type of system they need to put in. And how big of a drain field, how big of a septic tank, all those things go into that.
[00:09:10] So that's what a majority of my time I haven't spent doing. You know, there's always the technical assistance. If you have a question you can for sure call, call our office and ask and we'll be able to help out.
[00:09:22] Alice Lema: I have a question about the soil, like when you're in those test pits what is it, what, why does it matter? What kind of soil, what is the difference?
[00:09:31] Marty Easter: Yeah. Great question. Say, especially when they're, I'm going to test it. And there's maybe a property owner looking down, going, what are you doing? Why am I paying you to do this? I say, well, we've all been to the beach, hopefully. And we've all seen how water will go through sand.
[00:09:49] Right, goes thru sand pretty quickly. We've also seen you know, clay, you know, there'd be clay pots or other things like that. Water's just not going to go through those. So all soil is made up of sand particles, clay particles, and a silt particle. That silt is kind of the medium range of between sand and clay.
[00:10:10] And so we're basing that and saying what type of soil that we find in the test bed with a field, field test. And based on that, we can tell with fairly accurate findings, what type of soil is in this test bed. If it's really cloudy, we're going to make the drain fields a bit better. Because it's going to take longer for that soil to perk through this or that the affluent, the perk through the soil, the absorption, the, the ability of the soil to absorb it.
[00:10:42] Yeah. Yeah. We, we definitely want the effluent to go down right. Be treated by the soil have those, those microbes and bacteria that's in the soil already be able to treat the effluent before it gets back to the water.
[00:10:55] Okay. So if you have a lot of clay in your soil, then are you saying that you're going to extend the drain field so that it has more just like linear feet?
[00:11:07] Yeah, that's great. Yep. Exactly. If, if you have a certain type of soil, like a clay soil, we're going to want to spread that drain field. And that usually means an additional linear footage like you're talking about. And sometimes it does also mean pre-treatment before, if we don't have enough either usable area or or the clay is just too thick to treat the effluent and that, that advanced treatment or that pretreatment unit sometimes called the sand filter and ADT.
[00:11:38] Alice Lema: Oh, I did not realize, I feel like such a dork. Cause I sell properties with these. So sand filters are considered pretreatment and you're you recommend those when the soil absorbsion, is that kinda what that's all about?
[00:11:53] Marty Easter: Yeah. Adequate. Yep. There's a couple of different factors, but some of the main ones you see in Jackson county for sure are, you know, in Sam's valley area, Eagle point Ashland, there was some pretty thick clays, like some of the worst in the state.
[00:12:10] Alice Lema: I did not know that, so we're kind of famous.
[00:12:15] Marty Easter: There's some specific rules in the rule. And so in those cases, when we find that the effluent just would not be taken in by the ground and the system would fail pretty quickly. And so we'd have this pre-treatment this ATT or a sand filter placed right after a septic tank to help with that treatment of the effluent and then make it easier for the soil to be able to handle.
[00:12:39] Alice Lema: Wow. That's interesting. It's like a, when you have dirty laundry. Well, maybe not. That's not a very good example. Sorry. Yep. Okay. So what if you have like really super Sandy quickly absorbing soil, the exact opposite. What's that?
[00:12:58] Marty Easter: Great question yet. And I know a lot of river properties are like this. A lot of river properties will have what we call rapidly draining soil. That can also be a problem, right? If you have too much effluent going through too quickly to the water table and not getting enough time to be treated by the soil, that could be a potential issue too. So in some of these areas where we have rapidly draining soil will actually upsize the drain field as well. And be able to spread that out a little quicker. So it's going to still probably go down pretty quickly, but we're not going to have a really concentrated area.
[00:13:36] Alice Lema: So okay. So the solution in both cases is a bigger drainfield. That's kind of interesting.
[00:13:42] Marty Easter: Yeah, usually. And usually the clays are going to be much bigger than the rapidly draining, but we do upsize like one step for the rapidly draining soils. And that's it. I'm just going to say, and that's, it's all, site-specific, you know, there could be a well on properties also, and there could be other limiting factors. How close to the river are you? That would determine What type of system you get. So everything is, is different. But yeah, that's why we go out and do those site inspections is to find out what all the limiting factors are.
[00:14:18] Alice Lema: Yeah. So if you have real Sandy soil, you said overly quickly absorbing, what else do you do to slow it down? Or is it only adding feet to the drain field?
[00:14:32] Marty Easter: It's usually just adding feet to the drainfield, but if there really isn't a way to stay separated from wells, from rivers, from other things, then we're going to want to do a pre-treatment there as well. The pretreat, the affluent and ATT, or even still some technology today is is a bottomless sand filter. So it would go through the sand filter. And then instead of getting out to a drain field after that, like a lot of sand filters, it would just continue on through back to the water table, bottom line bottomless sand fan filter.
[00:15:05] Alice Lema: Okay. Well, we're good. We have to take a quick break, but we're going to talk more about bottomless sand filters. I don't know that any of us have heard about that. That's an interesting interesting concept. So folks, we're going to have to take a quick break, a word from our sponsors. You're talking to Marty Easter and Dylan Darling of DEQ do not touch that dial, we'll be right back with more of the real estate show.
[00:15:27] Well, welcome back to the real estate show. Everybody I'm Alice Lema broker here at John L. Scott in Southern Oregon, and we have a very lively, interesting conversation going with two of our favorite DEQ state of Oregon department of environmental quality representatives.
[00:15:42] We've got Dylan, Darling public affairs officer and Marty Easter, the guy you see in the field and the test pits. So great combo. Thank you again, gentlemen, for being on. Before the break, we were talking about a couple of different things. So we're kind of talking about problems and soil and during the break Dylan, you mentioned that some of this loan money we'd refer to can help people when when they have some of these repairs to do, you know, Circle back and bring us up to speed on those.
[00:16:14] Dylan Darling: Yeah, definitely. So it's interesting. You know, I, I yielded to Marty cause he's the expert on septic. But just learning about so many things that can go into these systems. You know, I almost got a little bit of idea, especially if someone has a new homeowner on you're trying to figure out, okay, what I do is septic and these loans that I mentioned, the affordable loans, that it's money from DQ, but being Distributed by Craft Three.
[00:16:44] It's not just full, like in the ground work. The loans can actually also go or help cover the cost of permitting and design and potentially some of these others. You can go onto the, the Craft Three website and find out more information, but it can just help with all these other things that associated with it.
[00:17:03] Alice Lema: Yeah, because I don't think people realize it's not just the actual tank or system. You've got all these other outside peripheral expenses and permits, you know, permits can be kind of pricey, especially if you're not ready for your system to break. Who's ready. And then the design, like what's what is involved in the design. Exactly. I've never had to do that. So.
[00:17:33] Marty Easter: Yeah. Could be for sure. Different installers will charge different amounts obviously kind of depends on the type of system and then how complex it's going to be. So, yeah, I don't know exact prices cause everyone's probably going to be a little all over the place. But yeah, getting those initial plans drawn up is not free usually. So that's great that the thing that Dylan just talked about with the loan program there to help out with like what you said, Alice, some of those unforeseen almost hidden costs. We were like, oh, I gotta pay for this to.
[00:18:05] Alice Lema: Yeah. Yeah. And, and it's not just people who are in the process of buying, it's for people who think they might want to sell. And sometimes people don't even check their septic for the whole 40 years they live there. And then all of a sudden it's like, oh, well maybe I should take a peak. And then they find out there's a problem.
[00:18:28] Marty Easter: I hear stories sometimes they're bragging, even though I don't think they should be about, you know, I've lived here for 30 years and I've never had my septic tank pumped. Oh, that's, that's not a great thing. No. You should be having those at least checked every three to five years, if not fully pumped out and starting over.
[00:18:49] I've heard some pretty bad horror stories from pumpers that we talked to about almost having to like Jack hammer into septic tanks, because they're so hard. And I know, you probably don't want to listen to that, but it has happened and people are, you know, I can get this way sometimes too, you know, it's in the ground, you don't see it, as long as it keeps working. That's all we care about. But even a little bit of maintenance on these goes a long way. And making sure that your, your septic systems working. So getting to the pumper here, here's my plea. If you haven't and you're listening, you haven't done it for five, 10 years, just, you have a lot of great pumpers in the valley and give them a call.
[00:19:33] They'll be able to help you get back on track. So it's an emergency before it's Christmas and you have all the family over and now you have a puddle out in your front yard and. Yeah. I've heard a lot of stories, so, oh yeah.
[00:19:47] Alice Lema: Well, and a lot of us country people we've had it happen. We've been at somebody's house when it all went sideways or backwards.
[00:19:57] Yeah. So that's super exciting. I'm doing, I wanted to ask the money that DEQ is providing to Craft 3 how did that idea come about? Because I thought I heard you say it's something we were doing before and then stopped. So like how did this all get started so that homeowners had some affordable loans to go to.
[00:20:16] Dylan Darling: Yeah. So Craft 3, they actually, they have offices in Oregon and Washington. And so they initially had done a program like this up in Washington. So then it I don't know the exact ins and outs, but it was successful up in Washington. It came to be in Oregon as well. And with though offices here, they have them in Astoria bend, Klamath falls and Portland. And so they have them all aroundthe state and just yeah, Oregon kind of learn from what the Craft 3 did up in Washington.
[00:20:53] Alice Lema: That's very cool. And it's $2 million recently funded Kraft 3 doing the distribution, DEQ ponied up the money. So thank you for that. And then the kind of repairs and, and different systems we were talking about before the break a bottomless sand filter.
[00:21:10] Yeah, I hear you, right?
[00:21:11] Marty Easter: Yep. You did sounds fancy. Right.
[00:21:14] Alice Lema: So tell us what that is again exactly. It doesn't sound good. Exactly.
[00:21:19] Marty Easter: It's okay. If it has a good spot for it, but yeah, a lot of times people are familiar with sand filters. You know, it's sort of an older technology but was first on the scene. And I said, ATT a couple of times that stands for advanced treatment technology.
[00:21:36] It's basically an off the shelf proprietary sand filter. That's already made, it's usually comes in like a plastic box. That goes right after the, septic tank. Yeah. More current technology. I'll be honest. If someone needs an ATT or a sand filter, I would say they put in about 98% of the time.
[00:22:03] They're going to go with an ATT. Costs are about the same. And it's getting harder and harder to find clean material to meet the sand filter specs.
[00:22:14] Alice Lema: Because you kind of have to build a sand filter, right?
[00:22:17] Marty Easter: Yeah. And this will get back to your question. If you're familiar with sand filters at all over, if you're not, it's basically a box that is I'm going to over simplify this, it's filled with sand and this sand is, or the effluent is essentially sprayed over the top of this.
[00:22:35] And the effulent goes through the sand and gets cleaned up as it goes. And then there's a perforated pipe at the bottom of the sand filter, which usually will go out to a drain field from there. And that's received, pre-treatment like, we've talked about before, before it gets out to the drain field, cleans up the effluent quite a bit.
[00:22:51] But yeah, it's a contained box with usually has vinyl siding in it and not like the siding on your house, but like a plastic, a plastic sheet that kind of keeps everything in. Right. If you go driving around, especially in the country, you may see these Humps of soil out, out there for in yards, yet little berms.
[00:23:14] Usually people don't like them, but that's all that there was, you know, back in the nineties and a majority of these went in. And so that's what those are. Maybe another little plug if you buy something and you don't know what that berm is, don't jump your motorcycle over it. I've seen that a couple of times, and it's a great jump for sure, but you want to stay off it.
[00:23:38] So getting, so that's a standard, bottomless sand filter is just that. It's a sand filter that only has walls on the side. Does not have a bottom. These are put in areas like we've said a couple of times here, maybe along a river property where the soil is rapidly droning. And as it does, the same thing goes to a septic tank, gets pumped over onto the top of the sand, filter the effluence, sprayed over that and goes down and gets treated. Except this one doesn't have a bottom. There's nothing to stop it. And it just continues on through the, through the soil.
[00:24:16] Alice Lema: Like a vertical installation, like straight up and down, not going wide.
[00:24:21] Marty Easter: Yeah. They all have to be at minimum for a four bedroom sizing, which is the usual size besides everything for they're going to look the exact same. They're going to be 360 square feet. And whether it's a bottomless or not a bottomless, except there's just no drainfield after it. And so it's going to continue on down.
[00:24:41] They range in size from, you know, depending on how deep they can get in the ground, four feet to maybe two feet, but we have some pretty good diagrams. If anyone ever has questions about how this is going to be constructed and the there's, the installers know how this is supposed to be constructed as well.
[00:24:58] It's a, it's a big lift though. I still remember a couple of years back, there was an installer who kept putting in sand filters quite a bit. And he always had his person who his labor who would be actually not in the excavator backhoe. And so he went on a hunting trip and the owner of the business has to construct the sand filter.
[00:25:18] After that. He said, man, I didn't think homeowners were allowed to do that. This was an installer who was doing. And he said, I'll never do it again. It was such backbreaking work compared to compared to an ATT that just basically comes off of a flatbed truck, gets put in the ground, logged in and you're pretty much ready to go.
[00:25:40] Alice Lema: And you know it's faster too because you know, homeowners are sitting there tapping their fingers because either they don't have a potty that works or they can't finish the next round of the house constructions. So yeah.
[00:25:53] Marty Easter: And so there, there's also additional inspections that go with sand filters. You know, we want to check the box, make sure that they're using the correct material as they go, where there just isn't that for the ATT. It's like I said, a much quicker process.
[00:26:06] Alice Lema: So what difference does it make when you're in a different climate? Cause you guys are up by Eugene, Salem and it's a different weather pattern than we have here. Does that, does that weigh into what kind of design somebody might get.
[00:26:20] Marty Easter: Not yet. You know, there's been thought of basing systems based on weather pattern. I mean, even if you stay here in the Southern Oregon you know, obviously on the coast, it rains a lot . As you move towards Cave Junction, it rains a little less, but then as you get the Grants Pass, Even a little less than that.
[00:26:40] And by the time you make it over here, a little past Gold Hill, we're only getting, you know, 18 to 20 inches of rain on average a year. And that's way different than a majority of the Western part of the state. Like Dylan's up in Eugene, they go way more rain than we do here. So yeah, it definitely factors in, we have some different types of systems.
[00:26:59] Like I talked about the, it's called Virtus all clay. They're really sticky clay that has a specific precipitation requirement in the rule. So it has to be below a certain amount per year and we fall into that kind of sweet spot.
[00:27:12] Alice Lema: So interesting. Wow. Okay. Well, I'm sorry. We have to take another break, but we're going to be right back. We're talking to Dylan Darling and Marty Easter of DEQ. Lots of great information. We're going to cover some more topics here in just a quick minute. We're brought to you by John L. Scott of Medford, Ashland, the rogue valley association of realtors and Guy Giles mutual of Omaha mortgage. We'll be right back. Do not touch that dial.
[00:27:39] Well, welcome back to the real estate show. I'm Alice Lema of broker John L. Scott in Southern Oregon, your host today, and we're talking to Marty Easter and Dylan Darling of DEQ. And I wanted to ask you Dylan why does DEQ care what we do on our land?
[00:27:55] Dylan Darling: Well, thank you, Alice. Yes dQ as an agency, our whole mission is protecting air, land and water. And so when we talk about septic systems there's a pretty clear connection between a good functioning septic system and water quality. You know, Martya couple of times has talked about properties close to a river. And you can just imagine if you have a issue with a septic system and it's getting in to the nearby river or Creek there could be problems with nitrates and fecal bacteria, a bunch of stuff you don't want to have in a river.
[00:28:34] And so DEQ cares about it, because addressing septic systems you know, helps protect public health and addresses that to water quality. And so we just really want to make sure that people have functioning systems. It is kind of unique because it's up to individual homeowners and small businesses, people like that, taking care of their own systems.
[00:28:58] Marty touched on the importance of pumping. Just don't want finances to be the reason that you're not doing these things. And so that's why there's something like these Craft Three clean water loans that I've been continually mentioning. We just want to get that word out. But you know, just really want to make sure that people don't put this off.
[00:29:19] Alice Lema: Yeah. And you're not the bad guys. And I know it must be so hard. I don't know how you guys do what you do every day. But I'm glad you do. And you're there to help the public be safe and also help the environment be safe. So, yeah. And I know some people think like, well, you're just in the way. You're in the way of my house.
[00:29:42] Marty Easter: I think Dylan brings up a great point. I live here, you know, I have kids in school here. We're going to run into each other at the grocery store and other things. And I mean, it's always been my personal goal to try to help people as much as possible. It's usually a horrible time. Luckily I've never been in a failure failed septic system, my personal home, but it's a horrible time.
[00:30:15] And so we're usually stepping in at the time when people are flustered You know, maybe not being able to shower or do dishes. And I completely understand that. So yeah. You know, a lot of times we get people who are, it'd be a tad grumpy, but I understand that it's a tough time. It's so stressful.
[00:30:36] And in this time that we're already live in where everyone's already stressed, totally understand that. So we're here to help, and I know that our office and our front office does an amazing job at trying to help, whether it's helping you get your application ,through finding septic system records online whatever they can do to help we're we're here for that.
[00:30:54] Alice Lema: I am always so impressed how calm everybody is on your end. Cause that is an art in those, in those situations with, with the public, but also how genuinely quickly you can help us navigate, like you said, through the application process,. There's drawings, you have to do. There's reports, there's all this stuff. And I just don't think people are prepared.
[00:31:16] And then a lot of that could have been prevented if you just pumped and inspected every five years. Well, you said three.
[00:31:26] Marty Easter: Three to fives the, the average, you know, if there's going to, if you have a lot of, like, I have a buddy who had it's him and his wife and he has five girls, three of them are teenagers. He gets his checked one or once or twice a year. One or two years the additional usage you're going to have more. Now, if it's just, you know, grandma and grandpa in a house, maybe it's closer to five, six, but at least being on some sort of schedule to have a checked. Yeah, I think you're a hundred percent right.
[00:32:01] Dylan Darling: Yeah. And I'll point out with this ongoing pandemic, people working from home, it might be like a lot of things, like all of a sudden, oh, Hey, the power bills a little higher than it used to be. But your you know, running computers, they all the time. You know, septic system might be getting more use than it typically does.
[00:32:21] Marty Easter: Yeah right when right when the pandemic started, I was talking to some of the installers and they're like, we're almost overrun because yeah we used to, you know mom and dad used to go to work. Kids would go to school and now everyone's at home. It's a great point Dylan.
[00:32:37] Alice Lema: Its like a hundred percent increase in usage then. Yeah. Eight to 12 hours a day.
[00:32:44] Marty Easter: Yeah. Yeah. It was a ton of usage and a lot of septic systems that were a little older, that were maybe right on the breaking point, we saw a lot of repairs that were needed.
[00:32:54] Alice Lema: Wow. All at the same time, I didn't even think of that. Wow. So what other ways did the pandemic affect like DEQ in general? Did, did your call rate go up? Did you have more applications.
[00:33:09] Marty Easter: You know, it was a pretty normal year for applications. I will say that thrown in there was also the fires. Right. And, and the one up in Eagle point and a majority of the homes in the Almeda fire were on sewer system. So, but there were on the peripheries, the individuals who were right outside of town, where their homes burned down and we were on quite a few sites trying to help out as much as we can to get them rebuilt.
[00:33:45] Especially up along like the Falls highway. There was a, you know, just all these homes right in a row that were, were wiped out. And so they had to go in and first inspect, make sure that the septic system is okay. Or if it wasn't, then they had to put in a new septic system.
[00:34:02] Alice Lema: Like does, does fire damage a septic system?
[00:34:05] Marty Easter: It can. Yeah. If you think about all the components are a lot of them are pretty much, you know, plumbing grade, you know, plastic pipes. A lot of the, a lot of the ATTs are plastic as well on the outside. And so if a fire goes over, those, I've seen a lot of them that were melted. So these, the pipes are usually only, you know, 24 inches in the ground.
[00:34:28] And so if it gets super hot, you know, I even heard about up north a sand filter that a fire crew was cutting a fire line when it right through a sand filter. And so maybe it wasn't the fire per se, but your system is not going to be functioning now. And so luckily, I didn't have to deal directly with that, but yeah, there's all sorts of things that happens with fires as well, that we were greatly impacted with this past year.
[00:34:55] Alice Lema: So what about all the water? The rain, the rain and the snow that we're getting. We've only got a little over a minute left, but let's talk about the current weather pattern we've got right now.
[00:35:09] Marty Easter: Real basic. You want to make sure that you keep as much water off your drain fields as possible. That goes for irrigating for sprinklers. So when you get these heavy rain events like this, you want to be careful. You want to be watchful in Southern Oregon. Like I said we usually don't get a lot, especially the last couple of years. But just be real careful notice what happens after some of these events, make sure that you're, you're paying attention a lot.
[00:35:37] Yeah. You know, standing water, you can usually smell. A predecessor once said, and maybe this will be our final sign off, call the field stomp and sniff inspection. So do that. That's not technical at all, but go out there. Are there squishy areas where, you know, your drain fields smell. That's probably a bad sign.
[00:35:59] Dylan Darling: I can't beat stomping sniff ,but let me remind you of Craft3.org/cleanwater and crafted spelled with a C and the number three. But yeah, please check out that website, if you want more info about those loans.
[00:36:16] Alice Lema: Thank you gentlemen. Dylan, Darling, Marty Easter DEQ have beautiful holiday gentlemen. And we'll get you next year. Obviously we're saying by now.