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Date: 1/25/2018 4:07 PM EST

Before we answer that question, let's join a wet wipe on his journey through a fully functioning septic system and see all the fun adventures he has.

The journey of a wet wipe named Wadsworth the Wet Wipey.
We'll call him Wads.

Wads' journey begins when he is flushed down the toilet. His pal, Stinky Winky, leads the way. Wads is easily distracted and loves to get snagged on scaled pipes, pipe joints, roots and anything else on the inside of the pipe. Wads likes to slow the flow of water and waste when he's on his long journey through the inside of the plumbing labrynth. When he gets to the baffle, assuming he does, he loves to float there for a while. This can distract Stinky Winky and his friends from heading into the septic tank, their eventual destination. Water is also slowed down by Wads and his wipey friends as they float at the surface, absorbing water and refusing to break down.

Wads may eventually go through the baffle into the septic tank and if they make it that far, they will take up lots of space that Stinky and his friends need to occupy till the next pumping. Some may even make it out the second baffle and into the outlet pipe, distribution box or leach fields.

Any point along Wads journey, he can get stuck and stick around for who knows how long. One wipe could create an issue. But you can't flush just one. The build up of wipes in a septic tank system can reek havoc.

Herring deals with jobs including snaking, jetting, pipe replacements, leach field replacements and even full septic system replacements due to wipe blockages.

Just the last few weeks, we have done 3 jobs where wipes were discovered - check out the pictures below...


 Unfortunately, the answer is you can not, in any way, safely flush wet wipes. If you flush the wipes, you do it at your own risk. And it can be a pricey decision. In addition to the $6 for the wipes themselves, you could be looking at a bill from your septic company from $150 to $30,000 depending on the severity of the problem.

Check out our previous post if you think flushable wipes are an exception.

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Date: 1/18/2018 3:16 PM EST

Did you see the story about the Poop Knife from Reddit?

The full story is here so you can be caught up.

Ok want one, right? You gotta have a poop knife!

So Herring has created a prototype for one...we're ready for production.

Here are the specs -
  • Stainless steel blade
  • Flat straight-on tip for thrusting
  • Side cutting blade edge
  • Angled blade to handle even the most dense materials
  • Non-slip grip, brown handle with ergonomic design for comfort even with regular use
  • Stinky Winky charm at the end, made of rubberized material, with options including hand sanitizer or Nitril glove receptacle (customizable)
  • Individually tested for strength and durability
  • Coated with antimicrobial and antibacterial silicone finish for sanitary use in multi family households
  • Dishwasher safe



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Date: 1/18/2018 12:00 PM EST

When our phones rings in the winter Herring welcomes the calls. It our slowest time of the year because typically people wait until Spring to pump to avoid frozen ground charges. But our trucks are made of steel. Oh, I guess most trucks are. But did you know steel gets very rigid in the brutal cold and that causes things to break. Breaks cost us money and delays. On top of that, you know what we pump right? It has liquid in it. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that Shit Freezes! Despite all the challenges of winter, Herring stands ready to help solve whatever problem our customers deal with. In most cases our customers are kind and loving BUT that can change when on top of everything that goes wrong in the winter----- you know, the car battery dies, the heating bill is sky rocketing, the Holiday bills are flowing in, everyone is house bound and then what ---- the septic backs up, into what? The lowest drain? No that would have been too easy. It backed up into the Washer Machine!!! Oh yes it happens. That customer is upset. Very upset. They want Herring at their house instantly. Right now. And they don’t want it to be costly.

So let’s look behind the poop and into the problem…from our septic

tech’s point of view.

The first thing he asks the office when we dispatch – “Is it DUG up?” Well, in these instances, the home owner was not planning on a back-up so they didn’t dig because that would have required planning and a little good old fashioned psychic premonition. So in an effort to save money, the homeowner decides to brave the bitter cold and dig up the access. But soon, his fingers and nose hair frozen solid, he decides, “Oh, forget it.” At this point he isn’t even sure where the septic tank is. Everything looks different with snow covering the ground. So our office staff has to tell the driver that we have no idea if it will be dug up.

Our septic driver goes about thawing out his truck. Then he begins thawing out the valves. Next to thaw are the air lines for the brakes, to ensure safe arrival to our customer’s site. Sometimes the valves don’t need to be thawed before we head out…but they could freeze on the drive to the site. So we’ll have to thaw them before we begin the job.

Next is finding the tank. Imagine putting a spoon through frozen water – that is like what our driver does to find the access before digging. And now they dig. Shoveling snow, breaking up the ground with a crow bar and then to the digging. Have you ever had to chop the ice in your driveway before shoveling snow? Imagine doing that for 3 or more feet. We may even need a jackhammer to access it.

No wonder you wait to pump till the spring thaw.

Usually we find an overfull tank or a clogged baffle. Too many solids, soap build up or ice in the line
could all be causes. Another issue could just be nature – lower levels of evaporation with less sun and frozen ground could lead to slower leaching and a fuller tank.

So when we call to remind you to pump before the ground freezes, think of it as insurance against poop in your pants…and shirts…and sheets…and...

Hopefully you have a sanitation cycle in your washer. And hopefully you’ll take a deep breath before you dial Herring. But even if you’re angry when you call, we’ll do our best to take care of your septic back up quickly and affordably.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to put another log on the fire.

Stay warm, stay calm and don’t get angry – but even if you do, call Herring!

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Date: 1/11/2018 3:01 PM EST

Anyone that has worried about frozen pipes in the winter has probably heard that you should turn your faucets on and let them drip. This keeps water flowing through the pipes and keeps them from freezing.

The theory is that moving water doesn’t freeze as quickly as still water. If you have ever been to Niagra Falls in the winter, you have had frozen mist in your face. You don’t even need to go that far – visit the Wappingers Creek and see it frozen from its usually high force flow over the dam.

But none the less – many people have dripping faucets in the winter to avoid frozen pipes. Here’s the trouble….that action may keep your pipes from freezing in your water line…but do you know what it’s doing to your septic line?

So, imagine the drop making its way from your faucet to your leach fields. It goes into your sink, down the drain to the main line leaving your house. This is a cold pipe, at least partially exposed to the winter air and temperatures. The drop flows to the pipe in frozen ground – more cold. That tiny drop will freeze when it arrives. And the next one will freeze after it. And the next one after that. Think of a stalagmite growing drip after drip after drop. And that is what’s happening on your outlet pipes.

Next thing you know, your toilets aren’t flushing and the

water starts to back up into your toilets, sinks and showers. Just this past week in Hopewell, a commercial plaza building on 52 backed up from this very issue. The main pipe was frozen solid and Herring got the call. The pipe was broken so we had to dig it up, replace the pipe and thaw the rest of the pipe under the building. That day it was about 10 degrees out.

 Unfortunately, we don’t have a good alternative solution. But when you turn your faucet on to that drip drip drip, just bear in mind that while you’re avoiding a problem on one end (that end we call the clean end), you could be creating a problem on the other (the dirty end). So the solution to this has to be to call Herring as soon as you have any symptoms in the winter time, before that small problem becomes a large frozen mass.

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Date: 11/30/2017 4:03 PM EST

Herring Sanitation got the call that a family in Rhinebeck NY had a septic tank collapsing.  Other companies were walking away from the job and that should have been our biggest clue. Jason Herring always likes a challenge and he thrives on a complicated job.
On this particular job, the yard was a mere 1/3 acre.  The tank had caved in on the side of the home which bordered another property. The adjacent neighbor had a building just as close to their property line as our customer.  Negotiating the machine to install a cement tank and have the large concrete truck set the tank was quite a challenge.
The hardest part of taking on this job was the preparation. Once you have the machine positioned, if the men and material aren’t in place, the job can come to a halt pretty quickly. 
Everyone on the job was alert and ready for anything to happen.  A cave in of the surrounding earth or a swing of the bucket could have caused a great deal of damage to the fence and home’s siding and foundation.
With baited breath the tank was set in place and the ground was returned to its full coverage over the tank. Even with all the unique challenges that come with a complex and small space job, our men were up to the task and the job completed without issue or damage.  Jason was even more smug than usual.  Jim and Sharon breathed a sigh of relief to find out that the job was done, and all was well.  Sometimes we take jobs that others walk away from. It’s scary and we don’t charge more.  We do it simply because everybody needs a septic to work and that’s what we do. 
Many times, we are face to face with desperate people that are having septic problems.  Problems that are hard to figure out.  Yards that are rocky, hilly, small or too wet.  New Home Owners that just closed on a house and thought they had sewer, only to have their septic tank is collapsing.  We keep a box of tissues in the office and this is the truth.  People are broken hearted when they find out that they have no choice but to spend $25,000 on their septic.  Sometimes it is an easy fix but sometimes there is nothing we can do if the Board of Health is requiring something else.  At times an engineer must be hired escalating the cost of a septic replacement. 
Regular service is what can save a septic system. It is not a money maker for the septic hauler but a money saver for the homeowner.  Take the time to know your septic system and your maintenance schedule.  Herring will put you on a reminder schedule to help with this

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Date: 8/17/2017 12:30 PM EDT

When the first call from Oneonta came in asking ‘Would you be willing to offer an Internship to one of our students?”  I thought “Who us? What would a septic company have to offer or could even teach a student?”
Well, we had a lot of learning to do.
Our very first intern was an advertising and marketing student. Her name was Katie and she delighted the office
and owners as she taught us more than I even realized we didn’t know.  She loved us and our office. The best part was that she brought her work home with her.  Katie would come in every morning, fired up with ideas for our business. As it turned out her family would come up with these ideas while they were sitting around the dinner table.  “Keeping You Flowing Since 1973” was one such idea.  Her entire family embraced Herring Sanitation and we profited big time. We still adore her and treasure the time of her life she shared with us.

After her first summer internship, Katie came back with her two friends. ‘The Three Amigos!’  Besides being smart, sharp and quick, this trio was ADORABLE. We had more laughs, more giggling and a very fast and productive summer that year. We had good accounting, creative ads, and new sailing crew for our racing.  Oh sorry.  That’s not business related but things do spill over.

I need to mention Kate’s sister, Jane. She came to work for us a short time. Oh boy! That girl was smart.  We did not have a website set up yet so she sat down and went to work. So, my lesson here is that interns come with friends, families and lots of bonuses.    

Now what is an internship? 
It is an approved arrangement between the Employer, the School and the Student.  It is a mutually beneficial program. The student gets credit toward their degree while the employer taps into the young, energetic and eager to please worker.  The school gets paid for the credits that the student is earning so the Guidance Counselor or other official will monitor that there is an appropriate curriculum and that the student is following it. In the past, internships were not paid positions because the students were earning school credit but now many companies and organizations pay a stipend to help cover the living costs of Interns they attract from out of the area. Herring has always paid our interns and that is probably why we always had them lining up to work with us (that and because we are fun to work for, says me).  The most Interns we ever had in one year was in the summer of ‘The Three Amigos’.  They worked on our Advertising, Marketing and Accounting.

Our most recent intern, Chris, was an Accounting major who was traveling a long distance to campus for one or two more classes so he could complete his 5-year degree.  He enjoyed us so much, almost as much as we did him.  Chris was such a smart cookie that he managed to get the school to agree to him getting his last few credits learning Quick Books and doing our cost accounting.  His parents paid the school and we paid him and Chris saved on the traveling.  See! Smart Cookie.

Chris’ internship turned into a full-time job after graduation until he got “a real job”.  That’s what we called a real accounting job with an accounting firm. Like so many Interns, Chris became part of the fabric of Herring. When he got married, we were honored to be invited to be part of his special day.  We had a great time and it had to be the fanciest, most enchanting wedding we have ever witnessed.  It was held at the Brown Stone in Paterson, New Jersey.  Two floors of eating. But the wedding pales in comparison to the beautiful baby girl that Chris and his wife recently welcomed to their family. And we get to share in this joyful occasion as with all the others.

Some years we have an intern and some years we don’t but when we do, we always benefit from sharing our knowledge with the students and tapping into what’s new in the classroom. It is amazing what they are teaching these young folks.  From accounting to marketing to excel to computer secrets that I will never master, it’s all beneficial to a small business and definitely heart-warming to a family owned business.

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Date: 7/27/2017 4:20 PM EDT

How can Herring thank our employees enough for all they do? The men in the field get into all sorts of unmentionable messes. They’re in the trenches rain or shine, in the freezing cold and the blazing heat. Herring workers deal with all kinds of things most people don’t want to talk about much less look at or stick their hands into elbow deep.

These guys go beyond the normal problems to be the detective that will figure out exactly why things aren’t flowing or where that odor is really coming from. All this and they still need to keep the customers happy and the job as neat as possible.

Our office staff is responsible for the happy customers as well as the customers who are traumatized that their septic is all over their newly finished basement. They guide those just back from vacation and of course with no money to spend on their septic. Our office team guides our drivers and soothes the bad moods that can crop up after a hard day of work to get them smiling and feeling appreciated. They balance our checkbook and enter all our expenses and income. They even schedule our pump jobs, repairs, replacements, portable toilet reservations and the emergency snaking or water jetting. They need to keep track of the repeat automatic jobs so that our business customers don’t have to worry about those details.

Herring Sanitation’s portable toilet crew is the best. Most portable toilets
are used by the general public but some people get very creative in the way they use our facilities. We won’t say more. Our guys handle all types of situations, no matter what they run into…and do it to Herring’s high standards, day in and day out.

The Herring family realizes that we would not have the business we do without the hard work, loyalty, commitment and dedication of our staff in the field and the office. How do we show this besides their pay checks and bonuses? Company parties of course!

For years now Herring Sanitation has sponsored an annual Christmas Party at a variety of locations throughout the Hudson Valley. A few years ago, we started hosting an Annual Summer Picnic so that our entire staff can come together with their families to swim, eat and kick back. This party is held at our Fishkill home and always has great photo opportunities, fun and excitement.

Jimmy and I are happy to celebrate all the hard work and success Herring enjoys thanks to the hard
work of our employees. We love getting everyone together to create memories and getting to know each other beyond the job site. And of course, the food and drink are always flowing.

I was reflecting on the importance of these semiannual celebrations as our Annual Summer Picnic came to a close over this past weekend. I realized that it’s more than just a party…more than just a celebration of our employees’ hard work. These celebrations also help us do a better job for our customers.

What? That sounds like a stretch, right?

But then I thought about all the memories we made this weekend. I remembered how a few years ago a young mother working in the office resisted bringing her young baby because she wanted to enjoy herself. Everyone in the office insisted she bring the baby. She ended up enjoying herself all day, free of worry or stress because everyone wanted a turn holding her baby. And we all still keep tabs on him as he grows into a man.

Then I remembered how the Herring family welcomed every employee like they had been part of our family for years. This year, one of our temporary workers came to the party after being at Herring for only a couple of weeks. He was a hit, not only with the staff in attendance, but seemed to very much enjoy meeting some of my grandkids. There may be a second chapter to write on that in the future.

Our most important guest this year was the daughter of one of our Pump
Truck drivers. Little Ava has MD Muscular Dystrophy and is about to undergo her 8th brain surgery. She’s not even 2. What a sweet little girl! All the Herring family, our employees and their families embraced Ava and loved getting to spend time with her.

How rich are we? We are rich beyond words. Our hearts are filled because of the relationships we have with our employees and their families, thanks to these fun times. Knowing all of the family members of our employees makes our life and those of our employees richer beyond words.

Since we're customer minded, we know you are thinking - what's in it for me? Well, with our employees feeling like part of a strong and connected team and part of the Herring family, it just makes sense that they will work harder for us, for each other and for YOU, our customers. So, in the end we don’t just party for ourselves…or even our employees. We party for YOU. You’re welcome! Now back to this sweltering heat (oh, wait is it raining?) to install your new septic.

See more photos from our most recent Annual Summer Picnic on our Facebook page.

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Date: 7/20/2017 2:50 PM EDT

So you think that you’re taking care of your septic tank and being a careful homeowner, doing all you know to do to maintain your property. Suddenly and without warning, everything comes crashing to a halt.  But you don’t panic. Not you. Instead, you call your Septic Company.

The Septic Pumper guy opens your septic lid to investigate. You look in with him, because that’s you, and you can’t even see the liquid in the tank.  Roots have invaded the entire tank and the inlet pipe.  Roots are reaching out to the septic fields. Roots are everywhere.

How did this happen?

What does Herring do for this problem???

We advise you to move...maybe the next guy won’t know to get a Septic Inspection. Just kidding! Herring can handle this issue for you just like we would any septic issue you call us about.
So, what will Herring do to de-root your septic system?  We get busy!  We break out the saw-z-all, the hand saws and pruning shears. We pull out the loppers and bars.  Herring starts pulling at those feisty roots, cutting as we go, to release the roots that are holding on for dear life. We pull and pull those bad boys out of the area so we can complete our work.

At this point we assess the job to see where we are. Typically, all that is left to do is pump your septic  tank to get you flowing.  Fixing the immediate problem is important and we know how, you, the homeowner would feel.  You didn’t even know there was a problem and now you need to reach into your budget and spend money to have your tank pumped and deal with a costly, labor-intensive root removing service.

Here are some details about exactly what goes into a root removal job.  As described above just simply cutting and removing the roots could solve the problem but in many cases more extensive examination is need.  

Here are some things that you could be facing if you are having a root problem.

  1. The inlet pipe might be clogged completely and need replacing.
  2. The outlet pipe and maybe even the distribution box might need to be replaced, if roots have permeated these areas.
  3. As the roots are removed, parts of the tank like the baffles or even the side wall of the tank might come with the “hold on for dear life” roots.  This would result in the need for a new septic tank to be installed.
  4. The worst-case scenario, which we definitely don’t wish on our customers, is that the entire septic fields are infiltrated with roots and need to be relocated and rebuilt or replaced.

How do you avoid having these root-related problems?

The obvious way is to not plant trees and bushes near your septic tank and system but sometimes this is out of your hands.  You might have bought a home with landscaping in place that was not thought out properly.  Some trees are invasive and will find their way to your septic lines. 

To be proactive with trees near your septic system, make sure they are watered well and healthy so the roots do not seek out the wet, nutrient rich liquids that come through your septic system.

Make sure to tell your landscape company where your septic tank is before they begin your newly designed outdoor landscaping and living space.

Herring offers a landscape assessment option to be proactive about potential root issues. This could prevent very extensive and expensive repairs down the road.

In any case, Herring can help you deal with the root problems.  Give us a call.  845-226-5405

Have you ever had a root issue in your septic system? We'd love to hear about it.

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Date: 6/15/2017 3:31 PM EDT

Written by Sharon Herring, CEO Herring Sanitation Service, Inc.

At a recent event in Fishkill, NY – our home town - Herring Sanitation rented Portable Toilets out to
an event manager for a local Bike Rally. We were not given the number of expected attendees, which is something we typically collect when getting the event details. When the Event Manager placed the order, she rented 4 Standard Portable Toilet units, so we delivered 4 Standard Portable Toilet units. The reason we get a lot of information when booking a Portable Toilet rental is that the details are important…especially the number of units that might be needed for an event. Herring uses a formula based on number of attendees and hours of the event to determine the proper number of units needed for the event, to ensure there is enough capacity to handle the entire load. This is not a place you want to skimp to save a few dollars, believe me.

On this particular weekend, the office at Herring kept getting calls to come back and clean the units. As it turned out the attendance dictated that there should have been 12 Standard Portable Toilet units for this event, not 4. Uh Oh!!!!

The results were that Herring Sanitation had units out on the site and they were filthy. How filthy can a portable toilet get? Well, use your imagination. When people can’t sit down because it is too full, but stand on the toilet instead and squat and miss, can you imagine the calls we get?

Not only were the attendees not happy, but our service men were not happy. Guess who got to hear it all from both sides. Our Portable Toilet Division Manager. It makes for a disaster of an event.

Lesson Learned. Now, Herring ALWAYS ensures to ask for the number of attendees when booking any Portable Toilets. Even when Event Managers have years of experience and have ordered from us before, we still ask. As everyone involved learned from this experience, you can’t be too thorough. Please, when ordering units think ahead and avoid the scenario in this story. It will help you avoid upset guests, embarrassed hosts and additional costs for cleaning trips.

Help Herring keep our reputation as the Cleanest Portable Toilets around!

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Date: 4/6/2017 12:43 PM EDT

Is it ok to flush wet wipes down the toilet when you have a septic system? Well, it has been 4 years since I wrote a blog about how these little monsters clog up pumps and septic lines. So I thought it was time for an update, since we just had another job this week with wet wipes as the main issue.  In my original blog post,  I even posted nasty looking photos… but I guess people think it won’t happen to them.  The fact is, these wet wipes form large clogs around the baffles in your septic tank and get caught up on any imperfections in your waste lines.  Wet wipes can bring your family to a grinding halt as far as using your bathrooms or laundry facilities.

The crews at Herring have been in many basements and crawl spaces where pipes have leaked out at the pipe joints.  The cause is often wet wipes. Imagine waste all over your floor, furniture, and all the stuff you keep down there.  This can be a costly, messy and smelly problem.

Check out my photo showing a package of one brand of these wipes. Notice that they claim to be ‘Flushable and Septic Safe’.  The truth is they will flush, but they may cause clogs in your toilet, your pump fins, your waste lines or even in your septic tank baffles.

The big question is, “Do they ever dissolve?”. The manufacturer claims that they dissolve just like toilet paper. Towns and counties spend millions dealing with this issue in sewer pipes and plants – from installing grinders to replacing broken pumps. Truth is, they may dissolve eventually, but your septic system is dealing with it until that happens. So you’re playing a game of chicken between the wipes and the pipes. And then the bill comes. Nobody ever likes that.

I know using wet wipes to clean up in the restroom is an embarrassing subject but hey! Herring’s goal is not to talk about it with our customers.  We do not need to grill you or get details, for heaven’s sake.  Our goal is not to embarrass you. Herring’s goal is to save you the problems and some money, believe it or not.  Herring’s goal is to educate you, the consumer.

So why are these wipes such a problem.  For one thing, NOBODY admits using them and definitely NEVER admit to flushing them.  Never Never!!!

Get your imagination working.  There we have our Herring workers out there to handle these backups…standing in ankle deep wastewater in a basement, pulling wet wipes out of the septic pipes.  Still the customer insists “We don’t use wet wipes”.  As Herring is finishing up the job, making sure every toilet works, guess what is sitting on back of the toilet.  A package of WET WIPES!  You can’t make this stuff up.  See the photo!!!!   >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Trust me.  Herring doesn’t judge.  Hey we pump poop for a living.  We do, however, laugh. Sorry!  But we don’t really care if you use wet wipes. Use wipes!  Use all the wipes you feel you need…but place them in the trash can! That’s where they belong.  Not in the toilet!  Save yourself the money and trouble.  Please note that the trash can is also where feminine products should be put.

People are funny.  Some of our customers get angry at us for what is found in their waste lines.  Herring is there to solve your septic problems.  We were not present when you started having them.  It is not our fault.  And please remember, we are not being nosey, as one woman called us, for looking into what is causing the problem.  Herring is trying to offer you a solution so this problem does not repeat itself.

So that's the story about WET WIPES.  Wasn’t that enjoyable. NOT!  Just remember it and don’t flush the flushable wipes. OK?

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Herring Sanitation Service, Inc. •  845-226-5405 •  Fax 845-897-5488 All Rights Reserved
146 Old Route 9 Fishkill NY 12524   |   5301 Route 9W Newburgh NY 12550