How deep in the ground is a septic tank? You can typically find your septic system buried between four inches and four feet underground.
How deep should a septic system be buried?
The general rule of thumb is that most septic tanks can be buried anywhere from four inches to four feet underground.
How deep are most septic tanks buried?
Over time, all septic tanks fill up with solids and require pumping to continue working as they should. Often, septic tank lids are at ground level. In most cases, they have buried anywhere from four inches to four feet underground.
How deep are drain fields buried?
A typical drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36 inches.
How long do septic tanks last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
How often should a septic tank be pumped?
Inspect and Pump Frequently The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
How big of a septic tank do I need?
The larger your home, the larger the septic tank you’re going to need. For instance, a house smaller than 1,500 square feet usually requires a 750 to 1,000-gallon tank. On the other hand, a bigger home of approximately 2,500 square feet will need a bigger tank, more than the 1,000-gallon range.
Why is my grass dying over my drain field?
As temperatures increase, grass draws more moisture from the soil beneath it. The soil above leach lines is shallower than the soil in the rest of the lawn, so it holds less water compared to the rest of the lawn, causing grass directly above the lines to dry out and turn yellow.
Can I put dirt over my drain field?
Never add additional soil over the drain field unless it is a minimal amount used to restore an area that may have been eroded or pulled up by removing another plant. Try not to be overly zealous when tilling the soil for planting. Remember that the drain lines may be as close as 6 inches from the soil surface.
What is the most common cause of septic system failure?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
What will ruin a septic system?
Any paper products like tissues, paper towels, tampons, or sanitary products, even some heavier toilet paper, will clog your system if you flush enough of it. Wet wipes are another product that you should never flush into a septic system.
Is a septic tank always full of water?
A septic tank should always be “filled” to its normal liquid level, or the bottom of the outlet pipe which carries effluent to the absorption area. This normal liquid level is usually between 8” to 12” from the top of the tank on average (see picture at right).
Septic Tank Design Depth – how deep should the septic tank be located
- When establishing a septic tank, you may ask a QUESTION or make a COMMENT regarding how deep the septic tank should be located.
InspectAPedia does not allow any form of conflict of interest. The sponsors, goods, and services described on this website are not affiliated with us in any way. Design depth for a septic tank: What are the most frequent depths to which septic tanks, cesspools, seepage pits, and drywells are buried? Is it necessary to locate the septic tank below the frost line in order to prevent it from freezing? Septic tanks are placed at a certain depth, and there are various elements that impact the actual depth to which a septic tank (or cesspool, drywell, or soak-pit) will be sunk, which are discussed below.
For this topic, we also have anARTICLE INDEX available, or you may check the top or bottom of the page.
Septic Tank Installation Depth
Table of Contents for the Article Series
- SEPTIC TANK DESIGN DEPTH- this article
- SEPTIC TANK DESIGN DEPTH
- SEPTIC TANKDRAINFIELDFREEZE PROTECTION
How Deep Should WePutthe Septic Tank at Original Installation?
Septic tanks may be built almost anywhere in the soil, regardless of its depth. When operating in a freezing climate, even in uninhabited homes, it is unlikely that the septic tank serving an occupied home or even an unoccupied one will freeze. This is due in part to latent heat received by the septic tank’s bottom from earth, in part to heat generated by bacteria in the septic tank, and in part to warm wastewater entering from a building served by the septic system, and in part to warm wastewater entering from the building served by the septic system.
You’ll kill the bacteria, damage the drainfield, and taint the surrounding ecosystem as a result of this.
Factors Determining Septic Tank Depth
The following are the primary elements that influence the actual depth at which a septic tank is likely to be buried (and, consequently, the depth to which you may have to dig to locate the septic tank) at a specific site:
- The depth to which the lowest sewage line departs the structure that the septic tank serves is referred to as the sewer line depth. Given that we often rely on gravity to transport sewage from a building to a septic tank, the tank will be lower than the waste line that exits the building that it serves. a spot where the contractor discovered site characteristics suited for burying a septic tank because of its form, rocks, and impediments If a location has bedrock or huge rocks that are near to the surface, the tank may be relocated
- The greater the distance between the tank and the structure, and the greater the depth of the tank if the system relies on gravity to carry sewage, the deeper the tank will be. We don’t place septic tanks any deeper than they need to be since we are normally transporting effluent from the septic tank to the drainfield by gravity as well as by pumping it out. Plumbers often build sewage lines to slope down from the inlet to the outlet at a rate of 1/8″ per foot to 1/4″ per foot of linear run of the waste pipe, depending on the kind of waste pipe. In order to avoid septic drainfield burial at an excessive depth, we must ensure that there is sufficient air in the soil, since the absence of oxygen deep in the soil will inhibit certain desired bacterial action (the aerobic bacteria) that is required to break down and process sewage. It is certainly possible to locate and position the septic tank anywhere, including uphill from the building, if a sewer ejector pump or grinder pump system is utilized to transport sewage from a structure to an underground storage tank. If a sewage effluent pump is used to transport septic effluent from the septic tank to the drainfield, we may, of course, locate the tank “downhill” from the drainfield as well
- But, if a sewage effluent pump is not utilized, we cannot. Growing grass: If the septic tank is just 2 or 3 inches below the surface of the earth, you might as well have left the top of the tank visible, because grass will not grow in such thin soil as you would expect. Adding 6″ to 12″ of backfill may be sufficient to allow grass to grow over the septic system
- However, this is a purely aesthetic issue and does not affect the system’s functionality. See SEPTIC SYSTEMS, OVERHAULED PLANTS
- Recommendations from the manufacturer: Some modern septic treatment system designs need the use of a skilled system operator to perform highly specified inspection and maintenance intervals. According to the information provided atBAT MEDIA SEPTIC PLANTS, BAT septic systems (biologically accelerated treatment) are maintained or examined at 6-month intervals, among other things. According to the maker of that technology (Jet Inc.), it is extremely critical that the finishing grade slope away from the facility when completed. In addition, the grade must be at least 1″ below the bottom of the access covers to be considered. (Jet retired in 2016)
A service riser should be put in deep septic tanks to provide access to the tank. Plungers are large-diameter “wells” that are installed over the entrance and/or outlet ports of a septic tank in order to provide simple access for tank pumping, inspection, and baffle repair. Plungers are also used for septic tank pumping, inspection, and baffle repair. If the septic tank is sunk more than a few inches below the surface of the earth, good practice calls for the installation of a septic riser, which is a high diameter pipe that allows for easy access to the septic tank for inspection and cleaning.
Continue reading atSEPTIC TANK DEPTH to learn how to determine the depth of a septic tank’s cover, or choose a topic from the closely-related articles listed below, or see the completeARTICLE INDEX for more information.
Alternatively, view the FAQs on SEPTIC TANK DESIGN DEPTH – questions and answers that were originally posted on this page. Alternatively, consider the following:
Septic Tank Articles
- The following topics are covered: SEPTIC DRAINFIELD LOCATION
- SEPTIC DRAINFIELD SIZE
- SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION LEVELS
- SEPTIC TANK COVERS
- SEPTIC TANK DESIGN STRENGTH SPECS
- SEPTIC TANKDRAINFIELDFREEZE PROTECTION
- SEPTIC TANK, HOW TO FIND
- THE DISTANCE TO THE SEPTIC TANK
- FINDING THE MAIN WASTE LINE EXIT
- POSITIVE SEPTIC TANK LOCATIONS
- SEPTIC TANK COVERS
- SEPTIC TANK DEPTH
- SEPTIC TANK DESIGN DEPTH
- SEPTIC TANK LOCATING EQUIPMENT
- SEPTIC TANK RISERS
- SEPTIC TANK GRASS OR SNOWMELT
- THE MISTAKES MADE IN SEPTIC TANK PUMPING
- THE SEPTIC TANK PUMPING PROCEDURE
- THE SEPTIC TANK PUMPING SCHEDULE
- THE SEPTIC TANK RISERS
- THE U.S. SEPTIC AUTHORITIESDESIGN SPECIFICATIONS
- THE MISTAKES MADE IN SEPTIC TANK PUMPING
Suggested citation for this web page
DEPTH AT INSPECTION OF SEPTIC TANK DESIGN An online encyclopedia of building environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, and issue preventive information is available at Apedia.com. Alternatively, have a look at this.
INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES:ARTICLE INDEX to SEPTIC SYSTEMS
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How Deep Are Septic Tanks Buried? (And How Do You Find It?)
It is possible that this content contains affiliate links. It is possible that I will receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link. In addition, as an Amazon Associate, I receive a commission from qualifying purchases.- Septic tanks, for example, might become a requirement in more remote places where some services are not readily available or easily accessible. After all, we rely on contemporary conveniences such as adequate plumbing to make our lives more comfortable and easy.
Discovering the location of your septic tank in your yard, as well as what may be grown near or on top of it, will help you determine how much of your yard is suitable for regular gardening.
You May Not Know
Despite the fact that it appears to be something that every homeowner should be aware of, understanding how deep a septic tank is buried can be difficult to determine. Perhaps you forgot about the septic tank after it was installed years ago, or perhaps you are moving into a house that already has a septic tank constructed in previously. Whatever the situation, determining the depth of your septic tank can be a challenging task under the circumstances, especially if you are unsure of the location of the lids.
How to Locate Your Septic Tank
Perhaps you’re unsure of the location of your septic tank on your property and are attempting to identify it on your own. There are really quite a few quick and simple methods for determining the location of your tank without having to go through a lengthy process. The first method is to follow the path laid out by your sewer lines. Typically, the tank and your drain field will be placed along a line parallel to the sewage line that goes from your property out to the street. Your home’s crawl area or basement may even have a four-inch sewage line that leads away from the structure of the building.
- Follow the pipe all the way across the yard, checking every few of feet to make sure you’re still on the right track, and then turn around.
- When you don’t feel like digging around in your yard, you can always look up your house’s address in the county records database.
- Diagrams with measurements and even the particular location of where the septic tank is located should be included in this document.
- You can also choose to dig your lid out from under it.
- This is what will tell you how many lids are on your septic tank and how many are missing.
- The majority of septic tanks are rectangular in shape and measure around in the neighborhood of 5′ x 8′ in size.
- If you are unable to determine the position of your septic tank using a probe, you will need to do a shallow excavation around the perimeter of the tank using a shovel in order to finally locate the lid.
- First, look for visual cues to help you.
- There is no doubt about it, this will tell you exactly where the tank is located beneath.
- Take a look at the plumbing in your structure, as well as the overall state of the property, to get a good sense of where the tank is situated.
It will be full to just a few inches below the underside of your tank lid when your tank is fully charged to its regular level of filling capacity. If the lid is constructed of plastic, fiberglass, or steel, the upper surface of the lid may have some variation in color or texture.
Where Should the Septic Tank Be Located?
If your property does not presently have a septic tank, but you are interested in the possibility of installing one, it is critical that you understand where it should be installed. Ordinarily speaking, most septic tanks will be situated between 10 and 25 feet away from the house. You should bear in mind that septic tanks cannot and should not be located any closer than five feet from your residence. Using a probe, you may search for flat concrete to determine whether or not a tank has previously been put on a property that you have recently purchased.
Planting Above a Septic Tank
In the event that your property does not presently have a septic tank but you are considering installing one, it is critical to understand where it should be installed. Septic tanks are typically positioned between 10 and 25 feet away from the house, depending on the situation. Please bear in mind that septic tanks cannot and should not be located any closer than five feet from your house or building. Using a probe, you may search for flat concrete to determine whether or not a tank has previously been put on a property you have recently purchased.
Plants That You Don’t Want to Grow
Just because you have the option of planting over your septic tank does not mean that everything is appropriate for this situation. A few plants should be avoided at all costs while landscaping around your septic tank, particularly huge trees that are known for their rapid growth. On the same vein, shrubs and trees with aggressive root systems are some of the worst plants to grow around your home. These roots will shoot out in quest of water, and they will not be concerned with where they locate it.
The infiltration of those roots into your septic drain field might result in catastrophic damage to your septic tank and drain field.
It’s possible that you’ll need a complete replacement.
Many other plants have strong root systems that you should avoid growing anywhere near your septic tank or drain field, and there are lots of them.
How Your Septic System Works
It is possible that understanding how your septic system operates may help you better manage, maintain, and care for it. Aside from that, it is just a large tank buried in the ground that collects your waste (which is true, but still). In remote locations, there may be a deficiency in sewage infrastructure. Because not every rural location is the same, it is not a given that septic systems will be required in your local rural area. The septic tank, in any case, serves as a form of wastewater treatment facility when there are no sewage lines available.
- The tank is designed to be waterproof, ensuring that your wastewater does not leech into the surrounding environment.
- Solids sink to the bottom of the container, scum rises to the top of the container, and liquids sit in the center of the three levels described above.
- The wastewater that is being discharged from your home is the cause of the exit.
- This liquid is carried out of your home through a pipe and into a bigger portion of your sanitary sewer system.
- Your drain is typically comprised of a network of perforated PVC pipes that are put underground in trenches to collect water and waste.
- Because the drains are perforated, the wastewater is allowed to seep out into the crushed gravel or stone, and then eventually into the surrounding soil.
- The natural evaporation process will then take care of any surplus moisture in the soil, unless you do something to prevent the water from flowing out of the pipes.
A septic service will come out to your home around every three years and pump the scum and sludge out of your septic tank, thereby cleaning it and resetting it back to its previous form.
How to Plan a Septic Field
The tank is only one component of the whole equation. You’ll also need a drain field to catch all of the liquid waste that will be generated. When you are planting around your septic tank, the drain pipes are the most significant source of worry. Having those aggressive roots infiltrate and ruin your septic drain system is the very last thing you want. When this occurs, it can prevent your septic tank from emptying correctly and potentially cause it to get contaminated by groundwater. According to a solid rule of thumb, the less horticultural labor you have to do in close proximity to your septic tank, the better.
Just remember that they must be planted every year, so keep that in mind while planting them.
The first step is to fill in the septic drain field with earth.
The third issue is that you may be watering your plants more than you should be.
How Deep Is A Septic Tank?
In the end, the tank is only a component of the overall strategy. A drain field is also required, into which all of the liquid waste may be channeled to flow away. When you plant around your septic tank, the drain pipes are the most serious source of worry. Having those aggressive roots infiltrate and ruin your septic drain system is the absolute last thing you want! Depending on the circumstances, this might prevent your septic tank from draining correctly or even cause it to become contaminated.
- Instead, choose for annuals, such as impatiens, which have shallow roots and require less attention.
- When planting near your septic tank, there are three things you should avoid doing.
- An excessive amount of mulch is being applied to that area as well.
- Using any of these three methods can impair the capacity of your drain field to evaporate as intended.
CALL 855.925.0760 FOR SEPTIC SERVICES
The tank is only one component of the whole picture. You’ll also need a drain field to catch all of the liquid waste that’ll be generated. When you plant around your septic tank, the drain pipes are the most significant source of worry. Having those aggressive roots infiltrate and ruin your septic drain system is the last thing you want. When this occurs, it can prevent your septic tank from emptying correctly and potentially cause groundwater to become contaminated. A good rule of thumb is that the less gardening labor you have to perform near your septic tank, the better.
It is only necessary to plant them once a year, so keep that in mind.
The first step is to fill in the septic drain field with dirt. The second is overcrowding the area with mulch. The third possibility is that you are overwatering the plants. All three of these factors might impair the capacity of your drain field to evaporate in a regular manner.
CALL 855.925.0760 FOR SEPTIC SERVICES
This is determined by elements such as the kind of soil and geology in which it is constructed. Another consideration is the depth of the sewer pipe leading out from the property. Similarly, in cold areas, the latent heat from the earth, along with the bacterial activity of the sewage, keeps the water from being frozen. Any septic tank should not be buried too deeply underground, since this might cause harm to it and prevent it from performing its intended purpose. Here are a few examples of such elements that have been well explained:
- The presence of a high water table makes a deep septic tank an unwise choice in these circumstances. It is possible that extra soil will be required in order to improve absorption. It results in the formation of a mound, which can function as an above-ground drainfield.
- Type of Soil– The type of soil and the amount of organic matter in the soil influence the depth of the septic tank. High water tables are frequent in clay-rich areas, and they are especially prevalent in the southwestern United States. Professionals can assess the composition of the soil and make recommendations for the depth of the septic tank based on their findings.
- The kind of soil also has an impact on the depth of a septic tank, as does the amount of organic matter present. High water tables are frequent in clay-rich locations, and they are especially prevalent in the southwestern United States. Septic tank depth may be determined by professionals, who can also assess the type of the soil.
- Tank Kind– The type of tank also has an impact on its performance. There are several different types of septic tanks available, some of which may contain up to 2 to 3 feet of earth on top. As a result, if the tanks are placed significantly deeper, the manufacturer’s guarantee will be violated.
CALL 855.925.0760 FOR SEPTIC SERVICES
It is also important to consider the type of tank. Many septic tanks are designed to contain up to 2 to 3 feet of earth on top of the tank, which is quite a lot. The manufacturer’s guarantee will be violated if the tanks are positioned far deeper than recommended.
How to Find the Septic Tank Lid Deep Below the Surface?
Following these procedures will assist you in determining the depth of your septic tank lid, which will assist you in determining the depth of your septic tank lid:
- Following these procedures will assist you in determining the depth of your septic tank lid, which will assist you in determining the depth of your septic tank:
Questions Related to How Deep is a Septic Tank
The lids of septic tanks are often situated around the ground level. The lids are often buried anywhere from 4 inches to 4 feet deep, depending on the situation.
- It is important to understand what happens if a septic tank is installed excessively deep.
It is not suggested to put a septic tank at a location that is too deep. If it is implanted too deeply, it is possible that it will malfunction on a regular basis. It is possible that effluent may backlog on a regular basis and will not naturally flow into the drainfield.
- Whether I am allowed to drive over the septic tank, which is buried underground
No, you should never drive over a septic tank, even if you are aware that it is buried deep down. In a short period of time, driving over the tank will damage its surface, causing it to crack, and cause it to stop operating.
- Anyone who can tell me what the depth of my septic tank is, please.
You can look through your property records to see if there are any details concerning the septic tank’s construction. If you have only recently moved into the neighborhood, you might inquire with the homeowner. If nothing else seems to work, you might enlist the assistance of the specialists who come to examine or pump your water.
- How can I find out if there is a problem with my septic tank, which is buried deep underground?
It is advised that you have your septic tank tested on a regular basis in order to spot problems early on. Furthermore, if you notice any indicators of a septic tank problem, such as a bad odor or sewage backup, it is time to have it checked. If you are unsure about the depth of your septic tank, you can get assistance from a septic tank professional. They can assist you in discovering the lid of the tank much more quickly, regardless of how deep the lid is hidden. The depth of the septic lid is typically 5 feet, however this might vary depending on the depth of the tank.
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Photograph courtesy of Valerie Loiseleux/E+/Getty Images.
In This Article
- Drain Field Operation
- Drain Field Depth
- Drain Field Width and Length
- How the Drain Field Works
It is critical to appropriately size a septic system’s drain or leach field, as an inadequately sized field might result in serious complications. Waste puddles appearing on your lawn are just one of the issues that might arise, therefore it’s crucial to grasp the fundamentals of how a drain field works.
Although you are not required to become an expert in septic systems, a little information may go a long way toward ensuring that your drain field is in good operating condition.
The final depth of a septic system’s drain field is determined by a variety of factors. Drain fields, on the other hand, are typically between 2 and 5 feet deep.
How the Drain Field Works
The final depth of a septic system’s drain field is determined by a variety of factors. Drain fields, on the other hand, are typically 2 to 5 feet deep.
Drain Field Width and Length
If you have more than one bedroom in your house, your septic system designer will figure out what size drain field you’ll need based on the number of bedrooms you have. In addition, the designer will take into consideration the zoning regulations, soil conditions, and the peculiarities of your lot while designing your home. According to many towns’ regulations, for example, your drain field must be at least a set distance away from your property line. The setbacks from streams, marshes, water supply lines (including local water wells), and other possible barriers are also defined by municipal construction standards.
In addition, pipes are frequently spaced 6 feet apart from one another.
The fact that they are spaced 6 feet apart, on the other hand, provides for the addition of more pipes at a 3-foot spacing if necessary in the future without enlarging the total footprint of the drain field.
It is then decided how this pipe should be laid out in relation to the amount of land available for the leach field to be used.
Septic Tank Depth
Trevor, The amount of heat created by biological activity in a septic tank is unknown to me, but I think that a tank that is actively functioning will generate more heat than a tank that is in “holiday” mode. The overall amount of warm water and “food” placed into the tank may not be very much if you have a two-person family like mine, hence the tank may not contain very much in general. If you are away from home for an extended period of time, it is possible that the temperatures in the tank will stratify.
- If the frost line penetration corresponds to the tank height, the total temperature in the tank may be able to reach freezing temperatures at some point.
- Even though the ground temperature 6′ down may only be 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of winter, that should be sufficient to keep an idle tank from freezing.
- When flowing into a 1500 gallon tank, the amount of heat provided by a warm shower is not very significant.
- Ice spreads in all directions, which may put pressure on the tank’s walls as a result of the expansion.
- Because the tank I have is relatively thin in comparison to the ones I remember from decades ago, I’m hoping that someone out there can offer anecdotal evidence regarding how robust the new thin tanks are.
- When the ice penetrated deep enough into the earth to freeze all the water pouring from the house during a particularly harsh winter, my next-door neighbor was forced to rescue a friend.
- Oddly enough, I don’t recollect my neighbor mentioning whether or not the output pipe had frozen as well.
- The hypothesized explanation is that automobiles push ice into the ground while on the road.
- I believe that driving a car across the tank top would be a more serious problem.
- Snow provides some insulating properties, however it appears that windy circumstances may cause the snow to become thin, as your sand has done in your case.
Perhaps Michael can contribute some real-world insights concerning the inlet and outflow danger in your region based on his own experiences. Although I live in a 6B zone, temperatures can drop below -20 degrees Fahrenheit at times.
How Low Can You Go?
Trevor, The amount of heat created by biological activity in a septic tank is unknown to me, but I think that a tank that is actively functioning will generate more heat than a tank that is in the “vacation” state. The overall amount of warm water and “food” placed into the tank may not be very much if you have a two-person family like mine, therefore the tank may not be particularly full in general. If you are away from home for an extended period of time, it is possible that the temperatures in the tank will become stratified.
- Depending on how far the frost line penetrates and how high the tank is, the total temperature in the tank may eventually reach freezing.
- A tank that is not in use should not freeze, even if the ground temperature is only 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit 6 feet below the surface.
- When flowing into a 1500 gallon tank, the amount of heat provided by a warm shower is not significant.
- It is possible that the ice may extend in all directions, putting strain on the tank walls.
- Because the tank I have is relatively thin in comparison to the ones I remember from decades ago, I’m hoping that someone out there can offer anecdotal evidence regarding how robust the new thin tanks are in reality.
- When the ice penetrated deep enough into the earth to freeze all the water pouring from the house during a particularly harsh winter, my next-door neighbor was forced to save a buddy.
- My neighbor didn’t mention anything about the outlet pipe freezing up, which is strange because I don’t remember him saying anything about it either.
- The hypothesized explanation is that automobiles push frost into the ground when driving through the snow.
- Driving a car across the tank top would, I believe, be a more serious problem.
- The insulating value of snow is debatable, however it appears that windy circumstances may keep the snow thin, as your sand has.
Perhaps Michael can provide real-world insights regarding the inlet and outflow danger in your area based on his own experiences. Despite the fact that I live in a 6B zone, temperatures can drop below -20 degrees Fahrenheit occasionally.
In the codes
Trevor, The amount of heat created by biological activity in a septic tank is unknown to me, but I think that a tank that is actively working will generate more heat than a tank that is in “holiday” mode. The overall amount of warm water and “food” placed into the tank in a two-person household, such as mine, may not be that much in general. It’s possible that leaving home for an extended period of time will result in stratification of the temperatures in the tank. Your real frost line depth may be closer to the set depth of your tank, depending on the soil types and moisture levels in the soil.
- I built my 56-inch-tall tank with the bottom 6 feet below final grade in order to assure that the ground temperature remained above freezing all of the time.
- Additionally, by restricting heat losses, it should assist in keeping the small bugs more active when in use.
- Taking a lengthy winter vacation when local temperatures are as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit seems a little unsafe to me.
- I’m not sure if this will cause a fracture in the tank.
- The input and outlet pipes, which are also relatively close to the surface, may be of more concern because of their proximity to the surface.
- The route was lengthy and included a crossing of a roadway, all of which contributed to soil temperatures falling far below freezing.
- Pipes to or from your tank should not be run beneath a driveway in this area, according to local lore.
- I’m not sure whether that is correct, but I made certain that all lines leading into and out of the tank were kept well away from traffic.
- A tire’s foot print will not be securely redistributed if there is insufficient cover.
Maybe Michael can contribute some real-world insights concerning the inlet and outflow danger in your region based on his own experiences. Despite the fact that I live in a 6B zone, temperatures can drop below -20F at times.
Precast concrete manual
The National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) maintains an online Best Practices Manual that may be accessed from any computer. It typically encompasses all parts of a precast process, from the selection of materials through the production of a watertight, structurally sound product; storage; transportation to an installation site; and the procedures for installing the product. Anybody who works with precast concrete products will find it to be an invaluable resource. According to the guideline, a septic tank must be built to endure a wide range of loading situations during the manufacturing, installation, testing, and operation phases of the tank.
- If these calculations are to be completed by a competent professional engineer, they should be tested according to ASTM C1227.
- It is available in English and Spanish.
- Consequently, the rules come into play by stating the pounds per square foot of soil backfill that will be placed over the tank’s surface.
- Consider approaches to minimize permeability, enhance durability, and boost strength for consideration by the readers of this article.
- It also emphasizes the importance of regular water-cement mix ratios in order to assure the strength of the concrete.
- Because of this, it is vital that the product can stand empty, then endure the soilpressures applied vertically and laterally, as well as withstand temperature variations in my region of the world.
- It is possible that failing to follow these recommendations could result in the tank breaking during installation or will cause difficulties with watertightness down the road.
Other tank materials
Best Practices Manual for Precast Concrete is available online from the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA). Overall, it encompasses all phases of a precast operation, from material selection to production of a waterproof, structurally sound product, as well as the following: storage, transportation to an installation site, and installation methods. For everyone involved in the production of precast concrete products, this is an invaluable resource. During manufacturing, installation, testing, and use, a septic tank must be built to endure a range of loading circumstances.
- Vertical soil backfill, concentrated wheel loads in anticipation of traffic over the tank (which we wish to minimize), lateral loads, soil-bearing capacity, and buoyant forces are all factors to take into consideration.
- It contains information on concrete thickness, mix design, and reinforcing.
- Minimum reinforcing cover criteria must be met, and the thickness must be sufficient to resist the design-loading requirements.
- 4,000 psi compressive strength is required in the concrete mix after 28 days of curing time.
- Various materials that may be used to improve these components are discussed throughout the booklet.
- A properly reinforced septic tank will be able to withstand the stresses that are given to it during the construction and maintenance of a septic system.
- It also includes precise installation guidelines, such as bedding and backfilling, that must be followed in order to prevent adding extra strains and loads on the tank during construction.
Failure to adhere to these recommendations may result in the tank cracking during installation or watertightness issues down the road if the tank is not installed correctly.
How a Septic System Works – and Common Problems
This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.
One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.
The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.
- In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
- Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
- Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
- Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.
A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.
When used properly, a leach field (also known as a “drain field”) is a series of perforated pipes that are typically buried in gravel trenches 18 to 36 inches below grade — deep enough to avoid freezing, but close enough to the surface that air can reach the bacteria that further purify the effluent (see illustration below). As little as 6 inches might separate you from the ground surface, depending on your soil type and municipal regulations. It is customary to cover the perforated pipes with approximately two inches of gravel and a layer of topsoil that is 18 to 24 inches in depth.
- Grass is often sown above the ground.
- The leach field is comprised of rows of perforated pipes in gravel trenches that are used to spread wastewater over a vast area in order to further purify it.
- A bacteria-rich slime mat forms where the gravel meets the soil, and it is responsible for the majority of the water purification work.
- Despite the fact that wastewater freezes at a far lower temperature than pure water, freezing is still a hazard in cold areas.
- The leftover pathogens are converted into essential plant nutrients by these organisms, while sand, gravel, and soil filter out any solids that remain.
- If the system is operating effectively, the filtered wastewater will return to the aquifer as naturally clean water that is suitable for human consumption at this stage.
- Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
- Special systems may also be necessary in regions where there are flood plains, bodies of water, or other ecologically sensitive areas to protect against flooding.
SIZING THE LEACH FIELD
When used properly, a leach field (also known as a “drain field”) is a series of perforated pipes that are typically buried in gravel trenches 18 to 36 inches below grade — deep enough to prevent freezing, but close enough to the surface to allow air to reach the bacteria that further purify the effluent (see illustration below). As little as 6 inches might separate you from the ground surface, depending on your soil type and municipal laws. Approximately two inches of gravel and a topsoil layer, generally 18 to 24 inches deep, are placed over the perforated pipes to protect them.
- Most of the time, grass is planted above the surface.
- As part of the purification process, the effluent is distributed across a vast area using rows of perforated pipes set in gravel trenches.
- In the perforated pipes, the effluent is channeled into the surrounding gravel and then into the native soil.
- Because freezing will impede the bacterial action that is necessary for the system to function, all elements conveying liquid must be buried deeply enough to prevent freezing.
- A little amount of the leftover liquid, which contains minute suspended particulates, percolates into the native soil, where it is treated by bacteria and other microscopic animals that live in the soil to complete the process.
- While a portion of the liquid evaporates into the atmosphere, the remaining portion is absorbed by plant roots (Figure 1).
- In fact, it’s a fairly clever approach that takes full use of nature’s extremely successful method for recycling organic waste.
A standard system might cost two or three times as much as a high-end system, and they require more frequent servicing. Flood plains, bodies of water, and other environmentally sensitive places may need the use of specialized technologies.
SEPTIC SYSTEM CAREMAINTENANCE REQUIRED
If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!
- Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
- Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
- In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
- To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
- Distribute your washing loads and other high-water-use activities across the week
- And In the kitchen and bathroom, use low-flow appliances, faucets, and fixtures. Toilets, in general, are the source of the greatest amount of water use. Water should be diverted away from the leach field from the yard, gutters, and basement sump pumps.
Divide your washing loads and other water-intensive activities over the week; Make use of low-flow appliances and fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom to save money on water and electricity. Toilets are the source of the majority of water use. Water should be diverted away from the leach field through the yard, gutters, and basement sump pumps.
- Grease, fats, and animal scraps
- Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
- And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.
It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:
- Instead of driving or parking in this location, it is recommended that you grow grass over the leach field to prevent erosion. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficacy as a drainage system. Clogged drain lines can be caused by trees and plants with invasive roots as well. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures must be taken:
Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.
A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that. After a few tears, the initial field will naturally heal and may be used once again when the situation calls for it to be. More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.
SEPTIC SYSTEM PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS
But even with careful use and routine maintenance, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. When the soil becomes clogged with dissolved components from the wastewater, it will be unable to absorb any more water from the incoming water supply. When anything is wrong, the first indicators that something is wrong are frequently an odorous wet area over the leach field or plumbing backups within the home. As a result of the presumption that the first field will ultimately fail, several jurisdictions mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field.” A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not much longer than that.
Septic System Maintenance is discussed in further detail here: