- Tanks are generally buried 4 inches to 4 feet deep, depending on local site conditions, shape, slope, and other factors. Here is the basic math for calculating the capacity (volume) of the septic tank in gallons. Measurements taken on the internal dimensions of the septic tank are in feet.
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 should a septic tank be in the ground?
The general rule of thumb is that most septic tanks can be buried anywhere from four inches to four feet underground.
How big is an underground septic tank?
Underground septic tanks are available in sizes ranging from 200 gallons up to 1500 gallons. An inlet and outlet may be added to tanks sized 200 gallons to 500 gallons for $75.00.
How does a septic vault work?
Septic tanks work by allowing waste to separate into three layers: solids, effluent and scum (see illustration above). The solids settle to the bottom, where microorganisms decompose them. The middle layer of effluent exits the tank and travels through underground perforated pipes into the drainage field.
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 far below the surface is a septic tank?
Septic tanks are typically rectangular in shape and measure approximately 5 feet by 8 feet. In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground.
Can a leach field be too deep?
Drain Field Depth The result is a drain field about 3 to 4 feet deep. Sometimes, however, a drain field may need to be a bit shallower and can result in drain pipes as close to the surface as 6 inches. Underground obstacles can cause this situation.
Should septic tank lids be buried?
In most cases, all components of the septic tank including the lid are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground. Unless the septic tank has special risers that position the lid at ground level, you’ll have to dig for it.
How often does a 1000 gallon septic tank need to be pumped?
For example, a 1,000 gallon septic tank, which is used by two people, should be pumped every 5.9 years. If there are eight people using a 1,000-gallon septic tank, it should be pumped every year.
Can a septic tank be too big?
A septic tank that is too big will not run well without the proper volume of wastewater running through it. If your septic tank is too big for your house, there wouldn’t be sufficient collected liquid required to produce the bacteria, which helps break down the solid waste in the septic tank.
What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
What happens to poop in a septic tank?
The inlet pipe collects the water waste in the septic tank, long enough that the solid and liquid waste is separated from each other. Inside the tank bacteria from the wastewater breaks down the solid waste. These bacteria decompose the solid waste rapidly allowing the liquids to separate and drain away more easily.
Does shower water go into the septic tank?
From your house to the tank: Most, but not all, septic systems operate via gravity to the septic tank. Each time a toilet is flushed, water is turned on or you take a shower, the water and waste flows via gravity through the plumbing system in your house and ends up in the septic tank.
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
- Contents of the Article Series
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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Types of Septic Systems
Septic system design and size can differ significantly from one neighborhood to the next, as well as throughout the country, due to a variety of variables. Household size, soil type, slope of the site, lot size, closeness to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, and even municipal ordinances are all considerations to take into consideration. The following are 10 of the most often encountered septic system configurations. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list; there are several additional types of septic systems.
- Septic Tank, Conventional System, Chamber System, Drip Distribution System, Aerobic Treatment Unit, Mound Systems, Recirculating Sand Filter System, Evapotranspiration System, Constructed Wetland System, Cluster / Community System, etc.
This tank is underground and waterproof, and it was designed and built specifically for receiving and partially treating raw home sanitary wastewater. Generally speaking, heavy materials settle at or near the bottom of the tank, whereas greases and lighter solids float to the surface. The sediments are retained in the tank, while the wastewater is sent to the drainfield for further treatment and dispersion once it has been treated.
Septic tanks and trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common type of system. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of water drainage. The term is derived from the process of constructing the drainfield. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration, which is commonly used.
Effluent filters through the stone and is further cleaned by microorganisms once it reaches the soil below the gravel/stone trench, which is located below the trench.
In terms of total footprint, gravel and stone systems are very substantial, and therefore may not be appropriate for all residential sites or situations.
Gravelless drainfields have been regularly utilized in various states for more than 30 years and have evolved into a standard technology that has mostly replaced gravel systems. Various configurations are possible, including open-bottom chambers, pipe that has been clothed, and synthetic materials such as expanded polystyrene media. Gravelless systems can be constructed entirely of recycled materials, resulting in considerable reductions in carbon dioxide emissions during their lifetime. The chamber system is a type of gravelless system that can be used as an example.
- The key advantage of the chamber system is the enhanced simplicity with which it can be delivered and built.
- This sort of system is made up of a number of chambers that are connected to one another.
- Wastewater is transported from the septic tank to the chambers through pipes.
- The wastewater is treated by microbes that live on or near the soil.
Drip Distribution System
An effluent dispersal system such as the drip distribution system may be employed in a variety of drainfield configurations and is very versatile. In comparison to other distribution systems, the drip distribution system does not require a vast mound of dirt because the drip laterals are only placed into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. In addition to requiring a big dosage tank after the sewage treatment plant to handle scheduled dose delivery of wastewater to drip absorption areas, the drip distribution system has one major disadvantage: it is more expensive.
Aerobic Treatment Unit
Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) are small-scale wastewater treatment facilities that employ many of the same procedures as a municipal sewage plant. An aerobic system adds oxygen to the treatment tank using a pump. When there is an increase in oxygen in the system, there is an increase in natural bacterial activity, which then offers extra treatment for nutrients in the effluent. It is possible that certain aerobic systems may additionally include a pretreatment tank as well as a final treatment tank that will include disinfection in order to further lower pathogen levels.
ATUs should be maintained on a regular basis during their service life.
Using mound systems in regions with short soil depth, high groundwater levels, or shallow bedrock might be a good alternative. A drainfield trench has been dug through the sand mound that was erected. The effluent from the septic tank runs into a pump chamber, where it is pumped to the mound in the amounts recommended. During its release to the trench, the effluent filters through the sand and is dispersed into the native soil, where it continues to be treated. However, while mound systems can be an effective solution for some soil conditions, they demand a significant amount of land and require regular care.
Recirculating Sand Filter System
Sand filter systems can be built either above or below ground, depending on the use. The effluent is discharged from the septic tank into a pump compartment. Afterwards, it is pushed into the sand filter. The sand filter is often made of PVC or a concrete box that is filled with a sand-like substance. The effluent is pushed through the pipes at the top of the filter under low pressure to the drain. As the effluent exits the pipelines, it is treated as it passes through the sand filtering system.
However, sand filters are more costly than a standard septic system because they provide a higher level of nutrient treatment and are thus better suited for areas with high water tables or that are adjacent to bodies of water.
Evaporative cooling systems feature drainfields that are one-of-a-kind. It is necessary to line the drainfield at the base of the evapotranspiration system with a waterproof material. Following the entry of the effluent into the drainfield, it evaporates into the atmosphere. At the same time, the sewage never filters into the soil and never enters groundwater, unlike other septic system designs. It is only in particular climatic circumstances that evapotranspiration systems are effective. The environment must be desert, with plenty of heat and sunshine, and no precipitation.
Constructed Wetland System
Construction of a manufactured wetland is intended to simulate the treatment processes that occur in natural wetland areas. Wastewater goes from the septic tank and into the wetland cell, where it is treated. Afterwards, the wastewater goes into the media, where it is cleaned by microorganisms, plants, and other media that eliminate pathogens and nutrients. Typically, a wetland cell is constructed with an impermeable liner, gravel and sand fill, and the necessary wetland plants, all of which must be capable of withstanding the constant saturation of the surrounding environment.
The operation of a wetland system can be accomplished by either gravity flow or pressure distribution. As wastewater travels through the wetland, it may escape the wetland and flow onto a drainfield, where it will undergo more wastewater treatment before being absorbed into the soil by bacteria.
Cluster / Community System
In certain cases, a decentralized wastewater treatment system is owned by a group of people and is responsible for collecting wastewater from two or more residences or buildings and transporting it to a treatment and dispersal system placed on a suitable location near the dwellings or buildings. Cluster systems are widespread in settings like rural subdivisions, where they may be found in large numbers.
How Your Septic System Works
It is a decentralized wastewater treatment system that is under some sort of community ownership that gathers wastewater from two or more residential or commercial buildings and transports it to a treatment and dispersal system that is placed on a suitable site near the residences or buildings. Cluster systems are widespread in settings such as rural subdivisions, where they may be found in large numbers.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- A decentralized wastewater treatment system under some type of community ownership that gathers wastewater from two or more residences or buildings and transports it to a treatment and dispersal system placed on a suitable location near the dwellings or structures. Cluster systems are widespread in settings like rural subdivisions, where they may be found in abundance.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
Limited Use Wastewater (Health)
HAEDownload the Limited Use Wastewater Information as a PDF from the HAE website here. a minimum of 1250 gallon waterproof, sealed tank intended for the storage of effluent. Vaults must be provided with a signaling system that will alert the operator when they have reached capacity, and they must be pumped when they are completely filled. A vaulted privy is a minimum 400-gallon concrete, plastic, or fiberglass tank with a “privy” or outhouse building erected above the tank to serve as a holding tank.
- A portable chemical toilet is a self-contained privy and tank that is often used during construction or to improve capacity for huge temporary special events that are held on a large scale for a short period of time.
- Water from kitchen sinks and toilets is excluded from this category.
- Vaults, vaulted privies, composting or incinerating toilets, and portable chemical toilets are examples of wastewater systems designed for limited usage.
- Those who live in cabins without plumbing and truck or carry their major supply of water are the primary users of limited use wastewater systems.
- When is it appropriate to employ a limited-use wastewater system?
- Because vaults and holding tanks must be pumped out on a regular basis, the expense of maintaining these systems may be quite expensive.
- Is it possible to construct a vault for a cottage or vacation residence?
Because of the significant expense of maintaining these systems over the long term, it is advised that a complete on-site wastewater system be installed.
It is not acceptable to claim seasonal or part-time use as a rationale for a limited-use wastewater system on their own.
It is not acceptable to flush graywater down the toilet or into the laundry.
Larimer County OWTS Regulations restrict the extension of power wires from RVs or homes to the ground.
When does a permit need to be obtained?
Before a building permit can be obtained for new development, it is necessary to make provisions for how wastewater will be treated.
System for limiting the use of wastewater during construction During the construction of a home or in an emergency situation, portable chemical toilets are only authorized on the property.
Instead, a vault, septic tank used as a vault, or full septic system may be erected and connected to temporary living quarters while the work is completed, or a combination of the two.
What Are Flush-Vaults?
Flush-VaultsTM, as the name implies, are flush bathrooms that are built atop sewage vaults that hold the sewage. In most cases, vault restrooms are erected in places that are not serviced by sewage or septic systems. They store waste in a vault, which is a subterranean containment room beneath the structure. The “Sweet Smelling Toilet” guidelines recommended by the United States Forest Service are adhered to by the vast majority of vault toilets erected in the recent past. When a structure is constructed in accordance with these requirements, odor is minimized; nevertheless, odor may still be present in areas where there is restricted air movement around the building or in areas where there is a high volume of usage.
- When staring down the toilet riser, the contents of the sewage vault are readily visible.
- From the ground up, a Flush-VaultTM is identical to a vault toilet in terms of design.
- The mechanical room is equipped with a water storage tank in the event that a public water supply is not accessible.
- Consequently, the public identifies the vault toilet system as a flush restroom system without the disagreeable scents or images associated with it.
- The water tanks have capacity ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 gallons per day.
- Flushing vault bathrooms, like vault toilets, are constructed on top of coated and sealed precast concrete vaults that hold sewage until it can be pumped and carried away by a sewage disposal company.
- A Flush-VaultTM may contain any number of toilet stalls without causing any odor issues.
An further issue with Vault toilets is that waste disposal can be time-consuming and inconvenient.
Vault risers feature big openings that may be used to hurl objects through.
This completely solves the waste issue.
Flush-VaultsTM can be installed everywhere there is vehicle access, just as a Vault toilet can be installed anywhere.
They are being sold at a price that is equivalent to that of vault toilets.
Currently, Green Flush Technologies is the only firm in the United States that provides Flush-VaultsTM. They are being sold at a price that is equivalent to that of vault toilets. Call us at (360) 718-7595 to speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives now!
Septic System Basics
When a household isn’t connected to a public sewage system, it normally relies on septic systems to treat and dispose of wastewater. Sewage treatment systems require a substantial financial commitment. The correct maintenance and upkeep of a well-designed, installed, and maintained system will provide years of dependable and low-cost service. The failure of a system can become a source of pollution and public health concern, resulting in property damage, ground and surfacewater pollution (such as contamination of well water used by you and your neighbors), and the spread of disease.
Aside from that, if you are planning to sell your property, your septic system has to be in good functioning order.
Septic systems are available in a variety of configurations to accommodate a wide range of soil and site conditions.
A conventional septic tank system is composed of three major components:
- In areas where public sewers are not available, households that do not have access to them rely heavily on septic systems to treat and dispose of wastewater. Septic systems require a considerable financial outlay of resources. A well-designed, installed, and maintained system will give years of dependable, low-cost service if it is properly cared for. The failure of a system can become a source of pollution and public health concern, resulting in property damage, ground and surfacewater pollution (such as contamination of well water used by you and your neighbors), and the development of disease epidemics. Eventually, your septic system will become ineffective and will need to be replaced, which will cost you thousands of dollars. In addition, if you want to sell your property, your septic system must be in good operating order to be considered for financing. Understanding and caring for your septic system is therefore a sensible investment. Many various types of septic systems are available, each of which may be customized to accommodate a variety of soil and site characteristics. Using the information provided below, you will be able to identify the major components of a typical (gravity fed) septic system and how to maintain it in a safe and cost-effective manner. Septic tank systems are composed of three major components:
- Septic System Inspection Done at Home In order to aid you in examining your system, a VideoField Guide and Checklist may be available at the bottom of the homepage.
Homeowners and residents have a significant impact on the functioning of their septic systems. Overloading the system with more water than it is capable of handling might result in system failure. A septic system can also be damaged by the improper disposal of chemicals or excess organic waste, such as that produced by a trash disposal. The following maintenance suggestions might assist you in ensuring that your system provides long-term, effective treatment of domestic waste.
Inspect and Pump Frequently
The most critical step in keeping your septic tank in good working order is to eliminate sludge and scum build-up before it may flow into the drainfield. The frequency with which your tank has to be pumped is determined by the size of the tank, the number of people in your family, the quantity of water utilized, and the amount of solids (from humans, garbage disposal, and any other waste) that enter the tank’s drainage system. Tanks should be pumped out on average every 3 to 5 years, depending on usage.
- Septic Inspection and Pumping Guide
- Inspecting Your Septic Tank
- Septic Inspection and Pumping Guide
Use Water Efficiently
Instructions on how to perform a septic inspection and pumping. Inspecting Your Septic Tank.
- Septic Tank Inspection and Pumping Guide
- Inspecting Your Septic Tank
- Septic Tank Pumping Guide
Minimize Solid Waste Disposal
What you flush down the toilet can have a significant influence on the performance of your septic system. Many things do not breakdown properly, and as a result, they accumulate in your septic tank. If you have the option of disposing of it in another manner, do so rather than introducing it into your system.
Keep Chemicals Out of Your System
Protect your septic system against home chemicals such as caustic drain openers, paint and pesticides. Also avoid flushing down the toilet with chemicals such as brake fluid, gasoline, and motor oil.
The improper dumping of dangerous substances down the drain is damaging to the environment, as well as the bacteria that are necessary for the breakdown of wastes in a septic system, and should be avoided.
Septic System Additives
It is not essential to add a stimulant or an enhancer to a septic tank in order to assist it in functioning or “to restore bacterial equilibrium.” The naturally occurring bacteria required for the proper operation of the septic system are already present in human excrement. Septic systems, like automobiles, are designed to offer long-term, effective treatment of residential waste if they are properly run and maintained on a regular basis. The majority of systems that fail prematurely, on the other hand, are the result of poor maintenance.
In the event that your septic system fails, call Thurston County Environmental Health at 360-867-2673 for assistance.
- Odors, surface sewage, moist areas, or a dense growth of plants in the drainfield region are all possible problems. Backups from the plumbing or septic tank (which are often a dark liquid with a foul odor)
- Fixtures that take a long time to drain
- The plumbing system is making gurgling sounds. Your drainfield may be failing if you have a well and tests reveal the presence of coliform (bacteria) or nitrates in the water from it. Even in the midst of a drought, the drainfield is covered with lush green grass.
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.
How does a septic tank work?
Pumping the tank on a regular basis eliminates sludge and scum, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and well built septic system to last for decades, or it might collapse in a matter of years. It is entirely up to you as long as you can answer the question of how do septic tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely collapsed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material costs.
It’s critical to understand how a septic tank works in order to maintain one.
Let’s take a look below ground and observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we?
Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria
Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.
- A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
- Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
- Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
- (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
- The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
- Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
When gravel is used to surround pipes, water can run into the soil and oxygen can reach germs. The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt. 9. Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system
Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.
- Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.
Get your tank pumped…
Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.
…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it
Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.
Install an effluent filter in your septic system
Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata. The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.
Septic tank filter close-up
The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drain field pipes. Obtain an effluent filter for your tank from your contractor and place it on the outflow pipe of your tank. (It will most likely cost between $50 and $100, plus labor.) This device, which helps to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis by a contractor to maintain its effectiveness.
Solution for a clogged septic system
The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drainage field pipes. Inquire with your contractor about installing an effluent filter on the outflow line from your storage tank. In addition to labor, it will likely cost $50 to $100. In order to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, this device must be cleaned out by a contractor on an as-needed basis.
Get an inspection
Following a comprehensive first check performed by an expert, regular inspections will cost less than $100 each inspection for the next year. Your professional will be able to inform you how often you should get your system inspected as well as how a septic tank functions. As straightforward as a septic system appears, determining its overall condition necessitates the services of a professional. There are a plethora of contractors who would gladly pump the sludge out of your tank, but many, in my experience, are unable to explain how a septic system works or how it should be maintained.
A certification scheme for septic contractors has been established in certain states; check with your state’s Secretary of State’s office to see whether yours is one of them.
Also, a qualified inspector will be able to tell you whether or not your tank is large enough to accommodate your household’s needs, as well as the maximum amount of water that can be passed through it in a single day.
You may be able to boost the performance of your system by using a product such as RID-X to introduce bacteria into the system. As you learn more about how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.
Alternatives to a new drain field
If an examination or a sewage backup indicate that your drain field is in need of replacement, the only option is to replace it completely. As a result, it’s important to talk with a contractor about other possibilities before proceeding with the project.
- Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.
Protect your drain septic field from lint
When this device is in place, it inhibits lint from entering the system, especially synthetic fibers that bacteria are unable to digest. One of these filters, which I’ve designed and termed theSeptic Protector, was invented by me. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150 plus delivery. Learn more about how to filter out laundry lint in this article.
Don’t overload the septic system
Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field. Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.
Meet the Expert
Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.