How Does A Dual Tank Septic System Work? (Question)

Two compartment tanks, or two single compartment tanks in series, provide better settling of the solids. Each septic tank has an inspection port over each baffle as well as a manhole access port. The manhole lid needs to be accessed for the tank to be pumped. These can be found at or below the ground surface.

  • Septic tanks are designed to have a division between two sections, with the first compartment being twice the size of the second. Most of the sludge stays in the first tank or section, while sewage undergoes further treatment to remove residual solid matter in the second tank or section.

Why does my septic system have 2 tanks?

Unlike a regular septic system, the two tanks on the dual septic system are used to separately store blackwater and greywater. Blackwater entails things such as urine, fecal matter, and flush water. Alternatively, greywater is the much less pathogenic liquid coming from showers, sinks, and washing machines.

Can there be 2 septic tanks?

Yes, and the reason a second tank and drainfield is necessary usually has nothing to do with providing additional gallons of tank capacity. We see homes with two septic tanks most often at the long, narrow ranch style homes of the mid-20th century–with one system located near each end.

Do both compartments in a septic tank need pumped?

Both compartments are required to be inspected and pumped. If the second compartment goes without pumping, it will eventually fill with solids and create problems.

Does shower water go into 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.

How do I connect two septic tanks together?

Use a 4-inch pipe to connect the two septic tanks. Place this pipe into the inlet hole of your new septic tank before you lower it into the ground. After you’ve lowered your new septic tank, insert the other end of the pipe into your old septic tank’s outlet hole.

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.

Which is better one compartment or two compartment septic tank?

Some experts believe that a dual compartment septic tank does a better job of settling solids than a single compartment septic tank. A dual compartment septic tank has two compartments. The first is usually longer, about twice as large as the second compartment.

What is a hybrid septic system?

A Hybrid STEP System is a sewerage collection system that uses a septic tank to contain and treat solids, a pump station to remove the clear effluent and a drain field to act as a backup to the pump station for disposal of the effluent during power outages.

What is a combo septic tank?

This a combination Septic and Pump Tank compartment system that ranges from a combination holding capacity of 1000 to 1600 gallons. All combo tanks feature 4″ Cast-a-Seal boot type connectors at inlets and outlets to provide a water tight seal.

What is a septic system dosing tank?

Pump tanks (or dosing tanks) are an integral part of any pumped septic system such as a mound system or flood dose system. It is a tank (built like a septic tank) that contains one or more effluent or sewage pumps and controls.

How often should a family of two pump their septic tank?

Septic tank pumping frequency The pumping frequency of the average septic tank varies from household to household. However, in general, you should pump your septic tank every three to five years, depending on a number of factors.

How far apart are the two lids on a septic tank?

The distance between lids will be different for each sized tank: 1000 gallon tank = 6-6.5 ft.; 1250 gallon = 7-7.5 ft.; 1500 gallon = 8.5-9 ft.. Dig up the outlet chamber access lid. If you are extraordinarily lucky, the as-built drawing is accurate and you have hit the lids spot on.

Do septic tanks always have 2 lids?

A septic tank installed before 1975 will have a single 24-inch concrete lid in the center of the rectangle. A two-compartment tank installed after 1975 will have two lids of either fiberglass or polyethylene, centered at opposite ends of the rectangle.

Why You Might Want a 2-Tank Septic System

Septic tanks are critical to the functioning of your household on a daily basis. When wastewater exits your house, it will be collected in a tank, where it will be broken down and then discharged into a drain field. While traditionally single-compartment septic tanks have been the preferred choice, a two-tank septic system is becoming increasingly common. So, what benefits does a dual septic tank provide that a single septic tank does not? Let’s have a look and see!

What does a 2-Tank Septic System Do?

In contrast to a traditional septic system, the two tanks on a dual septic system are utilized to separate and store blackwater and greywater independently from one another. Urine, fecal matter, and flush water are all examples of what is considered blackwater. Greywater, on the other hand, is the liquid that comes from showers, sinks, and washing machines that is far less pathogenic. This relieves a significant amount of stress off the septic tank as a whole and helps to prevent it from being overcrowded.

A better Removal of Solids and Effluent Quality

Additionally, a 2-tank septic system is more effective at breaking down and eliminating particles when compared to a single tank system. Having an additional treatment area to break down waste and settle the solids can go a long way toward improving the overall quality of your septic system. On top of that, the vertical wall is positioned in such a way that it traps sediments more efficiently, resulting in improved effluent flow and protection of the drainage field.

How a 2-Tank Septic System Saves You Money

A two-tank septic system not only does a better job of holding and discharging waste, but it may also save you money in the long term. Dual tanks have the natural ability to store more wastewater, which means that you will spend less money on wastewater pumping. Compared to a traditional septic tank, the likelihood of overflowing and damaged pipes is decreased due to the lesser amount of strain that it is subjected to during operation. When you use a standard system, you will not have to deal with the costly repairs that are frequently associated with them.

How Can Norway Septic Help?

Located in Norway, Indiana, Norway Septic Inc. is a customer-focused company devoted to delivering outstanding septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services to homes and business owners in the Michiana area. We take great delight in finishing the task that others have left unfinished. For more information on purchasing a new effluent filter or scheduling a septic tank cleaning with one of our specialists, please contact us right now.

Dual Tanks Serve a Purpose

The following are my thoughts on septic tanks in response to your question: There is no way to produce different water levels in a two-compartment tank unless the flow between the compartments is significantly controlled. This is not a strategy that will be advocated by anyone. Attenuation does not occur because of variations in water levels (slower flow). More attenuation equals more residence time, and residence time is equal to the product of water volume divided by the flow velocity of the water stream.

  1. Better separation is achieved by increased residency time.
  2. Using a 300 gallon water volume and a flow rate of 150 gpd, the residence period is two days under ideal mixing (which should be avoided), and maybe 12 hours under stratified flow conditions (which is desired).
  3. It is my intention to discuss my knowledge of the hydraulics of flow in septic tanks, both with and without a compartment.
  4. Solids that float become a part of the scum layer, which collects on the surface of the water.
  5. If the solids are organic, as they should be, anaerobic bacteria will work on them to lower their volume, which is why they should be used.
  6. Many of your statements concerning septic tank flow, on the other hand, are incorrect in my opinion.
  7. The invert (bottom) of the output pipe was used to measure the distance between the two pipes.

This size should offer sufficient room for the storage of floating scum in a floating scum tank.

You mentioned that a septic tank with a water capacity of 300 gallons and a flow rate of 150 gallons per day will have a residence time of two days.

It’s possible that your math is right, but the flow pattern is most certainly incorrect.

DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU SEE.

A septic tank’s flow and mixing dynamics are such that it is unlikely to assume residence periods in the manner in which you have described them.

Whenever the liquid level in the tank rises, effluent begins to flow out of the tank.

Our septic tank held a total of 1,000 gallons of wastewater.

Over the course of around two minutes, approximately 20 gallons of water would flow into the septic tank.

A total surface area of 32 square feet is covered by this structure.

(7.5% of one cubic foot is made up of liquid).

This would be the greatest depth of flow that could be achieved in the discharge pipe.

Consequently, when the liquid level in the septic tank decreased, the rate of outflow decreased.

This activity is referred to as “attenuation” or “dampening of a flood wave” in hydraulic jargon.

This is precisely what occurs in the several dams that line the Missouri River’s course.

It is possible to regulate the rate of outflow by altering the outlet gates.

A septic tank with a compartment, on the other hand, undergoes even more attenuation of the flow.

The outlet pipe of the second compartment must be two inches lower than the outlet pipe of the tee in the first compartment in order for the system to function properly.

Due to the fact that there will be two liquid levels in the septic tank, it is preferable to restrict the flow between compartments.

Even if our 1,000-gallon septic tank had been divided into two compartments, with 600 gallons in each section, the liquid level in the first compartment would have increased by 1.67 inches as a result of the 20 gallons of wastewater that entered the tank.

In order to prevent overflowing of the tank, it was necessary to gradually increase the liquid level in the second compartment.

This slower flow will enable for a cleaner effluent to come out of the tank as a result of the slower flow.

However, in my opinion, the total outflow duration will be at least twice as long as the 20 minutes I saw in my septic tank with no compartment in my previous experiment.

Compared to a tank of the same volume that does not have a compartment, the outflow from a tank with the correct compartment is significantly slower.

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.

  1. A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
  2. 4.
  3. Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
  4. Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
  5. (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
  6. The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
  7. Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
  8. 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.
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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

If your septic system becomes clogged and you find yourself having to clean the filter on a regular basis, you might be tempted to simply remove the filter altogether. Hold on to it. Septic tanks work by allowing waste to separate into three layers: solids, effluent and scum (see illustration above) (see illustration above). Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microorganisms decompose them. The scum, which is made up of waste that is lighter than water, floats to the surface. The middle layer of effluent exits the tank and travels through underground perforated pipes into the drainage field.

  • Your state health code needs an effluent filter, so maintain it in place.
  • Without the filter, waste particles could pass into the perforated pipes and clog them.
  • However, your filter should not need semiannual cleaning.
  • Chances are you’re putting filter-clogging materials down your drain, such as grease, fat or food scraps.
  • A disposer won’t break down food particles enough to allow them to pass through the septic tank filter.

Flushing plastic materials, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable products and tobacco will also clog the system. For more details on what not to put down your drain, call your state health department. Read more onfiltering out troublesome laundry lint.

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.

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.

  • 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. A contractor should be consulted about alternative possibilities because the costs might be quite expensive.

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.

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.

Septic Tank

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.

Conventional System

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.

Chamber System

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.

This method necessitates the use of additional components, such as electrical power, which results in a rise in costs as well as higher maintenance.

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.

Mound Systems

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.

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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.

Evapotranspiration System

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. These systems perform effectively in shallow soil; but, if it rains or snows excessively, they are at risk of failing completely.

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.

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

Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.

Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.

Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:

  1. All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.

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

How a Septic System Works

The septic system is a sewage treatment and disposal system.A basic system consists of a septic tank and drainage area. All flows from the house are directed by way of a main sewer line to the septic tank. 40% of household sewage is from the toilet, 30% is from bathing, 15% is from laundry and 10% is from the kitchen.

What is a Septic Tank?

The septic tank is a watertight chamber constructed of concrete or poly material. An average size is approximately 1000 gallons to 1500 gallons in capacity. Most septic tanks have one or two compartments. Two compartment tanks, or two single compartment tanks in series, provide better settling of the solids.Each septic tank has an inspection port over each baffle as well as a manhole access port. The manhole lid needs to be accessed for the tank to be pumped. These can be found at or below the ground surface. Typically you will find 4” diameter plastic lids at the ground surface that are the inspection ports over either of the baffles on the tank and not where the tank is to be pumped through.The baffles of the tank are one of the most important components in the septic tank. The inlet baffle forces the wastewater from the sewer line down into the tank instead of across the surface of the tank and into the outlet pipe leading to the absorption area. The outlet baffle prevents the scum layer from moving into the soil absorption area. In a properly functioning septic tank the solids and sludge settle to the bottom and accumulate, scum (lightweight materials including paper, fats and greases) rises to the surface and the effluent (liquid) in the tank existing between those layers overflows to the absorption area.
The absorption area uses the ability of the stone and soil to filter and treat the remaining effluent. Examples of absorption areas are seepage beds, trenches, sand mounds or older cesspools / seepage pits. A cesspool is a block walled dirt bottom pit. Cesspools are no longer an installation choice but there are many properties that still have functioning cesspools. Odors and gasses from the septic system, that are always present, are vented through pipes on the house roof.For further information: -On Lot Sewage System Owner Manual -A Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems – by EPA

How does a two compartment septic tank work?

Asked in the following category: General The most recent update was made on February 29th, 2020. The septic tank is where all of the waste water from the plumbing fixtures goes. Heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank, where bacterial action produces digested sludge and gases, and lighter solids, such as grease, oils, and fats, rise to the top of the tank, forming a scum layer. Heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank, where bacterial action produces digested sludge and gases. Tanks constructed since 1975 are typically two compartments in design.

  1. Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them.
  2. As a result, the question becomes, what exactly is a dual compartment septic tank?
  3. A dual compartment septic tank is divided into two sections.
  4. One of the downsides of a dual compartment septic tank is that it has to be pumped more frequently than a single compartment tank.
  5. A: Both maybe and definitely.
  6. Two lids are nearly always present, and you must remove both before pumping from any of the two.
  7. If your tank has two lids, open both of them to allow the pumper to access the tank.

Here’s Why You Have Two Septic Tanks

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product after clicking on one of our links, we may receive a commission or free product from the firms featured in this post. A good example would be Amazon. Your home or building facility may be equipped with an on-site wastewater management system (your septic system), or it may be connected to your municipality’s sewer system. It is in the best interests of all property owners to be aware of whether their property is equipped with a dedicated septic system or not.

  1. Why do you have two septic tanks, you may wonder.
  2. Blackwater is a combination of urine, fecal matter, and flushwater that is used to flush toilets.
  3. On the other hand, greywater is water that comes from home equipment other than toilets (for example, bath tubs, showers, sinks, and washing machines), and it is a type of waste water.
  4. A typical residential septic tank is composed of two spherical concrete tanks with lids that are placed next to each other.
  5. Septic tanks are divided into two pieces by a partition, with the first compartment having twice the size of the second compartment.
  6. In a number of sanitation systems, it is preferable to keep greywater separate from blackwater in order to reduce the amount of water that becomes heavily contaminated with pathogens in the second tank or section.
  7. Blackwater contains pathogens that must be destroyed before wastewater can be discharged into the environment without causing harm to the ecosystem.
  8. In addition, because to the high quantities of organic compounds in the wastewater, it is not treated rapidly.
  9. Alternating systems are what these are referred to as.

Consequently, the soil’s capacity to handle wastewater is revitalized as a result of the drying out of the disused part.

How Do Septic Systems Work?

All septic systems, according to conventional wisdom, involve a septic tank, which is often a huge rectangular or cylindrical container constructed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that collects wastewater. The septic tank is a container that is buried below and into which effluent from the property’s plumbing fixtures is channelled. Heavy solid wastes sink to the bottom of the pond, where anaerobic bacterial activity creates digested sludge and gases as a result of the process. Scum layer is formed at the top of the scum layer as lighter solid wastes (such as grease, oils, and fats) rise to the surface.

  1. In the septic tank, solids that have not decomposed are still there.
  2. When this occurs, the drainfield becomes blocked, which may eventually result in the drainfield failing completely.
  3. Furthermore, the septic system may collapse, resulting in sewage effluent being discharged straight to the ground or backing up into the home or structure.
  4. Septic failure is more common in older systems that have a single drainage receptacle that does not alternate with the other drains.
  5. Clogging may occur more often in systems that have been in operation for a long length of time because the soil surrounding the drainage receptacle has become more porous.
  6. When this occurs, you are confronted with the following possibilities: It is possible that sewage will begin to back up into your home or business’s pipes.
  7. Alternatively, you may detect sewage pouring from a tiny grated pipe positioned outside your facility’s perimeter (this is called the overflow relief disconnector gully).
  8. There will be a noticeable foul stench, and this will represent a serious health hazard to the public.
  9. Single compartment septic tanks are the most common type of septic tank found in systems built before 1975.
  10. Due to the fact that both compartments of this type of septic tank need to be pumped, it is important that you are aware of this fact.
  11. Septic tanks are common in older homes and businesses that have been in operation for more than 40 years.

Either that, or you have a single septic tank divided into two chambers. Whatever the situation may be, there will almost certainly be two lids that you will need to unscrew in order to pump the contents out.

How Often Should a Septic Tank Be Pumped?

Ensure that your septic tank is regularly examined and pumped, ideally every three to five years, by following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Septic tank pumping frequency will, of course, vary depending on the size of the tank, how much solid waste is being dumped into it, and the behaviors of those who utilize its contents. To ensure that your septic tank system remains in excellent working order, there is only one surefire method to do it, and that is to have your tank examined on an annual or more frequent basis.

  1. The septic tank should be pumped once the bottom of the scum layer reaches within 3 inches of the base of the outlet baffle, or when the top of the sludge layer comes within 12 inches of the base of the outlet fitting (whichever occurs first).
  2. This has everything to do with the size of your septic tank and the amount of waste it can handle.
  3. It is important to remember that your septic tank should be opened and examined at the very least once every three years if an annual check is not possible.
  4. Pumping will be necessary if the sludge and scum layers are not removed as previously indicated.
  5. Keep in mind that if you are vigilant in getting your septic tank pumped on a regular and periodic basis, you will avoid the most prevalent reasons of (very avoidable) septic tank system failure.
  6. In most cases, regular and religious maintenance will spare you from the bother and stress of having to pay for highly expensive emergency septic system repairs.
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Septic System Guide: How It Works and How to Maintain It

As soon as you flush the toilet in most metropolitan locations, the waste is pumped out to the nearest sewage treatment facility. Garbage is processed at this factory, which separates it into two types of waste: water that is clean enough to be dumped into a river and solids known as residual waste. The remaining material is either disposed of in landfill or utilized as fertilizer. Septic systems, which are used in places where there aren’t any sewage treatment plants, provide a similar function, but on a much smaller scale.

In most cases, waste-water exits the home and drains into an underground septic tank that is 20 to 50 feet distant from the house, kicking off the treatment process.

What are Septic Tanks and How Do They Work?

Septic tanks are normally composed of concrete or heavyweight plastic and have a capacity of 1000 to 2000 gallons, depending on the manufacturer. In the tank, there are two chambers that are divided by a portion of a wall. The waste from the residence is channeled into the bigger room. Solids sink to the bottom of the chamber, and liquids make their way through a partial wall into the smaller second chamber, which is located above it. Anaerobic bacteria, which are found naturally in the environment, digest the solids and convert them into water, carbon dioxide, and a tiny amount of indigestible debris.

Septic Fields Distribute Liquid Effluent

The second chamber has an output pipe via which the liquid (known as effluent) from the tank is discharged to a disposal or leach field, depending on the situation. It is drained into the earth by a network of perforated pipes or through perforated plastic structures known as galleries, which are constructed of perforated plastic. It is common practice to lay the pipe or galleries in a bed of gravel, which aids in dispersing the liquid. During the course of the effluent’s percolation through the soil, the soil absorbs remaining bacteria and particles, resulting in water that is safe to drink by the time the water reaches the aquifer deeper down.

  1. They are not much deeper than that since a large quantity of water escapes through evaporation or is transpired by grass growing above ground.
  2. If you have sandy soils that drain too rapidly, you may not be able to treat the wastewater properly.
  3. Sometimes the water cannot be disposed of properly because the natural soils include a high concentration of silt or clay.
  4. Topsoil and grass are applied to the mound, which allows more water to leave through transpiration and evaporation than would otherwise be possible.

Septic Systems Rely on Gravity, Most of the Time

The majority of septic systems rely on gravity to transfer the liquid from the home to the tank and then to the field where it will be disposed of. However, due to the slope of the land, the tank or the field may need to be higher than the house in some instances. It is necessary to have a pump, or occasionally two pumps, in order for this to operate. A grinder pump, which liquefies sediments and is installed in a pit in the basement or crawlspace of the home, will be used if the tank is higher than the house.

Sewage pumps are essentially large sump pumps that are used for heavy-duty applications. When the amount of effluent in the pit reaches a specific level, a float activates a switch, which then activates the pump, which empties the pit.

How to Treat Your Septic System

It is not necessary to do much to keep your septic system in good working order, other than cut the grass above it and keep the drainage area free of trees and plants with roots that may block it.

How Often Do You Need to Pump A Septic Tank?

You should have a septic provider pump out the particles from your tank every two years, at the absolute least. A manhole at the surface of the tank will provide the pump operator access, but older systems may necessitate digging a hole in the tank’s top so the pumping hatch can be exposed. Unless the tank is continuously pumped, sediments will build up in it and ultimately make their way into the leach field, clogging it. You’ll know it’s occurring because untreated effluent will rise to the surface of the tank and back up into the home, causing it to overflow.

Pumping the tank on a regular basis can ensure that the leach fields continue to work eternally.

What to Do if Your Septic System Fails

Pumps in a pumped septic system will ultimately fail, just as they will in any mechanical system. Most pumps are equipped with an alarm that sounds when the effluent level in the pit is greater than it should be, indicating that the pump has failed and has to be replaced. This is a job that should be left to the professionals. Visit the following website to locate a trusted list of installation and septic system service companies in your area:

  • The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s Septic Locator
  • The National Association of Wastewater Technicians
  • And the National Association of Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association

It is rare for a homeowner to have to worry about their septic system because it is well-maintained and doesn’t cause problems. Simple maintenance, such as keeping the tank pumped and the lawn trimmed, should result in decades of trouble-free service. What kind of protection do you have in place for your home’s systems and appliances against unforeseen maintenance needs? If this is the case, you might consider purchasing a house warranty.

  • Home Warranty Coverage for Roof Leaks
  • Septic Warranty Coverage and Costs
  • And more. Plans for protecting your mobile home’s warranty
  • What Is Home Repair Insurance and How Does It Work? How to Find the Most Reasonably Priced Home Appliance Insurance

Understanding Your Septic System and How It Works

The first step in comprehending your septic system is to get familiar with what you are dealing with. Important to understand is that your system was customized for your property, taking into account factors such as the number of bedrooms (estimated number of people), soil type, and depth from the water table or other restricting layer. If you do not already have a copy of your septic system drawing, you can obtain one by contacting the county permitting office. An underground septic tank and a soil dispersal area, or drainfield, are two components of the septic system on your property.

  • The inlet is the point at which household wastewater enters the septic tank.
  • Solid trash from the wastewater settles to the bottom of the tank, where anaerobic bacteria breakdown a part of the sludge, releasing nutrients into the water.
  • Filters can be installed in the outflow baffle to increase the amount of scum and sludge retained.
  • Newer tanks may additionally feature two manhole covers, one over each baffle, which are located above the baffles.
  • Not only would having the manhole cover on the ground level make access easier, but it will also save you money when a professional comes to work on your tank since it will be less expensive.
  • In a normal septic system, the drainfield is where the majority of the treatment takes place.
  • In the drainfield, the water slowly seeps into the underlying soil, where it remains.

Afterwards, the cleaned wastewater either travels into the groundwater or evaporates from the ground surface.

Sand mounds are typically employed when the underlying soil has too much clay to enable water to soak through adequately, or when the water table is too close to the surface to be effectively drained.

Flowing liquid is pushed from the tank to perforated plastic pipes that are buried behind a mound of sand that has been constructed on the ground’s surface.

The vegetation that has grown atop the mound has assisted in the evaporation of part of the liquid.

It is intended to lower the quantity of nitrogen entering drainfields, surface and ground waters, and groundwater by using a BAT unit or an aerobic treatment unit (ATU) for increased nitrogen removal.

BAT units can reduce nitrogen by 55 to 80 percent when compared to a regular septic tank, which can only reduce nitrogen by 5 percent.

Please visit the MDE’s Onsite Division website for further information about BAT units, including price, efficiency, and running expenses.

In order to limit the possibility of contamination of drinking water, it is critical that your system be properly maintained for both public and environmental health reasons.

All This Rain – Does It Harm My Septic System?

This webinar presents basic hydraulic capacity and design flow of a septic system and how excessive surface water may negatively affect the efficiency of the system and potential harm to the system and environment.

Upgrading to Best Available Technology Septic Systems

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