How Does A Septic Tank Work Show Diagram? (Perfect answer)

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 do septic tank systems work?

Septic tanks, whether they are single or multi-chambered, utilise the simple process of gravity to separate the liquid waste from the solid waste that flows into it from your property. The lighter solids in the waste, along with oil and grease, float to the surface and form a “scum” layer.

How does a septic tank work simple?

How septic tanks work. Partially treated water from the tank flows via an outlet into the drainfield. This wastewater then percolates into the soil through small holes in the pipes. Microorganisms in the soil then remove any of the remaining harmful particles in the wastewater.

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.

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 are the 3 types of septic systems?

Types of Septic Systems

  • Septic Tank.
  • Conventional System.
  • Chamber System.
  • Drip Distribution System.
  • Aerobic Treatment Unit.
  • Mound Systems.
  • Recirculating Sand Filter System.
  • Evapotranspiration System.

Do all septic tanks have a soakaway?

A soakaway is not usually needed with a sewage treatment plant, but it is required with a septic tank. This is because the water released by a septic tank is primary treated effluent, meaning it has only gone through one stage of treatment.

How full should my septic tank be?

A septic tank should always be “filled” to its normal liquid level, or the bottom of the outlet pipe which carries effluent to the absorption area. This normal liquid level is usually between 8” to 12” from the top of the tank on average (see picture at right).

Do you need to pump both sides of a septic tank?

Septic tanks installed after the late 1980s have two compartments, and it is important to pump out both compartments each time. Most homeowners are unaware when their septic tank has two compartments; some companies use that to their advantage, charging to pump both sides of the tank but only actually pumping out one.

Why does my septic tank have 2 lids?

Solid, watertight, buried tank made of concrete, plastic, fiberglass or metal. This tank has a way in (inlet), and a way out (outlet). So, most residential tanks should have (2) lids about 5′ away from each other. A septic tank holds all the liquid waste from your home (toilets, sinks, kitchen, bathtubs, floor drains).

Are dead animals good for septic tanks?

This is false. Rotting meat just adds unnecessary and foreign bacteria to your septic tank. At best, this will do nothing. At worst, bones and fur from a dead animal will clog up your system.

How many loads of laundry a day are safe to do with a septic tank?

Spread Out Laundry Loads These use less water which puts less stress on your septic system. Regardless of the type of appliance you have, you should still spread out your loads. Instead of doing several loads in one day, consider doing 1 load per day or space out 2 loads if you must do more in a single day.

How do I clean my septic tank naturally?

You can mix about a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon to make your own natural cleaning agent. The baking soda will fizz up to help get the dirt and grime in your tub and drains. It’s a great cleaner and your septic system will thank you!

How do I check my septic tanks sludge level?

To measure the sludge layer:

  1. Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it touches the bottom of the tank.
  2. As the device is slowly pulled out of the water, the check valve closes capturing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water. The thickness of the sludge layer can be measured.

How do you know if your septic system is failing?

The first signs of a failing septic system may include slow draining toilets and sinks, gurgling noises within the plumbing, sewage odors inside, continuing drainage backups, or bacteria in the well water. The area of the strongest odor will point to the location of the failure in the septic system.

What is the most common cause of septic system failure?

Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.

How Does a Septic Tank Work?

Septic systems are a low-cost and frequently practical alternative to traditional sewer systems for a variety of situations. Concrete tanks have been the most frequent since the 1940s, with three 500-gallon lids for a 1000-gallon tank and four 500-gallon lids for a 1500-gallon tank being the most common configuration. For ease of access to both sides of the tank, 16″ square concrete plugs with a lifting bail were included in the late 1990s on new tank constructions. Tanks made of fiberglass or acrylic are becoming increasingly popular today.

It goes without saying that shattered lids can pose a serious threat to the tank’s integrity.

Installing risers in your tank may be necessary if your tank is very deep, or if you just do not want your yard to be dug up every time your tank is serviced.

To ensure the safety of the contents, each lid should be screwed shut.

  1. The tank should be visually examined after each cleaning session.
  2. It is expected that for every five gallons of water that enters the tank, there should be five gallons of water that escape the tank.
  3. The fact that the tank is not completely full, even after regular usage, might suggest that there is a fracture or hole in the tank, which will enable water to leak through.
  4. There are a variety of reasons why the water level in the tank may be too high, or even overflowing the top of the tank.
  5. Consequently, in this situation, water will follow the path of least resistance, which would be to simply overflow the tank and allow puddling to occur.
  6. It would appear that replacing the field lines is the only option in this situation.
  7. The cost of rebuilding field lines is significantly higher.

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? After that, I’ll explain why things go wrong and offer you some tips on how to keep your system in peak operating condition.

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.
  • 4.
  • 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.
  • The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt.
  • 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

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. Solids, wastewater, and scum are separated into three levels in septic tanks, which allows them to function properly (see illustration above). Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them. The scum, which is made up of trash that is lighter than water, rises to the surface. In the drainage field, the middle layer of effluent leaves the tank and goes through an underground network of perforated pipes to the drainage field.

  1. Keep the effluent filter in place since it is required by your state’s health law.
  2. Waste particles might flow through the filter and clog the perforated pipes if the filter is not used.
  3. Your filter, on the other hand, should not require cleaning every six months.
  4. A good chance is high that you’re flushing filter-clogging things down the toilet, such as grease, fat, or food scraps.
  5. A garbage disposal will not be able to break down food particles sufficiently to allow them to flow through the septic tank filtration system.
  6. Plastic items, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable goods, and tobacco products will clog the system if they are flushed through it.
  7. More information on removing lint from your laundry may be found here.

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.
See also:  How To Remove Washing Machine From Septic Tank? (Perfect answer)

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.

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 a Septic System Works – and Common Problems

This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.

One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.

SEPTIC TANK

The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.

  1. In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
  2. Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
  3. Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
  4. Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.

A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.

Leach Field

When used properly, a leach field (also known as a “drain field”) is a series of perforated pipes that are typically buried in gravel trenches 18 to 36 inches below grade — deep enough to avoid freezing, but close enough to the surface that air can reach the bacteria that further purify the effluent (see illustration below). As little as 6 inches might separate you from the ground surface, depending on your soil type and municipal regulations. It is customary to cover the perforated pipes with approximately two inches of gravel and a layer of topsoil that is 18 to 24 inches in depth.

  • Grass is often sown above the ground.
  • The leach field is comprised of rows of perforated pipes in gravel trenches that are used to spread wastewater over a vast area in order to further purify it.
  • A bacteria-rich slime mat forms where the gravel meets the soil, and it is responsible for the majority of the water purification work.
  • Despite the fact that wastewater freezes at a far lower temperature than pure water, freezing is still a hazard in cold areas.
  • The leftover pathogens are converted into essential plant nutrients by these organisms, while sand, gravel, and soil filter out any solids that remain.
  • If the system is operating effectively, the filtered wastewater will return to the aquifer as naturally clean water that is suitable for human consumption at this stage.
  • Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
  • Special systems may also be necessary in regions where there are flood plains, bodies of water, or other ecologically sensitive areas to protect against flooding.

SIZING THE LEACH FIELD

Using perforated pipes put in gravel-filled trenches, the drain field is sized to accommodate the number of beds in the house. In order for the system to function successfully, the leach field must be appropriately sized for the soil type and amount of wastewater, which is normally determined by the number of bedrooms in the house. In order for the liquid to seep into the soil, it must be permeable enough to do so. As a result, the denser the soil, the larger the leach field that is necessary.

  • Better to have surplus capacity in your system than to have it cut too close to the bone.
  • Septic tank backup into your house, pooling on the surface of the earth, or polluting local groundwater are all possibilities if the ground is incapable of absorbing the liquid.
  • Dense clay soils will not absorb the liquid at a sufficient rate, resulting in a backlog.
  • If the soil is mostly composed of coarse sand and gravel, it might drain at such a rapid rate that untreated sewage can poison the aquifer or damage surrounding bodies of water.
  • Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.

These systems sometimes cost twice or three times as much as a regular system and require significantly more upkeep. Near flood plains, bodies of water, and other ecologically sensitive places, special systems may also be necessary to protect people and property.

SEPTIC SYSTEM CAREMAINTENANCE REQUIRED

If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!

  1. Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
  2. Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
  3. In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
  4. To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
  • You will have years of trouble-free service if you take good care of your system. In order to remove the solids (sludge) and grease layer (scum) from the tank on a regular basis, it is necessary to pump the tank periodically. The solids will ultimately overflow and flow into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not prevented. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult or impossible
  • Thus, routine pumping is essential! The most common reason for septic systems to fail prematurely is a failure to pump empty the tank. Additionally, if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if it is overflowing on a regular basis, cooking fats, oil, and particles might wash into the leach field as well. Whenever fats, petroleum compounds, and solids make their way into the leach field, they can clog the biological mat that forms where the leach trenches meet the soil and prevent it from doing its duty of filtering the effluent effectively. Heavy domestic consumption or yard drainage can cause the system to become overloaded, resulting in the transport of oil and particles to the leach field. Drainage from the yard should be directed away from the leach field in order to avoid difficulties. In addition, don’t try to wash a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day. Keeping the load controlled will assist to extend the life of your system and keep it running at its peak performance. Preventing the system from becoming overloaded consists of the following steps.

If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free service. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have accumulated in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and flow into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this does not happen. It is difficult or impossible to restore a blocked leach field, making continuous pumping of the field essential!

Cooking fats, grease, and particles can also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.

Heavy domestic consumption or yard drainage can cause the system to become overloaded, resulting in the transport of oil and particles into the leach field.

And don’t try to do a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day. This will assist you in keeping the load controlled and will help to extend the life of your system. In order to avoid overburdening the system:

  • Treat your system with care, and you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free service. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the solids (sludge) and grease layer (scum) from the tank. Otherwise, sediments will ultimately overflow the tank and pour into the leach field, diminishing the efficacy of the system and shortening its life. It is difficult or impossible to rehabilitate a blocked leach field, thus constant pumping is essential! Forgetting to pump out a septic tank is the most common reason for a septic system to fail prematurely. Cooking fats, grease, and particles can also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if it is overloaded on a regular basis. Fats, petroleum compounds, and particles that reach the leach field might clog the biological mat at the point where the leach trenches meet the soil, interfering with its ability to cleanse the effluent. Excessive water from intensive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field. Direct yard drainage away from the leach field in order to avoid difficulties. And don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day. This will assist in keeping the load moderate and extending the life of your equipment. In order to avoid overburdening the system,

If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!

  1. Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
  2. Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
  3. In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
  4. To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
  • Heavy machinery should not be driven, parked, or stored on top of the leach field (or septic tank). Placement of a deck, patio, pool, or any other sort of construction over the leach field is prohibited. Remove any large trees or other plants with deep roots from the leach field. Grass is the most effective groundcover.

Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.

A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that.

More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.

SEPTIC SYSTEM PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS

Poor original design, abuse, or physical damage, such as driving heavy trucks over the leach field, are the root causes of the majority of septic system issues. The following are examples of common situations that might cause a septic system to operate poorly: Plumbing in the home. obstructed or insufficient plumbing vents, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or an insufficient pitch in the sewer line leading from the house are all possible causes. Sewage tank to leach field connection Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged line leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage caused by sediments that overflowed from the tank Piping in the leach field.

  • Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
  • Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
  • Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.
  • This may frequently be remedied by adding subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the immediate area around the drainage system.
  • Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
  • Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?

How Much Slope Do You Need for a Septic Line? Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test? Should I use a Sand Filter with my existing septic system? Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page

Everything You Need to Know About Your Septic Tank

What is a septic tank, and how does it work? A septic tank is a water-tight container that is often constructed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene to prevent flooding (plastic). In fact, it is only one component of the entire septic system, which includes several other components such as a distribution box, pumps, float switches, aerators, filters, and other accessories. Septic systems are used to treat wastewater on-site in many rural and suburban areas that do not have access to centralized sewage systems.

The components of a conventional septic tank are depicted in the diagram below.

These are:

  1. The Tank: This is the water-tight tank into which wastewater from your house is sent once it has been collected. A hole, fracture, or any other structural damage should not be present. Access Ports: When a trained pumper comes to clean up your tank, they will utilize an access port. When it comes to tank cleaning, it is critical that the access port be large enough to allow the pumper to move the hose about within the tank properly. A common application for risers is to elevate septic tank access above ground level, eliminating the need to dig up your septic tank every time it has to be pumped. Last but not least, the access port should be securely secured with a child-resistant lid. It is vital for the protection of your family that septic tank lids are securely fastened with screws and that they are not cracked or damaged. Pipes for entering and exiting the septic tank: Wastewater from your house enters the septic tank through the intake pipe. After the particles have settled out, the effluent is discharged from the septic tank through the exit pipe and into the drainage field. There should be roughly 3 inches between the output pipe and the intake pipe. A baffle is fitted on the intake pipe within the tank, and it serves to keep the water out. It provides a variety of functions. Additionally, it helps to avoid the build-up of scum and its backup into the intake pipe It is also important for solids to settle in the tank that the input baffle be properly installed. When wastewater enters the septic tank, it should hit the entrance baffle, which will reduce the flow and prevent the tank from becoming agitated. This permits the contents of the septic tank to remain at rest, allowing the solids to sink to the bottom of the tank. The intake baffle can also prevent odorous odors from entering the sewage line and spreading throughout the home or business
  2. And It is even more crucial than the inlet baffle to have an exit baffle in place because it helps to prevent scum and other particles from flowing directly into the outflow pipe and eventually into the drain field. Gas Deflector/Effluent Filter: As gas bubbles climb to the top of a septic tank, they may bring sediments with them. This is why an effluent filter is used. A gas deflector prevents these solid-carrying gases from entering the output line by preventing them from entering. However, while not every septic tank is equipped with an effluent filter, it is strongly suggested as an additional safety to prevent particulates from entering your drain field.

Any of the above-mentioned components in your septic tank should be checked for damage or missing parts as soon as possible, and the problem should be resolved by a septic system specialist. What is the operation of a septic tank? Each and every drop of wastewater from your home is channeled via a main drainage pipe and into your septic tank. Solids are prevented from entering your drain field by using the septic tank, which is just a settling tank that serves as a filter. Ideally, the water should be kept in the tank for at least one day in order to enable time for the solids to settle.

  1. Heavy materials, such as dirt and digested waste, will sink to the bottom of the tank and form a sludge layer at the bottom of the tank.
  2. Effluent is the term used to describe the liquid that exists between the sludge and scum layers.
  3. It is critical that solids are given adequate time and space to settle before being used.
  4. In fact, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection mandates a minimum capacity of 900 gallons for any new septic tank installations in the state (the table below shows recommended septic tank capacities for different sized homes).
  5. Ideally, you should have your septic tank emptied every two to three years, according to the Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA).
  6. If a drain field has been ruined by a buildup of sediments, it might cost tens of thousands of dollars to rebuild it.
  7. It is crucial to understand that your septic tank must be completely filled with liquid in order to function effectively.
  8. The septic tank diagram shown above depicts the correct operating level of a septic tank in a residential setting.
  9. The result is that whenever more wastewater is added to the tank, an equal volume of effluent will be discharged from the tank and drain into the drain field.
  10. The opposite is true if the liquid level is higher than the outflow line, which may signal a blockage in a line downstream from the septic tank or in the drain field.

If you’re wondering if your septic tank is full, a skilled pumper will consider it “full” once solids have filled one-third of the tank’s capacity. This is the time of year when your septic tank will need to be pumped.

How Does My Septic System Work?

Septic systems are marvels of contemporary science, allowing us to take use of the comfort of indoor plumbing without having to worry about how to dispose of our home waste in an effective and safe manner, which is a major benefit. Is it true that you are completely unaware of how your septic system functions? Understanding the operation of your septic system is essential to ensure that it is appropriately utilized and maintained in the future. Continue reading to find out more about what your septic system is and how it works:

Common Parts of a Septic System

A septic system is not necessary a complicated system, and each of its components works together to ensure that the waste generated by your family is properly kept and disposed of as soon as possible.

Septic Tank

Located beneath the earth on your property, a septic tank is a huge rectangular or cylindrical container composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that collects and treats waste. They are used for homes that do not have access to a sewer system, which is most frequent in rural regions.

Drainfield

Septic tank sewage is channeled into your yard by a network of pipework known as the drainfield. Wastewater is normally held in the septic tank for two days before being discharged to the drainfield in the yard. This section of your septic system consists of lengthy lengths of pipe, referred to as “drainpipes,” that are punctured with small holes to allow for the release of waste. In the event that sediments accumulate in drainfields and are not adequately pushed away, the drainfield may get clogged.

If you find any of the following, your drainfield may be clogged:

  • The presence of greener grass over the drainfield
  • Unusual scents in your yard
  • And plumbing backups a squishy or muddy surface

If your drainfield becomes clogged, your complete septic system will be unable to work correctly. It is preferable to hire skilled underground service specialists to take care of the problem.

Pump Tanks

Even though pump tanks are not a required component of your septic system, they are highly suggested in order to guarantee that the system operates and maintains itself properly. Pump tanks are made up of the following components:

  • Pumping of effluents It catches sediments before they leave the tank, preventing them from being discharged into the drainfield, which helps to keep the drainfield from being clogged. Control floats in mid-air. It is connected to a control panel and sends signals to tell the panel when to turn the pump on and off. A high-water alarm has been activated. When the pump fails to function properly, this feature is activated to signal an excessive volume of waste in the septic tank. In most cases, it is found under the kitchen sink or in the garage.

The best course of action for homeowners who have a high-water alarm activated is to conserve water and have a professional septic system specialist assess the water levels.

Distribution Box

The distribution box, which is positioned between the septic tank and the drainfield, is meant to transport wastewater evenly across the drainfield lines, which are connected to the septic tank.

Leach Drain Field

Often referred to as the septic field, the leach field is a component of your septic system that accepts wastewater from the septic tank. It refers to the network of drainpipes, stones, and a layer of unsaturated soil that make up the drainage system. It moves trash into the soil, where it is eventually re-circulated back into the groundwater supply.

How a Septic System Works

All of these components work together to securely remove wastewater from your house and disperse it into the surrounding environment.

Specifically, it accomplishes this by relying on naturally occurring bacteria to break down the materials that are dumped into the septic tank. All of the things that you flush down the toilet or rinse down the drain fall into one of three categories:

  1. Sludge is a term that refers to heavy things (such as solid food waste, excrement, and toilet paper) that collect at the bottom of a tank and accumulate there. Natural bacteria break down the particles in the tank over time, allowing them to be drained out of the tank as scum. These are lighter items (soaps, oils, and grease) that float to the surface of the septic tank
  2. Liquid (Effluent) wastewater
  3. And solid (Sludge) wastewater. Water that remains in the tank is pumped to the drainfield, which is located in the centre of the tank.

In the end, everything that goes into your septic tank will decompose and produce effluent wastewater, which will then be discharged into your drainfield. This wastewater has been processed (thanks to the bacteria) and is released down the drain pipes before being filtered by the soil. The wastewater is subsequently absorbed, treated, and dispersed by the soil until it finally seeps into the groundwater table. As a natural filter, the soil eliminates dangerous germs and viruses while also absorbing nutrients.

Septic System Issues

As previously stated, septic systems are susceptible to high water levels as well as clogged drainfields and leach fields. There are, however, several other septic-related considerations to bear in mind:

  • Clogs. The system between your house and the tank might get clogged for a variety of reasons, including clogs in the drainage pipes themselves. During this time, you’ll observe sluggish drainage and sewage backups in your home. The roots of a tree. Tree roots will naturally grow in the direction of water and moisture, and they will tend to wrap around or bore through any obstructions that stand in their way. There may be harm to your septic system if there are trees growing on or around it
  • This includes damage to the tank and pipes. Detergents are products that remove dirt and grime. Certain detergent solutions that contain high amounts of phosphate can foster the growth of algae in your tank, which can subsequently cause the perforations in the drain pipes to get clogged with algae.

In order to avoid problems with your septic system, it is important to be aware of the substances and items that you are releasing into your home’s plumbing system at all times. It is preferable to use phosphate-free detergents and cleaning products that are specifically designed for septic systems. These products degrade more quickly and will help to keep your system from becoming clogged in the future. Also, be mindful of what you are flushing down the toilet. Everything plastic and non-biodegradable, such as paper towels and sanitary tampons, is not intended to break down in a septic tank and should be avoided.

A regular pumping and maintenance schedule is a surefire way to keep your septic system operating at peak efficiency.

We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and address your concerns!

The 5 Biggest Questions Home Buyers Have About Septic Systems

Image courtesy of istockphoto.com The word “septic system” in a home ad is well-known for scaring away potential purchasers from the property. Some homebuyers may consider the system to be obsolete, expensive to fix, or difficult to keep up to date. Septic systems, on the other hand, do not have to be frightening. A septic tank and its accompanying parts may easily endure for decades if they have a good maintenance record and are properly inspected on a regular basis. Don’t instantly rule out an attractive property because it has this sort of system buried out back if you’re contemplating booking a viewing appointment.

Continue reading to learn more about septic systems, including how they function, common misunderstandings about them, how to maintain them, how to locate a septic system inspector, and indicators that a septic system is in danger of collapsing.

1. How do septic systems work?

Water that has been filtered by a septic system is called effluent. There are several components, including a big septic tank, distribution box, baffles, and a drainfield, all of which are buried below ground. Septic fields and leach fields are other names for the drainfield, which is a network of perforated pipes that extends out from the septic tank and allows filtered wastewater to be released back into the environment through the soil. The wastewater from your home, including that from toilets, sinks, showers, and appliances, is channeled out of the house and into the tank through the pipes.

The accumulation of particles over time offers a luxury home for helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the materials and release the grease, oil, and fats that have accumulated on the surface (the scum).

The residual wastewater (also known as effluent) runs via outlet pipes into a disposal bed or drainfield, where it is slowly and securely filtered by the earth, allowing it to be recycled. Image courtesy of istockphoto.com

2. What are common misconceptions about septic systems?

A lot of people have misconceptions (and even falsehoods) regarding septic systems, and this may make it difficult to decide whether or not to purchase a property that has one. Take a moment to put some popular myths and misconceptions in their proper perspective.

  • A septic system is no longer used by most people. Actually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), around 20% of homes are equipped with a septic system, or one in every five dwellings. Septic systems fail on a regular basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a septic system may survive up to 40 years—and possibly even longer—with proper maintenance. Septic systems have a foul odor. It is unlikely that an improperly managed septic system will release any unpleasant smells. An odor emanating from drains or the septic system itself indicates that there is a problem. A septic system has the potential to pollute a well. Installed correctly and maintained on a regular basis, a system will not cause contamination of a well on the property. To guarantee proper separation of drinking water and wastewater, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the system be installed at least 50 feet away from a well. The septic system will be examined during a house inspection. A house inspection is often focused on the systems within the home, and as a result, it seldom includes more than a cursory examination of the septic system. Look for a professional that understands the workings of a septic system and how to do a comprehensive inspection in order to obtain a complete picture.

3. How do you maintain a septic system?

Septic systems require regular care and maintenance in order to function properly. The good news is that keeping a septic system in excellent working order is rather straightforward. Here’s how to keep it in proper functioning order.

  • Take cautious with the information you submit over the system. Pouring anything down the toilet should be avoided at all costs. This includes things like paint and chemicals, kitty litter, coffee grinds, disposable wipes, diapers, and feminine products. These are all potential clog-makers in the septic system. It is best not to use any additives in the system. Additives may be classified into two categories, according to the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, which are chemical and biological. Despite the fact that these solutions are touted to accomplish anything from speed solids breakdown to enhance the condition of the drainfield, they typically cause havoc on the bacteria that are intended to keep the system running smoothly. Keep vehicles away from drainfields and never park or drive over them, since this might cause damage to the pipes. When planting shrubs or trees near a drainfield, use caution to avoid damaging the plants. The roots of some water-loving plants, such as weeping willows, can find their way into the drainfield, outlet pipes, or even the septic tank system itself. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, a fair rule of thumb is: if a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
  • If a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
  • Get your septic tank pumped out by a professional septic provider on average every two or three years. An further visual inspection of the component is often performed at the same time by a qualified specialist
  • Call a specialist as soon as you see any signs of impending failure (as indicated below)! The sooner you contact, the less expensive a repair may be

Image courtesy of istockphoto.com

4. How do you find the best septic system inspector?

Once an offer on a home is made, the deal is nearly always subject on the outcome of a thorough inspection of the property, which includes an examination of the septic system. Important to remember is that what is stated on a seller’s disclosure form is not a substitute for a thorough inspection of the property being offered for sale. The average homeowner does not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to conduct a thorough inspection of the system. If there are concealed issues, it is possible that the homeowner will not be aware of them.

  1. One of the most common types of house inspection is a general home inspection, which evaluates the structure of the home, systems within it (such as plumbing and electricity), roof condition, and maybe some of the external features.
  2. As a result, always seek the services of a septic system specialist for an inspection.
  3. Your neighbors and real estate agent may be able to provide you with a few decent leads.
  4. To begin, contact each possible inspector and ask them about their approach to the task; for example, some may use cameras to evaluate the distribution box and drainfield, while others may dig to complete their inspection.
  5. Once the inspection has begun, the expert will search for pumping and maintenance records, examine for signs of leakage or backup, measure the levels of sludge and scum, and determine the age of the tank, among other things.
  6. Depending on whether or not the property includes extensions that were built after the septic tank was originally installed, an inspector may give recommendations to make the residence more sanitary.

For example, a two-bedroom home will require a tank of a different capacity than a three-bedroom home will. Image courtesy of istockphoto.com

5. What are the signs that a septic system needs to be replaced?

It is critical to notice the warning symptoms of impending failure before they manifest themselves. For the most part, failure of a septic system goes unnoticed at first. Keeping an eye out for warning indicators will help you arrange a replacement before something goes wrong.

  • Gurgling noises coming from outside sewers
  • Interior drains in bathtubs and sinks that are slow to drain
  • Odors emanate from the sewage treatment plant, drainfield or inside drains of the house. There are wet places visible over the drainfield. Water is backing up into the home from the sewer line. Toilets are flushing more slowly
  • This is a problem. A sudden and dramatic increase in the amount of lush and full vegetation over the drainfield might indicate a probable obstruction or break in the exit pipes outside.

Image courtesy of istockphoto.com

Final Thoughts

Septic systems, which are used in around 20% of homes in the United States, are designed to remove effluent from a residence. While septic systems may need a bit more maintenance than utilizing a public sewage system, they are not nearly as difficult to maintain as their reputation would have you believe. A well-maintained septic system may survive up to 40 years if it is inspected on a regular basis and kept on the lookout for indicators of potential problems. It is critical for homebuyers contemplating a property with a septic system to have the system inspected by a professional before making an offer.

FAQs About Septic Tanks and Septic Systems

When it comes to septic systems, there is a lot to understand. Even after reviewing the information provided above, you may still have concerns regarding how septic systems operate and how to properly manage them. Answers to some frequently asked questions concerning septic systems are provided here.

Q: How does a septic tank work?

When sewage is discharged into a septic tank, the solid stuff descends to the bottom, where it is colonized by helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the solids and liberate the lipids contained within them. The byproducts rise to the surface of the tank and are separated by a series of baffles.

Q: What are the three types of septic systems?

Traditional septic systems are classified into three types: chamber septic systems, drip distribution systems, and septic systems with chambers. In most cases, conventional systems are employed in residential buildings. Typically, a chamber system is used in high water table settings due to the fact that it is comprised of a succession of closed compartments. Drip systems are often less difficult to install, but they require more upkeep.

Q: How many years does a septic system last on average?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a well managed septic system may survive for 40 years. It is essential that you get the septic system evaluated before to purchasing a property so that you can get an estimate of how long the septic system is projected to operate.

Q: What is the alternative to a septic tank?

An aerobic treatment system, composting waste, and a drip system are all options for replacing a septic tank in a residential setting.

Q: What chemicals are bad for a septic tank?

The use of chemicals such as oil-based paint, paint thinners, lubricants, gasoline, weed killers, foaming cleansers, and chlorine-based cleaners can cause damage to your septic tank. They have the potential to pollute the surrounding environment as well as destroy the bacteria that are necessary for waste breakdown inside the septic tank, making it difficult or impossible for matter to degrade. Septic systems are well-understood by professionals. Link up with reputable professionals in your region and obtain free, no-obligation quotations for your project.+

How Does A Septic System Work

This is a very quick description of how a septic system functions.

Please refer to our other articles for more in-depth details. Thank you!

Overview of Septic Systems

In the Pixar film ” Finding Nemo,” the concept of “all drains lead to the ocean” is introduced. If you’ve ever seen it, you’re definitely familiar with the concept. For those of us who live in landlocked states like Colorado, or any of the other landlocked states, there is a less expensive alternative to running pipe hundreds of miles merely to pollute the ocean. In truth, there is a much more environmentally friendly method of disposing of our sewage: septic systems. The majority of people who live outside of the city, or in a home that was built decades before the metropolis that surrounds them, rely on a septic system for their waste water treatment needs.

A Septic Tank is a tiny concrete (or plastic) container that is buried in your yard that collects all of the waste from your home’s drains.

Septic Tanks

Some systems make use of multiple septic tanks, which vary in size based on how many gallons of waste will be generated in the residence. An example of a simple two compartment, one septic tank system is shown in this diagram. The septic tank is divided into two sections: a huge compartment that holds all of the solids (feces, toilet paper, and all of the other wonderful things), and a smaller compartment that holds the water that has been separated from the solids. With the amount of water that is being utilized, this is a critical step; otherwise, your septic tank would be completely full in less than a month.

When the first compartment is filled with water, the particles eventually sink to its bottom, leaving just water floating above it.

In order to retain the particles and scum layer in the first compartment while allowing water to flow into the second compartment, a baffle wall is installed between them.

Soil Treatment Areas

It is possible to have many different types of Soil Treatment Areas, and there are many different methods of delivering water to the STA. Some utilize gravity to transport the water to the leach field, while others rely on a pump system to transport the water to the leach field (Called a Pressure Dosed Septic System). The aim of a STA, regardless of how it gets there, is to spread out the water across a particular quantity of soil (all under ground). The bacteria in the soil will eat away at all of the minute septage particles (dirty particles) and, by the time the water reaches the aquifer, it will be completely purified.

The size of your STA (as well as the size of your septic tank) is determined by the number of bedrooms in your home. The greater the number of bedrooms, whether or not they are inhabited, the greater the possibility that another person will be consuming more water.

Septic Pumping

The solids are removed from the system in the following step. As a result of the high cost of the technology and equipment necessary to process solids, which is out of reach for most residential and commercial buildings, the most effective method of disposing of solids is by pumping. The term “pumping” refers to when a vacuum truck arrives on your property and gains access to the tank, with the solids being “pumped” out of the tank and into the truck. The solids are then transported to a treatment plant, where they are frequently converted into fertilizer for use on farms.

Eventually, if the solids build up to a dangerously high level, they will overflow into the second compartment of the tank and into the STA, where they will jam the pipes and prevent water from draining out.

Our recommendation for every family that routinely makes use of their septic system is to have your septic tank pumped every two years.

It is necessary to have your septic tank drained every four years if your system is not utilized frequently or, at the very least, the county demands it.

We’ll have your septic system pumped!

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