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 scum, composed of waste that’s lighter than water, floats on top.
Do bio septic tanks need to be emptied?
Septic Tank Maintenance The Bio-Pure septic tank is a two-chambered septic tank with a filtered outlet which is designed to discharge only to a ground soakaway. It is not designed to discharge to a watercourse. The unit should be emptied on an annual basis and at this time the filter in the outlet should be cleaned.
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.
How does a dry well septic system work?
Wastewater flows from the home or business into a dry well septic tank. The wastewater flows via a pipe into the drywell, usually a tall concrete cylinder that has holes in the sides and an open bottom, covered in soil. The wastewater then seeps out into the surrounding soil, which filters the effluent.
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.
What happens if you never pump your septic tank?
What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.
How can you tell if 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 is a Class 5 septic system?
Class 5. A sewage system using a holding tank for the retention of on-site sewage and must be emptied by a licensed sewage hauler. A permit is required to install this type of septic system.
What is the alternative to a septic tank?
Mound systems work well as alternatives to septic tanks when the soil around your home or building is too dense or too shallow or when the water table is too high. Although they are more expensive and require more maintenance than conventional systems, mound systems are a common alternative.
What’s the difference between a septic tank and a septic field?
The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. The liquid wastewater (effluent) then exits the tank into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered, excavation made in unsaturated soil.
How long does a drywell last?
If properly maintained, a dry well can work effectively for more than 30 years. The best way to maintain a dry well is to inspect it four times a year, as well as after every storm with accumulated rainfall over an inch.
Is dry well better than leach field?
Because a dry well is buried deep underground and is typically a large structure, it runs the risk of contaminating groundwater, which most local governments ban. On the other hand, a leach field does not run quite as deeply as a dry well or septic drain field.
Are septic tanks still legal?
Septic Tanks Explained… Septic tanks cannot discharge to surface water drains, rivers, canals, ditches, streams or any other type of waterway. you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.
How far apart are leach lines?
The minimum separation between the bottom of any leaching device and seasonally high groundwater shall be: 5 feet where the leaching device is between 50 and 100 feet from a stream, spring, or other waterbody.
Is it OK to drive over drain field?
Can You Drive on a Septic Drain Field? No, driving over your septic drain field is similarly never ever recommended. As much as you are able to help it, prevent cars or heavy equipment (such as oil delivery trucks, swimming pool water trucks, cement mixers, and also the like) to drive straight over the field.
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.
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.
They are not much deeper than that since a large quantity of water escapes through evaporation or is transpired by grass growing above ground.
If you have sandy soils that drain too rapidly, you may not be able to treat the wastewater properly.
Sometimes the water cannot be disposed of properly because the natural soils include a high concentration of silt or clay.
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.
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
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.
It’s possible that a small number of homes will be sharing a bigger communal septic system that will function in a similar manner as a single-family system.
The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.
- In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
- Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
- Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
- Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.
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.
These systems sometimes cost twice or three times as much as a regular system and require significantly more upkeep. 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.
- 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!
Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day. This will assist you in keeping the load controlled and will also help to extend the life of your system. To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
- Distribute your washing loads and other high-water-use activities across the week
- And In the kitchen and bathroom, use low-flow appliances, faucets, and fixtures. Toilets, in general, are the source of the greatest amount of water use. Water should be diverted away from the leach field from the yard, gutters, and basement sump pumps.
In addition, refrain from flushing sediments, strong chemicals, and just about anything else down the toilet or sink other than biological waste and white toilet paper. Avoid using garbage disposals in the kitchen. If you really must have one, keep it for small non-meat bits only. Avoid flushing chemicals or paints down the toilet since many chemicals can destroy beneficial microorganisms or cause water contamination in the surrounding area. Avoid flushing the following down the toilet:
- Grease, fats, and animal scraps
- Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
- And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.
It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:
- 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
Red wood septic tanks – RIDGID Forum
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- Jul 2005
- Marin County Ca
- Lic Ca.Gen B Gen. contractor
Red wood septic tanks
- Eddie would be around 90 years old if he were still alive. He used to work on the construction site, constructing redwood septic tanks. I inquired as to whether the holes were excavated using a back hoe. Then Eddie made a scooping gesture with his mouth and yelled, “NORWEGIAN STEAM!” Blessed be Eddie and the Awesome Generation! “I’ve been pampered beyond belief these days. Have any of you ever come across one of these tanks? Any structure you desire can be built if you sketch an image of it on the back of a large enough check.
- Concerning redwood septic tanks I’ve come across a few of old farms that have a “studebaker” tank on them. What I don’t get is why a wooden tank wouldn’t last a long time. INSIGHT PIPE is now known as Maine Drain, and it now serves the majority of the state of Maine without charging for transit! The phone number 207-431-6232 is no longer in service. 207-355-1476 Snaking of the sewer main (roto rooting). Sinks become clogged. Back-up in the sewer system. Inspection and location of pipelines. Trenchless repair without the need to dig. Root clog removal is performed. We are not intended to take the place of your local plumber, since we do not provide plumbing services. EXPERTS IN DRAIN CLEANING ARE AT YOUR SERVICE! Winslow, Bangor, Augustaskowhegan, and Fairfield are all towns in Maine. pittsfield oakland is a place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
- Concerning redwood septic tanks In addition, I’ve seen one built out of railroad ties. INSIGHT PIPE is now known as Maine Drain, and it now serves the majority of the state of Maine without charging for transit! The phone number 207-431-6232 is no longer in service. 207-355-1476 Snaking of the sewer main (roto rooting). Sinks become clogged. Back-up in the sewer system. Inspection and location of pipelines. Trenchless repair without the need to dig. Root clog removal is performed. We are not intended to take the place of your local plumber, since we do not provide plumbing services. EXPERTS IN DRAIN CLEANING ARE AT YOUR SERVICE! bangor augustaskowhegan winslow bangor augustaskowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland is a place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
- Jul 2005
- Marin County Ca
- Lic Ca.Gen B Gen. contractor
- Concerning redwood septic tanks My relative had an 800-acre camping site where each trailer hookup was a 55-gallon drum with no bottom holes and only gravel for a foot or two. A picture of what you desire on the back of a large enough check is all that is needed for Cape Cod ALL SANDI to make it for you.
- In April 2006, 1166
- Fulton, Indiana
- Master plumber/electrician
- Concerning redwood septic tanks not made of redwood This is the state of Indiana. However, natural timber is OK. automobiles or trucks Whatever was available to utilize was used. breid
- Jul 2005
- Marin County Ca
- Lic Ca.Gen B Gen. contractor
- Concerning redwood septic tanks Gene Bickford originally wrote this on his blog. Post a Comment I’ve come across a few of old farms that have a “studebaker” tank on them. What I don’t get is why a wooden tank wouldn’t last a long time. On the Cape, I’ve heard stories about underground vehicle septic systems previously. Is there anyone who knows how it was all accomplished? My best assumption is that the windows are in place, and a hole has been cut in the top for an inlet. There are several holes in sheet metal to perk it up, which are bordered with drain stones. Any structure you desire can be built if you sketch an image of it on the back of a large enough check.
- Concerning redwood septic tanks Post by toolaholic first appeared on this site. On the Cape, I’ve heard stories about underground vehicle septic systems previously. Is there anyone who knows how it was all accomplished? My best assumption is that the windows are in place, and a hole has been cut in the top for an inlet. There are several holes in sheet metal to perk it up, which are bordered with drain stones. Keep in mind that you must first roll down the windows. J.C
- Jul 2005
- Marin County Ca
- Lic Ca.Gen B Gen. contractor
- Concerning redwood septic tanks Post was first made public by jcsplumbingView Post Just keep in mind to pull down the windows before getting inside the car. j.c. Wow, there was a lot of green! It is possible to halt global warming! Any structure you desire can be built if you sketch an image of it on the back of a large enough check.
- Concerning redwood septic tanks I’ve been told that a town nearby still has some wood mains, but I’m not sure if they’re for sewer or water. I haven’t come across a wood tank or a car tank yet. I’ve seen a septic system that was nothing more than a 55-gallon drum planted in mining tailings
- Concerning redwood septic tanks Post by toolaholic first appeared on this site. On the Cape, I’ve heard stories about underground vehicle septic systems previously. Is there anyone who knows how it was all accomplished? My best assumption is that the windows are in place, and a hole has been cut in the top for an inlet. There are several holes in sheet metal to perk it up, which are bordered with drain stones. The one I’d heard about had the pipe put through the side window of the VW bug and buried underneath the vehicle. Charles
- Concerning redwood septic tanks I discovered one with a lid made of wood planks. Another piece that seemed like it belonged in a Tetris game. It was constructed with whatever materials were available to the HO at the time. Lots and lots of tanks that have been poured in place. The majority of which still have the forms inside, which makes me irritated
- Jul 2005
- Marin County Ca
- Lic Ca.Gen B Gen. contractor
- Concerning redwood septic tanks Personally, I’ve never seen one. Eddie informed me about their existence. An image from Cape Cod from roughly 50 years ago. My elder relative used to hand dig the cesspool holes for new homes when they were first built. There’s nothing but sand there. Besides that, he’d hand place all of the blocks, which came in a Radius Kit and became smaller as you laid them. Labor costs $25.00. Any structure you desire can be built if you sketch an image of it on the back of a large enough check.
- Concerning redwood septic tanks His father was a construction contractor (before he became a pumper), and so was his father before him. While working for his grandfather, they employed a man known as “Oly the mole.” His plan was to dig the septic tank hole (which would hold a 1000-gallon tank) and lay the forms in one day, and then pour the concrete the next. Several tanks have been discovered in the region where they were operating (including maybe some of Oly’s tanks), and it is extremely difficult. It’s almost all rock, with only a small amount of earth in between to qualify as soil. That individual had to have been a psychopath! It’s no surprise that they dubbed him “the mole.”
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Evolution Of The Septic System
In the beginning, when man desired some solitude and shelter from the weather while performing his “chores,” he dug a hole in the ground, lined it with stone, brick, wood, or any other available material, and erected a “outhouse” on top of it. Gravity was responsible for transporting the garbage to its final resting spot. Eventually, if the hole became too large, the outhouse was relocated to a new place. With the creation of the flush toilet by Thomas Crapper, man was finally able to do his household responsibilities in the comfort of his own home.
- He connected the pipe to the pit that supplied the outhouse and covered the hole to keep the odor under control and to prevent the neighbor’s dogs and children from falling into the pit and drowning.
- It soon became apparent that thecesspoolcouldn’t always manage the additional strain caused by the wastewater in addition to the garbage.
- The term “septic tank” was used to describe this treatment chamber.
- Because it was the component of the system that returned “clarified” wastewater to the earth, the old pit remained in place.
- Because of extensive use, bad soil conditions, the age of the system, or any combination of the foregoing, the drywell may get blocked from time to time.
- It is common practice to build a second (or third, or fourth) drywell following a first drywell in order to expand the soil absorption area.
- In later years, as mankind grew more concerned with safeguarding the environment, it was discovered that many septic systems were installed too deeply into the earth.
- According to New Hampshire laws, any leaching element of a septic system (the part that returns water to the earth) must be at least four feet above the seasonal high-water table in order to function properly.
- Around the same time, the majority of installers made the changeover from the old-fashioned steel septic tanks to the newer, presumably more durable concrete septic tanks (shown here).
- To bring wastewater up to thesemound systems, it is now necessary to build pumps in many situations.
- The likelihood is that you have a blueprint accessible that shows you the sort of system you have and its location if you have a reasonably new system that incorporates one of these current advancements.
Using the Troubleshooting Guide that comes with the system should assist you in determining what sort of system you have and also what is wrong with it if you are experiencing a problem. Good luck, and go to work on troubleshooting.
Low-Cost, High-Reward Improvements for Septic Systems
Published at 1:57 p.m. on May 8, 2017. EDTA According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 26 million households in the United States rely on septic systems to handle their waste. That’s more than one out of every five people. In New England, septic systems are the most popular type of system, although they’re also rather widespread in the southeast and northwest. The rationale for this is that they are a relatively low-cost alternative for small towns. The downsides of septic systems have been apparent in locations such as Cape Cod, where excess nitrogen from septic systems flows into neighboring estuaries and bays, causing algae to flourish out of control and interfering with the natural balance of plants and fish.
In the words of George Heufelder, director of the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center, “These have an influence on the ecosystem at extremely low quantities, down to the nanogram level.” Heufelder believes that septic systems will be around for a long time, despite their limitations.
- And he’s perfectly OK with it.
- However, when we treat them in soil-based systems, we notice significant decreases in their numbers.” Since 1999, the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center has been experimenting with different techniques to make septic systems more energy efficient.
- At terms of decreasing nitrogen and medicines, this appears to be beneficial since the bacteria that normally exist in the shallow soil level breakdown the substances.
- The addition of a layer of sand and sawdust to a normal septic system leach field has been shown to considerably reduce the quantity of nitrogen that is released into the environment.
- When an airtight wood-based covering is placed over a wastewater treatment system, bugs (bacteria) utilise it as a carbon source to denitrify the wastewater before it reaches the groundwater.
- There’s also the issue of physical space.
- These very low-cost, straightforward modifications to septic systems might have far-reaching consequences.
Heufelder, on the other hand, believes that we must shift our attitudes regarding wastewater – that we must stop thinking of it as something to be forgotten and instead see it as the lifeblood of vast ecosystems within our septic systems.
Septic Tank Access Hatch
I’d want to make a personal confession. I haven’t always done a good job of keeping my septic tank in good condition. As far as cathartic public remorse goes, this may not be sufficient to earn me a spot on Oprah, but it is a shortcoming that many Canadian homeowners share. My husband and I are chronic septic neglecters, and I don’t believe it is mostly due to the high cost of a pump-out every two or three years. Getting that dreaded tank open before hearing the beep-beep warning sound of the septic truck backing up to conduct its filthy business is more likely to be the source of the problem.
- Septic tanks must be pumped out on a regular basis in order to eliminate the indigestible particles of debris that accumulate at the bottom of the tank during the usual course of business.
- The result is that most if not all the lumps are transformed into liquid, which then runs out through a network of perforated pipes that distributes waste into soil in the leaching bed.
- Two things happen as a result of the little amount of indigestible material that accumulates at the bottom of the tank.
- Second, when the sludge level rises, it may ultimately reach a level where it begins to flow out into the leaching bed as well, causing contamination.
- Both of these scenarios result in a clogged system and sewage backup.
- Given these realities, as well as the potential of a septic system rebuild that might cost thousands of dollars, it is difficult to argue against the necessity of septic maintenance and repair.
- The majority of tanks are built a foot or two below ground level and covered with sod, which creates an issue.
And after that, your grass will appear unkempt for a year or two.
You might not begin excavating your septic tank with the same conviction that you will wind up with, but you will almost certainly arrive at that conclusion.
However, there are a few building tips that I learnt that will assist you in getting them made fast and correctly.
Anyone who is comfortable with tools may simply construct them, and they can be readily customized to the level of soil above your septic tank to meet your specific needs.
I used a liberal bead of construction glue to fix each box to the top of the septic tank, applying it all around the bottom edge of the timber.
Fill up the holes with backfill and re-establish grass around the spot for the very last time in your life, and you’ll be finished.
When your conscience starts nagging you to have your septic tank pumped out, it will literally be a question of picking up the phone and writing a check to the appropriate company. Due to the ease with which the access boxes are used, the septic contractor may complete the entire project on his own.
Installing Access Hatches
Each and every septic tank is equipped with a cover, however tanks are nearly always placed below ground level. For pump-outs and inspections, you used to have to dig down into the dirt to reach the access hatches of your tank, which was a time-consuming process that many people put off. The inconvenience of this work is one of the reasons why people don’t get pump-outs done on a regular basis. The process of locating the tank, taking out dirt from above the hatches, and then replenishing the soil and re-establishing grass is simply too time-consuming.
- There are a few of options for accomplishing this.
- After passing through the riser, the tank is reached, where there may or may not be a second cover over the tank body itself.
- It is normally possible to retrofit risers and ground-level covers into a plastic septic tank that does not have them originally utilizing hardware from the tank manufacturer.
- Riser systems for concrete septic tanks are not often included with the tank when it leaves the manufacturer, but they can be constructed by the homeowner if they wish to avoid digging down to their septic tank in the future.
- My initial set of risers and lids were built of pressure-treated timber, but they rotted away after only ten years of use.
- Wood is a fantastic alternative as long as you use wood that is guaranteed not to decay under any conditions whatsoever.
- The majority of the time, this is how access hatches for septic tanks are constructed at home.
- Photograph courtesy of Steve Maxwell As a result, I’ve replaced the old rotted wood with concrete risers that I put in place on top of the tank, with a patio slab serving as a cover on top of that.
- If you have any prior expertise mixing and pouring concrete, I strongly advise you to go with this choice.
Concrete risers not only make entry to the tank quick and easy, but they also prevent roots from penetrating your tank via the lids. No amount of effort can penetrate the barrier between the concrete riser and the top of the tank. This is true even for the eager roots of deciduous trees.
VIDEO 7: How to Make Concrete Tank Risers
In areas where houses and businesses are not linked to a municipal sewage system, a septic system is the most popular type of sewage treatment for those areas. When simplified to its most basic form, a septic system is comprised of two parts: a septic tank in which solids settle and decay and a drainfield in which liquid drained from the tank is treated by bacteria in the soil. Septic systems that are more sophisticated are constructed in places with high groundwater levels and/or poor soils.
Septic systems that are properly operating treat sewage in order to reduce groundwater and surface water contamination.
Learn more about how septic systems function by reading this article.
Before you buy
If the land is undeveloped, inquire as to whether the property has been examined for appropriateness for septic systems by either the Department of Environmental Quality or a local government contract agent, and if so, request a copy of the site evaluation report. The following are the questions you should ask:Has the site changed since it was last evaluated?
- Well construction, fill, roads, and other modifications can all have an impact on appropriateness. Is the land suitable for your development needs, taking into account the kind of system stated as acceptable on the report and the placement of the septic system that has been approved?
If the property has not yet been examined, you may choose to request that the present owner arrange for an evaluation to be done. Application for a site review can be made through either the Department of Environmental Quality or a local government contract agent. Before deciding to acquire the land, you must determine what sort of septic system will be necessary, as well as whether or not the permitted system site will fit your development requirements. Existing sewage treatment systems- If you are considering acquiring a home with an existing septic system, you should engage a trained inspector to assess the system before making the purchase.
- Is it true that the system was implemented without a permit? If not, it is possible that the system is very old (permits have been necessary since 1972, and in certain counties even earlier), or that it was unlawfully built. Systems that have been illegally developed may pose a threat to public health or produce pollution. In the future, you may be forced to upgrade or replace the system, and you may be held accountable and penalized if the system malfunctions or poses a concern to public health and safety. If your family or business has a large number of members, is the system the correct size to meet their needs? Permit documents often include information on the system’s capacity in gallons per day. Typical household water use is 450 gallons per day for a four-bedroom home. How old is the system, and has it been adequately maintained over its lifetime? Is there documentation demonstrating that the septic tank was pumped on a regular basis? Have there been any difficulties or complaints that have been brought to your attention in the past? It is possible that your local permitting agency has records of complaints or infractions that have not been addressed yet. Before you moved here, how many people lived in the house? Perhaps the approach works well with a single person but not so well with four individuals. Is the septic tank connected to all of the plumbing fittings
- And Is there evidence of a septic system failure, such as puddles over the septic tank or flooded drainfields? If the property is next to surface waterways, check to see that there are no direct discharges from the property. When it comes to septic system replacement, is there a suitable location if the existing system fails? In the event that there are any septic permit documents, they will show the replacement area that should still be “laid aside” for this purpose. What is the role of a qualified inspector? Some septic installers and pumpers have received training in the inspection of existing systems, while others specialize in the installation of new septic systems or pump tanks, as appropriate. Certified maintenance providers may also have the qualifications of a qualified inspector. The goal is to find out what their credentials are in septic system assessments (as opposed to only septic tank evaluations), as well as to obtain some recommendations. Verify the credentials of the references before hiring a contractor.
Signs of septic system failure
- Pools of water or wet places, unpleasant aromas, and/or dark gray or black soils in the vicinity of your drainfield are all signs that something is wrong. Water from the sewer overflows into the lowest drains in the home. The sound of drains gurgling and poor draining (first check for obstructions)
- Soapy flows onto the ground surface, into ditches, or into surface waterways It is impossible to mow over the drainfield because the earth is too soft.
Installing a new system
In order to have a new septic system installed, a two-step procedure must be followed. 1. Submit an application for a site review. The tests pits you give on your property will be evaluated by a DEQ or county agent, who will decide the size and kind of septic system that will be required, as well as the placement. 2. Submit an application for a building permit. For application forms, contact your local DEQ office or county agent, or you can obtain DEQ application forms from this website. There is a cost for both the site appraisal and the issuance of the building permit.
Maintaining septic systems
By having your septic tank tested for solids accumulation on a regular basis, you may prevent having to pay for expensive repairs. When the solids buildup in your septic tank exceeds 40%, you should have it pumped by a pumper who is licensed by the DEQ. For advice on how often to get your septic tank examined, contact the Department of Environmental Quality. Maintaining the condition of your septic tank on a regular basis (every 5 to 7 years) and checking for solids accumulation will save you money on costly repairs.
When the solids buildup in your septic tank exceeds 40%, you should have it pumped by a pumper who is licensed by the DEQ. If you follow the basic septic system DO’s and DON’Ts, a properly designed and maintained system may survive for a very long period.
Dr. Wood: Septic system care depends on you
Thurston County has around 53,000 on-site septic systems that process approximately 13 million gallons of sewage each day. That’s more sewage than the LOTT Clean Water Alliance, the area’s public utility, handles in a single day of operation. With all of that sewage, it is critical to the health of our community that individual septic systems are properly cared for and maintained on a regular basis. As part of its Environmental Action Plan, Thurston Thrives has highlighted adequate septic system repair as a critical method for providing safe and clean water to the community.
Inadequately maintained septic systems can result in enormous expenses for both the homeowner, who must pay to repair or replace a malfunctioning system, and the taxpayer, who must pay to clean up polluted drinking water as well as lakes, rivers, and eventually the Puget Sound, if the system fails.
- Septic systems that are properly installed and maintained can be effective in the treatment of sewage; nevertheless, like with any big investment, they require continuous care and periodic maintenance.
- A three-year inspection interval is recommended for gravity systems; inspection intervals of one year should be used for other systems like pressure, sand filters or mound systems to ensure that all of the components are in proper functioning condition.
- Consult with a septic specialist to identify the most appropriate maintenance schedule for your household, and then adhere to it to safeguard your investment, your drinking water, and the health of your family.
- It is possible that rainwater will wash away toxic substances and materials flushed down the drain and remove them from the septic system drainage field.
- Septic systems that fail have a negative influence on the water quality of lakes, rivers, streams, and the Puget Sound.
- As a result of growing worries about failing septic systems and their impact on Puget Sound marine species, such as shellfish, two watersheds in Thurston County were designated as Marine Recovery Areas in the early 2000s.
- Given that shellfish were deemed hazardous to consume, it was clear that the water quality in Puget Sound was in significant danger.
This can help avoid additional damage to your system as well as contamination of drinking water and surface water in your area: There is an odor in the area around the septic tank or drainfield.
Areas that are wet or spongy surrounding the drainfield.
Also available is a free septic hotline, which can be reached at 360-867-2669, where you may ask a sanitarian questions and receive assistance over the phone with your septic system.
The strategy will be discussed in detail, and you will be able to choose how it will effect you.
visit our website for additional information on how to search down your data, where to find trained specialists, and when our sessions will be taking place. The original version of this story was published on November 7, 2015 at 11:29 a.m.
How to Construct a Small Septic System
Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation There are two main sections to most private septic systems: the holding and digesting tanks, and the dispersion field or leach field. As the liquid waste in the first holding tank fills up, it will be transferred to the second holding tank. Once the second tank is completely filled with liquid, the liquid will dissipate into the earth underneath it. The system displayed here is a modest system that is intended for limited use by two persons who do not need to do laundry.
- When compared to a conventional house septic system, this system employs two 55 US gallon (210 L) drums, rather than the 1,000–2,000 US gallon (3,800–7,600 L) tanks that are utilized in a standard home septic system.
- Property owners considering installing a system similar to this one should be advised that this system would fail inspections by any public health department in the United States, and that the owner may be liable to a fine if the system was discovered in operation by a health official.
- Toilets that conserve water nowadays utilize less than two litres of water every flush.
- It might be a lifeline for those who live in areas where septic treatment is not available.
Part 1 of 3: Cutting the Tanks
- 1Cut a hole in the center of the top of each drum that is the same size as the outer measurement of the toilet flange. Take the outside diameter of the toilet flange that you’re using and multiply it by two. Place the hole close to the edge of the drum so that you may simply connect them to pipes in the near future. Cut the drums using a saber saw to make them lighter
- 2 Each hole should be capped with a 4 in (10 cm) toilet flange. Push the flanges into the top of each tank until they are flush with the surface. As soon as the flanges are in position, tighten them down so they don’t move or shift once they are in place. Promotional material
- 3 Cut a hole in the first drum that is 4 in (10 cm) in diameter on the opposite side of the drum from the hole in the top. Placing the hole approximately 4–5 inches (10–13 cm) below the top of the drum and ensuring that it lines up with the hole on the top of the tank are the most important steps. 4 Make a hole in the wall with a saber saw or a hole saw. Cut two holes in the side of the drum at 45-degree angles to the center of the hole on the top, one on each side of the drum. The center line is the line that runs through the middle of the hole on the top of the drum. Make 45-degree angles from either side of the centerline, then mark them on the second drum using a permanent marker. Make your holes in the barrel by cutting through the side with a saber or a hole saw and drilling them out. Advertisement
Part 2 of 3: Placing the Tanks Underground
- 1 Dig a trench that is 4 ft 26 ft 3 ft (1.22 m 7.92 m 0.91 m) in length and width. Excavator or shovel are both good options for digging a hole in the ground where you wish to put your tank. Continue excavating until the hole measures 4 feet (1.2 m) in width, 26 feet (7.9 m) in length, and 3 feet (0.91 m) in depth.
- Excavators for excavating are often available for hire from a heavy machinery supply company. Look for equipment rentals on the internet
2Place the drum at the end of the trench, with one side hole drilled in it. When you place the drum on the floor, make sure it is level. Check to see sure the drum’s top is at least 4 inches (10 cm) below the surface of the water. 3Dig a hole that is one foot (30 cm) deeper than the first to accommodate the placement of the second drum in front of the first. As much as possible, make your hole the same diameter as the drum you’re putting into it so that it fits tightly and doesn’t move. 4Level the hole with gravel until the 90-degree bend between the hole in the side of the top drum and the toilet flange of the lower drum is able to be made with no difficulty.
- If you need to make the pipe line more stable, you may need to dig the hole a little deeper.
- With a hacksaw, cut the ABSpipe parts, also known as nipples.
- Repeat with the remaining parts.
- Insert the end of the 21 2in (6.4 cm) nipple into the side hole of the first drum and tighten the nut.
- Install the 31 2in (8.9 cm) nipple into the toilet flange on the second tank using hot glue or a strong adhesive.
- Don’t be concerned about the connection to the first drum for the time being; you’ll make that connection later.
- Use your PVC glue to secure a nipple to the end of the Y-bend.
9 Cut and glue21 ⁄ 2in (6.4 cm) nipples to one end of the 45-degree bends at and insert them in the side of the lower drum. Point the ends of the 45-degree bends so they’re perpendicular to the bottom of the trench. Advertisement
Part 3 of 3: Connecting the Drain Pipes
- Put a stake into the ground and level it with the bottom of each of the 45-degree bends. 2Put a stake into the ground and level it with the top of the 45-degree bends. It doesn’t matter what sort of stakes you use since they all work. Use a mallet or hammer to pound the stakes into the ground. Attach a one-inch-wide block to the end of a four-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) level using duct tape. This will assist you in ensuring that you create sloped drain pipes so that your tanks can empty
- 3Place another stake approximately 37 8ft (1.2 m) down the trench from the first one
- 4Place another stake approximately 37 8ft (1.2 m) down the trench from the first one
- 5Place another stake approximately 37 8ft (1.2 m) down the trench from the first one. Drive the stake down until it is the same height as the first one using your hammer or mallet
- 4 Place the end of the level without the block on the first stake and the block on the second stake to complete the level without the block. Continue to pound the second stake into the ground until the level is balanced. 1 inch (2.5 cm) lower than the previous post, or 1 inch (0.64 cm) lower per 1 foot (30 cm)
- 5Repeat this method until you have stakes running the whole length of the trench
- Continue to place stakes down the rest of the trench every 37 8feet (1.2 m) from the last one, ensuring that the stakes slope away from the drums
- 6Place gravel in the trench until the top of the gravel is level with the top of the stakes
- 7Place gravel in the trench until the top of the gravel is level with the top of the stakes The gravel will now slope away from the drums at a rate of 1 4 inch (0.64 cm) per 1 foot (30 cm) of horizontal distance
- 7Place 20 ft (6.1 m) of perforated drain pipe into each hole on the second drum
- 8Place 20 ft (6.1 m) of perforated drain pipe into each hole on the third drum
- 9Place 20 ft (6.1 m) of perforated drain pipe into each hole on the fourth drum
- 10P Insert the ends of the drain pipes into the 45-degree bends on the lower drum to complete the installation. 9Make certain that the perforations in the pipes are facing down so that liquids may soak back into the earth
- 8checking the pipes with a level to ensure that the 1 4in (0.64 cm) slope is consistent throughout the length of the pipe. Fill up any gaps in the slope by adding or removing gravel under the pipe. Seal the 45-degree and 90-degree bends that connect the lower and top drums, respectively, with silicone. For the greatest seal possible on your drain pipes, use a two-part epoxy or silicone caulk. For this purpose, consider utilizing flex pipe, which will yield a little bit if the ground changes. Tenth, fill the lower drum halfway with water to keep it from collapsing under the weight of all the gravel. Place the remaining gravel over the trench and into the bottom drum, covering it completely. 11Lay landscape fabric over the top of the gravel. As a result, the dirt will not be able to seep into the gravel and you will be able to keep proper drainage on your tanks
- 12Fill the remaining trench area with soil, compacting it to the original grade. When you have finished filling up the area with your dirt, check to see that the ground is level. 13Fill the upper drum with water, leaving the top pipe from the first tank exposed so that you can readily reach the tanks if you need to drain them later. 14Fill the lower drum with water. Fill the top drum with water and pour it directly down the exposed pipes on the bottom drum. Continue filling the drum until it is completely filled, then secure the top with a cap to keep out the elements. Advertisement
Community Q A
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- Question What is considered a low level of use? Low consumption is defined as less than 125 gallons per day. Question Was the ‘y’ elbow on the first tank’s tank for any particular reason? Is it left open or sealed when it has been completed? Isn’t it going to stink if it’s left open? The clean out requires a threaded cap or plug, which is provided. Question What kind of water do you use to fill it? “Fill” is the most important term here. Continue to fill the drum with water until the level does not rise any more
- Question Suppose I neglected to attach a slip coupler to the perforated pipe and only had 10 feet of it. Is it still possible to use this? Yes, however you will need to raise the depth of the field in order to get the same cubic feet of capacity
- Nevertheless Question What is the best way to find out if something is legal in my state? This is a quick and easy approach that is unlikely to be appropriate for long-term usage in the majority of states. It is possible that the property owner and/or the installation will be penalized if this is uncovered. Question Is it possible to utilize two or three 275-gallon water totes instead, or a water tote and barrel combination? It doesn’t matter either direction you go. It’s best to utilize a single tote and a barrel as a digestion tank and a distribution box if you have only one tote. Question What is the purpose of filling the higher barrel with water? You fill the top barrel with water so that when sewage waste is introduced into the barrel, it flows into a sufficient amount of water to initiate the anaerobic digestion process. Question What is the best way to clean up this system? If there is enough bacteria in it, it will clean itself with minimal effort. If it starts to fill up, you may call a septic service to have it emptied
- If it doesn’t, you can do it yourself. Question What is the correct grade slope of the drain field for every ten feet of length of the drain field? It is possible for the field’s bottom to be level. When running away from the drums, the pipe system should be sloped at 2 percent, or 2.5 inches every 10 feet. Question Is it possible for this system to freeze in the winter? And might I use antifreeze in the mix as well? Antifreeze will destroy the beneficial bacteria that are required for the process to function properly. The process is biological, and it will generate some of its own heat as part of the process. It’s always possible to dig a little deeper to gain a little extra insulation above it.
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- The horizontal side of the “Y” links to the waste source, and it should be fitted with a connector that is compatible with the source supply line
- Instead of using a 90° elbow, you should join two of them together to produce a U-shaped connection. In this manner, the end that is in the first barrel will be pointed towards the bottom of the tank, rather than the top. This should be reinforced with a short segment of straight pipe that is several inches deeper towards the bottom. Solids either float or sink depending on their density. They don’t seem to congregate in the middle. As a result, only the broken down liquid waste makes it to the second tank, and the solids are never seen again. The same procedure should be followed for each of the drainage pipes that originate from the second barrel. Just to be completely certain that no solids find their way into the global drain field, the waste is dumped into the first tank, with the solids settling to the bottom of the first tank. Whenever the liquid level exceeds the outfall to the second tank, it is drained into the tank below it. If there are any solids present, they will sink to the bottom. Whenever the liquid from the second tank reaches one of the two outfalls, it is transported to the gravel leaching field for dispersion. Over time, the vast majority of the solids will liquefy and disperse. Solids may accumulate at the top of the tank after many years, necessitating the removal of the solids. Thirty percent of the waste is absorbed into the earth, with the remaining seventy percent being dissipated by sunshine. It is important not to compress the soil since this would interfere with the evaporation process
- The vertical side of the “Y” will be used to pump out the tank after it is entirely filled with solids
- The depth of the trench should be proportional to the depth of the waste source line. If the line is deeper or higher than the one depicted, you will need to dig the trench deeper or shallower to suit the new line depth or height. It’s not that difficult to find out. In the event that you have a septic system that is too shallow, it may be more susceptible to damage. After a period, you may discover that the ground has sunk below the trench’s location. Fill it in with extra dirt and compact it
- It is assumed that you are familiar with working with ABS plastic pipe. In addition, you must have the necessary tools to dig the trench (or be ready to put in a lot of effort).
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- This is a system with a relatively limited capacity. This is not intended to suit the demands of a big family or group of people. It is intended for use with a modest travel trailer and two individuals. In order to extend the life of this little septic system, it is recommended that you do not place anything else in it but water, trash, and toilet paper. You may have to pump the upper drum once or twice a year if you don’t do so. During the course of five years, the system depicted here will only require pumping twice. Do not drive through the area where the drums are located. When establishing a septic system, make sure to adhere to all applicable municipal regulations. It is against the law to establish a septic system without first obtaining a permission. In the permission, you can find information on the local regulations for installing a septic system. You should avoid situating a septic system too close to trees since tree roots will grow into your lines, block them, and eventually cause damage to your system.
Things You’ll Need
- 3/4 or 1 1/2 crushed rock or blue metal
- 80 square feet (7.4 m 2) of landscaping fabric
- 9 cubic yards (6.9 m3) of 3/4 or 1 1/2 crushed rock or blue metal 55 US gal (210 L) plastic drums
- 10 feet (3.0 m) of ABS plastic pipe with a diameter of 4 in (10 cm)
- 4 in (10 cm) ABS 90-degree bend
- 4 in (10 cm) ABS Y-bend
- 3 ABS 45-degree bends with sizes of 4 in (10 cm)
- 2 55 US gal (210 L) plastic drums A total of 40 feet (12 meters) of 4 inch (10 cm) perforated drain pipe
- Two 4 inch (10 cm) diameter drain pipe couplers
- And two toilet flanges with 4 inch (10 cm) diameters are included. PVC glue, two-part epoxy or silicone sealant, a level, and ten wood stakes are all required. 1 in (2.5 cm) thick wood block
- Duct tape
- 4 in (10 cm) ABS detachable cap
- 1 in (2.5 cm) thick wood block
About This Article
wikiHow Staff Writer contributed to this article. This article was written in part by members of the wikiHow Staff. Our highly skilled staff of editors and researchers checks articles for correctness and completeness before publishing them. The work of our editorial staff is regularly monitored by wikiHow’sContent Management Team to ensure that each article is supported by reliable research and fulfills our high quality standards. A total of 2,322,799 people have looked at this article. Co-authors:53 The most recent update was made on January 15, 2022.