- Once your home is connected to the sewer system, your old septic tank should be pumped out and filled with dirt or sand. The lid is usually crushed and used as part of the fill for the tank. The cost of abandoning the septic system is around $1,000.
How does an old style septic tank work?
Septic tanks work by allowing waste to separate into three layers: solids, effluent and scum (see illustration above). The solids settle to the bottom, where microorganisms decompose them. The scum, composed of waste that’s lighter than water, floats on top.
Can you leave an old septic tank in the ground?
Tanks can be completely removed or they can be destroyed and buried in place. The decision depends on if you plan to use the land for something else, such as a home addition or pool, and need the remains of the tank out of the way.
Should old septic tanks be removed?
Septic tanks are decommissioned for safety reasons. If a tank is not going to be used any longer, the best decision is to render it inoperable. Tanks that were well constructed, as well as those that are surrounded by excellent soil for the drain field, can have a lifespan of 50 years.
How does an in ground septic tank work?
The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its job is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down to the bottom forming sludge, while the oil and grease floats to the top as scum.
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?
Are septic tanks always full of water?
A septic tank should always be “filled” to its normal liquid level, or the bottom of the outlet pipe which carries effluent to the absorption area. This normal liquid level is usually between 8” to 12” from the top of the tank on average (see picture at right).
How do you deal with an old septic tank?
Decommissioning Your Old Tank If you’ve got an old tank on your property, then you’ll need to bring in a professional septic tank service company to deal with it. In most cases, you can decommission an old tank by breaking it up or filling it in, depending on the material.
Can you sell a house with an old septic tank?
If you’re selling a property with a septic tank, then you must be transparent with buyers about the fact the property uses a one and provide a detailed specification of the system. In fact, You are required by law to inform a buyer in writing about the presence of a septic tank.
What does a buried septic tank look like?
Septic tanks are typically rectangular in shape and measure approximately 5 feet by 8 feet. In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground. You can use a metal probe to locate its edges and mark the perimeter.
What were old septic tanks made of?
Many of the first septic tanks were concrete tanks that were formed out of wood and poured in place in the ground and covered with a concrete lid or often some type of lumber.
How do I get rid of an old leach field?
Abandoning Septic Tanks and Soil Treatment Areas
- Remove and dispose of the tank at an approved site (normally a landfill).
- Crush the tank completely and backfill. The bottom must be broken to ensure it will drain water.
- Fill the tank with granular material or some other inert, flowable material such as concrete.
Can septic tanks collapse?
Collapse of a septic tank Septic tanks can collapse for a variety of reasons. This is one of the most serious septic tank problems that can occur. That is why never place a driveway, building, or swimming pool above a septic tank. Once a tank is emptied of water, it is much more prone to collapse.
Does shower water go into septic tank?
From your house to the tank: Most, but not all, septic systems operate via gravity to the septic tank. Each time a toilet is flushed, water is turned on or you take a shower, the water and waste flows via gravity through the plumbing system in your house and ends up in the septic tank.
How often do you pump a septic tank?
Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years. Alternative systems with electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be inspected more often, generally once a year.
How long do septic tanks last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
HOW TO SAFELY ABANDON AN OLD SEPTIC TANK ON YOUR PROPERTY
If you’ve recently purchased an older house, it’s possible that a septic tank is located on the property. This is true even if your home is currently linked to the municipal water and sewer systems. A previous owner may have abandoned the old septic system and connected to the city sewer system when it became available at some point in the past. Despite the fact that there are standards in place today for properly leaving a septic tank, it was typical practice years ago to just leave the tanks in place and forget about them.
The old tank may either be demolished or filled with water to solve the problem.
It is possible that permits and inspections will be required.
They are dangerous because curious children may pry open the lid and fall into the container.
- Falls into a septic tank can be lethal owing to the toxicity of the contents and the fact that concrete can collapse on top of you while falling into a tank.
- Eventually, this approach was phased out due to the fact that the steel would corrode and leave the tank susceptible to collapse.
- When it comes to ancient septic tanks, they are similar to little caves with a lid that might collapse at any time.
- The old tank is crushed and buried, or it is removed from the site.
- If it is built of steel, it will very certainly be crushed and buried in its current location.
- After that, the tank can be completely filled with sand, gravel, or any other form of rubble and buried.
- Tanks can either be entirely dismantled or destroyed and buried in their original location.
The abandonment has been documented and plotted on a map.
It’s possible that you’ll forget about the tank once it’s been abandoned.
As a result, you might wish to sketch a map of the area where the old tank used to stand.
If you can demonstrate that an old septic tank was properly decommissioned, you may be able to increase the value of your property, and the new owners will enjoy knowing that large chunks of concrete are buried underground before they start digging in the yard to put something in it.
It may take some detective work to discover about the history of your land and what may be lying beneath the surface of the earth.
Upon discovering an old septic tank on your property that is no longer in service, contact Total Enviro Services for propertank abandonment procedures that meet with local standards and protect your family, pets, and farm animals from harm or death.
Why Your Old Septic Tank Needs to be Removed, Now
An ancient, collapsing septic tank has caused a sinkhole in the backyard. Abandoned mobile homes are one of the things we encounter around our area. Those homes that were built before our community was established are about 60 years old, and so are the septic systems that served them. In truth, the old mobile house has been demolished just a few yards away, but the septic tank, which is in dire need of replacement, remains in the ground. These outdated septic tanks are a health hazard! To avoid a possibly dangerous situation if a loved one or a pet falls into an unattended septic tank in your yard, you must take immediate action to remedy the issue.
The age and type of tank will determine whether or not you should fill it with water or whether or not you should remove it altogether.
To be clear, this information also applies to anybody who has an old cesspool on their land).
Why Are Old Septic Tanks Dangerous?
You could assume that an outdated septic tank isn’t a health hazard. At the end of the day, it’s just an underground tank, right? Is it true that out of sight, out of mind? That may be true for a short period of time. Even over a lengthy period of time. years and years. However, ancient septic tanks that are no longer in use (or even old tanks that are still in use!) can pose a serious threat to the health of your family and pets in your yard. Someone walking over the sinkhole faces the risk of being sucked into a disgusting and potentially fatal tangle of sewage and choking methane fumes, which may result in their death.
- An all-steel box with a stainless steel cover.
- And what do we know about metal that has been buried for a long period of time and has been regularly exposed to water?
- Steel septic tanks are subjected to the same fate.
- until one day you or your child is walking through it and the lid and the ground above it give way.
- A decaying septic tank top gives way, resulting in a sinkhole and a potentially perilous situation for anyone around it.
- But it gets worse.
- Septic tanks made of steel typically last for 25 years or more in most cases.
- It is necessary to remove a steel septic tank from a house in Door County, Wisconsin.
- However, up to 90 percent of steel septic tanks are now in need of replacement.
The covers on these tanks are susceptible to crumbling and collapsing, which might result in a septic sinkhole in your yard.
What Are My Options with an Old Septic Tank?
No matter whether you’re legally leaving your own operating septic tank because you’re being connected up to a sewer line, or if you discover an old septic tank on your land, you basically have two options: you can either fill it with water or you may dig it out. The specific regulations for abandoning your septic tank will be established by the county or state in which you live, however the following is the general procedure: 1. Hire a septic pumping firm to pump out and properly dispose of the contents of your septic tank.
- Disconnect and remove any electrical or mechanical components, such as a pump or an alarm system, from the system (if applicable) Cutting the septic sewage line from the home to the tank is the third step to take.
- A possible explanation is that the home was changed from septic to sewer during the conversion process).
- Removing the tank involves digging a trench around it or crushing and collapsing it into the earth.
- Backfill the hole with the proper material.
- Crush and collapse the tank, leaving the debris on the ground, then backfill with gravel and fill dirt.
What About the Leach Field?
Even when a septic tank is being abandoned, the leach lines and drain field are not necessarily required to be removed. Once again, this is something that should be confirmed with your county.
How Much Does it Cost to Abandon an Old Septic Tank?
The cost of removing or filling an old septic tank will vary depending on a variety of factors, as it will with most things:
- Geographical location
- Ease of access to the tank
- Size of the tank
- Whether you can do the most of the deconstruction and filling yourself or if you must employ a contractor removing an old tank from the site or deconstructing it in place The type and cost of fill materials
- Who is responsible for filling the hole
Here are some very preliminary estimations, which may vary significantly depending on the above-mentioned conditions, but they should give you a general sense.
- For a normal 1,000 – 1,500 gallon septic tank, the cost is $300 – $400
- Fill dirt is $225 based on 15 yards at $15/yd
- And installation of a new septic tank costs $300 – $400. Backhoe and operator – $500, based on a rate of $250 per hour for two hours (including travel and other expenses)
- TOTAL VERY BRIEF ESTIMATE:$1225 to properly abandon your septic tank and obtain certification of such from your county
- (this will increase if your leach field lines need to be removed as well)
- TOTAL VERY BRIEF ESTIMATE:$1225 to properly abandon your septic tank and receive certification of such from your county
Concrete septic demolition is carried out with the use of (small) heavy equipment.
Can I Remove a Septic Tank Myself?
It’s probable that you’ll be able to do everything alone, with the exception of pumping out the tank. Septic pumping should be conducted by an appropriately certified septic pumping business, and you will need to provide proof of this pumping to your county in order to receive your certification of abandonment. Please check with your county to see whether or not you are legally permitted to remove or refill your tank yourself. You may be able to complete the filling in or removal yourself, after which you may call the county to examine and provide you with the required paperwork of the abandoned property.
That being said, many individuals out there would sneer and scoff at the prospect of paying $1000 or more merely to remove an old septic tank, and they are determined to finish the project on their own time and with their own resources.
If you are a “DIY Dave” and want to undertake your own septic tank removal or filling, keep the following factors in mind:.
- Methane gas can be found in sewage treatment plants. Being trapped inside a tank filled with methane gas will kill you – how quickly it will kill you will depend on the amount of methane present and the length of time you are exposed to it. Old steel septic tanks are rusted and have sharp edges, which should be avoided. Consider tetanus. Septic tanks hold biological waste that is teeming with bacteria. Keep an eye out for any open wounds you may have.
Financial Help – Loans for Septic Tank Repair, Replacement and Removal
We understand that money is limited for many families, and that paying to have your septic tank abandoned may not be a viable financial option. The good news is that there are loans and other financial programs available to help with septic system repair, replacement, and removal costs. Because these loans are dependent on geography, the terms and conditions will differ from county to county and state to state. Try searching for “Septic System Loans” or “Septic Tank Financing” on the internet, making sure to include your state or county in the search, and you should be able to discover at least one option that works for you.
A decaying septic tank may cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000 or more to repair or replace, and this is especially true if you haven’t had any difficulties with it in the past. However, there is a very real danger hiding underground that is becoming more severe by the day. It is possible that you will not even be aware of a threat until it is too late. Homeowners may see a depression in their yard beginning to form, which might be a sign of a septic sinkhole forming, or it could be fill from a prior fill-in that has settled in.
Don’t let the expense of resolving the problem before it becomes a problem deter you from taking action.
There’s An Old Septic Tank On Your Property: Now What? – Troubleshooting Septic Systems
Published on: December 14, 2020 Septic systems are a straightforward, cost-effective, and ecologically beneficial means of waste disposal. They are also easy to maintain. These systems are common in rural regions, although the definition of what constitutes a rural area varies frequently throughout time. As cities grow, so do their municipal sewage systems, which are becoming increasingly complex. After much deliberation, many homeowners decide to connect their homes to city utilities. However, what happens to the existing septic system?
- Even worse, new owners may not be aware that they are purchasing a home with an ancient septic system on the premises.
- Being Aware of the Situation Even properly decommissioned septic systems may leave traces of their presence on a property’s grounds.
- For steel tanks, this frequently entails dismantling the tank (in order to avoid the formation of a potentially dangerous void beneath your home) and re-inserting it into the earth.
- When it comes to finding evidence of an old septic system, it’s only a problem if you feel the previous owners did not properly decommission the system once it was decommissioned.
- In the event that you are able to open a hatch and see into an old tank on your property, you almost probably have an issue on your hands.
- Despite the fact that septic tanks can endure for decades, they will ultimately break.
- The concern with ancient tanks is not so much ground pollution as it is the dangers linked with their collapse, which is surprising.
When the walls fail, parts of your property might collapse into the tank in a matter of minutes.
“Floating” is another possible problem for tanks made of lighter materials like steel or plastic.
Even tanks that have been properly guarded may become unlocked after a sufficiently lengthy time of inactivity.
Decommissioning Your Out-of-Date Storage Tank If you have an outdated septic tank on your property, you will need to hire a professional septic tank servicing business to take care of it.
It is possible that you will have to transfer plastic tanks off-site since they will not biodegrade.
If you are experiencing any issues with your septic tank on your property, contact a company such as Autry’s BackhoeSeptic Service. Share
How to Fill in Old Septic Tanks
Septic tanks that have collapsed are a safety threat in your yard. It is common practice for people to fill in old septic tanks when they migrate to a public sewer system for the sake of safety. Before you fill a septic tank, check to see if the regulations in your state allow you to do so rather than having to remove the tank entirely. If you fill up an empty septic tank, you will prevent it from collapsing and causing a sinkhole in your yard to form. Before filling the tank, have it pumped out by a competent sewer service firm.
Inquire with your local health department to see whether you require a permit to fill your septic tank with water. If this is the case, you must seek a permission.
A water pump should be used to remove any standing water in the septic tank. Rainwater or groundwater will be used to fill the septic tank if there is any.
Take the cover off and throw it away. Break up the concrete lid with a jackhammer so that it may be disposed of more easily. Most hardware stores provide jackhammer rentals on a short-term basis.
Make holes in all of the septic tank’s side walls and the bottom to allow for drainage. Drainage for all future rain and groundwater will be enabled as a result of this. If you do not drill holes and water accumulates in the septic tank, it may float to the surface of the earth and cause damage.
Fill the septic tank with soil or gravel to prevent overflowing. The earth above the tank will not be able to collapse as a result of this.
I Bought A House With An Abandoned Septic Tank; Should I Have It Inspected
Dump some soil or gravel into the septic tank. The earth above the tank will not be able to collapse as a result of this arrangement.
Why Are Septic Tanks Decommissioned?
Septic tanks are being decommissioned for the sake of public safety. If a tank is not going to be utilized any more, it is advisable to make it inoperable as soon as possible. Tanks that have been properly constructed, as well as those that are surrounded by high-quality soil for the drain field, can have a lifespan of 50 years or longer. Some individuals may live for much extended periods of time. However, when these systems are not in use, they must be turned off. Not every tank and field is properly designed, and this can represent a serious safety hazard to both humans and animals.
If abandoned tanks are not properly refilled, they can potentially become clogged with water.
Most importantly, the residence has been successfully connected to the municipal sewage system, which eliminates the need for an on-property septic tank altogether.
Another cause is that the property owner replaced the original septic tank and drain field with a new one that is more environmentally friendly. This might occur as a result of problems in the previous system or as a result of the demand for a more powerful system.
How Is A Septic Tank Decommissioned?
It is critical for the safety of everyone involved that a septic tank be properly decommissioned. You will receive a certificate from your contractor confirming that they have successfully done this vital operation after the tank has been decommissioned. Your contractor will also go through the dos and don’ts when it comes to your out-of-service tank, which will be beneficial to you. Your technician will perform the following procedures in order to withdraw a tank from service:
- Uncover your tank and remove the lid, which will be done by your technician. Any residual liquid will be removed from your septic tank by pumping. Following the filling of the tank with sand, gravel, or concrete, the tank will be sealed shut. All of the dirt in the tank’s vicinity will be replaced with new soil. Upon completion of the work, the property owner will be given a certificate stating that the tank has been deemed inoperable.
Can I Build Over An Abandoned Septic Tank?
Uncover your tank and remove the lid, which will be performed by your tech. Your septic tank will be pumped out to eliminate any liquid that has remained. Following the filling of the tank with sand, gravel, or concrete, the tank will be sealed shut; In the vicinity of the tank, all soil will be replenished. It will be sent to the property owner in the form of a certificate showing that the tank has been made unusable.
Let The Professionals At All SepticSewer Handle The Decommissioning Of Your Old Septic Tank
The personnel at All SepticSewer have more than 20 years of experience in the industry. They are well-versed in the proper handling of outdated septic systems and tanks, as well as the safest methods of rendering them dormant. Get in touch with us right now to book your consultation and to find out more about the procedure. Do not forget to like and follow us on Facebook to remain up to date on all of the newest news and information about the organization.
How To Deal With An Abandoned Septic Tank System – B&B Pumping – Top Rated Septic Cleaning Services
Septic systems are one of two contemporary options for properly disposing of human waste (the other being connected to your city’s sewage system), and they are becoming increasingly popular. That this is crucial cannot be overstated since human waste, when it contaminates our water supply, can create deadly infections that can lead to death, as was commonly the case hundreds of years ago before the development of modern sewage systems. Septic Pumping Services by B B Pumping Cleaning your home or business septic system in the Fort Worth region is the focus of Aerobic Cleaning’s services.
Septic systems, on the other hand, can be abandoned from time to time, whether by previous homeowners, present homeowners, or those who have been foreclosed upon.
In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the procedures that must be followed when dealing with a septic system that has been abandoned.
HOW ARE ABANDONED SEPTIC SYSTEMS DANGEROUS TO HUMANS?
- Sinkholes. Septic systems are built beneath the ground surface. When these systems are abandoned with human waste and water sitting in them, the water and waste have the potential to disintegrate the underlying rock and erode the surrounding landscape. When enough of this rock has dissolved, a hole of sorts is left in the ground, and the soil above it is no longer able to sustain itself. When the earth finally collapses, it is generally as a result of an external force acting on it, such as when you walk across it. Diseases that are extremely dangerous. It is possible for people to get infections when human waste comes into contact with our drinking water supply. Diseases such as tetanus, hepatitis A, leptospirosis, cholera, dysentery, and gastrointestinal sickness have been linked to this situation. Gases that are toxic. Gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide can accumulate in abandoned septic tank systems, posing a risk of explosion or illness to anyone exposed. This is related to the decomposition of human feces, which occurs when it is left in one location exposed to the elements.
Sinkholes. Septic systems are built beneath the ground surface of the land. Human feces and water that has accumulated in these systems after they have been abandoned have the potential to erode and disintegrate the underlying rock. The result is a hole in the ground that cannot be sustained by the surrounding soil after enough of the rock has disintegrated. While the earth finally collapses, it is generally as a result of an external force acting on it, such as when walking on it. illnesses that are extremely hazardous Diseases such as tetanus, hepatitis A, leptospirosis, cholera, dysentery, and gastrointestinal sickness can arise in people when human waste comes into contact with our drinking water source.
Abandoned septic tank systems can accumulate dangerous gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide, which can either cause an explosion or render you sick. Due to the decomposition of human feces as it rests in a single location exposed to the air, this is occurring.
SIGNS OF AN OLD ABANDONED LEAKING SEPTIC TANK SYSTEM
- If you have an excessive amount of weed growth on your lawn, or if you have a pond on your property, you may see a lot of algae development
- The same part of your grass never appears to be able to dry up fully, and it is always damp
- A specific region of your yard has an awful odor, similar to that of human feces. When compared to the rest of your lawn, a portion of your lawn appears to be unstable and may be sinking in
- However, this is not the case. You can see the pipes that are part of the dispersion system. Surface erosion, for example, might cause them to be pushed up from the ground by water or other factors.
HOW TO PROPERLY ABANDON A SEPTIC TANK SYSTEM
- Make use of the services of specialists. Most likely, you’ll be required to demonstrate that your septic tank system has been abandoned in accordance with the city’s regulations, which a professional septic tank system firm, such as BB Pumping in Fort Worth, can attest to in this scenario. The majority of people just lack the necessary information to properly decommission a septic tank system. Apart from that, it is filthy, difficult work that is best left to professionals who are qualified to perform it quickly and effectively rather than you spending hours and hours attempting to do it yourself. The septic tank must be entirely emptied and properly disposed of. We utilize a powerful vacuum to pull the muck out of the tank and into our trucks, where it can then be hauled to the appropriate location for proper disposal
- When we empty a septic tank, we use a high-powered vacuum to pull the muck out of the tank and into a storage tank on our trucks, where it can then be hauled to the proper location for proper disposal
- Remove the tank from the vehicle. In some cases, the procedure may alter depending on the local codes. For those who want to have their septic tank removed, there are various possibilities. One option is to remove the entire tank and dispose of it in a landfill, which seems likely. You may totally crush the tank and backfill it, making sure that the tank has a hole in it for adequate drainage of rainfall in the process. Another option is to fill the tank with a substance such as concrete or another granular material and then cover it with another material (making sure that is a drainage hole as well). In this case, it’s critical to recall that there is no chance that the tank may collapse in the future
- Determine whether or not the dispersion system needs to come out of service. A dispersion system, which drains the treated material onto what is usually known as a leach field, where the material is cleaned through the soil process, is typically installed after the human waste has been treated in the septic tank. These pipes may need to be removed in certain cases, but they may also be able to be kept underground in others. It is necessary to take additional measures since human excrement has come into touch with the soil in this location
- Otherwise, the pipes will have to be removed. Dispose of any electrical components or gadgets in the proper manner. Modern septic tank systems might have electronics installed that monitor your septic tank system, but previous systems may have employed mercury floats that must be properly disposed of before backfilling the tank with water. All wires should be disconnected, and the conduit should be sealed with a cover. Mercury is considered to be a hazardous substance, which is another another reason why you should entrust your septic system abandonment to the pros at BB Pumping in Fort Worth to handle it for you. Fill in the gaps. This frequently necessitates the hauling in of more earth, especially if the septic tank is removed in its entirety. For the purpose of ensuring the general public’s safety, this is the most critical component.
HOW BB PUMPING IN FORT WORTH CAN HELP
BB Pumping provides the most dependable residential and commercial septic services in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area, including If you keep your septic system in good working order, you’ll not only extend its lifespan, but you’ll also avoid unpleasant situations such as backups into your home, which are not only unsightly, but also noxious and potentially hazardous to you and your family. We can assist you with the repair and maintenance of both aerobic and conventional septic tank systems.
We make certain that you and your family remain healthy by ensuring that your waste is disposed of properly.
If you live in Decatur, Azle, Haslet, or any of the surrounding communities, including Dallas/Fort Worth, get in touch with us right away to start the process!
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.
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.
How does a septic tank work?
Pumping the tank on a regular basis eliminates sludge and scum, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and well built septic system to last for decades, or it might collapse in a matter of years. It is entirely up to you as long as you can answer the question of how do septic tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely collapsed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material costs.
It’s critical to understand how a septic tank works in order to maintain one.
Let’s take a look below ground and observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we?
Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria
It is important to do regular “pumping” in order to eliminate waste and build-up in the tank, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. Depending on the design and installation, a well-designed and professionally constructed septic system might endure for decades or fail in a matter of years. The decision is yours as long you are able to answer the question of how do septic systems tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely failed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material expenses.
Learn about how a septic tank functions in order to be prepared.
Let’s take a look under the surface to observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we?
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.
- Keep the effluent filter in place since it is required by your state’s health law.
- Waste particles might flow through the filter and clog the perforated pipes if the filter is not used.
- Your filter, on the other hand, should not require cleaning every six months.
- A good chance is high that you’re flushing filter-clogging things down the toilet, such as grease, fat, or food scraps.
- A garbage disposal will not be able to break down food particles sufficiently to allow them to flow through the septic tank filtration system.
- Plastic items, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable goods, and tobacco products will clog the system if they are flushed through it.
For additional information on what should and should not be flushed down the toilet, contact your local health authority. 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.
As you learn more about how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.
Alternatives to a new drain field
If an examination or a sewage backup indicate that your drain field is in need of replacement, the only option is to replace it completely. As a result, it’s important to talk with a contractor about other possibilities before proceeding with the project.
- Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.
Protect your drain septic field from lint
When this device is in place, it inhibits lint from entering the system, especially synthetic fibers that bacteria are unable to digest. One of these filters, which I’ve designed and termed theSeptic Protector, was invented by me. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150 plus delivery. Learn more about how to filter out laundry lint in this article.
Don’t overload the septic system
This device prevents lint from entering the system, particularly synthetic fibers, which bacteria are unable to digest and hence cause infection. Septic Protector is the name I gave to one of these filters that I designed myself. An additional filter is included in the price of roughly $150 plus delivery. See this article for further information on how to filter out lint from your clothes.
Meet the Expert
This device prevents lint from entering the system, particularly synthetic fibers, which bacteria are unable to digest and hence cause illness. I’ve created my own version of these filters, which I’ve dubbed the Septic Protector. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150, plus delivery. Learn more about how to remove lint from your laundry.
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Prior to discharging wastewater into the environment, several alternative systems are designed to evaporate or disinfect the effluent.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
Check out the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority’s animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system operates to learn more.
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
Types of Septic Systems
Septic system design and size can differ significantly from one neighborhood to the next, as well as throughout the country, due to a variety of variables. Household size, soil type, slope of the site, lot size, closeness to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, and even municipal ordinances are all considerations to take into consideration. The following are 10 of the most often encountered septic system configurations. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list; there are several additional types of septic systems.
- Septic Tank, Conventional System, Chamber System, Drip Distribution System, Aerobic Treatment Unit, Mound Systems, Recirculating Sand Filter System, Evapotranspiration System, Constructed Wetland System, Cluster / Community System, etc.
This tank is underground and waterproof, and it was designed and built specifically for receiving and partially treating raw home sanitary wastewater. Generally speaking, heavy materials settle at or near the bottom of the tank, whereas greases and lighter solids float to the surface. The sediments are retained in the tank, while the wastewater is sent to the drainfield for further treatment and dispersion once it has been treated.
Septic tanks and trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common type of system. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of water drainage. The term is derived from the process of constructing the drainfield. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration, which is commonly used.
Effluent filters through the stone and is further cleaned by microorganisms once it reaches the soil below the gravel/stone trench, which is located below the trench.
Gravelless drainfields have been regularly utilized in various states for more than 30 years and have evolved into a standard technology that has mostly replaced gravel systems. Various configurations are possible, including open-bottom chambers, pipe that has been clothed, and synthetic materials such as expanded polystyrene media. Gravelless systems can be constructed entirely of recycled materials, resulting in considerable reductions in carbon dioxide emissions during their lifetime. The chamber system is a type of gravelless system that can be used as an example.
The key advantage of the chamber system is the enhanced simplicity with which it can be delivered and built.
This sort of system is made up of a number of chambers that are connected to one another.
Wastewater is transported from the septic tank to the chambers through pipes. The wastewater comes into touch with the earth when it is contained within the chambers. The wastewater is treated by microbes that live on or near the soil.
Drip Distribution System
An effluent dispersal system such as the drip distribution system may be employed in a variety of drainfield configurations and is very versatile. In comparison to other distribution systems, the drip distribution system does not require a vast mound of dirt because the drip laterals are only placed into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. In addition to requiring a big dosage tank after the sewage treatment plant to handle scheduled dose delivery of wastewater to drip absorption areas, the drip distribution system has one major disadvantage: it is more expensive.
Aerobic Treatment Unit
Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) are small-scale wastewater treatment facilities that employ many of the same procedures as a municipal sewage plant. An aerobic system adds oxygen to the treatment tank using a pump. When there is an increase in oxygen in the system, there is an increase in natural bacterial activity, which then offers extra treatment for nutrients in the effluent. It is possible that certain aerobic systems may additionally include a pretreatment tank as well as a final treatment tank that will include disinfection in order to further lower pathogen levels.
ATUs should be maintained on a regular basis during their service life.
Using mound systems in regions with short soil depth, high groundwater levels, or shallow bedrock might be a good alternative. A drainfield trench has been dug through the sand mound that was erected. The effluent from the septic tank runs into a pump chamber, where it is pumped to the mound in the amounts recommended. During its release to the trench, the effluent filters through the sand and is dispersed into the native soil, where it continues to be treated. However, while mound systems can be an effective solution for some soil conditions, they demand a significant amount of land and require regular care.
Recirculating Sand Filter System
Sand filter systems can be built either above or below ground, depending on the use. The effluent is discharged from the septic tank into a pump compartment. Afterwards, it is pushed into the sand filter. The sand filter is often made of PVC or a concrete box that is filled with a sand-like substance. The effluent is pushed through the pipes at the top of the filter under low pressure to the drain. As the effluent exits the pipelines, it is treated as it passes through the sand filtering system.
However, sand filters are more costly than a standard septic system because they provide a higher level of nutrient treatment and are thus better suited for areas with high water tables or that are adjacent to bodies of water.
Evaporative cooling systems feature drainfields that are one-of-a-kind. It is necessary to line the drainfield at the base of the evapotranspiration system with a waterproof material. Following the entry of the effluent into the drainfield, it evaporates into the atmosphere. At the same time, the sewage never filters into the soil and never enters groundwater, unlike other septic system designs. It is only in particular climatic circumstances that evapotranspiration systems are effective. The environment must be desert, with plenty of heat and sunshine, and no precipitation.
Constructed Wetland System
Construction of a manufactured wetland is intended to simulate the treatment processes that occur in natural wetland areas. Wastewater goes from the septic tank and into the wetland cell, where it is treated. Afterwards, the wastewater goes into the media, where it is cleaned by microorganisms, plants, and other media that eliminate pathogens and nutrients. Typically, a wetland cell is constructed with an impermeable liner, gravel and sand fill, and the necessary wetland plants, all of which must be capable of withstanding the constant saturation of the surrounding environment.
As wastewater travels through the wetland, it may escape the wetland and flow onto a drainfield, where it will undergo more wastewater treatment before being absorbed into the soil by bacteria.
Cluster / Community System
In certain cases, a decentralized wastewater treatment system is owned by a group of people and is responsible for collecting wastewater from two or more residences or buildings and transporting it to a treatment and dispersal system placed on a suitable location near the dwellings or buildings. Cluster systems are widespread in settings like rural subdivisions, where they may be found in large numbers.