A septic tank between 1,000 – 1,250 gallons in size generally takes around 20-30 minutes to empty. A larger tank (1,500 – 2,000 gallons) will take about twice as long, between 45-60 minutes. However, the speed will depend on the company, the equipment, and other factors.
- How long does it take for septic tank to drain? How long does it take to empty a septic tank? Depending on the tank size, and the pump capacity, it could take as little as 20 minutes, up to several hours (and several tank trucks) to haul the waste off.
Does a septic tank drain itself?
A septic system that was properly designed and installed needs only occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum from the tank. But without knowing how does a septic tank work, you can do things that harm—or destroy—the system. Waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all) gets flushed down drains.
How fast should a septic tank fill up?
It takes years between having the tank pumped for the septic tank to fill to its capacity. The average usage for a family of four will fill a septic tank to its working capacity of 1000 – 1500 gallons in approximately one week.
How does a septic tank not fill up?
This problem is most often caused by not having your septic tank pumped regularly. When the level of solids in the septic tank nears, the outlet pipe, the turbulence caused by wastewater rushing into the septic tank can splash solids into the outlet pipe and allow them to exit the tank, causing clogs.
How long will a 300 gallon septic tank last?
Therefore, it will take about 5 years for one adult to fill 300 gallons of a 1,000-gallon septic tank with sludge and scum. A family of four will fill the 300-gallon storage volume of a 1,000-gallon septic tank in about 1.5 years.
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?
Can heavy rain affect septic tank?
It is common to have a septic back up after or even during a heavy rain. Significant rainfall can quickly flood the ground around the soil absorption area (drainfield) leaving it saturated, making it impossible for water to flow out of your septic system.
Can I take a shower if my septic tank is full?
Only the water would get out into the leach field in a proper system unless you run too much water too fast. The thing to do is to run your shower water outside into it’s own drain area, but it may not be allowed where you are. Used to be called gray water system.
How often does a 1000 gallon septic tank need to be pumped?
For example, a 1,000 gallon septic tank, which is used by two people, should be pumped every 5.9 years. If there are eight people using a 1,000-gallon septic tank, it should be pumped every year.
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.
Why does my septic tank get full so fast?
If your tank seems to be filling up much more quickly, it could indicate a problem with one of its components, or it could be a sign that your tank is taking on more liquids than it can handle. Call a local professional if your tank is needing more septic pumping than usual.
Will toilet flush if septic tank is full?
A common indicator of septic tank problems is a toilet that’s slow to flush — or won’t flush at all — and a plunger can’t fix the issue. The tank may be full, or there could be a clog in the pipes.
What is the most common cause of septic system failure?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
How long does poop take to decompose in septic tank?
The bacteria take 2-4 hours to germinate and then begin to break down solid waste. If the temperature and conditions are favorable, then the bacteria will multiply to the maximum level that the environment will allow in about 2-4 days.
How often do I need to pump my 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 Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
How Long Does It Take for Septic Tanks to Fill Up?
Whatever your situation is, whether you have just completed the installation of a new septic tank or are wondering when it is time to do periodic maintenance on your existing underground septic tank, it is critical that you understand how the tank works and when, if at all, it becomes full. The topic of how often you should pump your septic tank or how long it takes for a septic tank to fill up has been questioned for some years now, and the answer is: it depends. Some allege that they didn’t know or just didn’t care to pump their tanks, while others believe that a policy should be in place defining when and how to do so should be implemented.
It should be noted that this is a highly subjective response.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these criteria to see if your septic tank is approaching capacity.
Understanding How a Septic Tank Fills Up
There is a direct relationship between the amount of food consumed in a home and the amount of garbage created in that household. Adults generate around one liter of garbage every day, which equates to 90 gallons of waste per year on average. Not all of this garbage ‘fills up’ a septic tank, as the expression goes. The waste is reduced to around 60% of its original volume in the tank. It is recommended by both regulatory agencies and the pumping industry that you should not allow the sludge/scum layer at the bottom of your tank to occupy more than 30% of the total capacity of your septic tank.
After the 305-mile threshold, the procedure gets significantly slower, resulting in a significantly faster filling of the tank.
All of these figures are based on a single individual filling a 1,000-gallon septic tank with sewage.
As youngsters get older (and reach school age), the length of this time period will shorten. In the following table, the recommended septic tank size is shown according to the number of rooms in the house.
The smallest septic tank size that is suggested for a certain number of rooms. According to these estimates (which are supported by multiple state-wide studies), it is reasonable to conclude that a septic tank should be pumped once every two to three years. There is just one primary duty for every septic tank, and that is to collect sludge that would otherwise be difficult to deal with while distributing cleaned water to the land underneath the tank via drain fields. The lighter and more floatable particles are ultimately responsible for filling the tank.
What Happens Whenthe Septic Tank Fills Up?
As previously said, many people claim that they have never had to pump their septic tank before, although it appears to be ‘functioning normally.’ In fact, the reason for this is that when an increasing amount of settled and floating organic material is added to the septic tank, certain particles begin to escape. When the tank is full and there is no more space for the tank to absorb and hold solids, particles begin to leak through the tank’s walls and into the water. These are particles that have accumulated at the bottom or near the drain pipes for an extended period of time and have grown soft enough to flow with the water.
- Eventually, these particles reorganize themselves to block the soil absorption region, resulting in backflowing toilets and gutters. Alternatively, small solid particles may escape due to the pressure put on the bottom layer of the soil (because of its weight). Your property will initially have a strong scent that passersby and guests will notice
- But, over time as these particles continue to sink into the soil, your property will develop an unpleasant odor that both passersby and guests will notice.
This is why it is critical to get your septic tank pumped on a regular basis.
Can I Shower If My Septic TankIs Full?
If your septic tank is completely full, you CAN take a shower. Slow drainage is the only issue you’re likely to encounter in this situation. The water in your shower, tub, sink(s), and other fixtures will begin to drain much more slowly as your septic tank continues to fill up with waste. Although this is true in certain cases, it is crucial to remember that shower drains do not run to septic systems, but rather straight into sewage lines, because there is no solid waste contained inside them.
However, because this is only liquid water, you will not be causing as much harm to your septic tank as you might otherwise be if the water were to enter it.
Will My Toilet FlushIftheSeptic TankIs Full?
Your toilet should continue to flush regularly until your septic tank is full to 90 percent capacity. Following that, you will notice that the toilet begins to behave strangely. The toilet will either flush very slowly or the drain will begin to make strange sounds (such as passing gas or gurgling). It is not unusual for the toilet to begin bubbling. While there is a temporary fix for this, bear in mind that it is merely a band-aid remedy. You’ll need an empty spray bottle, white vinegar, and bicarb soda for this project (baking soda).
Simply combine baking soda and vinegar and pour – or simply pour the acid into the container.
Signs ThatItIs Timeto PumpaSeptic Tank
It is always possible to use the “cross that bridge when we get there” approach if you are unable to predict how long it will take for septic tanks to fill up completely. In order to do so, you must be aware of the indicators of a clogged septic tank.
It is possible to just open the tank and have a look inside (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME). Afterwards, you’ll almost certainly become ill and spend the following several days in bed – or even worse, in the hospital. You have two alternatives if you want to be on the safe side:
- Simply have it pumped after a specified amount of time, such as 2 to 3 years
- And Alternatively, you may open the inspection port on the first chamber (as seen in the image below) once a year and insert a pole into the chamber to test it. Make an effort to locate a pole (or stick) that is long enough to reach the bottom of the tank. It is possible that these poles will be included in the purchase price or not. When withdrawing, keep your face away from the sludge and pull out to observe how deep the muck has gotten into your pores. If the water level has risen to more than 70% of the tank’s total depth, it is necessary to pump it out. When doing so, make sure you’re wearing the appropriate safety equipment.
An illustration of a common septic tank configuration You should have your tank pumped every 2 to 3 years, unless you are a professional plumber who knows what they are doing.
Septic Tank Pumping Process
A pipe that runs through a septic tank to allow it to be emptied. Hire septic tank pumping contractors and delegate the task to them; this is the best course of action for everyone, including do-it-yourselfers. Keep in mind that you are not only responsible for pumping the waste, but also for transporting it to the appropriate facility. The procedure begins by removing the scum layer that has formed on top of all of the sludge. The sludge, on the other hand, is unable to be pushed out properly.
- The chemicals eat away at the sludge, causing it to shrink in bulk.
- The fact that there isn’t enough liquid in the container indicates that you have filled it to the recommended level.
- Mixing is accomplished with the assistance of a pump, or by simply pumping liquid into a container, withdrawing it, and pouring it back into the container.
- The septic system must be pumped through the two access ports seen in the picture above to function properly.
- Once the water has been drained out, it is typical for specialists to inspect the area for damage.
Septic Tank Pumping
Septic tanks are used in the vast majority of on-lot sewage systems nowadays. The subject of how frequently a septic tank should be pumped has been a source of contention for several decades. For example, there are some homeowners who say they have never drained their septic tank and that it “appears” to be in fine working condition. While trying to establish a standard pumping strategy, authorities have taken a more conservative approach and have declared that all septic tanks should be pump out every two to three years.
How a Septic Tank Works
Box 1.Can you tell me how much solid trash you generate? The average adult consumes around one quart of food every day. The body removes just a very little percentage of this meal and utilizes it to provide energy for the body’s functions. The remaining portion is discharged into the waste water system. This translates into around 90 gallons of solid waste being discharged into the septic tank per adult each year. Based on the assumption that the anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank reduce the waste volume by around 60%, this indicates that each adult contributes approximately 60 gallons of solids to their septic tank each year.
- Consequently, it will take around 5 years for one adult to completely fill a 1,000-gallon septic tank with sludge and scum, which is approximately 300 gallons.
- It is simple to infer that a septic tank should be pumped every two to three years after accounting for adults who work outside the home for a third of the time and children who attend school after making these modifications to the study.
- Single chamber septic tanks were the most common type of septic tank until recently.
- Septic tanks are designed to aid the removal of particles that are heavier than water by encouraging these heavy particles to settle to the tank bottom, resulting in the formation of the sludge layer.
- It is also designed to keep particles that are lighter than water by encouraging these lighter particles to float to the surface and be maintained in the tank, resulting in a layer of scum on the surface of the tank.
In part, this is due to the fact that the temperature of the septic tank is equal to that of the soil surrounding it, and the anaerobic bacteria require higher temperatures in order to effectively decompose organic material in wastewater and thus reduce the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the wastewater.
- Holding on to the heavy (settleable) and lighter (floatable) particles allows the septic tank to gently fill with solids from the bottom up as well as from the top down.
- Septic tanks with an exit filter will catch and decrease the flow of solids into the absorption area when the tank is properly designed and installed.
- As a result, it is critical that every septic tank be pumped on a regular basis to eliminate the organic particles that have been collected and partially digested.
- Small amounts of the particles kept in the tank degrade, but the vast majority of the solids stay and build up in the tank.
- Under no circumstances should you enter a septic tank.
- With continued usage of the on-lot wastewater disposal system, an accumulation of sludge and scum builds up in the septic tank.
- As the amount of sludge and scum in the tank fills up, wastewater is maintained in the tank for a shorter period of time, and the solids removal process becomes less efficient as a result.
It is necessary to pump the tank on a regular basis in order to avoid this. Asseptage is the term used to describe the substance injected. Cross-sectional view of a two-chamber septic tank (Figure 1).
|Number of bedrooms in the home||Estimated daily flow (gallons/day)||Minimum septic tank size (gallons)|
How Frequent should a Septic Tank be Pumped?
Pumping frequency is determined by a number of parameters, including:
- The capacity of the septic tank
- The amount of wastewater that is put to the septic tank each day (see Table 1)
- The amount of solids in a wastewater stream is measured. In this regard, it should be noted that there are various different types of particles that are regularly dumped into a septic system. This group of solids includes (1) biodegradable “organic” solids such as feces (see Box 1), (2) slowly biodegradable “organic” solids such as toilet paper and cellulosic compounds, which take a long time to biodegrade in the septic tank, and (3) non-biodegradable solids such as kitty litter, plastics, and other non-biodegradable materials, which do not biodegrade and quickly fill the septic tank It is possible to significantly reduce the quantity of slowly biodegradable organics and non-biodegradable trash that is introduced to your septic tank by reducing the amount of organic waste that is added to the tank.
Another factor that influences how soon a septic tank will fill with solids is one’s way of living. In terms of septic tank function, the two most essential aspects of one’s lifestyle are as follows: Homes with expanding families, having children ranging in age from tiny children to adolescents, often consume more water and deposit more sediments into the septic tank than other types of households. Empty nesters, and especially the elderly, on the other hand, have a tendency to consume significantly less water and to deposit significantly less solid waste in septic tanks.
- The particles in a septic tank tend to be taken away from the tank to the soil absorption region, as previously indicated.
- As additional materials collect in the absorption region, these sediments begin to choke the soil, preventing wastewater from being able to fully absorb.
- In most cases, the removal of these biomats is both expensive and time-consuming.
- Pumping the wastewater that has accumulated in the soil absorption area is required for the removal of the biomat.
- The biomat normally decomposes within a few days after the absorption area has been completely dewatered and has been aerated.
Is It Time To Pump Your Septic Tank?
So, how does one go about determining how frequently a septic tank needs be cleaned? We are aware that residences who dispose of huge volumes of non-biodegradable and slowly biodegradable organic waste into their septic tank require more frequent pumping. It is also known that prior to the time at which the collected solids have accumulated to the point that they are being taken with the tank effluent to the absorption region, the septic tank should be pump out. When it comes to determining when (and how frequently) to pump your septic tank, there are two generally safe ways to use.
The alternative method is to open the access port to the first chamber (as shown in Figure 1) once a year and insert a long pole to the bottom of the tank and then pull it out of the tank.
If the sludge has accumulated to more than one-third of the tank’s total depth, it is time to have it drained out completely. The majority of households will benefit from having their tanks drained every two or three years instead.
The Pumping Process
Contractors who specialize in septic tank pumping and hauling may pump your septic tank. It is a good idea to be present to check that everything is completed correctly. For the material to be extracted from the tank, it is necessary to break up the scum layer, and the sludge layer must be combined with the liquid section of the tank. In most cases, this is accomplished by alternately pumping liquid out of the tank and re-injecting it into the bottom of the tank. Not the little intake or outlet inspection openings situated above each baffle, but the two huge central access ports (manholes) are required for pumping the septic tank.
- It is not suggested to use additives in septic tanks to minimize the volume of sludge or as a substitute for pumping in order to achieve these goals.
- When you have your septic tank pumped, you should consider taking an additional step to ensure that your septic system continues to perform correctly for a long time.
- This inspector can tell you whether or not your septic tank needs to be repaired, as well as whether or not other components of your sewage system require upkeep.
- Mark the position of the tank as well, so that it may be found simply in the future for pumping.
Schedule Septic Tank Pumping
Homeowners should develop the practice of getting their septic tanks drained on a regular basis. As long as you are able and willing to schedule regular septic tank pumping (every two or three years, for example), it may be feasible to improve the overall performance of your complete on-lot wastewater disposal system. According to research conducted at Penn State, your soil absorption system will benefit from frequent resting periods (a period during which no wastewater is added to the absorption area).
In other words, the whole system, particularly the soil absorption region, will have the opportunity to dry up, and any organic waste (biomat) that may have formed in the soil absorption area will degrade swiftly in the absence of water.
A septic tank is simply one component of a complete on-site wastewater treatment system. Its purpose is to remove solids from the effluent prior to it reaching the soil absorption region, to allow for the digestion of a part of those solids, and to store the remainder of the solids in a holding tank. It is not necessary to use biological or chemical additions to enhance or speed the breakdown process.
Grinders contribute to the solids load on the system by reducing the size of garbage. Solids must be removed on a regular basis in order to prevent them from accessing the soil absorption zone. Every two to three years, you should have your septic tank drained and examined by a professional.
For additional assistance contact
Your local Sewage Enforcement Officer or Extension Educator can help you with these issues. A contact for the Pennsylvania Association of Sewage Enforcement Officers (PASEO) is as follows:4902 Carlisle Pike,268Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 Phone: 717-761-8648 Email: [email protected] Philadelphia, PA 18016 717-763-7762 [email protected] Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA)P.O. Box 144 Bethlehem, PA 18016 717-763-7762
When to Pump a Septic Tank — Superior Septic
Septic tanks with adequate volume to retain particles for several years will be found in a system that has been correctly constructed. Solids build up in the septic tank over time, eventually filling it up completely. It is possible that suspended solid particles will begin to flow into the absorption field if these solids are not removed on a regular basis. Because of the solids in the absorption field, it is possible that the absorption field may need to be replaced in the near future. Newer septic tank systems are required to have an effluent filter installed on the septic tank’s outflow, which is placed on the bottom of the tank.
- It is possible that the effluent filter will become blocked if the septic tank is not emptied out on a regular basis, resulting in wastewater backing up into the home.
- New septic tanks are designed with an access port above the input and outflow tees to make it easier to clean the effluent filter and pump the tank out as necessary.
- The storage capacity of the septic tank is the first element to consider.
- A bigger capacity system provides better treatment while necessitating fewer pumping operations.
- The amount of particles present in the wastewater is the second aspect to consider.
- The usage of a trash disposal can result in an increase in the quantity of solids in a septic tank of up to 50%.
- Homes with garbage disposals are obliged to expand the capacity of their septic tank by 50 percent to accommodate the disposal.
Based on the assumption that wastewater would remain in the tank for 24 hours and that bacterial action will digest 50% of the particles present in the tank, it is possible to determine the appropriate pumping frequency for septic tanks.
According to the number of people that reside in the house, this occurs approximately every two years on average.
What are the causes of septic system failure?
When it comes to real estate transactions, certifications are essential.
Essentially, they exist to safeguard the buyer from acquiring property that is “unserviceable.” Additionally, they are listed as requirements to receive certain types of house loans in escrow items, as well as other requirements.
Where do septic tanks take up residence?
A: Generally speaking, between 15 and 20 years.
A septic tank that is completely empty will typically fill in less than 10 days.
THE AVERAGE HOUSE HAS 3 PEOPLE.
The capacity of a family tank is 1000 gallons, which is less than 7 days, but don’t be concerned, this is normal.
The system is beginning to break down.
Septic tanks are not designed to overflow since they are emptied out every two years, as required by law.
More specifics are as follows: A septic system is an ecological system that requires regular maintenance every two years to guarantee that it continues to function properly and efficiently.
It is overflowing because it is no longer digesting water, which is the reason for the spilling. Overflowing systems must be changed in accordance with the rules and regulations of your local authority. GO HERE to find out more. EMAIL US WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.
How long does it take for septic tank to drain?
Asked in the following category: General The most recent update was made on February 16th, 2020. What is the average time it takes to empty a septic tank? Depending on the tank size and pump capacity, it might take as little as 20 minutes or as long as several hours (and numerous tanktrucks) to remove the waste from the tank site. Both the regulatory community and the pumping industry agree that the sludge and scum layer in a septic tank should never be allowed to fill more than around 30 percent of the tank’s total volume, according to the regulatory community.
What are the telltale symptoms that your septic tank is overflowing with waste?
- Water that has accumulated. If you notice pools of water on your grass surrounding your septic system’s drain field, it’s possible that your septic tank is overflowing. Drains that are slow to drain
- A lawn that is extremely healthy
- Sewer backup
It’s also important to know if a flooded septic tank will self-repair. Because most septic tanks are located below ground and entirely covered, they are not affected by floods. Septic tanks and pump chambers, on the other hand, can get clogged with silt and debris and must be properly cleaned. An entirely new system may be required in cases where the soil absorption field has been blocked with silt and other debris. What is the average time it takes for a flooded septic tank to drain? Except for mound systems, the majority of drainfields are 2 to 4 feet below the surface of the earth.
This might take a few weeks or even months, depending on the circumstances.
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?
Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-Us. By understanding how a septic tank works—and what may go wrong with it—you will be able to save a lot of money on septic system maintenance in the future.
Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria
Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.
- A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
- Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
- Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
- (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
- The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
- Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
When gravel is used to surround pipes, water can run into the soil and oxygen can reach germs. The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt. 9. Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system
Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.
- Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.
Get your tank pumped…
Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.
…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it
Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.
Install an effluent filter in your septic system
Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata. The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.
Septic tank filter close-up
The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drain field pipes. Obtain an effluent filter for your tank from your contractor and place it on the outflow pipe of your tank. (It will most likely cost between $50 and $100, plus labor.) This device, which helps to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis by a contractor to maintain its effectiveness.
Solution for a clogged septic system
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
Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field. Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.
Meet the Expert
Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.
How to Care for Your Septic Tank
Septic systems are built in around one-fourth of all residences in the United States, and they are particularly common in rural regions that are not served by municipal sewer systems.
In contrast to conventional sewage systems, which pump solid and liquid waste from the home into sewer mains and then to a centralized sewage treatment plant, septic systems pump waste from the house out into a drain field and an underground septic tank.
How Septic System Works
The water and wastes carried by the water in a standard septic system go down the home’s drain system and through a single main sewer pipe to the septic tank, where they are treated. It is possible for wastewater to flow only by gravity or with the aid of an electric pump. However, this is not always the case. The septic tank is designed to store waste material for an extended period of time, allowing solids to sink to the bottom while oil, grease, and liquids – later known as scum — float to the top.
As bacterial activity breaks down the pathogens, the liquids slowly trickle down through the soil and into the groundwater.
Between times, the solids in the tank degrade under the influence of anaerobic bacteria and form an oily substance that settles at the bottom of the tank.
If the bacterial action is efficient, the volume of these solid wastes is significantly decreased as they decompose.
Anatomy of a Septic Tank
The septic tank is a water-tight container constructed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that is placed in the ground in a location close to the house to collect waste. It is comprised of an entrance pipe through which all waste from the home’s sewage line is directed into the tank and an output pipe through which liquids are directed to the drain field. Unless you look closely, the top of the tank is buried just below the level of the earth and is completely inaccessible except for one or two inspection tubes and a manhole cover, which is used to pump sludge from the tank when it becomes required.
When to Have Your Septic Tank Pumped
An inspection of a septic tank should be performed every two to three years, with mechanical pumping necessary every three to five years to empty the tank, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pumping may be required on a yearly basis for systems that are inadequate or that receive a lot of demand. System components such as electrical float switches, pumps, and mechanical components must be examined more frequently, generally once a year, in certain cases. When you pump your septic tank, you’re getting rid of sludge from the bottom of the tank, and you need to do it as soon as possible since sludge can build up to the point where it stops the outflow pipe, which allows liquids to flow into the drain field.
- Typical for larger houses, waste generation increases, causing the septic tank to fill up more quickly
- Size of the household The amount of wastewater produced is as follows: If there is an excessive amount of wastewater going into the septic tank, it might have an impact on how quickly the tank fills. The amount of particles included in the wastewater is as follows: Households with a large number of toilets or who often use garbage disposals have a tendency to fill their septic tanks more quickly. Septic tank capacity: Larger tanks can retain more solid sludge and, as a result, will need to be pumped less frequently.
There are a few methods that might assist you in estimating when you should have your tank pumped.
For example, a typical four-bedroom house may have a 1,200 to 1,500 gallon tank, and if you have a family of four, you may expect to have the tank pumped every 3 to 5 years under normal circumstances.
How a Septic Tank Is Pumped
The expert who inspects and services your septic tank will notify you when it is necessary to pump out the sludge from the tank, if you have a septic service professional who does so on a regular basis. This occurs when the floating scum layer that exists between the sludge and the floating water is within approximately 6 inches of the outflow pipe leading to the drain field. Septic service specialists arrive in a huge tanker truck with vacuum equipment, and when the lid has been removed from the septic tank, they introduce a large hose into the tank through the manhole they have created.
This helps to break up the particles and mix them with the liquid material, which helps the pumping process run more efficiently.
Tips for Maintaining Septic System
There are various proactive actions you can take to ensure that your septic system runs properly and that the frequency with which it must be pumped is reduced. These include the following:
- Reduce your water use. Utilizing toilets and faucets with high water efficiency and water conservation may significantly reduce the quantity of water that enters the septic system and causes it to backup. Water leaks and drips should be repaired as soon as possible in order to avoid misuse of water, which can lead to the septic tank filling up faster. Reduce the amount of solid trash produced: Another technique to ensure that the septic system is operating correctly is to keep track of the solid waste that enters it. Trash that is either washed down the drain or flushed down the toilet can cause the septic system to become overburdened. Other than toilet paper, don’t flush anything down the toilet. Also, avoid utilizing a trash disposer that dumps organic food wastes into the septic system, which might cause problems. Even though it takes just a small amount of work, throwing things in the trash makes a significant impact in how well the septic system is managed. Rainwater should be directed away from the drain field. Rain gutters and landscaping grading that direct water into the septic system’s drain field can impair the field’s capacity to distribute water from the septic system.
- Hot tubs should not be drained into the sewer system. Water from hot tubs or swimming pools should be discharged onto the yard rather than into the drain field, since this might impose an unnecessary strain on a septic system. It is best not to flush chemicals down the toilet. Avoid flushing chemicals down the toilet because they can interfere with the bacterial process that breaks down solid wastes. There are also several other commercial septic tank additives, which are often more harmful than beneficial. Use of septic tank chemicals is not recommended unless it has been prescribed by a trustworthy specialist.
How Often I Need To Get My Septic Tank Pumped?
What is the recommended frequency of septic tank pumping? How often does a septic tank need to be drained and cleaned? A septic tank should be pumped and emptied once every three to five years, as a general rule of thumb. Septic-disposal tanks are often used by houses located outside of urban areas since they do not have access to city sewer connections. A septic tank is an ecologically beneficial, safe, and natural solution to handle waste generated by a home or other building. A septic tank system may endure for many years if it is cared for, maintained, and pumped on a regular basis.
Because the solids (or sludge) are far heavier than water, they will sink to the bottom of the tank, where germs and bacteria will consume and dissolve them.
The intermediate layer of watery effluent will be discharged from the tank by way of perforated subterranean tubes to a drain or leach field, respectively.
Over time, an excessive amount of sludge will reduce the bacteria’s capacity to break down waste and will cause it to overflow into the drain field.
The question is, how often should you have your septic system pump out?
In general, the majority of sewage-disposal tanks have capacities ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons.
The size of the tank has a role in deciding how frequently it should be pumped, among other things.
The size of a household is important.
In order to accommodate a 3-bedroom house, the size of the tank must be bigger than that required for a 2-bedroom house.
Consider chatting with them and enquiring about the size of their septic tank in relation to the number of people that live in their residences.
Generally speaking, increasing the number of people living in a home results in increased waste production, which affects the frequency with which a septic tank must be cleaned.
Take into consideration the whole amount of wastewater generated, which includes laundry, dishwashing, and showers.
Water consumption that is efficient can help to lengthen the life of a septic system and reduce the likelihood of blocking, supporting, and leaking.
To save time, it is preferable to spread out washing machine use over the week rather than performing many loads in one day.
Make your septic tank last longer by using environmentally friendly detergents around your house, purchasing an energy-efficient cleaning gadget that uses less water, and installing a filter to collect artificial fibers that the bacterial bacteria in your septic tank are unable to break down.
The food will not be broken down into tiny enough pieces to pass through the septic tank filter if the disposal is used.
Other strategies to assist the septic tank include taking shorter showers and installing low-flow shower heads or shower circulation restrictors to lower the amount of water entering the septic tank and allowing it to function more efficiently.
Even while maintaining a septic tank system isn’t that expensive, the expense of collecting and repairing or replacing a system that has ceased operating as a result of negligence is significantly higher.
In some cases, other systems may be capable of waiting up to 5 years between septic pumpings.
The frequency with which the tank must be cleaned is determined by the amount of waste present in the tank, rather than by a fixed time period.
South End Plumbing specializes in a wide range of plumbing services, so keep in mind that we are only a mouse click away.
We also specialize in leak detection; please contact us for more information. South End Plumbing is one of the few organizations that will provide you with a no-obligation quote. To book a visit, please call us at 704-919-1722 or complete the online form.