How Often To Empty A School Septic Tank?

How often should I pump out my septic system? MassDEP recommends that a properly maintained septic system should be pumped out at least once every 3 years! Regular maintenance is the most important thing in making sure your septic system works well.

How often should you clean your septic tank?

  • Clean your septic tank every 1 to 3 years. How often depends on the size of the tank and how many solids go into it. A rule of thumb is once every 3 years for a 1,000 gallon tank serving a 3-bedroom home with 4 occupants (and with no garbage disposal).

How often do you have to empty a septic holding tank?

Experts recommend pumping a septic tank every 2 to 3 years depending on factors such as the size of your household or building. However, holding tanks are temporary storage units, and owners should pump the tank far more frequently than a septic tank.

How often does a 1000 gallon holding tank need to be pumped?

For a household of 4 with a 1,000-gallon tank, it’s advised that it be pumped every 2.6 years, but for a 1,500-gallon tank, the time can be extended to 4.2 years and up to 5 years for a 2,000-gallon tank. The size of the house will figure out the size of the septic tank.

How long can a septic tank go without being pumped?

You can wait up to 10 years to drain your tank provided that you live alone and do not use the septic system often. You may feel like you can pump your septic tank waste less frequently to save money, but it’ll be difficult for you to know if the tank is working properly.

How often does a 2000 gallon holding tank need to be pumped?

How often does my holding tank need to be pumped? A holding tank may need to be pumped every 30 to 90 days depending on how much waste is generated and the size of the tank.

Can I 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 much does it cost to pump a septic tank?

How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.

How much does it cost to have a holding tank pumped?

A holding tank needs to be professionally pumped out every 6-8 weeks and does not allow any sewage to seep into the ground surrounding it. The average cost for pumping and hauling away the waste is around $100- $150 and is priced out per gallon of wastewater.

What happens if you never pump your septic tank?

What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.

What happens if you dont empty a septic tank?

Not emptying your septic tank regularly can result in a few different problems – toilets taking longer to flush, gurgling sounds in your pipes, even waste backing up to your house. Not only is this bad news for you, it’s also bad news for the environment as the waste can pollute local watercourses.

Can you get your septic pumped in the winter?

Winter is really the only season we don’t recommend pumping septic systems. Unfortunately, frozen ground, heavy snow, and slippery ice can make it extremely difficult for even our skilled technicians to properly dig up and securely cover the septic tank.

How often does a 500 gallon holding tank need to be pumped?

But here are some general guidelines: Family of 2, 500-gallon tank – pump every 2.5 years. Family of 3, 1000-gallon tank – pump every 4 years. Family of 5, 1000-gallon tank – pump every 2 years. Family of 5, 1500-gallon tank – pump every 3.5 years.

How Often Should a Septic Tank Be Pumped?

It’s a subject that comes up time and time again: how frequently should a septic tank be pumped? In my role as co-owner of Western SepticExcavation, a firm that pumps sewage tanks, I and my partners get asked this question on a weekly basis. The short answer is that no one is sure. I’m curious how we, as professionals tasked with the important responsibility of safely disposing of wastewater from rural houses and businesses, came to learn about this intriguing piece of information. Please bear with me as I explain.

Starting with a simple question that many individuals are unable to answer, let’s go on.

Why do I need to pump my septic tank?

Old-school thinkers frequently assert that a septic tank does not require pumping if it is operating properly. Ever. Providing that we also infer that very few, if any, septic tanks function “properly,” we may make the assumption that this is valid. While theoretically conceivable, achieving this degree of septic nirvana in real life is very hard to achieve. To avoid the hassle of going around in circles, it is much simpler to accept the overwhelming facts and come to the conclusion that septic tanks must be pumped on a regular basis in order to extend the life of the system.

  1. As a result, it must be preserved.
  2. Second, it serves to store substances that have not been digested in order to be removed later by pumping.
  3. This is due to the fact that solids degrade at different rates in different environments.
  4. Fats, oils, and greases float on top of the liquid in the tank, forming a layer of solids known as scum, which is lighter than water and hence floats on top of the liquid.
  5. Without a doubt, when you utter the word “septic sludge,” everyone’s mind immediately goes to the ickiest of the ickies, but trust me when I say there’s a lot more to it than that.
  6. How does this play out in the event that I fail to pump out my septic tank?
  7. As a result, the tank’s practical holding capacity is reduced by a factor of several hundred percent.

In a two-pronged attack on your drain field, this reduces the amount of time the bacteria have to digest particles while simultaneously decreasing the amount of time the undigested solids have to divide into their respective layers.

Once at the wastewater treatment plant, these sediments settle out of the wastewater, blocking pipes and forming a thick layer of sludge, known as a biomat, which decreases the capacity of the water to seep into the ground.

Yet another typical problem that arises as a result of inadequate septic pumping is that the floating scum layer becomes too thick and actually obstructs the line that leads to the septic tank, creating an obstruction that results in sewer backup into the residence.

Is it clear enough?

Usually, within a week of pumping, the tank will be completely filled with liquid waste.

Our concern is with the solids that have settled to the bottom and have risen to the surface of the water column.

If a pumper ever states that the tank is “full,” he is most likely referring to a solids accumulation that necessitates the need to pump the tank as soon as possible. Now that we’ve covered the reasons for why I need to pump my septic tank, let’s move on to the next step.

How often do you recommend I pump my septic tank?

The guidelines of the Health District are always the first thing I point people to when they ask me a question like this. Their recommendations, which are supported by the Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency, are to use one of two ways to decide when and how often to pump a septic tank. According to the first technique, the thickness of the scum and sludge layers must be measured, and a pump must be placed in the tank when the volume of solids in the tank surpasses around 25 percent to 35 percent of the total volume of the tank.

  1. If a sample tool is not available, there are other options for measuring scum and sludge, including the use of a handmade instrument.
  2. However, even when done with adequate equipment, septic tank sampling is an imprecise science that can lead to incorrect conclusions.
  3. However, in practice, this is not the case.
  4. There is a broad range of precision in the sample used to determine the volume of solids, depending on where it is collected (for example, at the inlet, center, or outflow end of the tank), and this accuracy will vary depending on where it is taken.
  5. Many of these older tanks, as well as some current tanks, have the primary access lid located in the center of the tank or even at the outlet end of the tank, which is a common practice.
  6. The scum layer will occasionally be quite thick at the input end of the tank and nearly non-existent at the output end, depending on the conditions.
  7. The collection of scum around the entrance will become a problem long before the amount of settled solids exceeds the acceptable volume of 25 percent to 35 percent, which would necessitate the pumping of the tank under those circumstances.

In order to identify when to pump my septic tank, the second way that has been advocated is to set up a regular plan for pumping that is based on calendar years.

Even this advice, on the other hand, is highly subjective.

People’s behaviors differ significantly from one household to the next.

Cooking oils enter the septic system through dishwashing and bodily wastes, and they contaminate the water supply.

Septic tank bacterial populations have been shown to be negatively affected by the fragrances and colors contained inside these items.

A gourmand who adores baking frequently mistakenly flushes a large amount of oil down the toilet.

Every batch of chocolate chip cookies was baked in a pan that had been greased with shortening before being placed in the oven.

Germs and viruses are a source of great anxiety for some individuals.

Chemicals such as antibacterial agents and disinfectants are toxic to the bacteria in the septic system.

Residents who use recreational drugs have been known to cause damage to septic systems in rare instances.

As a result, some homes will produce solid waste at a significantly higher pace than others, while having the same number of people and living in an apparently identical environment.

Then there’s the issue of water use. In contrast, a struggling family of six may be sharing a small home that should only handle three or four people, but a moderately rich elderly grandma may live alone in a huge home with a septic system that is meant to accommodate six people. It is unlikely that a family of the same size with very young children will consume nearly as much water as a family of the same size whose children are teens in high school, involved in sports, and who wash two or three times each day.

  • Because of the numerous variables that might effect a septic system, it is practically hard to get a definitive conclusion on how frequently I should pump my septic tank, as seen above.
  • I’ll use myself as an illustration.
  • Even though I had finally made up my mind to pump it, I had no idea what the solids buildup would look like until I actually opened the top.
  • We’ve encountered septic tanks that had accumulated a significant amount of particles only a few months after being pumped, and on another occasion, I pumped a tank for an old gentleman who hadn’t had his tank pumped in more than 15 years.
  • There were almost no solids in it at all, which was surprising.
  • In order to identify when to pump my septic tank, the second way that has been advocated is to set up a regular plan for pumping that is based on calendar years.
  • Even this advice, on the other hand, is highly subjective.

People’s behaviors differ significantly from one household to the next.

Cooking oils enter the septic system through dishwashing and bodily wastes, and they contaminate the water supply.

Septic tank bacterial populations have been shown to be negatively affected by the fragrances and colors contained inside these items.

A gourmand who adores baking frequently mistakenly flushes a large amount of oil down the toilet.

Every batch of chocolate chip cookies was baked in a pan that had been greased with shortening before being placed in the oven.

Germs and viruses are a source of great anxiety for some individuals.

Chemicals such as antibacterial agents and disinfectants are toxic to the bacteria in the septic system.

Residents who use recreational drugs have been known to cause damage to septic systems in rare instances.

As a result, some homes will produce solid waste at a significantly higher pace than others, while having the same number of people and living in an apparently identical environment.

Is there a way to find out how often I should pump my septic tank?

Yes. Fortunately, there is a method for staying on top of septic system maintenance. I recommend that you get the tank pumped for the first three to five years after it is installed. A vital insight into the state of the septic tank and the buildup of solids will be gained from this initial treatment. When the thickness of the solids has been determined, the pumper can prescribe a timetable that takes into consideration other criteria, such as the amount of time that has passed since the tank was installed or last serviced, and the number of people who live in the house It’s important to remember that no one, and I repeat, NO ONE, can anticipate the future or the changes that will occur in life.

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It is important to understand that when a pumper makes a recommendation about how often I should pump my septic system, he is simply considering what he sees today.

Moreover, because septic systems are not designed to survive eternally, following the advice of a septic specialist cannot guarantee how long the system will last or that it will be trouble-free.

Besides removing solids, is there any other reason to pump my septic tank?

Yes, pumping your septic tank gives you the opportunity to check the various components of the tank that would otherwise be difficult to view without the pump. Baffles at the inlet and outflow of the drainfield, which are critical components in protecting the drainfield, can occasionally fail. Lids occasionally deteriorate as a result of the gases created by the system. A deteriorated lid may crumble and fall into the tank, which might be fatal if a kid or pet happened to be wandering through the location at the time of the collapse and fall.

  1. This enables for tiny repairs to be performed that might avert a catastrophe later on.
  2. I like to use the analogy of changing the oil in my automobile to explain things.
  3. Additionally, if I pump my septic tank on a regular basis, my drainfield will endure for many years, provided that I don’t develop behaviors that overload the system or cause it to malfunction biochemically.
  4. Similarly, if I ignore septic maintenance until sewage begins to back up into my home, I have very certainly ruined my drainfield and significantly reduced the life of the system.
  5. Western SepticExcavation may be reached at (208) 539-4207 or via email to make a septic tank pumping appointment.

With permission, this post was prepared by Kendall Unruh, Owner of Western Septic and Excavation, and is being shared with you. To view the original article, please visit this link. Western Septic’s official website may be seen by clicking here.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Single chamber septic tanks were the most common type of septic tank until recently.
  4. 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.
  5. 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)
3 400 900
4 500 1,250
5 600 1,400
6 700 1,550

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.

  1. The particles in a septic tank tend to be taken away from the tank to the soil absorption region, as previously indicated.
  2. As additional materials collect in the absorption region, these sediments begin to choke the soil, preventing wastewater from being able to fully absorb.
  3. In most cases, the removal of these biomats is both expensive and time-consuming.
  4. Pumping the wastewater that has accumulated in the soil absorption area is required for the removal of the biomat.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Summary

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

Caring for Your Septic System

If your system consists solely of a septic tank and drainfield, which is referred to as a gravity system, you must examine it at least once every three years, if not more frequently. All other sorts of systems are expected to be examined at least once a year, if not more frequently than that. It’s possible that your local health department has more strict inspection requirements. A septic specialist can perform the examination for you, or if your local health department permits it, you can perform the inspection on your own.

Keeping the solids, also known as sludge, from piling up and getting close to the outflow baffles of the system is critical because particles can stop the pipe leading to the drainfield or, even worse, completely choke the drainfield.

  • A maintenance service provider
  • Learning how to perform your own examination
  • And other options. Inquiring with your local health agency to see if they can examine your system for a lesser fee

Pump Your Tank

When it’s time to pump out your septic tank, do so. Don’t wait until you have an issue before seeking help. Septic tanks should be pumped out every three to five years in a normal residence, according to industry standards. Pumping on a regular basis will help you avoid costly failures such as a clogged drainfield or sewage backing up into your house. Use of the garbage disposal will increase the quantity of solids entering the septic tank, increasing the frequency with which it must be pumped.

  • The number of people in the household. In general, the greater the number of people living in the house, the more frequently you must pump
  • The total amount of wastewater produced. Putting a lot of water down the drain (from inefficient or leaky toilets, washers, showerheads, and sink faucets, for example) causes the tank to be unable to settle entirely, and you may have to pump more frequently. The amount of solids present in wastewater. When garbage disposal and food waste flow down the drain, as well as RV and boat waste put into your system, solids will quickly fill your tank. The size of a septic tank. The larger the tank, the more the capacity it has to handle sediments and water, which may allow for longer periods of time between pumping sessions. Older septic tanks may not be the proper size for your property, especially if your home has been modified and is now significantly larger than before.
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Learn how to hire a septic pumper by reading this article.

Use Water Efficiently

Water conservation should be practiced. The greater the amount of wastewater produced, the greater the amount of wastewater that must be treated and disposed of by the soil. By minimizing and balancing your water use, you may extend the life of your drainfield, reduce the likelihood of system failure, and eliminate the need for costly repairs. To lower your water consumption, do the following:

  • Invest in efficient water-saving equipment such as faucet aerators, high-efficiency toilets, showerheads, dishwashers, and washing machines
  • And Fix dripping faucets and dripping plumbing fixtures. It is possible to lose hundreds of gallons each day due to a leaky toilet. Shower for shorter periods of time
  • Bathe in a tub that is only partly filled
  • Only wash full loads of dishes and clothes. If your washing machine offers load settings, make sure you choose the appropriate size for the load you’re washing. It is not necessary to use the large-load cycle if you are only washing one or two loads of clothing.

Invest in efficient water-saving equipment such as faucet aerators, high-efficiency toilets, showerheads, dishwashers, and washing machines. Faucets and plumbing fixtures with leaks should be repaired. It is possible to lose hundreds of gallons every day because of a leaky toilet. Shower for shorter periods of time; bathe in a tub that is only partly filled; only wash full loads of clothes and dishes.

It’s important to pick the right size for your load if your washing machine has load settings. If you’re only washing a modest amount of clothing, don’t use the large-load cycle.

Toilets Aren’t Trash Cans

Your septic system is not a garbage disposal system. Apart from human feces and urine, toilet paper, and soap used for washing, there shouldn’t be much else flushed down the toilet. Never flush a toilet:

  • Baby wipes, cleaning wipes, or any other wet towelettes are OK. Tampons and pads, as well as condoms, are examples of feminine hygiene items. Paper towels, rags, or newspaper are all acceptable options. Floss for the teeth
  • Cotton balls and cotton swabs are also acceptable. Diapers, hair, and cigarette butts are all things that come to mind. Band-aids
  • Grease and cooking oils
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cat litter
  • Chemicals found in the home, such as fuel, oil, insecticides, antifreeze, and paint. For local hazardous trash drop-off locations, call the Ecology hotline at 1-800-RECYCLE. Prescription medications are available. Check to see if there is a medicine disposal program in your region.

Take Care at the Drain

Your septic system is made up of a collection of living organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household. Pouring pollutants down your drain can kill these organisms and cause damage to your septic system as well as other things. Whatever the sink (kitchen, bathtub, or utility sink), remember to keep your hands clean.

  • If you have a clogged drain, avoid using chemical drain openers. To prevent this from happening, use hot water or a drain snake
  • Never dump cooking oil or grease down the sink or into the toilet. Allow it to cool and harden before throwing it away in the garbage
  • It is never a good idea to flush oil-based paints, solvents, or huge quantities of harmful cleansers down the toilet. Even latex paint waste should be kept to a bare minimum. Disposal of rubbish should be avoided or limited to a minimum. Septic tanks can become overflowing with food waste from trash disposals, which can clog the drainfield.

It is not required to use septic tank additives found in stores to maintain your septic tank operating correctly, and they do not lessen or remove the need for regular pumping.

Maintain the Area Around Your System

  • Water runoff should be kept away from your system. Drainage systems should be installed to move water away from septic tanks and drainfields. The soil above your system should be somewhat mounding to aid in the discharge of surface water. If heavy rains cause water to pool around your septic system, avoid flushing it down the toilet
  • This will prevent damage to your system. Stay away from your septic tank, drainfield, and drainfield replacement area. Heavy equipment and livestock should not be allowed on your property. The pressure can compress the earth and cause damage to the pipelines and other infrastructure. Before you plant a garden, landscape your yard, build a structure, or install a pool, be sure you know where your septic system is and where it will be replaced. Make sure your system is appropriately landscaped. Grass is the most effective cover. Placement of concrete or plastic over your septic system is not recommended. It is best to plant trees and plants away from your septic tank and drainfield in order to prevent root intrusion into your drainage system. Depending on your needs, an aseptic service specialist might suggest landscaping choices for surrounding your septic system

Keep Records

Keep meticulous records on the operation of your septic system. Understand the location of the system and have a schematic of its layout on hand. Your local health agency may be able to provide you with information on its size and location. It is also a good idea to keep track of the maintenance performed on the system. These records will be useful if there are any problems with your home, and they will also be beneficial to the next owner of your property.

Don’t Ignore Problems

Minor septic system faults can quickly escalate into major, expensive concerns. When compared to the expense of repairing or replacing a malfunctioning system, which can run into the thousands of dollars, addressing minor faults and paying maintenance costs of a few hundred dollars every few years is a bargain. Don’t ignore the warning signals of a failing septic system.

More Resources

  • Septic System 101 Video
  • Do-It-Yourself Septic System Inspection Video
  • Septic System 101 Video
  • Septic System 101 Video Using the Services of a Septic System Professional
  • Safety of the Septic Tank Lid
  • Symptoms of a Failing Septic System

Pumping (Cleaning Out a Septic Tank)

The majority of residential septic tanks need to be cleaned every three to five years. When solids fill between one-third and one-half of the tank, it is necessary to pump the tank. If this occurs, the only way to determine when it does is to have your tank inspected by an experienced septic contractor. When the following situations occur, the contractor will propose that a qualified septic pumper be hired:

  • There is a 6 inch gap between the bottom of the scum (grease) layer and that of the bottom of the outlet tee
  • And a 12 inch gap between the top of the sludge layer and the top of the outlet tee.

After the tank has been pumped, there is no need to “reseed” it with new material. Seeding is the process of promoting excellent bacterial growth by introducing substances such as yeast, dung, or dead animals. The Department of Health and Human Services does not propose seeding the system since the sheer act of utilizing the system will give all of the germs necessary to ensure that the system functions properly. Yeast, dung, meat, and dead animals will not aid in the development of the colony of bacteria in the tank any quicker than they already are.

General Advice on Septic Tank Pumping Frequency

  • A single tenant has a pump that has to be replaced every 12 years
  • Two people have a pump that needs to be replaced every 6 years
  • Four inhabitants have a pump that needs to be replaced every 3 years. The number of inhabitants is six, and the pump is replaced every two years. The number of inhabitants is 8
  • The pump is replaced once a year.
  • A single tenant has a pump that has to be replaced every 12 years
  • Two people have a pump that needs to be replaced every 6 years
  • Four occupants have a pump that needs to be replaced every three years. 6 people live there
  • The water is pumped every two years. — Pumping every year for a total of 8 residents.
  • Pump every 19 years for one resident
  • One pump every nine years for another resident
  • Four pumps every four years for the remaining inhabitants
  • And one pump every four years for the remaining occupants. A pump is required for each of the following numbers of residents: 6 for every 3 years
  • 8 for every 2 years.

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Septic System Operation and Maintenance

  • It is possible to download Septic System Operation and Maintenance in Portable Document Format (PDF, 935KB).

If a septic system is properly installed, designed, constructed, and maintained, it will provide a long period of service to a home. Even the best-designed and-installed septic system will ultimately fail if it is not maintained on a regular basis. A basic description of septic system components and how they should be maintained is provided in this guide.

Septic System Components

In addition to the home sewer drain, the septic tank, the distribution box, and the soil absorption (leach) field are all components of a septic system, which is also known as an onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS).

  1. The house sewer drain gathers all of the waste from household fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, and laundry, and links them to the septic tank for disposal. The septic tank gathers all of the waste generated by domestic plumbing and gives the necessary time for wastes to settle or float in the tank. Heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank, where they are broken down by bacteria to generate sludge. Heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank. Eventually, the lighter materials, such as fats and grease, breakdown and rise to the surface, where they produce a layer of scum. This procedure allows for the discharge of partly treated wastewater into the absorption field. The distribution box is responsible for distributing wastewater from the septic tank to pipes in the trenches of the absorption field in an even and consistent manner. It is critical that each trench receives an equal volume of flow in order to avoid overloading of one portion of the absorption field over another. Trenches receive sewage that has been partially treated. Wastewater is biologically treated by the soil around the absorption (leach) field, which is a system of trenches and distribution pipelines. The gravel, stone, or gravelless product used to partially fill the system is cleaned and screened. To ensure optimal functioning and long life, the absorption field must be correctly sized, built, and maintained. Theventallows gases that have accumulated in the pipework to be released from the system.

Septic Tank Maintenance

Once every two to three years, you should have your septic tank emptied out. Septic tank pumpers who are licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation may examine, measure tank layers, and pump out the tank when it is required.

Maintain Your System

  • When necessary, pump out your septic tank on a regular basis. Document all pumps, inspections, and maintenance/repairs that take place. Plan the location of the septic tank and other system components. Either use a map or use permanent pegs to mark the locations of the various components. This is useful for gaining access to the system and will protect system components from being damaged when performing home maintenance or yard chores. Parking or driving big trucks or equipment on the septic system or any of its components is not permitted. It is not permissible to construct constructions such as decks, patios, or swimming pools that would cover the absorption field or restrict access to the septic tank or distribution box
  • Flush or use powerful chemicals and bacteria-destroying items such as drain cleaners, solvents, paint, paint thinners, floor cleaners, sink cleaners, motor oil, antifreeze, pesticides, and photo chemicals, which can damage or destroy the environment. These have the potential to interfere with the operation of a septic tank or absorption system. When used in regular domestic applications, household bleach, disinfectants, cleansers, and antibacterial soaps should have no adverse effect on system operation. Paper towels, cotton swabs, personal hygiene items, condoms, pharmaceuticals, disposable diapers, coffee grounds, cat litter, cooking fats/oils, face tissues, dental floss, cigarette butts, plastics, grease, and bones should not be flushed. Septic tank additives should be avoided. A properly designed and maintained septic tank will effectively handle residential wastewater without the need for chemical additions. Keep garbage disposals and grinders out of the septic tank and absorption field since they significantly increase the buildup of solids in the tank and absorption field. If they are employed, the capacity of the septic tank should be raised, and the tank should be drained out more frequently. If at all feasible, direct water treatment system outputs to a separate soil absorption system in order to reduce the amount of water that enters the septic system. Many water treatment system outputs can, however, be sent to the septic tank if the system is in good working order and can handle the increased flow
  • Again, this is only true in certain circumstances. Roof, cellar/footing (sump pump), and surface water run-off should be diverted away from the septic system. Plant grass and other shallow-rooted plants over the absorption field to help absorb excess moisture. Keep trees, long-rooted plants, and shrubs away from the absorption area and away from the surrounding area of the absorption area. Roots can grow into the pipes and cause them to get clogged. Water should be conserved. Repair leaky fixtures and appliances, and install appliances and fixtures that use less water and eliminate water-wasting behaviors. If you have a septic system, make sure to regularly examine and repair any effluent pumps and alarms that may be installed.
See also:  Where Do I Put A Septic Tank On My Property? (Correct answer)

Find Out More

If you have any questions, please contact your local health agency or the New York State Department of Health, Residential Sanitation and Recreational Engineering Section at (518) 402-7650 or [email protected]

A Beginner’s Guide to Septic Systems

  • Septic systems are used to dispose of waste from homes and buildings. Identifying the location of the septic tank and drainfield
  • What a Septic System Is and How It Works Keeping a Septic System in Good Condition
  • Signs that a septic system is failing include:

Septic systems, also known as on-site wastewater management systems, are installed in a large number of buildings and houses. It is easy to lose sight of septic systems, which operate quietly, gracefully, and efficiently to protect human and environmental health due to their burying location. Septic systems are the norm in rural regions, but they may also be found in a lot of metropolitan places, especially in older buildings. It is critical to understand whether or not your building is on a septic system.

Is Your Home or Building on a Septic System?

It is possible that the solution to this question will not be evident. If a structure looks to be connected to a sewage system, it may instead be connected to a septic system. It is fairly unusual for tenants to be unaware of the final destination of the wastewater generated by their residence. Some of the hints or signs listed below will assist in determining whether the facility is served by a septic system or whether it is supplied by a sewer system:

  • Sewer service will be provided at a cost by the city or municipality. Pay close attention to the water bill to see whether there is a cost labeled “sewer” or “sewer charge” on it. If there is a fee for this service, it is most likely because the facility is connected to a sewage system. Look up and down the street for sewage access ports or manholes, which can be found in any location. If a sewage system runs in front of a property, it is probable that the house is connected to it in some way. Inquire with your neighbors to see if they are connected to a sewer or septic system. The likelihood that your home is on a sewer system is increased if the properties on each side of you are on one as well. Keep in mind, however, that even if a sewage line runs in front of the structure and the nearby residences are connected to a sewer system, your home or building may not be connected to one. If the structure is older than the sewer system, it is possible that it is still on the original septic system. Consult with your local health agency for further information. This agency conducts final inspections of septic systems to ensure that they comply with applicable laws and regulations. There is a possibility that they have an archived record and/or a map of the system and will supply this information upon request

All property owners should be aware of whether or not their property is equipped with an on-site wastewater treatment system. Georgia law mandates that the property owner is responsible for the correct operation of a septic system, as well as any necessary maintenance and repairs.

Locating the Septic Tank and Drainfield

Finding a septic system may be a difficult process. They can be buried anywhere in the yard, including the front, back, and side yards. After a few years, the soil may begin to resemble the surrounding soil, making it impossible to distinguish the system from the surrounding soil. It is possible that in dry weather, the grass will be dryer in the shallow soil over the tank and greener over the drainfield, where the cleansed water will be released, but this is not always the case, especially in hot weather.

  1. The contractor who built the house should have presented the initial owner with a map showing the tank and drainfield locations, according to the building code.
  2. The installation of the system, as well as any modifications made to it, would have been examined by your local health authority.
  3. Unfortunately, if the system is very old, any records related with it may be insufficient or nonexistent, depending on the situation.
  4. Look for the point at where the wastewater pipes join together if the building is on a crawlspace or has an unfinished basement.
  5. The sewer line that runs through the structure is referred to as the building sewer.
  6. To “feel” for the tank, use a piece of re-bar or a similar metal probe.
  7. If you use this free service, you may avoid accidentally putting a rod through your gas or water line.

Try to locate the tank after a rainstorm, when the metal probe will be more easily maneuvered through moist dirt.

This should be done with care; extreme caution should be exercised to avoid puncturing the building sewer.

A tank is normally 5 by 8 feet in size, however the dimensions might vary.

Be aware that there may be rocks, pipes, and other debris in the area that “feels” like the tank but is not in fact part of the tank.

However, it is possible to have the lid or access port positioned on a riser in addition to being on the same level as the top of the tank in some cases.

Once the tank has been identified, make a rough drawing of its placement in relation to the house so that it will not be misplaced again!

It may be easier to discover the drainage lines now that the tank has been identified, particularly if the area has been subjected to prolonged periods of drought.

How a Septic System Works

Typical sewage treatment system (figure 1). It is composed of three components (Figure 1): the tank, the drain lines or discharge lines, and the soil treatment area (also known as the soil treatment area) (sometimes called a drainfield or leach field). The size of the tank varies according to the size of the structure. The normal home (three bedrooms, two bathrooms) will often include a 1,000-gallon water storage tank on the premises. Older tanks may only have one chamber, however newer tanks must have two chambers.

  1. The tank functions by settling waste and allowing it to be digested by microbes.
  2. These layers include the bottom sludge layer, the top scum layer, and a “clear” zone in the center.
  3. A typical septic tank is seen in Figure 2.
  4. It is fortunate that many of the bacteria involved are found in high concentrations in the human gastrointestinal tract.
  5. Although the bacteria may break down some of the stuff in the sludge, they are unable to break down all of it, which is why septic tanks must be cleaned out every three to seven years.
  6. In addition, when new water is introduced into the septic tank, an equal volume of water is pushed out the discharge lines and onto the drainfield.
  7. The water trickles out of the perforated drain pipes, down through a layer of gravel, and into the soil below the surface (Figure 3).
  8. A typical drainfield may be found here.
  9. Plants, bacteria, fungus, protozoa, and other microorganisms, as well as bigger critters such as mites, earthworms, and insects, flourish in soil.
  10. Mineralogical and metallic elements attach to soil particles, allowing them to be removed from the waste water.

Maintaining a Septic System

The most typical reason for a septic system to fail is a lack of proper maintenance. Septic systems that are failing are expensive to repair or replace, and the expense of repairs rests on the shoulders of the property owner (Figure 4). Fortunately, keeping your septic system in good working order and avoiding costly repairs is rather simple. Figure 4. Septic system failure is frequently caused by a lack of proper maintenance. It is in your best interests to be aware of the location of the system, how it operates, and how to maintain it.

  1. You should pump the tank if you aren’t sure when the last time it was pumped.
  2. It is not permissible to drive or park over the tank or drainage field.
  3. No rubbish should be disposed of in the sink or the toilet.
  4. It’s important to remember that garbage disposals enhance the requirement for regular pumping.
  5. When designing a landscape, keep the septic system in mind.
  6. It is also not recommended to consume veggies that have been cultivated above drainfield lines (see Dorn, S.
  7. Ornamental Plantings on Septic Drainfields.

C 1030).

Any water that enters your home through a drain or toilet eventually ends up in your septic system.

Don’t put too much strain on the system by consuming a large amount of water in a short period of time.

Additives should not be used.

Various types of additives are available for purchase as treatment options, cleansers, restorers, rejuvenator and boosters, among other things.

To break up oil and grease and unclog drains, chemical additives are available for purchase.

Pumping out the septic tank is not eliminated or reduced by using one of these systems.

They remain floating in the water and travel into the drainfield, where they may block the pipes. Acids have the potential to damage concrete storage tanks and distribution boxes.

Signs a Septic System is Failing

The most typical reason for a septic system to fail is a lack of upkeep. The expense of repairing or replacing a failing septic system is borne by the property owner, who bears the burden of the repairs (Figure 4). Fortunately, keeping your septic system in good condition and avoiding costly repairs is rather simple. Failure of a septic system is frequently caused by improper maintenance (see Figure 4). The knowledge of where the system is, how it operates, and how to maintain it is essential for your safety.

  • You should pump the tank if you aren’t sure when the last time it was done.
  • Avoid driving or parking in the vicinity of the tank or drainage field.
  • No rubbish should be disposed of in the sink or in the toilet!
  • Recall that garbage disposals increase the frequency with which you must pump your system.
  • When designing a landscape, keep the septic system in mind.
  • In addition, eating veggies that have been cultivated above drainfield lines is not a good idea (see Dorn, S.
  • Ornamental Plantings on Septic Drainfields.

C 1030).

Septic systems collect all of the water that flows down drains and toilets.

Never put too much strain on the system by consuming large quantities of water in a short period of time.

Use of additives is strictly prohibited.

Various types of additives are available for purchase as treatment options, cleansers, restorers, rejuvenator and boosters, among other uses.

To break up oil and grease and unclog drains, chemical additives are marketed on the marketplace.

Pumping out the septic tank is not eliminated or reduced by using one of these methods.

These microscopic particles remain floating in the water and migrate into the drainfield, where they may block the lines. Acids have the potential to erode concrete storage tanks and distribution boxes, among other things.

  • Sinks and toilets drain at a snail’s pace
  • Plumbing that is backed up
  • The sound of gurgling emanating from the plumbing system House or yard aromas that smell like sewage
  • In the yard, there is wet or squishy dirt
  • Water that is gray in hue that has accumulated
  • An region of the yard where the grass is growing more quickly and is becoming greener
  • Water contaminated by bacteria from a well

If you notice any of these indicators, you should notify your local health department immediately. An environmentalist from the health department can assist in identifying possible hazards. There are also listings of state-certified contractors available from the local health department, who may do repairs. Repairs or alterations to the system must be approved by the health department and examined by an inspector. Keep an eye out for any meetings that may take place between a health department inspector and a contractor to discuss repairs to your system.

  • Household garbage that has not been properly handled is released into the environment when systems fail.
  • It has the potential to pollute surrounding wells, groundwater, streams, and other sources of potable water, among other things.
  • The foul odor emanating from a malfunctioning system can cause property values to plummet.
  • Briefly stated, broken systems can have an impact on your family, neighbors, community, and the environment.
  • Septic systems are an effective, attractive, and reasonably priced method of treating and disposing of wastewater.

Figures 2 and 3 reprinted with permission from: CIDWT. 2009. Installation of Wastewater Treatment Systems. Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment. Iowa State University, Midwest Plan Service. Ames, IA.

History of the current status and revisions Published on the 15th of August, 2013. Published on March 28th, 2017 with a full review.

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