Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil.Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a
Septic drain field – Wikipedia
, chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil.
- At the top of the tank, fats, oils and proteins form the floating scum layer. In the middle is the comparatively clear liquid layer called effluent or gray water. Combined, these components are called septage. Septic systems are designed so that only the effluent is discharged from the tank into the drain field (also called the leach field ).
What are the solids in a septic tank?
There are three layers that make up the wastewater in your septic tank: scum, sludge, and effluent. Each plays an important role in the function of your septic system. Sludge: Sludge is the solid material that settles at the bottom of your septic tank to form a thick layer.
What is effluent in a septic system?
Effluent – the clarified wastewater left over after the scum has floated to the top and sludge has settled to the bottom. It is the clarified liquid between the scum and sludge. It flows through the tank outlet into the absorption area.
What are the three basic parts of a septic tank?
Septic tank – Household waste receives primary treatment in the septic tank, an anaerobic environment, and separates into 3 layers; a sludge layer, a clear zone, and a scum layer.
What waste is septic tank sludge?
What is septic tank sludge? sludge – which is the solids that collect at the bottom of the tank and where most of the bacteria involved in the breakdown of biodegradable material – in the absence of oxygen – live.
What happens to solids in a septic tank?
The solids settle to the bottom, where microorganisms decompose them. The scum, composed of waste that’s lighter than water, floats on top. The middle layer of effluent exits the tank and travels through underground perforated pipes into the drainage field.
How do you remove solids from a septic tank?
One is to inject air into the tank to try and mix the contents and break down the solids. The more common method is to use a mechanical mixer that acts somewhat like a baking mixer where the contents are mixed until they form a slurry that can be withdrawn by the vacuum pump.
What is an engineered septic system?
What is an engineered septic system? An engineered septic system is often used in cases where a conventional septic system cannot be installed. The basic three limiting factors on the placement of the septic system are the ground water table, bedrock, and local health ordinances.
Is Buttermilk good for the septic tank?
Spoiled buttermilk is one of the best ways to provide your septic tank with the bacteria that is needed to break down the waste in the tank. You can put a liter of spoiled buttermilk in the toilet and flush it down. This is one of the most effective methods for septic tank cleaning for residential areas.
What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
What are the two main components of a septic system?
A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and a drainfield, or soil absorption field. The septic tank digests organic matter and separates floatable matter (e.g., oils and grease) and solids from the wastewater.
What are the five main parts to a septic system?
Septic Components: Septic Tank
- Tank Components:
- Inlet Sanitary “T” = All septic tanks have an opening for the waste to enter the tank and another one for the waste to exit the tank.
- Outlet Sanitary “T”
- Effluent Filter.
- Scum Layer.
- Liquid Effluent Layer.
- Sludge Layer.
- Tank Maintenance.
Which of the following is a part of septic tank structure?
Explanation: A septic tank is a watertight chamber made of brick-work, concrete, fiberglass, PVC or plastic, through which black water from the cistern or pour-flush toilets and grey water through a pipe from inside a building or an outside toilet flows for primary treatment. 2. The shape of the tank is circular.
What happens to the contents of a septic tank?
Clean domestic waste – such as water waste that has been treated through a septic tank – can be immediately reused by spreading the sludge on fields or soil to act as a fermentor, while untreated sludge, storm water or water waste will be rigorously cleaned through the use of ph levels, ammonia and natural pathogens
What happens to poop in a septic tank?
The inlet pipe collects the water waste in the septic tank, long enough that the solid and liquid waste is separated from each other. Inside the tank bacteria from the wastewater breaks down the solid waste. These bacteria decompose the solid waste rapidly allowing the liquids to separate and drain away more easily.
How do I clean my septic tank naturally?
You can mix about a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon to make your own natural cleaning agent. The baking soda will fizz up to help get the dirt and grime in your tub and drains. It’s a great cleaner and your septic system will thank you!
How Often Are Septic Tanks Emptied, and Where Do the Contents Go?
It’s safe to assume that wherever there are many individuals who run their houses’ waste systems through septic tanks, there will be a slew of local firms that specialize in eliminating the scum and sludge that collect in the tank over a long period of time. This is a crucial service because, if too much sludge accumulates over time, it can cause overflow, which is harmful to everyone involved. Septic pumping for commercial purposes typically consists of a pump truck emptying the sludge, effluent, and scum from the tank and leaving the tank empty and ready to be refilled with fresh sludge and water.
Prior to the passage of federal legislation prohibiting the disposal of sewage sludge, waste management businesses could simply bury it in landfills.
These locations still exist, however many of them are in the process of being cleaned up (clean-up).
In certain situations, the septic contents are transported to waste treatment plants where they are combined with the stew that has been pumped in from a municipal sewer system, or they are supplied to for-profit organizations that specialize in the treatment of septage.
- Septage may also be placed at landfills that have been allowed.
- Because of the difficulties associated with properly disposing of your septic tank’s contents, septage is sometimes employed in a different way: to grow food.
- This application of septage has the potential to be contentious.
- It is expected that, when properly applied to farmland with good soil and a low water table, the soil will work as a filter in the same way as a drain field in the rear of a home with a septic tank will act as a filter.
- Historically, it has been recognized that methane, which is created as a waste product during the breakdown of sewage, may be utilized to generate energy.
- In addition, because the power produced does not burn, there is little or no pollutants emitted.
- One system, constructed south of Seattle, Washington, in 2004, has the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 1,000 houses.
Who would have thought that your feces could be so beneficial? More information about waste treatment may be found on the next page. The original publication date was July 29, 2008.
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 Does a Septic Tank Work?
Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.
How does a septic tank work?
Pumping the tank on a regular basis eliminates sludge and scum, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and well built septic system to last for decades, or it might collapse in a matter of years. It is entirely up to you as long as you can answer the question of how do septic tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely collapsed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material costs.
It’s critical to understand how a septic tank works in order to maintain one.
Let’s take a look below ground and observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we? After that, I’ll explain why things go wrong and offer you some tips on how to keep your system in peak operating condition.
Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria
Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.
- A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
- Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
- Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
- (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
- The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
- Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
- The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt.
- Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system
Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.
- Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.
Get your tank pumped…
Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.
…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it
Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.
Install an effluent filter in your septic system
Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata.
The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.
Septic tank filter close-up
The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drain field pipes. Obtain an effluent filter for your tank from your contractor and place it on the outflow pipe of your tank. (It will most likely cost between $50 and $100, plus labor.) This device, which helps to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis by a contractor to maintain its effectiveness.
Solution for a clogged septic system
If your septic system becomes clogged and you find yourself having to clean the filter on a regular basis, you might be tempted to simply remove the filter altogether. Hold on to it. Solids, wastewater, and scum are separated into three levels in septic tanks, which allows them to function properly (see illustration above). Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them. The scum, which is made up of trash that is lighter than water, rises to the surface. In the drainage field, the middle layer of effluent leaves the tank and goes through an underground network of perforated pipes to the drainage field.
- 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.
- More information on removing lint from your laundry may be found here.
Get an inspection
Following a comprehensive first check performed by an expert, regular inspections will cost less than $100 each inspection for the next year. Your professional will be able to inform you how often you should get your system inspected as well as how a septic tank functions. As straightforward as a septic system appears, determining its overall condition necessitates the services of a professional. There are a plethora of contractors who would gladly pump the sludge out of your tank, but many, in my experience, are unable to explain how a septic system works or how it should be maintained.
A certification scheme for septic contractors has been established in certain states; check with your state’s Secretary of State’s office to see whether yours is one of them.
Also, a qualified inspector will be able to tell you whether or not your tank is large enough to accommodate your household’s needs, as well as the maximum amount of water that can be passed through it in a single day.
You may be able to boost the performance of your system by using a product such as RID-X to introduce bacteria into the system. As you learn more about how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.
Alternatives to a new drain field
If an examination or a sewage backup indicate that your drain field is in need of replacement, the only option is to replace it completely. As a result, it’s important to talk with a contractor about other possibilities before proceeding with the project.
- Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.
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.
Septic System Education – McCutcheon Enterprises, Inc. in PA
A septic tank is a waterproof tank that is constructed of a sturdy material that will not corrode or deteriorate over time. The majority of septic tanks are constructed of concrete. Tanks with two compartments became the standard in the 1990s. (However, one-compartment tanks that are fully working can still be considered appropriate.) In Pennsylvania, the majority of septic tanks are 1,000-gallon tanks. It is never recommended that you enter a septic tank. Septic tanks contain potentially harmful gases and should only be entered by specialists who have received sufficient training and are equipped with the appropriate oxygen breathing equipment.
- It is the sinkable solids (such as soil, grit, and unconsumed food particles) that settle to the bottom of the tank and produce the sludge layer that causes the tank to back up and clog.
- Effluent is the cleared wastewater that remains after the scum has floated to the top and the sludge has dropped to the bottom of a wastewater treatment plant.
- It exits the tank through the outflow and enters the absorption region.
- It includes drainfields (leachfield or disposal field), mounds, seepage bed, seepage pits, and cesspools.
- Anaerobic bacteria that attach themselves to soil and rock particles and consume the organic stuff present in septic tank effluent make up this microbial community.
Aerobic– bacteria that require oxygen to survive must be exposed to oxygen. Anaerobic– does not require the presence of oxygen in order for microorganisms to survive.
TWO MAIN TYPES OF ON-LOT WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS
The first compartment is made up of the following items:
- Following are the contents of the first compartment:
The second compartment is made up of the following items:
- Baffle near the outlet, which stops the floating scum from migrating into the absorption region
- In order to prevent solid particles from attaching to and exiting the tank, a gas deflector is used to divert gas bubbles away from the outflow pipe and stops them from entering the absorption region. Filtering the wastewater inhibits and limits the flow of any suspended particulates in the effluent (see image at right). The effluent is sent to the absorption region through the outlet pipe.
5 Main Functions of a Septic Tank
Septic tanks are responsible for collecting all of the wastewater generated by the residence. Septic tanks are used to separate solid waste from wastewater flow. Septic tanks are responsible for the reduction and breakdown of solid waste. Septic tanks are used to store the sediments that have been removed from the liquid (sludge and scum). Septic tanks discharge the purified wastewater (effluent) to the absorption region, where it is absorbed. Tanks for Anaerobic Treatment (Previous Next) The use of an air compressor or a propeller to maintain an aerobic (oxygenated) atmosphere for the development of microorganisms is described as a mechanical system.
Comparing aerobic tanks to septic tanks, aerobic tanks have higher initial expenses and higher maintenance costs, but they break down sewage more effectively and produce higher-quality effluent with less particulates, which minimizes the likelihood of an absorption area being blocked.
OTHER TYPES OF ON-LOT WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS
PITS FOR SEEPAGE A seepage pit is a deep hole that is 4-12 feet in diameter and 10-40 feet deep, with a porous-walled chamber in the center and a filling of gravel between the chamber and the surrounding soil on each side of the hole. Effluent from the septic tank enters the chamber and is temporarily kept there until it seeps out and onto the soil surrounding the chamber. These methods have grown less prevalent as time has progressed.
The cesspool is considered to be the first kind of a septic system. A cesspool is often a cylindrical hole in the ground that is several feet in diameter and many feet deep. The majority of them have a permeable inner wall made of stone, masonry, or other building materials. Gravel is used to cover the outside surface of the wall (the area between the stone wall and the outer soil wall). The top of the structure is covered with a concrete lid, and the earth is then backfilled on top of the lid.
- Following its passage through the stones and gravel-filled outer chamber, wastewater eventually finds its way into the earth.
- An on-lot septic system accounts for almost 20 million residences and, as a result, approximately 29 percent of the population of the United States.
- Please refer to the chart on the right for further information!
- We at McCutcheon Enterprises, Inc.
See the section below for some typical septic system misconceptions, as well as some Septic System Do’s and Don’ts to avoid. If you feel that there is an issue with your septic tank or septic system, please contact a professional.
ITEMS THAT SHOULDNOTBE PUT INTO A SEPTIC TANK
- Antifreeze or motor oil
- Paper towels or toilet tissue that hasn’t been approved by the FDA. Drain cleaners that are harsh or caustic
- Filters and buttes for cigarette smoking
- Laundry detergents with a lot of foam
- Plastic, bleach, eggshells, bones, and food scraps, as well as herbicides and pesticides, are all prohibited. Coffee grinds, cat litter, and excessive oils and grease are all examples of contaminants.
Common Septic System Do’s and Don’ts
- Maintain the cleanliness and integrity of your septic system on a regular basis. Garbage disposals should be used as little as possible or not at all. Garbage disposals introduce additional materials into the system that are difficult to break down in the septic system.
- Connecting roof drains and/or yard drains to your septic tank is not recommended. Due to the excess water, the tank and absorption area will be completely filled. Roots from trees in the absorption area will block the pipes in the region, thus avoid planting trees in the absorption area
- Putting vehicles and large things (such as swimming pools) on top of your septic tank or absorption area is not a good idea.
Myths about Septic Systems That You Should Know The use of yeast, buttermilk, or commercial items will eliminate the need to have my septic system pumped in the future. TRUE, no scientific research has been able to determine whether or not the use of these chemicals is beneficial to your septic system. It has been discovered, however, that these chemicals are detrimental to your septic system. The additives agitate the sediments in the septic tank, rather than letting them to float to the top or settle to the bottom of the tank as is the case with conventional methods.
- Once in the absorption region, they block the pipes and dirt pores as a result of the flushing process.
- It is recommended that I cleanse my septic tank with a lot of water if it is in poor condition.
- Floating the system will push the solids further into the absorption region, increasing the amount of damage that is done to the absorption area.
- TRUTH BE TOLD, this is a symptom that the effluent is most likely not going into the soil at the rate that it should be.
- INSPECTIONS OF SEPTIC TANKS What is included in a septic tank inspection and how long does it take?
- The following will be performed during the examination of your septic tank:
- Measure the amount of scum and sludge present and keep a record of it. In the majority of circumstances, you will need to pump empty your tank. The baffles in your tank should be checked to ensure that sediments are not leaving your tank. Cracks, leaks, and infiltration should all be looked for in the tank. Analyze the design and installation of the tank (this will allow you to check for any sensitivities or potential difficulties in the future)
The following items will be checked during the inspection of your absorption area:
- Observe for symptoms of a faulty system (such as foul smells, mushy areas, or effluent on the surface)
- And Surface water (which demonstrates inadequate filtering)
- Examine the effluent distribution to ensure good operation. Check the absorption area for possibly dangerous bushes, trees, or any other risks that may be present.
The inspector will draw up a report detailing the findings of the examination as well as information about your septic system. This report is not intended to provide a guarantee; rather, it is intended to tell you if your septic system is in proper or improper functioning condition at the time of the inspection. When should I have a home inspection performed on my property? Inspecting and maintaining your septic system should be done on a regular basis. An inspection of the septic system should take place every one to three years, according to industry standards.
- The inspection of the septic system before purchasing a home is strongly advised.
- After passing through the septic tank, the purified wastewater (effluent) will be sent into the soil absorption system for treatment.
- SEPTIC TANK DRAINFIELDThe drainfield is meant to release septic tank effluent below ground into the natural soil where it may be treated and eventually disposed.
- In order to spread the effluent over the length of the trench, a perforated pipe will be installed at or near the top of the gravel.
- Water will drain out of the septic tank through the output pipe and will continue to flow through a waterproof pipe to the drainfield trenches until it reaches the drainfields.
- Water will drain from the perforated pipes and through the gravel, where it will seep into the soil beneath and next to the perforated pipes.
- The cleaned liquid will ultimately evaporate, be absorbed by plants, or make its way into the groundwater.
- There is a layer of gravel covering the bottom of the pit, and several pipes are set on top of the gravel with a spacing of 3-5 feet between them.
- DistributionThe majority of traditional systems rely on gravity to transport effluent from the treatment tank to and through the absorption region, as shown in the diagram below.
- Asymmetrical effluent distribution results in an overburdening of the absorption region, which can lead to a variety of difficulties and high expenses in the long run.
- A distribution box is utilized in all trench systems, as well as certain bed systems, to split the flow in an equal amount.
Some systems need that the effluent be piped to the absorption region in order to function correctly. This occurs when the effluent cannot be transported to the absorption region by gravity alone, often because it must be pushed up a steep slope to reach the absorption area.
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.
- 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.
- The installation of the system, as well as any modifications made to it, would have been examined by your local health authority.
- Unfortunately, if the system is very old, any records related with it may be insufficient or nonexistent, depending on the situation.
- Look for the point at where the wastewater pipes join together if the building is on a crawlspace or has an unfinished basement.
- The sewer line that runs through the structure is referred to as the building sewer.
- To “feel” for the tank, use a piece of re-bar or a similar metal probe.
- 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.
- The tank functions by settling waste and allowing it to be digested by microbes.
- These layers include the bottom sludge layer, the top scum layer, and a “clear” zone in the center.
- A typical septic tank is seen in Figure 2.
- It is fortunate that many of the bacteria involved are found in high concentrations in the human gastrointestinal tract.
- 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.
- 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.
- The water trickles out of the perforated drain pipes, down through a layer of gravel, and into the soil below the surface (Figure 3).
- A typical drainfield may be found here.
- Plants, bacteria, fungus, protozoa, and other microorganisms, as well as bigger critters such as mites, earthworms, and insects, flourish in soil.
- 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.
- You should pump the tank if you aren’t sure when the last time it was pumped.
- It is not permissible to drive or park over the tank or drainage field.
- No rubbish should be disposed of in the sink or the toilet.
- It’s important to remember that garbage disposals enhance the requirement for regular pumping.
- When designing a landscape, keep the septic system in mind.
- It is also not recommended to consume veggies that have been cultivated above drainfield lines (see Dorn, S.
- Ornamental Plantings on Septic Drainfields.
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
A failed system manifests itself in the following ways:
- 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.
ANATOMY OF A SEPTIC TANK CLEANING
Daily, all of the wastewater that leaves your home through drains such as those in your toilet, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures eventually ends up in your septic tank. Some of the waste is separated and eventually filtered back into the surrounding environment, but the majority of it remains in the septic tank for several months. And sooner or later, all of the garbage will have to be disposed of. This is where the service of septic tank pumping comes in. Although septic tank pumping is a messy and time-consuming chore, it is one that must be completed at some point in time.
- HOW DOES IT COME OUT OF YOUR SEPTIC TANKA?
- Solids are destined to sink to the bottom of the tank and eventually settle there, but oils and fats float to the top of the tank and accumulate there, forming a scum layer.
- This material is finally discharged into a drain field, where a combination of microorganisms, sand, and coarse gravel aid in the breakdown and filtering out of harmful bacteria and viruses as the wastewater percolates through the soil and into the drainage system.
- Septic tank pumping is primarily concerned with the removal of solid sludge and scum that has accumulated inside the septic tank after it has been filled.
- WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WASTE IS PUSHED OUT The first step in getting your septic tank cleaned is to locate a septic tank pumping professional that is licensed and skilled in the field.
Following the scheduling of an appointment, you may anticipate the following events to take place on the day of your visit:
- If there are any access ports on the top of the septic tank, your septic tank pumping professional will make an attempt to uncover them. It is necessary to dig and expose the access ports if they are buried underground before the pumping process can commence. After the access ports have been opened, the pumping specialist will lower a heavy-duty hose into each of the openings. When the vacuum truck arrives, it will be able to suck up the solid and liquid waste that has accumulated in each region of the septic tank. Using a septage spoon to dislodge and remove any leftover waste, the pumping professional may then rinse the tank with water to ensure that all effluent has been removed
- Once the majority of the muck has been removed A pumping professional can check the septic tank itself once it has been completely emptied. Your professional will search for evidence of deterioration, such as cracks and broken baffles, and then take appropriate action.
According to the size of the tank, the kind and amount of manpower necessary, as well as the capacity of a vacuum truck, how long it takes to completely pump out a septic tank is typically determined by these factors: Excavation and pumping of a septic tank are usually completed in roughly five hours in the majority of situations. WASTE DISPOSALAfter the “honey wagon” has driven out into the sunset with its load in tow, the typical householder is no longer required to participate in the waste disposal process.
The onboard effluent must be transferred to a location where it may be evacuated, which is often a sewage lagoon or a wastewater treatment facility.
The frequency with which you’ll need to have your septic tank pumped out is determined by the size of your tank and the number of individuals who use it on a regular basis.
When you want septic tank service, don’t hesitate to contact the experts atPete’s Outflow Technicians for assistance.
Septic System Information and Care
When municipal sewer service is not available, a septic system that has been properly constructed and maintained is an excellent option for treating wastewater and protecting groundwater quality. A typical septic system is comprised of two key components: the septic tank and the drainfield (or leach field). Waste from toilets, sinks, washing machines, and showers is channeled into a septic tank, which is a holding tank that is typically constructed of pre-cast concrete or fiberglass and is proportioned according to the projected wastewater flow from a given-sized house or commercial establishment.
- In the first stage of wastewater treatment, anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that can survive in an oxygen-free environment) break down solids into liquids and generate gas that is vented through the building’s plumbing vent stack.
- The lack of oxygen inside the septic tank also has the added benefit of deactivating some of the disease bacteria that are prevalent in sewage.
- Because it allows aerobic (oxygen-using) bacteria to continue deactivating the disease germs that remain in the wastewater, the drainfield serves as a secondary treatment facility for sewage.
- Evaporation of water also occurs through the layer of soil that surrounds the drainfield.
- That way, enough permeable or unsaturated soil is available to filter the wastewater before the remainder of it gets into the groundwater table and underlying aquifer.
- In certain instances, modern wastewater treatment systems that “aerate,” or add oxygen to the wastewater, may be necessary to treat the effluent.
Others are equipped with chlorinating chambers or peat moss-based filtering chambers, which kill disease germs before they may infiltrate into groundwater supplies.
Septic System Care
Don’t flush cigarette butts, tampons, condoms, or any other indigestible things down the toilet or down the sink drain. Consequently, the exit filter or drainfield will become clogged. Never throw grease down the drain since grease cannot be digested by the septic system and will cause it to become clogged! rather than dumping it in the garbage, pour it into an empty container or bottle and throw it away. Make sure you don’t use excessive amounts of bleach or other cleaning agents in your septic tank since doing so will interfere with the bacterial operation inside the tank.
Instead of doing numerous loads of laundry back-to-back, stretch your wash loads out over the course of the week to reduce the amount of water that the septic system has to treat (a normal wash load consumes between 60 and 90 gallons each load!).
Roots from trees and plants will grow into the drainlines and cause them to get obstructed.
Driving over your drainfield can cause the pipes to become crushed or the dirt surrounding them to become compacted, and driving over your septic tank can cause the lid to fracture or even fall apart!
Consider the installation of water-saving showerheads, toilets, and other water-saving appliances in your home.
Septic tanks should be pumped out every four to five years, according to the Florida Department of Health, in order to prevent the buildup of sludge in the tank over time.
Stoppages and overcrowded drainfields are caused by leaking toilet flapper valves, which can allow hundreds of thousands of gallons of waste water to enter your septic system each day.
In addition to providing you with many useful suggestions and information, our Environmental Health Professionals can also assist you extend the life of your existing septic system.