The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its job is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down to the bottom forming sludge, while the oil and grease floats to the top as scum.
- When household waste water drains into a septic tank, solids settle to the bottom and a liquid scum floats on top. Bacteria digest the waste and break it down, and excess water soaks into the gravel-filled drainage area around the tank, known as the “leach field.”
What floats in septic tank?
In the case of septic systems, the float switch is used to detect the level of effluent in a septic tank. The effluent pump will begin to pump when the float switch is closed. This will cause the effluent level to drop and will eventually open the circuit when the level gets low enough.
Why is there standing water above my septic tank?
If you see standing water above the drainfield or tank, your septic system is likely flooded. When you don’t see obvious standing water over the area, check the water level with a probe, or use an auger to dig down into the soil.
Do septic tanks have floats?
All tanks have the potential of being floated out of the ground due to forces acting on the tank in saturated soil.
How do I know if my septic tank has a drainage field?
Some of the signs that your property has a septic tank are:
- The tank needing to be emptied each year.
- 2, 3 or 4 manholes in close proximity to each other above ground.
- Possible vent pipes above ground – these take unpleasant smells and gasses from the tank and distribute them into the air.
Where is the float switch on a septic system?
For switches and alarms that can be installed into new septic tanks, a side-mounted float switch might be a better option. These switches are run through the side of the tank, rising and falling with water levels to an open or closes position.
How do septic tank floats work?
The control floats are set so that a specific volume of sewage is sent to the drainfield. This specific amount is referred to as a “dose.” When sewage in the pump tank reaches the “on” float, the pump is activated and pumps sewage out until it reaches the “off” float (See diagram below.)
Why is the ground soft around my septic tank?
The presence of healthy, lushly growing plants around your septic tank or along the route of your drainage lines indicates wet areas, as does a spongy or damp feel to the ground. Excess moisture might mean that your tank is full or that your drainage pipes are damaged.
Is it normal for a septic tank to be full of water?
A septic tank should always be “filled” to its normal liquid level, or the bottom of the outlet pipe which carries effluent to the absorption area. If the tank is overfull, this is usually a sign of problems with the absorption area.
How do I keep my septic tank from floating?
A concrete collar around a septic tank helps prevent it from floating in highly saturated soil. Some manufacturers have incorporated anti-floatation methods into the construction of their products.
Can concrete septic tanks float?
A precast concrete septic tank will never “float” to the surface as some lighter weight tanks can do in certain situations. With a specific gravity of 2.40, precast concrete septic tanks resist buoyant forces better than other septic tank materials.
Do plastic septic tanks float?
We are thankful for the rain, but it can cause a few septic system issues. Tanks can actually uproot from the ground and float after they are pumped! Plastic tanks and fiberglass tanks are most susceptible to floating after pumping if heavy rain occurs.
Can concrete tanks float?
Ground water and flooding can cause tanks to rise up and float, especially when they’re empty unless they are solid enough to remain in place. In contrast to both Aquaplate and plastic tanks, concrete is an incredible durable material.
How can you tell if your drain field is failing?
The following are a few common signs of leach field failure: Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard. The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water. Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.
How deep should septic drain field be?
A typical drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36 inches.
How do I know if my drain field is working properly?
Greener and taller grass around the drainfield If you notice taller, greener grass where your leach field is located, it’s an indicator that your leach field is not functioning properly. If wastewater can no longer infiltrate the soil, pressure can cause it to rise to the surface.
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.
A septic tank is where all of the water drains from your home through a single main drainage line. An underground, watertight container, often built of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its role is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to settle to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. It is also known as a settling tank. T-shaped outlets and compartments prevent sludge and scum from exiting the tank and migrating into the drainfield region.
- An excavation built in unsaturated soil, the drainfield is shallow and covered.
- As wastewater percolates through the soil and eventually discharges into groundwater, the soil takes, processes, and disperses it.
- Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients.
- As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of contamination.
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
What Are the Septic Tank Layers? – Septic Maxx
Millions of people in the United States still have septic tank systems linked to their residences. Do you understand how your septic system works, despite the fact that they are so common? Despite the fact that you may not be employed in the septic system sector, it is critical that you grasp the primary components of your septic system as well as its fundamental operations. Even a rudimentary grasp of how your wastewater system works may help you keep repairs to a minimum and extend the life of your wastewater system.
- Scum, sludge, and effluent are the three layers of wastewater that make up your septic tank: scum, sludge, and effluent.
- Spillage: Spillage is the solid material that accumulates at the bottom of your septic tank, forming an unsightly coating on top of the water.
- Anaerobic bacteria that grow at the bottom of your tank and feed off of the sludge layer can be found in the tank bottom.
- Scum is a term used to describe a collection of material found in a septic tank that are lighter than water.
- Most of the floating solid waste items float to the surface of the water, where aerobic bacteria begin to work, digesting the bulk of the floating solid waste materials.
- A large portion of the liquid in your septic tank is composed of this substance.
- In order for your septic system to work effectively, these layers must remain balanced and maintain an appropriate retention duration throughout time.
- In order for your tank to function effectively, it must have a minimum retention time of twenty-four hours.
- In most cases, clogged drainfields are the most prevalent reason for a sewage treatment system to fail.
- It is completely natural and has been particularly formulated to assist in replenishing the beneficial bacteria and protease in your tank in order to guarantee adequate drainage into your drainfields.
Please contact us soon at 800-397-2384 to take advantage of our free trial offer. We have a team of expert septic tank technicians available to assist you with any septic tank problems.
Understanding and Maintaining Mound Systems
Many years have passed since septic tanks with gravity flow drainfields were first installed in places that were not served by municipal sewers. Not all soil and site conditions, however, are well suited for the use of these basic methods. Non-standard sewage treatment systems are frequently employed to preserve human health and water quality in regions where regular sewage treatment systems are unable to provide safe sewage treatment. A mound system is a form of non-standard system that delivers the following benefits:
- Cycles for dosing and resting
- Uniform dispersion of effluent a level of sewage treatment that is known
- An increase in the distance that wastewater must travel before it reaches groundwater
The following information will assist you in better understanding your mound system and ensuring that it continues to operate properly and at the lowest feasible cost. A typical mound system is composed of three functional components:
- The sewage treatment plant
- The pump chamber as well as the pump
- The mound, as well as the land designated for its replacement
The Septic Tank
A typical septic tank is a huge, dual-chambered subterranean container composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that collects and treats waste. All of the waste water from your home is channeled into the tank. Heavy materials sink to the bottom of the tank, where they are partially decomposed by bacterial activity. The majority of the lighter substances, such as grease and oils, rise to the surface and form a scum layer on the surface of the water. A liquid layer lies between the solid layers and travels from one chamber to another as it goes through the system.
Despite the fact that it has been partially treated, it still includes disease-causing germs as well as several other contaminants.
Proper Care Includes:
- Septic tank maintenance should include an inspection once a year and pumping it as necessary. Solids leaking from the septic tank will clog the pump and the mound if the tank is not pumped on a regular basis, which is recommended. Because it increases the quantity of solids entering the tank and necessitates more frequent pumping, the use of a waste disposal is strongly advised. Keeping dangerous materials from being flushed into the septic tank is important. Grass, cooking oils, newspapers and paper towels, cigarette butts and coffee grounds are all prohibited from being disposed of in the tank. Also prohibited are chemicals such as solvents, oils and paint, pesticides and solvents. In order to obtain information on the correct disposal of hazardous home trash, you should contact the Humboldt Waste Management Authority. It is important to avoid the use of any form of chemical or biological septic tank additive. As previously stated, such products are not essential nor beneficial to the effective operation of a septic tank, nor do they minimize the need for routine tank pumping.
The Pump Chamber
The pump chamber is a container made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that collects the effluent from the septic tank. A pump, pump control floats, and a high water warning float are all included within the chamber. Pump activity can be regulated either via the use of control floats or through the use of timed controls. A series of control floats is used to switch the pump “on” and “off” at different levels in order to pump a certain volume of effluent per dose of medication. Using the timer settings, you may create dosages that are both long and short in duration, as well as intervals or rest periods between doses.
If pump timer controls are employed, the alarm will also sound to alert you if there is excessive water use in the home or if there is a leak in the system.
The alarm should be equipped with a buzzer and a bright light that can be seen clearly.
The pump discharge line should be equipped with a union and a valve to facilitate the removal of the pump. In order to transport the pump into and out of the chamber, a length of nylon rope or other non-corrosive material should be tied to it.
Proper Care Includes:
- Every year, inspecting the pump chamber, pump, and floats, and replacing or repairing any worn or broken parts is recommended. Pump maintenance should be performed in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. Corrosion should be checked on electrical components and conduits. If the alarm panel is equipped with a “push-to-test” button, it should be used on a regular basis. If your system does not already have one, you should consider installing a septic tank effluent filter or pump screen. Solids can block the pump and pipes in a septic tank, thus screening or filtering the effluent is an excellent method of avoiding this from happening. It is simple and quick to inspect and clean the filter when it becomes clogged, and it helps to avoid costly damage caused by particulates entering the system. After a protracted power loss or a pump failure, it is necessary to take steps to prevent the mound from being overloaded. After the pump is turned on, effluent will continue to gather in the pump chamber until the pump starts working. When there is more effluent in the chamber, the pump may be forced to dose a volume that is more than the mound’s capacity. It is possible for the plumbing in your home to back up once all of the reserve storage in the chamber has been used up. Reduce your water use to a bare minimum if the pump is not running for more than 6 hours.
The mound is a drainfield that has been elevated above the natural soil surface using a particular sand fill material to provide drainage. A gravel-filled bed is interspersed throughout the sand fill, which is connected by a network of tiny diameter pipes. It is necessary to pump septic tank waste into pipelines in regulated quantities to ensure equal distribution over the bed of septic tank waste. Through small diameter pores in the pipes, low-pressure wastewater trickles downhill and into the sand.
Every new mound must be accompanied by a replacement area that is clearly marked.
Proper Care Includes:
- Knowing where your system and replacement area are, and making sure they are protected, are essential. Before you plant a garden, erect a structure, or install a pool, double-check the position of your system and the area designated for replacement
- Practicing water conservation and balancing your water consumption throughout the week will help to prevent the system from being overburdened. The greater the amount of wastewater produced, the greater the amount of wastewater that must be treated and disposed. Diversion of rainwater away from the mound and replacement area from surfaces such as roofs, driveways, patios, and sidewalks. The whole mound has been graded to allow for water drainage. Structures, ditches, and roadways should be placed far enough away from the mound so that water circulation from the mound is not impeded. Keeping traffic away from the mound and replacement area, including as automobiles, heavy equipment, and cattle is essential. The pressure might compress the earth or cause damage to the pipes, for example. Creating an appropriate landscape for your mound. It is not recommended to cover your mound or replacement area with impermeable materials. Construction materials such as concrete or plastic restrict evaporation and the delivery of air to the soil, both of which are necessary for effective wastewater treatment. For the mound, grass is the ideal cover
- Inspecting the mound and downslope areas for smells, damp spots, or surface sewer on an ongoing basis. Check the liquid level in your mound system’s inspection pipes on a regular basis to verify if the liquid level is consistently more than 6 inches. This might be a warning sign of a potential issue. For help, contact the Division of Environmental Health of the County of Humboldt.
What If The Alarm Goes On?
If the effluent level within the pump chamber reaches the alarm float for any reason (faulty pump, floats, circuit, excessive water usage, or another problem), the alarm light and buzzer will illuminate. By conserving water (avoid baths, showers, and clothes washing), the reserve storage in the pump chamber should provide you with enough time to have the problem resolved before the next water bill arrives. To turn off the alarm, press the reset button on the alarm panel’s front panel. Before contacting a service or repair company, determine whether the problem might be caused by:
- A tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse are examples of this. The pump should be on a separate circuit with its own circuit breaker or fuse to prevent overloading. A piece of equipment can cause the breakers to trip if it’s connected to the same circuit as another piece of equipment
- A power cord that has become disconnected from a pump or float switch. Ensure that the switch and pump connectors make excellent contact with their respective outlets if the electrical connection is of the plug-in variety. Affixed to other chamber components such as the electric power wire, hoisting rope, or pump screen, the control floats become entangled. Make certain that the floats are free to move about in the chamber. Debris on the floats and support cable is causing the pump to trip the circuit breaker. Remove the floats from the chamber and thoroughly clean them.
CAUTION: Before touching the pump or floats, always switch off the power at the circuit breaker and unhook any power cables from the system. Entering the pump room is strictly prohibited. The gases that build up inside pump chambers are toxic, and a shortage of oxygen can be deadly. After completing the measures outlined above, contact your pump service person or on-site system contractor for assistance in locating the source of the problem. Pumps and other electrical equipment should only be serviced or repaired by someone who has previous experience.
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
Baffle near the outlet, which prevents the floating scum from migrating into the absorption area Gas deflector: This device stops gas bubbles (on which solid particles frequently adhere) from exiting the tank by diverting them away from the outflow pipe and preventing them from entering the absorption area. a filter for the effluent (on the right) that inhibits and limits the flow of any suspended particles in the effluent Allows effluent to flow into the absorption area through the outlet pipe.
OTHER TYPES OF ON-LOT WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS
The outlet baffle, which stops the floating scum from going into the absorption region; Gas deflector that stops gas bubbles (to which solid particles frequently adhere) from leaving the tank by diverting them away from the exit pipe and preventing them from entering the absorption region; The effluent filter (on the right) prevents and limits the flow of any suspended particles in the wastewater. Allows effluent to flow into the absorption region through an outlet pipe.
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.
7 Ways to Tell When it’s Time to Empty Your Septic Tank
It is essential that septic tanks are properly maintained in order to avoid blockages and potentially hazardous situations. Septic tanks collect waste water from the home, with particles sinking to the bottom and floating on top of the liquid scum on the surface. Bacteria digest and break down the waste, and surplus water soaks into a gravel-filled drainage area outside the tank, known as the “flush field.” Bacteria digest and break down the waste. And the tank’s solid contents accumulate over time, the level of the tank’s solid contents rises.
Some of the indicators that a tank is overflowing are caused by the waste backing up into the septic pipes and blocking them.
- Waste water falls slowly down the drains of the home. An overflowing septic tank is causing problems with all or most of the drains. If only one drain is taking a long time to empty, it is possible that that drain has a separate clog. Restrooms become clogged with sewerage trash. It is possible for sewer waste to accumulate in the shower and tub drains, as well as in the toilet
- Septic lines may be leaking. The pressure caused by backed-up waste in the septic systems might cause the pipes to leak
- The leach field area in the yard is squishy because to the recent rainfall. The water waste from the tank should either evaporate or be absorbed by grass roots to prevent flooding. Squishy patches and pools indicate that the water that is being discharged from the septic tank is not being absorbed by the soil. There’s a strong sewage stink in the air. The odor of sewage is not one that is easily misidentified. The stench of sewage in your bathrooms or yard indicates that the tank is full and cannot store any more waste. In addition to being greener, the grass over the leach field grows at a quicker rate than the rest of your lawn. Plants benefit from the nutrients in septic tank contents, which is why grass grows exceptionally well when nourished by septic waste overflow. The depth of the sludge layer is one-third the depth of the liquid layer, or even deeper. The easiest approach to determine whether or not your tank need pumping is to have it inspected by a competent contractor. He’ll check the depth of the solid and liquid levels in the tank and pump it out before it overflows, if necessary.
Septic tanks don’t require much in the way of maintenance, as long as you take care of the essentials first. Generally speaking, septic tanks should be drained every three to five years, but they should also be examined once or twice a year to ensure that they are in proper operating order. Inquire with a trained specialist about the condition of your tank, and he or she can determine how often it should be pumped. To get answers to your questions, get in touch with the Pink Plumber right away.
Top Quality Float Switches and Water Tank Float Switches
Float switches are an essential component of your septic system; they control the operation of your septic pump and alert you when there is a problem, such as when the water level is too high. There are several distinct types of float switches, each of which performs a different function. We will go through this in more detail below. Alarms and pumps are controlled by control duty floats, which are not always directly connected to the pump in question. They are connected directly to the control panel, and the control panel has a relay that activates whatever functions are required.
- To summarize the action, the float rises, closing contacts close and this in turn activates the relay switch, which enables and takes on the load of whatever was previously switched on and off.
- The float switch is responsible for channeling the electrical charge that drives the pump.
- Pump floats are available in a variety of sizes.
- The old pump on the system would have drawn more amps as a result of its age; when pumps age, they begin to draw more amps, which is ultimately what causes them to break down.
- When added to an electrical circuit, float switches enable the sensing of fluid levels on their own without any external assistance from the circuit designer.
- A closed circuit is one in which electricity is able to travel through the circuit’s components and provide power to the devices in the circuit.
- Float switches are activated when fluid levels rise in conjunction with the rise in water level.
The upward orientation of a float switch will normally lead it to shut, although the direction in which a float switch closes will vary depending on the exact float switch being used.
The natural position of a float switch is in the position when it is hanging down.
When the fluid level in a septic system reaches a specific level, the system will normally close a circuit and activate a pump.
The typical position of a normally openfloat switch will cause a circuit to be opened while the switch is in the open position.
When the water level in the system is high, a usually open system will become a closed circuit.
When an excessive amount of effluent accumulates in the tank, a standard septic system will attempt to pump it out.
The closed circuit will activate the effluent pump, which will then raise the wastewater to the desired level once again.
When the fluid level is low, current will flow; when the fluid level is high, current will not flow.
It is possible to utilize this system when the user requires the fluid level in a system to be higher than a specified minimum height.
Mercury is the first sort of mechanism to be discussed.
Unlike the first sort of mechanism, the second type is more mechanical in character.
The ball will roll within the float switch as the level of the fluid changes within the switch.
Float switches are also available in two different configurations: wide angle and narrow angle.
Float switches of this sort can be utilized in situations where a moderate degree of variation in fluid level is acceptable or to be expected.
These sorts of float switches should be considered if the user wishes to keep a more steady fluid level throughout the process.
When the float switch is closed, the effluent pump will begin to circulate the water.
In this way, the level of effluent in your tank can be controlled without the need for the user to look inside of the tank to determine if the pump should be engaged.
It is possible that an effluent pump will fail, causing the level of wastewater in your tank to grow over permitted limits.
A faulty pump, on the other hand, will not empty your tank.
It is possible for the float switch to become stuck in the on position due to a steady current.
This is due to the fact that the float switch has been destroyed and is still instructing the pump to empty a tank that is already empty.
When you purchase a new effluent pump, it is recommended that you replace the float switch to ensure that your system continues to operate properly for a longer period of time.
Float switches that are used in conjunction with a timer may be present.
To regulate the fluid level, an array of float switches, with an override switch, and an alarm may be used in some systems. When installing a septic system, it is critical to understand the amount and types of float switches that will be required.
- Float switches are used to control the operation of various devices dependent on the amount of fluid in the tank. Determine if a typically open or normally closed float switch is required. Be sure to determine if you want a wide angle or small angle floating switch. When you replace your effluent pump, you should also replace the float switch.
How your Septic System Works
Although what occurs with wastewater is sometimes overlooked when seeking to purchase a new home, it is a critical component of any residence. There are two major methods in which the drain system for your home disposes of wastewater; you will either be connected to a sewer system or have a septic tank installed. The majority of people are inexperienced with the operation of septic tanks, which can create worry among first-time homeowners. In order to handle all wastewater from the house and disseminate it in a manner that is safe for both you and the environment, septic systems are specifically constructed.
The septic tank is the first phase in the wastewater treatment process. Every plumbing fixture in your home will discharge into the septic tank, where it will begin to decompose. Solid matter will settle to the bottom of the container, creating an environment that is favourable to microbial growth. These bacteria will begin to decompose the solid waste, releasing water known as effluent as well as an oil that rises to the surface of the water. Baffling connects the two halves of the septic tank, which are joined by L-shaped pipes called baffles.
It is necessary to repeat this procedure twice more before the wastewater is ready to be discharged back into the environment.
In a drain field, also known as a leach field, effluent water is allowed to dissipate into the soil through a network of perforated pipes. These pipes are typically buried one to two feet below ground level and are surrounded by gravel to aid in the distribution of the water uniformly throughout the system. In addition, when the effluent water sinks to the water table, the earth absorbs any extra bacteria or particles that were not removed by the septic tank. By the time it reaches the water table, the water has been proven to be absolutely harmless.
How to Care for your Septic System
Being aware of the operation and maintenance of your septic system will help it survive longer and continue to perform properly for a long period of time. When it comes to septic system maintenance, there are numerous factors to keep in mind. In order to function properly, septic systems require a delicate balance of bacteria and waste products. If you flush a large amount of sediments or items that cannot be broken down by these bacteria, the system may become clogged and ineffective. Waste goods such as disposable wipes, coffee grounds, feminine products, and many more can cause difficulties in your septic system.
To avoid this potential problem, make sure that you are aware of the location of your drain field.
However, although they may provide a temporary solution, they eliminate the natural bacteria that are necessary for a well functioning septic system. Septic system difficulties that prevent your system from emptying correctly indicate that you should consult with a septic system specialist.
The tank must be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure that your system continues to perform properly. Every two to three years, it is advised that you pump the tank out. The septic tank will also be visually inspected by an expert to ensure that there are no new problems forming.
Signs of Failure
Knowing some of the warning signs of a probable breakdown in your septic system might help you avoid more serious problems in the future. When the system is not functioning effectively, it can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including an unpleasant odor around the septic field, sluggish emptying toilets and sinks, and excessive plant growth over the field. You should contact a specialist if you detect any of the indicators of failure listed above, as soon as possible. Withholding attention to any problems with your septic system will result in more extensive and expensive repairs down the road.
Many homeowners are concerned about how their septic system works, but this is not something that they need be concerned about.
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