The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drainfield area. The liquid wastewater (effluent) then exits the tank into the drainfield.The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the
Septic drain field – Wikipedia
area. The liquid wastewater (effluent) then exits the tank into the drainfield.
- All water runs out of your house from one main drainage pipe into a septic tank. 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.
Where does sink water go when you have a septic tank?
If you are not connected to a sewer system, the liquid wastes from your home go into a septic tank, where most of the solids settle out. The water then goes into a leach field, pipes buried in the ground that have holes in the bottom. The water seeps out of these holes and into the ground.
Does water evaporate in septic tank?
Much of the water drains down through the topsoil and is eventually filtered into the groundwater. However, a good portion of the water also travels to the surface to evaporate in the air.
Do septic tanks replenish groundwater?
Septic systems can impact local drinking water wells or surface water bodies. Recycled water from a septic system can help replenish groundwater supplies; however, if the system is not working properly, it can contaminate nearby waterbodies.
Why would a septic tank be full of water?
An overfilled septic tank is often a signal that your drain field is malfunctioning. The drain field is the final fixture in the septic system and serves the purpose of returning treated effluent back into the soil.
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?
Does shower water have to go into septic tank?
Only if you have a septic system and no gray water line. If you live in the city or the ‘burbs your shower water is going to go the same place as your sink water, washing machine water, and your toilet water; into the sewer system. If you live in a small town or out in the country, you probably have a septic system.
How long does it take for water to evaporate from septic tank?
The settling process takes about 24 hours. The natural bacteria in the septic tank begin to breakdown and digest the organic material found in the wastewater. Only the treated liquid (effluent) found in the center level of the tank flows out of the septic tank and into the absorption field.
What to do after septic is pumped?
After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.
- 1) Get on a Schedule.
- 2) Take Care of the System.
- 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
- 4) Check Other Possible Issues.
How do I know if my drain field is bad?
Stay vigilant for five signs your drainfield does not drain correctly anymore.
- Slowing Drainage. Homeowners first notice slower than usual drainage from all the sinks, tubs, and toilets in a home when they have a compromised drainfield.
- Rising Water.
- Increasing Plant Growth.
- Returning Flow.
- Developing Odors.
Do septic tanks pollute ground water?
Groundwater pollution In septic systems, wastewater drains from toilets and sinks into an underground tank, then through porous pipes in a leach field, where surrounding sand filters out bacteria and other pathogens. “As a result, untreated sewage can end up polluting nearby groundwater.”
Is septic water safe to drink?
Water from toilets, sinks, showers, and other appliances is called wastewater and can be harmful to human health. Wastewater contains harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients that could make you sick if it comes in contact with your drinking water well.
Can septic water get into well water?
If a septic system is placed too close to a well, the groundwater may flow from the septic drainfield and infiltrate and contaminate the water flowing into the well. Septic tanks and leach fields should be separated from wells by a minimum of 50 feet.
Can I take a shower if my septic tank is full?
Only the water would get out into the leach field in a proper system unless you run too much water too fast. The thing to do is to run your shower water outside into it’s own drain area, but it may not be allowed where you are. Used to be called gray water system.
Can heavy rain affect septic tank?
It is common to have a septic back up after or even during a heavy rain. Significant rainfall can quickly flood the ground around the soil absorption area (drainfield) leaving it saturated, making it impossible for water to flow out of your septic system.
How long does it take for a flooded septic tank to drain?
In a conventional system, the septic tank holds wastewater for 2-3 days as the anaerobic bacteria treat it.
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
Septic Systems and Drinking Water
|1. Bathrooms and Kitchens||Water from toilets, sinks, showers, and other appliances is called wastewater and can be harmful to human health. Wastewater contains harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients that could make you sick if it comes in contact with your drinking water well. Make sure the wastewater is properly treated by your septic system and that your drinking water well is located at the appropriate distance (set back) from your and your neighbor’s system. Avoid flushing other chemicals or medications down the drain or toilet since they could also contaminate your drinking water well.|
|2. Septic Tank||Wastewater generated in your home exits through a drainage pipe and into a septic tank. The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container that holds wastewater for separation and treatment. The solids settle to the bottom (sludge) and fats, oil and grease float to the top (scum). Microorganisms act to break down the sludge and destroy some of the contaminants in the wastewater. Your septic tank should be serviced and pumped on a regular basis to make sure it’s working properly.||Learn more about how your septic system works.|
|3. Drainfield||The drainfield is a shallow, covered trench made in the soil in your yard. Partially treated wastewater from the septic tank flows out through the drainfield, filters down through the soil and enters the groundwater. If the drainfield is overloaded with too much liquid or clogged with solids, it will flood and cause sewage to surface in your yard or back up into your home.|
|4. Wastewater Treatment in Soil||Filtering wastewater through the soil removes most bacteria and viruses (also known as pathogens) and some nutrients. While soil can treat many contaminants, it cannot remove all of them (e.g., medicines, some cleaning products, other potentially harmful chemicals). If untreated wastewater surfaces in the yard, wastewater may contaminate your drinking water through an unsecured well cap or cracks in the well casing. It’s important to avoid flushing medication and chemicals into your wastewater since it could contaminate your drinking water.|
|5. Water Table||The water table is found where you first hit water if you dig a hole into the ground.|
|6. Groundwater||The water below the water table is called groundwater. Groundwater flowing underneath a drainfield captures any remaining contaminants released from the septic system. A drinking water well is at greater risk of becoming contaminated if it is in the path of groundwater flow beneath a septic system.|
|7. Drinking Water Well||A drinking water well is drilled or dug into the groundwater so water can be pumped to the surface. Deep wells located farther away from a septic system and not in the path of the groundwater flow from the septic system are least likely to be contaminated. Drinking water wells should be regularly tested to ensure your home’s water is safe to drink.||Learn about private water wells.|
|8. Setback Distance||Most states or local governments require a specific horizontal distance (or setback) between a septic system and a drinking water well. If the soil where you live is sandy, or porous, you may want to place your well farther away than the minimum required distance. Contamination is less likely the farther apart a well is from a septic system.||Consult your local health department about required setback distances in your area.|
|9. Could my well be affected?||Your septic system could contaminate your drinking water well or a nearby well under certain conditions. Remember to test the drinking water from your well regularly and take corrective action as needed.The contamination risk to your well is LOWER:|
- The greater the distance between the well and the septic system, the better. the deeper the well is dug, and whether it is in bedrock or below a designated layer of silt or clay, the greater the risk
- Or When your septic system is pumped and repaired on a regular basis, you may expect the following:
The following factors increase the danger of pollution to your well:
- The well is at a shallow depth and in permeable soil
- It is downgradient of the septic system (i.e., groundwater flows from the septic system towards the well)
- There are many homes on septic systems near the well
- Or the well and/or septic system have been poorly constructed or maintained (i.e., contaminants can enter a cracked drinking well casing from groundwater or surface water).
|Learn other ways to keep your private well safe from possible sources of contamination.|
Septic System Basics
When a household isn’t connected to a public sewage system, it normally relies on septic systems to treat and dispose of wastewater. Sewage treatment systems require a substantial financial commitment. The correct maintenance and upkeep of a well-designed, installed, and maintained system will provide years of dependable and low-cost service. The failure of a system can become a source of pollution and public health concern, resulting in property damage, ground and surfacewater pollution (such as contamination of well water used by you and your neighbors), and the spread of disease.
Aside from that, if you are planning to sell your property, your septic system has to be in good functioning order.
Septic systems are available in a variety of configurations to accommodate a wide range of soil and site conditions.
Understanding the major components of a typical (gravity-fed) septic system, as well as how to maintain it working properly and at the lowest possible cost, can help you make the best decision possible. A conventional septic tank system is composed of three major components:
- This is known as the Septic Tank. In order to remove particles from wastewater, store and partially decompose as much solid material as possible, while allowing the liquid (or effluent) to flow to the drainfield, a septic tank must be installed. more
- The Drainage System After the particles have settled in the septic tank, the liquid wastewater (also known as effluent) is released to the drainfield, which is also known as an absorption or leach field, or both. more
- The Soil is a very important factor. The soil under the drainfield is responsible for the ultimate treatment and disposal of the septic tank effluent once it has been treated. Following the passage of wastewater into the soil, organisms in the soil remediate the effluent before it percolates downward and outward, eventually entering ground or surface water sources. A drainfield’s efficacy is also affected by the kind of soil
- For example, clay soils may be too tight to allow much wastewater to run through, while gravelly soil may be too coarse to give much treatment.
- Septic System Inspection Done at Home In order to aid you in examining your system, a VideoField Guide and Checklist may be available at the bottom of the homepage.
Homeowners and residents have a significant impact on the functioning of their septic systems. Overloading the system with more water than it is capable of handling might result in system failure. A septic system can also be damaged by the improper disposal of chemicals or excess organic waste, such as that produced by a trash disposal. The following maintenance suggestions might assist you in ensuring that your system provides long-term, effective treatment of domestic waste.
Inspect and Pump Frequently
The most critical step in keeping your septic tank in good working order is to eliminate sludge and scum build-up before it may flow into the drainfield. The frequency with which your tank has to be pumped is determined by the size of the tank, the number of people in your family, the quantity of water utilized, and the amount of solids (from humans, garbage disposal, and any other waste) that enter the tank’s drainage system. Tanks should be pumped out on average every 3 to 5 years, depending on usage.
- In order to keep your septic tank in good condition, you must remove sludge and scum buildup before it may wash into your drainfield. Depending on the size of your tank, the number of people in your family, how much water is utilized and how much solid waste (from humans, garbage disposals or any other sources) is entering the system, you may need to have your tank pumped on a regular basis. Pumping tanks every 3 to 5 years is a good rule of thumb. Please visit the following links for further information.
Use Water Efficiently
System failure is frequently caused by an excessive amount of water. The soil beneath the septic system must be able to absorb all of the water that is used in the residence. Too much water from the washing machine, dishwasher, toilets, bathtubs, and showers may not provide enough time for sludge and scum to separate properly in the drain. The less water that is consumed, the less water that enters the septic system, reducing the likelihood of system failure. For further information on water conservation, visit:
- System failure is frequently attributed to an excess of water. A septic system’s soil bed must be capable of absorbing all of the water consumed by the residence. Sludge and scum may not separate properly if there is too much water coming from the laundry, dishwasher, toilet, bath, or shower. In other words, the less water that is utilized, the less water that enters the septic system, reducing the likelihood of system failure. Here’s where you can learn about water conservation:
Minimize Solid Waste Disposal
What you flush down the toilet can have a significant influence on the performance of your septic system. Many things do not breakdown properly, and as a result, they accumulate in your septic tank. If you have the option of disposing of it in another manner, do so rather than introducing it into your system.
Keep Chemicals Out of Your System
Protect your septic system against home chemicals such as caustic drain openers, paint and pesticides. Also avoid flushing down the toilet with chemicals such as brake fluid, gasoline, and motor oil. The improper dumping of dangerous substances down the drain is damaging to the environment, as well as the bacteria that are necessary for the breakdown of wastes in a septic system, and should be avoided.
Septic System Additives
It is not essential to add a stimulant or an enhancer to a septic tank in order to assist it in functioning or “to restore bacterial equilibrium.” The naturally occurring bacteria required for the proper operation of the septic system are already present in human excrement. Septic systems, like automobiles, are designed to offer long-term, effective treatment of residential waste if they are properly run and maintained on a regular basis. The majority of systems that fail prematurely, on the other hand, are the result of poor maintenance.
If you see any of the indicators listed below, or if you have reason to believe your septic system is experiencing issues, call a trained septic technician immediately. In the event that your septic system fails, call Thurston County Environmental Health at 360-867-2673 for assistance.
- Odors, surface sewage, moist areas, or a dense growth of plants in the drainfield region are all possible problems. Backups from the plumbing or septic tank (which are often a dark liquid with a foul odor)
- Fixtures that take a long time to drain
- The plumbing system is making gurgling sounds. Your drainfield may be failing if you have a well and tests reveal the presence of coliform (bacteria) or nitrates in the water from it. Even in the midst of a drought, the drainfield is covered with lush green grass.
HOW EXCESSIVE WATER AFFECTS YOUR SEPTIC TANK AND WHAT TO DO
Drainfield odors, surface sewage, moist areas, or a dense growth of plants in the drainfield region are all signs of trouble. Drainage or sewage backups (which are often a dark liquid with an unpleasant odor); Fixtures that are slow to drain; Plumbing system is making gurgling noises A malfunctioning drainfield may be indicated if you have a well and testing reveal the presence of coliforms (bacteria) or nitrates. With spite of the dry weather, the drainfield is blanketed in lush green grass.
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.
How does a septic tank work?
Pumping the tank on a regular basis eliminates sludge and scum, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and well built septic system to last for decades, or it might collapse in a matter of years. It is entirely up to you as long as you can answer the question of how do septic tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely collapsed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material costs.
It’s critical to understand how a septic tank works in order to maintain one.
Let’s take a look below ground and observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we?
Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria
Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They break down garbage, leaving water clean enough to safely percolate down into the soil. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.
- A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
- Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
- Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
- (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
- The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
- Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
When gravel is used to surround pipes, water can run into the soil and oxygen can reach germs. The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt. 9. Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system
Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.
- Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.
Get your tank pumped…
Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.
…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it
Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.
Install an effluent filter in your septic system
Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata. The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.
Septic tank filter close-up
The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drain field pipes. Obtain an effluent filter for your tank from your contractor and place it on the outflow pipe of your tank. (It will most likely cost between $50 and $100, plus labor.) This device, which helps to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis by a contractor to maintain its effectiveness.
Solution for a clogged septic system
If your septic system becomes clogged and you find yourself having to clean the filter on a regular basis, you might be tempted to simply remove the filter altogether. Hold on to it. Solids, wastewater, and scum are separated into three levels in septic tanks, which allows them to function properly (see illustration above). Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them. The scum, which is made up of trash that is lighter than water, rises to the surface. In the drainage field, the middle layer of effluent leaves the tank and goes through an underground network of perforated pipes to the drainage field.
- Keep the effluent filter in place since it is required by your state’s health law.
- Waste particles might flow through the filter and clog the perforated pipes if the filter is not used.
- Your filter, on the other hand, should not require cleaning every six months.
- A good chance is high that you’re flushing filter-clogging things down the toilet, such as grease, fat, or food scraps.
- A garbage disposal will not be able to break down food particles sufficiently to allow them to flow through the septic tank filtration system.
- Plastic items, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable goods, and tobacco products will clog the system if they are flushed through it.
For additional information on what should and should not be flushed down the toilet, contact your local health authority. More information on removing lint from your laundry may be found here.
Get an inspection
Following a comprehensive first check performed by an expert, regular inspections will cost less than $100 each inspection for the next year. Your professional will be able to inform you how often you should get your system inspected as well as how a septic tank functions. As straightforward as a septic system appears, determining its overall condition necessitates the services of a professional. There are a plethora of contractors who would gladly pump the sludge out of your tank, but many, in my experience, are unable to explain how a septic system works or how it should be maintained.
A certification scheme for septic contractors has been established in certain states; check with your state’s Secretary of State’s office to see whether yours is one of them.
Also, a qualified inspector will be able to tell you whether or not your tank is large enough to accommodate your household’s needs, as well as the maximum amount of water that can be passed through it in a single day.
As you learn more about how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.
Alternatives to a new drain field
Regular inspections will cost less than $100 apiece once the initial comprehensive examination by a professional has been completed. It will be possible to learn how a septic tank works from your professional if you have a better understanding of how your system operates. No matter how simple it appears to be, assessing the condition of a septic system requires the expertise 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 properly.
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 your state 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.
A product such as RID-X, which contains microorganisms, may be able to help you enhance the operation of your system. As you learn how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.
- Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.
Protect your drain septic field from lint
When this device is in place, it inhibits lint from entering the system, especially synthetic fibers that bacteria are unable to digest. One of these filters, which I’ve designed and termed theSeptic Protector, was invented by me. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150 plus delivery. Learn more about how to filter out laundry lint in this article.
Don’t overload the septic system
Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field. Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.
Meet the Expert
Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.
How 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.
Septic Systems and High Water Tables — Water Quality
Septic systems and high water tables are two issues that need to be addressed. Authored by Tom Scherer, Irrigation and Water Resources Specialist, and Home Septic Systems. The North Dakota State University Extension Service Local ground water levels have been elevated as a result of above-average rainfall last autumn, which has resulted in many residential septic systems being waterlogged or temporarily flooding. This causes drains in the house to flow slowly and toilets not to flush correctly.
- One of the most important parts of a septic system is the tank, which collects and biologically breaks down solid waste; the other is the drainfield, which serves to offer extra biological treatment while also infiltrating wastewater into the earth.
- Any circumstance that blocks or slows the passage of water through the septic system has the potential to produce complications.
- This will result in the tank being overflowing and filling with groundwater rather than waste water from the home.
- It is at this point that the waste water from the house is unable to pass freely through the septic system.
- Because of the high water table circumstances that might arise, you may need to treat your septic tank as a holding tank and have it professionally cleaned and pumped on a regular basis.
- A tank that has had more than half its contents removed may attempt to float out of the earth, resulting in damage to the tank’s inlet and outlet pipes.
- Raw sewage on the ground (or in the snow) can be a health danger since it can be trampled by children and dogs, and it can also flow into a watercourse, causing contamination.
Some tips to assist your septic system in dealing with a high water table are as follows: 1.Reduce the amount of water used in the residence.
Water that is introduced to the septic system at the rate of one drop every 15 seconds might build up to a significant amount of extra water.
Avoid draining water from a basement sump pump into the septic system.
It is not permissible to allow water to drain into the drainfield area from roof gutters or the sump pump.
Laundry services are available at laundromats.
Only run the dishwasher when it is completely full.
Always keep in mind that the drainfield was created to infiltrate the quantity of water that would ordinarily be released from the home.
If your domestic plumbing does not function properly after the water table has dropped, it is possible that the drainfield or septic tank has been damaged.
As a result of the shifting, the input and outflow pipes from the septic tank may get partially clogged.
In addition, particles from the tank might clog the inlet and outflow pipes, causing them to get clogged. Request that a qualified and licensed septic tank pumper or septic system installation inspect and evaluate the problem.
The water cycle and your septic system
It is quite possible that your home is not linked to the municipal sewage system, and that it is instead connected to a septic system, which is an on-site wastewater management system. Wastewater is discharged from your home through the plumbing system into a septic tank, where it is subjected to physical and biological treatment procedures. Sludge and scum layers are formed as a result of the physical process in which solid suspended materials settle to the bottom of the tank and create a sludge layer, while fats, oils, and grease float to the top of the tank and produce a scum layer.
In the drainfield region, the liquified waste is treated before percolating into the soil after passing through a gravel layer in the drainfield, which allows it to percolate into the soil.
Natural water cycle
The water is always in motion as a result of what is known as the natural water cycle, which is described below. This movement occurs continually on the surface of the earth, as well as above and below the surface. Water must alter its phases in order for this cycle to continue, transitioning between ice, vapor, and liquid. Despite the fact that this cycle has been in operation for billions of years, plants and animals continue to rely on it for their survival. During the natural water cycle, there are several steps that occur: Evaporation is the process by which water molecules break their bonds as a result of the sun’s energy, resulting in the formation of water vapor.
- Condensation is the process through which water vapor cools and transforms from vapor back into droplets of water.
- Water falls back to the earth when the amount of condensation in the atmosphere becomes too great, and this is what is referred to as precipitation.
- Percolation is the term used to describe the process by which part of the water infiltrates into the groundwater system through the soil structure.
- Transpiration is the water that returns to the atmosphere as a result of the evaporation of water from plant surfaces.
- It is water vapor that is the most prevalent type of moisture in the atmosphere.
- It is the process by which water vapor transforms from its vapor state to its liquid state that is referred to as condensation.
- This can occur as a result of cooling or as a result of mixing air that has various temperatures.
- During a rainstorm, precipitation falls to the ground and is dispersed in a variety of ways.
By means of infiltration. The majority of groundwater is derived from water that has percolated through the earth over time.
Urban water cycle
The term “urbanwater cycle” refers to the artificial technologies that are used to supply clean water to people’s homes and places of business. The urban water cycle is more complicated than just turning on the water faucet and watching clean water pour out. The urban water cycle has eight distinct phases, each of which is described here. These are the ones: The source of the water is referred to as the point of origin. The majority of the time, it originates from surface water sources such as rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.
- Microorganisms can be found in water obtained from open waters, which requires treatment.
- The treatment of water includes a variety of techniques such as chemical coagulation, disinfection, filtration, and others.
- Most of the time, a disinfectant residual is maintained at the various points throughout the system.
- In order to distribute water when and where it is required, these towers rely on gravity to do it.
- Watewater collection is the process by which wastewater from a residence exits through plumbing and is transported by gravity to either a sewage system or an onsite wastewater system.
- Wastewater treatment is often accomplished by a combination of physical, biological, and chemical processes.
How septic systems fit into the water cycle
A natural water cycle occurs when water from the earth evaporates and condenses in the sky to produce clouds. It then rains, sending water back into the streams, lakes, and reservoirs, as well as into the groundwater table and aquifer. Local governments may draw water from lakes, streams, and reservoirs and distribute it for residential use after treating it, as is the case in several places. However, not every residence is linked to the municipal grid, necessitating the use of private systems (mostly wells).
Because of the natural filtering and purification that occurs as water flows through these distinct layers of soil, by the time it reaches the groundwater, it should be safe to drink.
On-site wastewater treatment is generally comprised of three components: a septic tank, a leachfield, and the soil surrounding the septic tank.
However, if the system is not properly maintained, it has the potential to malfunction, resulting in the pollution of drinking water supplies. The following are some of the ways that a septic system might pollute groundwater.
Bacteria and viruses in groundwater
According to research, the most serious concern posed by septic tanks to groundwater is the transfer of harmful viruses and bacteria from the septic tank into the groundwater. All viruses and the majority of bacteria are tiny enough to pass through soil pores with relative ease. That is, they are easily leached into groundwater if they are not removed from the effluent prior to disposal or treatment. Most of the time, adsorption causes these viruses to travel more slowly. Adsorption is the process by which organisms become chemically bound to soil particles, resulting in their attachment.
In most circumstances, the bacteria and viruses will be unable to survive in the soil due to the hostile environment, although this might vary depending on the prevailing environmental conditions.
This is most common when there is a high water table in the area.
Nitrates in groundwater
Nitrates from the septic tank have the potential to damage groundwater as well. When this occurs, the nitrates in drinking water have the potential to produce methemoglobinemia, which is a condition in which the blood is unable to absorb oxygen properly. Infants are typically more vulnerable to this illness than adults. According to experts, the concentration of nitrates in drinking water should not exceed 10 mg/L. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is produced as a by-product of the breakdown of organic waste by microorganisms in the septic tank.
Dienitrification is the most efficient method of eliminating the nitrates from wastewater.
Denitrification takes place in the septic tank under anaerobic conditions most of the time.
Adding biological additives can assist in replenishing anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank, so ensuring that nitrates do not escape the tank before being transformed into nitrogen is accomplished.
Phosphates in lakes
When it comes to phosphate contamination, one of the most serious issues is the eutrophication of lake water. Because of nutrient enrichment, the phenomenon of eutrophication occurs, which results in an excessive growth of algae and other aquatic plants, which finally depletes the lake’s oxygen supply. Phosphate pollution is less prevalent than nitrate pollution, mostly due to the fact that phosphate binds securely to soil particles, reducing the likelihood of it migrating into groundwater. Phosphate contamination, on the other hand, is still a threat, particularly with septic systems that are not properly maintained.
Other contributing variables include septic systems that are old and severely laden, as well as high water tables. Eutrophication of lakes can occur as a result of the discharge of raw sewage from a malfunctioning septic system.
As the owner of a septic system, you must be aware that your system has the potential to have negative impacts on the natural water cycle. Septic tank wastewater does not simply stay in the septic tank; it also goes into the ground. The opposite is true: it ultimately percolates into the soil and makes its way back into the natural water cycle. Leaving your septic system unattended can result in groundwater contamination that can ultimately impair the quality of water in the cycle and cause a variety of problems for you and your family.
Groundwater contamination can also result in the spread of waterborne illnesses.
4 Things to Do When Your Septic Tank Is Flooded
If your neighborhood has recently been flooded or has been subjected to strong rains, you may discover that your toilet isn’t flushing properly and that your drains are draining more slowly than usual. It is possible that raw sewage will back up into your tub and sink drains. Drains that are slow or clogged may signal that the water table has risen over the level of your septic field and septic tank. If you believe that your septic system has been flooded, there are four things you should do immediately.
- Check the level of groundwater in your area.
- Septic tanks are typically located a few feet below the surface of the earth.
- If you are aware of the location of your septic tank and drainfield, you should check the water level in the area to ensure that flooding is not a concern.
- When there isn’t any evident standing water in the area, use a probe to check the water level or an auger to dig deep into the earth to find out how much water is there.
- If your tests reveal that the water level is higher than the top of the septic tank, you should immediately cease utilizing the tank.
- Until the Ground Becomes Dry When you believe that your septic system has been flooded, contact a septic pumping specialist immediately; however, you must wait until the earth has become less soggy before having your tank drained.
- If a septic tank is pumped out when the earth is saturated, it may potentially float out of its location.
- Following a decrease in the water table level, it is necessary to pump your system as quickly as feasible.
- Approximately 70 gallons of water are flushed down the toilet per person every day in the average home.
The first step is to check for leaks in all of your fixtures. An inoperable toilet flapper or fill mechanism can leak up to 200 gallons per day, creating a backup of water that your flooded septic system doesn’t have room for. Other suggestions for keeping water out of the drains are as follows:
- Prepare meals that don’t require cooking, such as sandwiches. Disposable flatware, such as paper plates and paper cups, should be used. Showers are preferable to baths because they are shorter. Save the rinse water and put it to good use on the plants. Only flush the toilet when absolutely essential
If your clothes washing machine drains into your main sewage line, it can cause a significant amount of water to be discharged into your septic system. Wash your garments at the laundry until the water table begins to fall below the surface. In the event that you must use the washing machine, wash only modest loads and wait a few hours between each load of laundry. 4. Make modifications to your septic system to make it more efficient. After your septic tank has been drained and your house drainage system has been restored to working order, you should make certain modifications to your system in order to minimize flooding problems in the future.
During a septic emergency, the backflow preventer prevents waste water from entering your home or building.
Also, check to be that your yard’s storm drainage does not overflow into your septic field and storage tank area.
When your septic system is inundated, call Eckmayer Inc right away.
What Happens When You Flush?
Knowing a little bit about how your septic system operates might help you prevent septic system problems in the future. The most straightforward method of understanding is to follow the effluent. Septic systems are composed of four major components, each of which plays a significant role in wastewater treatment.
1.Pipe from your house
Whenever you flush the toilet, turn on the sink, or use the washing machine, the water that drains down the drain is referred to as wastewater. The first phase in the process is for the waste to flow out of your home into the conduit that leads to the sewage treatment plant.
2. Septic tank
When you flush the toilet, run the sink, or use the washing machine, the water that runs down the drain is referred to as waste water. The first step in the process is for the waste to flow out of your home into the conduit that leads to the sewage treatment facility.
The drainfield, which is sometimes referred to as the leachfield, disposal site, or soil absorption system, is the next stop for wastewater after the treatment plant. When new wastewater is introduced into the tank, the partially treated wastewater is pushed out of the tank by the incoming wastewater. Typically, it is transported onto the field using perforated pipes that ensure that the water is distributed uniformly. The majority of septic system issues occur at this point. The backup of sewage and wastewater into the house will occur if the drainage lines become sluggish.
Backups or pools of water and sewage at the surface of the field might result as a result of this practice. If scum migrates out of the system, it has the potential to impair the field’s drainage capacity as well.
Wastewater, once it has passed through the system and been treated, ends up in the soil. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of soil to a septic system, yet healthy soil is essential for a good septic system. When wastewater runs into the drainfield, the soil serves as the final stage in the treatment procedure. It performs the function of a biological filter. The soil contains microorganisms and bacteria that decompose the majority of the pollutants in wastewater before they reach the groundwater.
Septic Tank Maintenance from BiOWiSH TM will help you maintain a healthy septic system that doesn’t back up and cause flooding.
Sludge and scum are broken down, which allows wastewater to flow more freely and prevents backups from occurring.
The best part is that it is simple to use, and a single application is valid for three months.
Start taking care of your septic system right now.