Some live in the tank, but most do their work in the drain field.
- All waste flows to the septic tank.
- Watery waste, called “effluent,” fills most of the tank.
- A layer of sludge falls to the bottom.
- A layer of scum floats to the top.
- A filter prevents most solids from entering the outlet pipe.
- Septic tank collects sewage and treats it by bacterial decomposition and is generally located underground. For a better septic system, a good septic tank is important which depends on the type of material used for its construction.
Which type of septic tank is best?
The best choice is a precast concrete septic tank. Precast septic tanks hold many advantages over plastic, steel, or fiberglass tanks. This is why so many cities and towns actually require the use of concrete septic tanks.
How do you build a healthy septic system?
How to Keep Your Septic System Healthy
- How the Septic System Works.
- Don’t Overload the Septic Tank and Drain field.
- Use an Efficient Toilet.
- Don’t Treat the Toilet as a Garbage Disposal.
- Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain.
- Divert Rain Water From the Septic Drain Field.
- Keep Trees Away from the Septic System.
Which is an important component of a septic tank system?
A septic tank is usually provided with brick wall in which cement mortar [not less than 20cm (9 inch)] thick and the foundation floor is of cement concrete 1:2:4. Both inside and outside faces of the wall and top of the floor are plastered with minimum thickness of 12mm (one-half inch) thick cement mortar 1:3 mix.
What is the longest lasting septic system?
Concrete septic tanks have the longest lifespan out of any septic tank material. While they are more expensive and sometimes difficult to install, it is for a good reason. A properly designed and installed concrete septic tank can last for anywhere from 40 years and beyond.
How often does a 1000 gallon septic tank need to be pumped?
For example, a 1,000 gallon septic tank, which is used by two people, should be pumped every 5.9 years. If there are eight people using a 1,000-gallon septic tank, it should be pumped every year.
Which septic tank is better concrete or plastic?
Cement Septic tanks are very durable than plastic tanks and, if kept properly, can have extended longevity. With regular draining and proper maintenance, a cement septic tank can last for up to 40 years. Cement septic tanks are resistant to environmental changes such as tree roots or changing soil conditions.
How do I increase bacteria in my septic tank?
Flush a packet of brewer’s dry yeast down one toilet on the bottom floor of your house once a month. The yeast will help add “good” bacteria to your septic tank and break down waste.
How can I increase bacteria in my septic tank naturally?
Homemade Septic Tank Treatment The ingredients required for this natural solution are the following: Water, Sugar, Cornmeal, and Dry Yeast. To concoct this mixture, first start by boiling roughly a half gallon of water. Add in 2 cups of sugar. The sugar will act as the first food your bacteria will eat!
Are long showers bad for septic systems?
Washing frequent, small loads of laundry or taking exceptionally long showers every day is all it takes to overload your septic system with too much water. The primary treatment tank needs time to break up solids before partly-treated water can enter the drain field.
What should be the size of septic tank?
Length of septic tank (L) should be taken as 9feet 9 inches or 9.75 feet. Breadth of septic tank (B) should be taken as 6 feet 3 inches or 6.25 feet. The standard height (D) of septic tank should be taken as 5 feet 9 inches or 5.75 feet.
What should be the depth of septic tank?
Septic tank shall have minimum width of 750 mm, minimum depth of one metre below water level and a minimum liquid capacity of 1 000 litres.
What is the size of septic tank for 25 users?
Septic tank size for 25 users:- For 25 users, minimum/ standard size of septic tank could be 3.6m × 1.4m × 1.3m (12ft × 4.5ft × 4.25ft) in respect to their Length, breadth and depth.
What is the average life of a septic system?
Age of the System It’s pretty common for a septic system to last 40 years or longer, which means if you buy a new home, you might never need to replace it. However, you might have an older home whose septic system has been in place for nearly half a century.
How often should a septic tank be replaced?
Typical lifespan is in excess of 30 years for GRP, PE and concrete tanks. Assuming optimal conditions of install and use, you could expect the following: Steel septic tanks have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years.
How do you know if your septic field is failing?
The first signs of a failing septic system may include slow draining toilets and sinks, gurgling noises within the plumbing, sewage odors inside, continuing drainage backups, or bacteria in the well water. The area of the strongest odor will point to the location of the failure in the septic system.
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
Types of Septic Systems
Septic system design and size can differ significantly from one neighborhood to the next, as well as throughout the country, due to a variety of variables. Household size, soil type, slope of the site, lot size, closeness to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, and even municipal ordinances are all considerations to take into consideration. The following are 10 of the most often encountered septic system configurations. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list; there are several additional types of septic systems.
- Septic Tank, Conventional System, Chamber System, Drip Distribution System, Aerobic Treatment Unit, Mound Systems, Recirculating Sand Filter System, Evapotranspiration System, Constructed Wetland System, Cluster / Community System, etc.
This tank is underground and waterproof, and it was designed and built specifically for receiving and partially treating raw home sanitary wastewater. Generally speaking, heavy materials settle at or near the bottom of the tank, whereas greases and lighter solids float to the surface. The sediments are retained in the tank, while the wastewater is sent to the drainfield for further treatment and dispersion once it has been treated.
Septic tanks and trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common type of system. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of water drainage. The term is derived from the process of constructing the drainfield. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration, which is commonly used.
Effluent filters through the stone and is further cleaned by microorganisms once it reaches the soil below the gravel/stone trench, which is located below the trench.
In terms of total footprint, gravel and stone systems are very substantial, and therefore may not be appropriate for all residential sites or situations.
Gravelless drainfields have been regularly utilized in various states for more than 30 years and have evolved into a standard technology that has mostly replaced gravel systems. Various configurations are possible, including open-bottom chambers, pipe that has been clothed, and synthetic materials such as expanded polystyrene media. Gravelless systems can be constructed entirely of recycled materials, resulting in considerable reductions in carbon dioxide emissions during their lifetime. The chamber system is a type of gravelless system that can be used as an example.
- The key advantage of the chamber system is the enhanced simplicity with which it can be delivered and built.
- This sort of system is made up of a number of chambers that are connected to one another.
- Wastewater is transported from the septic tank to the chambers through pipes.
- The wastewater is treated by microbes that live on or near the soil.
Drip Distribution System
An effluent dispersal system such as the drip distribution system may be employed in a variety of drainfield configurations and is very versatile. In comparison to other distribution systems, the drip distribution system does not require a vast mound of dirt because the drip laterals are only placed into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. In addition to requiring a big dosage tank after the sewage treatment plant to handle scheduled dose delivery of wastewater to drip absorption areas, the drip distribution system has one major disadvantage: it is more expensive.
Aerobic Treatment Unit
Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) are small-scale wastewater treatment facilities that employ many of the same procedures as a municipal sewage plant. An aerobic system adds oxygen to the treatment tank using a pump. When there is an increase in oxygen in the system, there is an increase in natural bacterial activity, which then offers extra treatment for nutrients in the effluent. It is possible that certain aerobic systems may additionally include a pretreatment tank as well as a final treatment tank that will include disinfection in order to further lower pathogen levels.
ATUs should be maintained on a regular basis during their service life.
Using mound systems in regions with short soil depth, high groundwater levels, or shallow bedrock might be a good alternative. A drainfield trench has been dug through the sand mound that was erected. The effluent from the septic tank runs into a pump chamber, where it is pumped to the mound in the amounts recommended. During its release to the trench, the effluent filters through the sand and is dispersed into the native soil, where it continues to be treated. However, while mound systems can be an effective solution for some soil conditions, they demand a significant amount of land and require regular care.
Recirculating Sand Filter System
Sand filter systems can be built either above or below ground, depending on the use. The effluent is discharged from the septic tank into a pump compartment. Afterwards, it is pushed into the sand filter. The sand filter is often made of PVC or a concrete box that is filled with a sand-like substance. The effluent is pushed through the pipes at the top of the filter under low pressure to the drain. As the effluent exits the pipelines, it is treated as it passes through the sand filtering system.
However, sand filters are more costly than a standard septic system because they provide a higher level of nutrient treatment and are thus better suited for areas with high water tables or that are adjacent to bodies of water.
Evaporative cooling systems feature drainfields that are one-of-a-kind. It is necessary to line the drainfield at the base of the evapotranspiration system with a waterproof material. Following the entry of the effluent into the drainfield, it evaporates into the atmosphere. At the same time, the sewage never filters into the soil and never enters groundwater, unlike other septic system designs. It is only in particular climatic circumstances that evapotranspiration systems are effective. The environment must be desert, with plenty of heat and sunshine, and no precipitation.
Constructed Wetland System
Construction of a manufactured wetland is intended to simulate the treatment processes that occur in natural wetland areas. Wastewater goes from the septic tank and into the wetland cell, where it is treated. Afterwards, the wastewater goes into the media, where it is cleaned by microorganisms, plants, and other media that eliminate pathogens and nutrients. Typically, a wetland cell is constructed with an impermeable liner, gravel and sand fill, and the necessary wetland plants, all of which must be capable of withstanding the constant saturation of the surrounding environment.
The operation of a wetland system can be accomplished by either gravity flow or pressure distribution. As wastewater travels through the wetland, it may escape the wetland and flow onto a drainfield, where it will undergo more wastewater treatment before being absorbed into the soil by bacteria.
Cluster / Community System
In certain cases, a decentralized wastewater treatment system is owned by a group of people and is responsible for collecting wastewater from two or more residences or buildings and transporting it to a treatment and dispersal system placed on a suitable location near the dwellings or buildings. Cluster systems are widespread in settings like rural subdivisions, where they may be found in large numbers.
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 decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.
- A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
- Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
- Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
- (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
- The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
- Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
When gravel is used to surround pipes, water can run into the soil and oxygen can reach germs. The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt. 9. Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system
Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.
- Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.
Get your tank pumped…
Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.
…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it
Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.
Install an effluent filter in your septic system
Inspections and pumping should be performed on an ongoing basis. The Sludge Judge is a device that allows you to examine the level of sludge in your own home if you are not afraid of heights. There are several internet retailers who sell it for $100 to $125. In the event that you discover that your tank is one-third full of sludge, contact a contractor to come pump it out for you.
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
This device prevents lint from entering the system, particularly synthetic fibers, which bacteria are unable to digest and hence cause infection. Septic Protector is the name I gave to one of these filters that I designed myself. An additional filter is included in the price of roughly $150 plus delivery. See this article for further information on how to filter out lint from your clothes.
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.
The 5 Biggest Questions Home Buyers Have About Septic Systems
As a result of its ability to supply filtered water to depleted aquifers, Jim vonMeier believes that septic systems are the solution to America’s water deficit. As an advocate for septic systems around the country, he speaks at conferences, gives lectures, and appears in court. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him through email or letter.
1. How do septic systems work?
Water that has been filtered by a septic system is called effluent. There are several components, including a big septic tank, distribution box, baffles, and a drainfield, all of which are buried below ground. Septic fields and leach fields are other names for the drainfield, which is a network of perforated pipes that extends out from the septic tank and allows filtered wastewater to be released back into the environment through the soil. The wastewater from your home, including that from toilets, sinks, showers, and appliances, is channeled out of the house and into the tank through the pipes.
The accumulation of particles over time offers a luxury home for helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the materials and release the grease, oil, and fats that have accumulated on the surface (the scum).
The residual wastewater (also known as effluent) runs via outlet pipes into a disposal bed or drainfield, where it is slowly and securely filtered by the earth, allowing it to be recycled.
2. What are common misconceptions about septic systems?
A lot of people have misconceptions (and even falsehoods) regarding septic systems, and this may make it difficult to decide whether or not to purchase a property that has one.
Take a moment to put some popular myths and misconceptions in their proper perspective.
- A septic system is no longer used by most people. Actually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), around 20% of homes are equipped with a septic system, or one in every five dwellings. Septic systems fail on a regular basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a septic system may survive up to 40 years—and possibly even longer—with proper maintenance. Septic systems have a foul odor. It is unlikely that an improperly managed septic system will release any unpleasant smells. An odor emanating from drains or the septic system itself indicates that there is a problem. A septic system has the potential to pollute a well. Installed correctly and maintained on a regular basis, a system will not cause contamination of a well on the property. To guarantee proper separation of drinking water and wastewater, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the system be installed at least 50 feet away from a well. The septic system will be examined during a house inspection. A house inspection is often focused on the systems within the home, and as a result, it seldom includes more than a cursory examination of the septic system. Look for a professional that understands the workings of a septic system and how to do a comprehensive inspection in order to obtain a complete picture.
3. How do you maintain a septic system?
Septic systems are almost completely obsolete. Actually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), around 20% of homes are equipped with a septic system, or one out of every five dwellings in the country. Sewage treatment plants frequently fail. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a septic system may survive up to 40 years—and possibly even longer—with proper care. Wastewater treatment systems are unpleasant to the smell of. It is unlikely that an improperly managed septic system will release any offensive smells.
Installed correctly and maintained on a regular basis, a system will not cause contamination of a well on the premises.
In addition to the house, a septic system will be inspected.
A specialist who understands how a septic system operates and how to completely check it should be sought to obtain a comprehensive picture.
- Take cautious with the information you submit over the system. Pouring anything down the toilet should be avoided at all costs. This includes things like paint and chemicals, kitty litter, coffee grinds, disposable wipes, diapers, and feminine products. These are all potential clog-makers in the septic system. It is best not to use any additives in the system. Additives may be classified into two categories, according to the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, which are chemical and biological. Despite the fact that these solutions are touted to accomplish anything from speed solids breakdown to enhance the condition of the drainfield, they typically cause havoc on the bacteria that are intended to keep the system running smoothly. Keep vehicles away from drainfields and never park or drive over them, since this might cause damage to the pipes. When planting shrubs or trees near a drainfield, use caution to avoid damaging the plants. The roots of some water-loving plants, such as weeping willows, can find their way into the drainfield, outlet pipes, or even the septic tank system itself. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, a fair rule of thumb is: if a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
- If a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
- Get your septic tank pumped out by a professional septic provider on average every two or three years. An further visual inspection of the component is often performed at the same time by a qualified specialist
- Call a specialist as soon as you see any signs of impending failure (as indicated below)! The sooner you contact, the less expensive a repair may be
Image courtesy of istockphoto.com
4. How do you find the best septic system inspector?
Featured image from istockphoto.com
5. What are the signs that a septic system needs to be replaced?
It is critical to notice the warning symptoms of impending failure before they manifest themselves. For the most part, failure of a septic system goes unnoticed at first. Keeping an eye out for warning indicators will help you arrange a replacement before something goes wrong.
- Gurgling noises coming from outside sewers
- Interior drains in bathtubs and sinks that are slow to drain
- Odors emanate from the sewage treatment plant, drainfield or inside drains of the house. There are wet places visible over the drainfield. Water is backing up into the home from the sewer line. Toilets are flushing more slowly
- This is a problem. A sudden and dramatic increase in the amount of lush and full vegetation over the drainfield might indicate a probable obstruction or break in the exit pipes outside.
Image courtesy of istockphoto.com
Septic systems, which are used in around 20% of homes in the United States, are designed to remove effluent from a residence. While septic systems may need a bit more maintenance than utilizing a public sewage system, they are not nearly as difficult to maintain as their reputation would have you believe. A well-maintained septic system may survive up to 40 years if it is inspected on a regular basis and kept on the lookout for indicators of potential problems. It is critical for homebuyers contemplating a property with a septic system to have the system inspected by a professional before making an offer.
FAQs About Septic Tanks and Septic Systems
When it comes to septic systems, there is a lot to understand. Even after reviewing the information provided above, you may still have concerns regarding how septic systems operate and how to properly manage them. Answers to some frequently asked questions concerning septic systems are provided here.
Q: How does a septic tank work?
When sewage is discharged into a septic tank, the solid stuff descends to the bottom, where it is colonized by helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the solids and liberate the lipids contained within them.
The byproducts rise to the surface of the tank and are separated by a series of baffles.
Q: What are the three types of septic systems?
Traditional septic systems are classified into three types: chamber septic systems, drip distribution systems, and septic systems with chambers. In most cases, conventional systems are employed in residential buildings. Typically, a chamber system is used in high water table settings due to the fact that it is comprised of a succession of closed compartments. Drip systems are often less difficult to install, but they require more upkeep.
Q: How many years does a septic system last on average?
A traditional septic system, a chamber system, and a drip distribution system are three different types of septic systems. Homes are usually equipped with conventional systems. Typically, a chamber system is used in high water table locations due to the fact that it is made up of a succession of closed compartments. The installation of drip systems is typically less difficult; nevertheless, they require more upkeep.
Q: What is the alternative to a septic tank?
An aerobic treatment system, composting waste, and a drip system are all options for replacing a septic tank in a residential setting.
Q: What chemicals are bad for a septic tank?
The use of chemicals such as oil-based paint, paint thinners, lubricants, gasoline, weed killers, foaming cleansers, and chlorine-based cleaners can cause damage to your septic tank. They have the potential to pollute the surrounding environment as well as destroy the bacteria that are necessary for waste breakdown inside the septic tank, making it difficult or impossible for matter to degrade. Septic systems are well-understood by professionals. Link up with reputable professionals in your region and obtain free, no-obligation quotations for your project.+
The 6 Septic Systems You Must Know — Build With a Bang
Unacquainted with the many types of septic systems available? If this is the case, you are not alone. Unless your property is directly linked to the sewer system, you most certainly have a septic system in place. Sewage treatment on site is accomplished by the use of natural processes in a septic system, which is a linked system of components residing under ground. Typically, a septic system is located in the yard of a homeowner. The most typical location for septic systems is in rural locations, where there is no access to a centralized town or city waste treatment facility or sewage treatment system.
Why Concrete Septic Tanks May Be Your Best Option
First and foremost, the septic system collects and dumps the waste generated by the home in the septic tank. The septic tank then separates and pre-treats the solid waste and oils from the wastewater before releasing them into the environment. Following that, most systems direct liquid wastewater from the septic tank onto a distribution network of porous pipes that branch out from the residence and septic tank and gradually discharge the wastewater into the soil. Some septic systems, rather than just discharging wastewater into the soil, employ pumps, disinfection products, an evaporation mechanism, or simply rely on gravity to funnel wastewater through sand or other organic material before releasing the effluent into the soil.
- The total square feet of drain field area required is determined by the number of bedrooms in the house and the soil type (arid or saturated), among other factors.
- Septic tanks are intended to serve as the initial stop in the wastewater treatment process, and they are constructed to do so.
- The sediments remain in the tank, while the wastewater is sent to the drain field for further treatment and dispersal when it has been treated.
- Concrete, plastic (polyethylene), and fiberglass are the three most common materials used in construction.
- Drain fields are plots of land that have been particularly engineered to assist in the filtering and removal of pollutants from wastewater.
Perforated pipes, which are buried within the trenches, are used to disseminate the wastewater from the home in a methodical manner. A standard septic system is comprised of a septic drain field, its associated pipe system, and a septic tank.
The majority of traditional septic systems are situated in single-family residences or small commercial establishments. A high number of individuals in a single area is not often served by traditional systems, which are not normally designed for this purpose. A typical system consists of the following components: Sewage treatment system (Septic tank) An underground wastewater infiltration system or a gravel-filled drain field can both be used to collect wastewater. Protects the clean drain field from additional possible impurities with a strong geofabric covering.
The wastewater (also known as effluent) is routed from the septic tank to the drain field in this location.
As soon as the wastewater passes through the clean drain field, it flows into the soil where it is continuously cleaned by naturally existing bacteria as it gently trickles its way through the soil layer and into groundwater.
The disadvantage is that it is difficult to install in homes with small lots.
Septic systems used in single-family homes and small businesses account for the vast majority of all installations in the United States. A high number of individuals in a single area is not often served by traditional systems, which are not normally constructed to do so. The following are the components of a typical system. Drainage system sewage system sewage disposal system For example, a gravel-filled drain field or an underground wastewater infiltration system A strong geofabric layer that protects the clean drain field from additional possible pollutants is essential.
Water (or effluent) is routed from the septic tank to the drain field in this location.
Once the wastewater has been filtered via the clean drain field, it continues to flow further into the soil, where it is constantly cleaned by naturally existing bacteria as it gently trickles its way through the soil layer and toward the groundwater supply.
Inconvenient to install in tiny lots such as those found in urban areas.
Aerobic Treatment System
Aeration of wastewater in a septic treatment tank is accomplished by the use of aerobic treatment equipment. The infused oxygen in the wastewater aids in the addition of nutrients to the wastewater as well as the efficient start of the treatment process itself. Aerobic systems are available with tanks that may be used for both pretreatment and final treatment, as well as systems with two distinct tanks for pretreatment and final treatment, among other options. The ultimate objective is to treat and disinfect in a safe and efficient manner, without causing harm.
Advantage: This is particularly useful in locations with high water tables or in areas where there is insufficient land to construct a good drain field. The disadvantage of using an aerobic system is that, like the drip distribution system, it requires regular maintenance.
Drip Distribution System
It is not necessary to install a standard gravel-based drain field since the Drip Distribution system makes use of an underground snaking system of distribution pipes that are installed near the surface of the soil. Pipe laterals for the drip distribution system are buried in shallow ground soil, generally 6 to 12 inches below the surface of the ground. Because it eliminates the requirement for a standard drain field, this technique reduces the amount of digging required and makes it easier to reach plumbing within the drain field.
A second tank, referred to as a dosage tank, is required to take wastewater after it has passed through the septic tank in order to handle this technique.
However, in order for this to happen, the dosage tank must be connected to power.
Sand Filter System
Sand filter systems allow waste water to travel from a septic tank to a pump chamber, and then from the pump chamber to the sand filtering system. Sand filter systems are used in conjunction with septic tanks. The sand filtration system is essentially a big concrete box that is filled with sand to filter out contaminants. Following a leisurely pumping operation to the top of the box, the waste water is filtered through the sand, which treats the water prior to its discharge into the soil absorption region (see illustration).
Cons: Frequent maintenance is required.
In contrast to conventional septic systems, the Evapotranspiration System’s drain field is housed in a closed, waterproof field that is covered with layers of gravel and sand to keep out the elements. Once the wastewater has passed through the septic tank and into the waterproof drain field, it begins to evaporate slowly. It is important to note that, unlike other septic systems, the effluent never filters into the soil. When compared to the alternatives, the ease of installation, maintenance, and use is superior.
Benefits: The ease of use is excellent, and the difficulty of installation and maintenance is minimal.
The mound system consists of the construction of a big sand mound that serves as a drain field. A controlled flow of wastewater is maintained throughout its journey from the septic tank to a chamber where it is pushed through to the mound. After flowing through a mound trench and percolating through the sand, the wastewater eventually trickles into the ground. Among those who live in rural locations where there is a lot of land but little absorbent soil, the mound system is a popular alternative.
Cons: It takes up a lot of room and requires a lot of upkeep.
In any case, count on having your septic tank examined once per year and pumping it at least once every six months, regardless of the system you have in place. Solid waste matter can block the pump and cause damage to the drain field if it is not pumped on a regular basis.
Garbage Disposal With Septic
Unless you reside in a septic-equipped home, it is better not to have a trash disposal. The increased volume of solid waste material will necessitate more frequent septic tank pumping and may erode the drain field, resulting in sewage back-ups in the future. Those who live in homes with septic systems may find that they must be extra cautious about what they flush down the toilet. Certain common home objects, when flushed down a toilet connected to a septic system, can create clogs, backups, and even damage to the system, resulting in not only discomfort and aggravation, but also a significant financial burden.
Chemicals may cause significant damage to and contamination of surface and groundwater, which can result in disease or even death in animals and people who consume the water.
Pesticides Oils Chemicals used in photography
Septic System Guide: How It Works and How to Maintain It
As soon as you flush the toilet in most metropolitan locations, the waste is pumped out to the nearest sewage treatment facility. Garbage is processed at this factory, which separates it into two types of waste: water that is clean enough to be dumped into a river and solids known as residual waste. The remaining material is either disposed of in landfill or utilized as fertilizer. Septic systems, which are used in places where there aren’t any sewage treatment plants, provide a similar function, but on a much smaller scale.
What are Septic Tanks and How Do They Work?
As soon as you flush the toilet in most metropolitan areas, the waste is pumped out to the nearest sewage treatment facility. In that facility, the waste is treated and separated into water that is clean enough to be released into a river and solids known as residual waste, which are then recycled. A landfill or fertilizer facility disposes of any remaining garbage. If there aren’t any sewage treatment plants in a given location, septic systems can provide much of the same function on a smaller scale.
Septic Fields Distribute Liquid Effluent
When you flush the toilet in most metropolitan locations, the waste is pumped out to a sewage treatment plant. In that facility, the waste is treated and separated into water that is clean enough to be released into a river and solids known as residual waste. The remaining material is either disposed of or utilized as fertilizer.
Septic systems, which are used in places where there are no sewage treatment plants, provide a similar function, but on a much smaller scale. Water from the home drains into an underground septic tank, which is typically 20 to 50 feet distant from the house, where it begins the treatment process.
Septic Systems Rely on Gravity, Most of the Time
When you flush the toilet in most metropolitan areas, the waste is pumped out to a sewage treatment plant. That facility processes and separates the trash into two types of garbage: water that is clean enough to be released into a river and solids known as residual waste. The remaining material is either disposed of or utilized as fertilizer. In locations where there are no sewage treatment plants, septic systems perform a similar function, but on a much smaller scale. Wastewater exits the home and pours into an underground septic tank, which is typically 20 to 50 feet distant from the house, kicking off the treatment process.
How to Treat Your Septic System
It is not necessary to do much to keep your septic system in good working order, other than cut the grass above it and keep the drainage area free of trees and plants with roots that may block it.
How Often Do You Need to Pump A Septic Tank?
You should have a septic provider pump out the particles from your tank every two years, at the absolute least. A manhole at the surface of the tank will provide the pump operator access, but older systems may necessitate digging a hole in the tank’s top so the pumping hatch can be exposed. Unless the tank is continuously pumped, sediments will build up in it and ultimately make their way into the leach field, clogging it. You’ll know it’s occurring because untreated effluent will rise to the surface of the tank and back up into the home, causing it to overflow.
Pumping the tank on a regular basis can ensure that the leach fields continue to work eternally.
What to Do if Your Septic System Fails
Solids should be pumped from the tank around every two years, according to a septic service company. A manhole at the surface of the tank will provide the pump operator access, but older systems may necessitate digging a hole in the tank’s top so the pumping hatch can be revealed. If you don’t get it pumped on a regular basis, the tank will fill with solids, which will ultimately make their way into the leach field and clog it. The untreated effluent will rise to the surface of the tank and back up into your home, which will alert you that this is taking place.
It is possible to maintain leach fields operational indefinitely by regularly pumping the tank.
- The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s Septic Locator
- The National Association of Wastewater Technicians
- And the National Association of Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association
It is rare for a homeowner to have to worry about their septic system because it is well-maintained and doesn’t cause problems. Simple maintenance, such as keeping the tank pumped and the lawn trimmed, should result in decades of trouble-free service. What kind of protection do you have in place for your home’s systems and appliances against unforeseen maintenance needs? If this is the case, you might consider purchasing a house warranty.
- Home Warranty Coverage for Roof Leaks
- Septic Warranty Coverage and Costs
- And more. Plans for protecting your mobile home’s warranty
- What Is Home Repair Insurance and How Does It Work? How to Find the Most Reasonably Priced Home Appliance Insurance
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.
- Septic Inspection and Pumping Guide
- Inspecting Your Septic Tank
- Septic Inspection and Pumping Guide
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:
- Indoor Water Conservation
- Every gallon of water conserved equates to a savings of $1.00.
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.