What happens to the waste in a septic tank?
- They do not need oxygen and, as they act on the sewage, they convert it into liquid and gas. Most of the solid waste particles are broken down by the bacteria, leaving a small percentage that remain at the bottom of the tank as a sludge. The gas produced rises to the top of the water leaving a thick crusty scum that collects on the surface.
What are the two most likely reasons a septic tank disposal system may fail?
These are the four primary reasons why septic tanks fail, and how you can avoid them.
- Lack of Maintenance. Your septic system works by transferring all the wastewater you produce into the septic tank.
- Excessive Water Use. The main disadvantage of septic tanks are their limited capacity.
- Improper Installation.
What is the most common cause of septic system failure?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
Should both sides of septic tank be pumped?
Have your pumper pump both compartments of the septic tank. These are commonly called the “inlet” and “oulet” sides of the tank. While the inlet is absolutely necessary, the oulet is also good to have pumped.
What is a secondary septic system?
‘Secondary Treatment’ septic systems like Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems (AWTS) and sand filter septic systems treat the wastewater from your home to a much higher quality, before the water can be dispersed to your land and used to water your gardens and lawns.
What are the signs that your septic system 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.
How do you know if your leach field is failing?
The following are a few common signs of leach field failure: Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard. The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water. Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.
Is Ridex good for your septic system?
How additives, like Rid-x, interfere with your septic system’s eco-system. According to the EPA and the Ohio Department of Health, not only are additives like Rid-X not recommended, but they actually have a detrimental and potentially hazardous effect on your septic system’s waste treatment process.
What is the average lifespan 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 do you tell if your septic tank is full?
How to tell your septic tank is full and needs emptying
- Pooling water.
- Slow drains.
- An overly healthy lawn.
- Sewer backup.
- Gurgling Pipes.
- Trouble Flushing.
Why do septic tanks have two compartments?
If you are installing a new system or upgrading an existing one with a new tank, a two-compartment tank offers several advantages. The vertical wall positioned about two-thirds from the tank inlet helps trap solids more effectively and offers better protection of the drainfield.
Why does my septic tank fill up so fast?
If your tank seems to be filling up much more quickly, it could indicate a problem with one of its components, or it could be a sign that your tank is taking on more liquids than it can handle. Call a local professional if your tank is needing more septic pumping than usual.
Can you pump your septic tank too often?
If your septic tank is pumped too often, that bacteria will have no place to go but out into the drain field, which can lead to clogs and failures. So unless your septic tank’s sludge and scum levels reach certain thresholds, it’s actually beneficial to leave the septic tank alone.
What does secondary treatment remove?
The secondary stage of treatment removes about 85 percent of the organic matter in sewage by making use of the bacteria in it. The principal secondary treatment techniques used in secondary treatment are the trickling filter and the activated sludge process.
What is a secondary treatment system?
A Secondary Treatment System (STS) is a type of SMF which treats raw sewage from a single household to a high standard. STS use a secondary treatment process to produce a final effluent suitable for dispersal or utilisation on- site.
A Beginner’s Guide to Septic Systems
- Septic systems are used to dispose of waste from homes and buildings. Identifying the location of the septic tank and drainfield
- What a Septic System Is and How It Works Keeping a Septic System in Good Condition
- Signs that a septic system is failing include:
Septic systems, also known as on-site wastewater management systems, are installed in a large number of buildings and houses. It is easy to lose sight of septic systems, which operate quietly, gracefully, and efficiently to protect human and environmental health due to their burying location. Septic systems are the norm in rural regions, but they may also be found in a lot of metropolitan places, especially in older buildings. It is critical to understand whether or not your building is on a septic system.
Is Your Home or Building on a Septic System?
It is possible that the solution to this question will not be evident. If a structure looks to be connected to a sewage system, it may instead be connected to a septic system. It is fairly unusual for tenants to be unaware of the final destination of the wastewater generated by their residence. Some of the hints or signs listed below will assist in determining whether the facility is served by a septic system or whether it is supplied by a sewer system:
- Sewer service will be provided at a cost by the city or municipality. Pay close attention to the water bill to see whether there is a cost labeled “sewer” or “sewer charge” on it. If there is a fee for this service, it is most likely because the facility is connected to a sewage system. Look up and down the street for sewage access ports or manholes, which can be found in any location. If a sewage system runs in front of a property, it is probable that the house is connected to it in some way. Inquire with your neighbors to see if they are connected to a sewer or septic system. The likelihood that your home is on a sewer system is increased if the properties on each side of you are on one as well. Keep in mind, however, that even if a sewage line runs in front of the structure and the nearby residences are connected to a sewer system, your home or building may not be connected to one. If the structure is older than the sewer system, it is possible that it is still on the original septic system. Consult with your local health agency for further information. This agency conducts final inspections of septic systems to ensure that they comply with applicable laws and regulations. There is a possibility that they have an archived record and/or a map of the system and will supply this information upon request
All property owners should be aware of whether or not their property is equipped with an on-site wastewater treatment system. Georgia law mandates that the property owner is responsible for the correct operation of a septic system, as well as any necessary maintenance and repairs.
Locating the Septic Tank and Drainfield
The presence or absence of an on-site wastewater treatment facility should be known by all property owners. In Georgia, the property owner is responsible for the correct operation of the septic system, as well as for any necessary maintenance and repairs to be performed.
How a Septic System Works
Typical sewage treatment system (figure 1). It is composed of three components (Figure 1): the tank, the drain lines or discharge lines, and the soil treatment area (also known as the soil treatment area) (sometimes called a drainfield or leach field). The size of the tank varies according to the size of the structure. The normal home (three bedrooms, two bathrooms) will often include a 1,000-gallon water storage tank on the premises. Older tanks may only have one chamber, however newer tanks must have two chambers.
- The tank functions by settling waste and allowing it to be digested by microbes.
- These layers include the bottom sludge layer, the top scum layer, and a “clear” zone in the center.
- A typical septic tank is seen in Figure 2.
- It is fortunate that many of the bacteria involved are found in high concentrations in the human gastrointestinal tract.
- Although the bacteria may break down some of the stuff in the sludge, they are unable to break down all of it, which is why septic tanks must be cleaned out every three to seven years.
- In addition, when new water is introduced into the septic tank, an equal volume of water is pushed out the discharge lines and onto the drainfield.
- The water trickles out of the perforated drain pipes, down through a layer of gravel, and into the soil below the surface (Figure 3).
- A typical drainfield may be found here.
- Plants, bacteria, fungus, protozoa, and other microorganisms, as well as bigger critters such as mites, earthworms, and insects, flourish in soil.
Mineralogical and metallic elements attach to soil particles, allowing them to be removed from the waste water. The cleaned water finally finds its way into the groundwater system.
Maintaining a Septic System
The most typical reason for a septic system to fail is a lack of proper maintenance. Septic systems that are failing are expensive to repair or replace, and the expense of repairs rests on the shoulders of the property owner (Figure 4). Fortunately, keeping your septic system in good working order and avoiding costly repairs is rather simple. Figure 4. Septic system failure is frequently caused by a lack of proper maintenance. It is in your best interests to be aware of the location of the system, how it operates, and how to maintain it.
- You should pump the tank if you aren’t sure when the last time it was pumped.
- It is not permissible to drive or park over the tank or drainage field.
- No rubbish should be disposed of in the sink or the toilet.
- It’s important to remember that garbage disposals enhance the requirement for regular pumping.
- When designing a landscape, keep the septic system in mind.
- It is also not recommended to consume veggies that have been cultivated above drainfield lines (see Dorn, S.
- Ornamental Plantings on Septic Drainfields.
Any water that enters your home through a drain or toilet eventually ends up in your septic system.
Don’t put too much strain on the system by consuming a large amount of water in a short period of time.
Additives should not be used.
Various types of additives are available for purchase as treatment options, cleansers, restorers, rejuvenator and boosters, among other things.
To break up oil and grease and unclog drains, chemical additives are available for purchase.
Pumping out the septic tank is not eliminated or reduced by using one of these systems.
They remain floating in the water and travel into the drainfield, where they may block the pipes. Acids have the potential to damage concrete storage tanks and distribution boxes.
Signs a Septic System is Failing
A failed system manifests itself in the following ways:
- Sinks and toilets drain at a snail’s pace
- Plumbing that is backed up
- The sound of gurgling emanating from the plumbing system House or yard aromas that smell like sewage
- In the yard, there is wet or squishy dirt
- Water that is gray in hue that has accumulated
- An region of the yard where the grass is growing more quickly and is becoming greener
- Water contaminated by bacteria from a well
If you notice any of these indicators, you should notify your local health department immediately. An environmentalist from the health department can assist in identifying possible hazards. There are also listings of state-certified contractors available from the local health department, who may do repairs. Repairs or alterations to the system must be approved by the health department and examined by an inspector. Keep an eye out for any meetings that may take place between a health department inspector and a contractor to discuss repairs to your system.
- Household garbage that has not been properly handled is released into the environment when systems fail.
- It has the potential to pollute surrounding wells, groundwater, streams, and other sources of potable water, among other things.
- The foul odor emanating from a malfunctioning system can cause property values to plummet.
- Briefly stated, broken systems can have an impact on your family, neighbors, community, and the environment.
- Septic systems are an effective, attractive, and reasonably priced method of treating and disposing of wastewater.
Figures 2 and 3 reprinted with permission from: CIDWT. 2009. Installation of Wastewater Treatment Systems. Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment. Iowa State University, Midwest Plan Service. Ames, IA.
History of the current status and revisions Published on the 15th of August, 2013. Published on March 28th, 2017 with a full review.
31st of May, 2019 Eawag is the author and compiler of this work (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) Dorothee Spuhler is a well-known author (seecon international gmbh)
An underground chamber built of brick, concrete, fiberglass, PVC, or plastic, into which blackwater from cistern or pour-flush toilets and greywater from a conduit running from within a structure or an outdoor toilet is sent for initial treatment, is known as a septic tank. Solids and organics are reduced through settling and anaerobic processes, although the treatment is only modest in effectiveness. Effluent is either absorbed into the ground or carried to a (semi-)centralised treatment facility through a sewer system.
- Advantages Can be constructed and restored using materials that are readily available in the area.
- Technology that is simple and reliable There is no requirement for electrical energy.
- Operational costs are low.
- Low decrease in pathogens, solids, and organics is necessary to transport the waste to the treatment unit.
- This material is only appropriate for low-density dwellings in places with a low water table that are not prone to floods.
Manual cleaning of the tank is a dangerous and cruel work, whereas mechanical cleaning (vacuum trucks) necessitates the use of advanced tools and equipment. Effluent and sludge require additional treatment and/or disposal in a suitable manner.
|Blackwater,Brownwater,Greywater||Blackwater (settled, Effluent), Faecal Sludge, (Biogas)|
The Body of the Factsheet Among small-scale decentralised treatment units for grey water and blackwater from cistern or pour-flush toilets, the most commonly seen is the septic tank. It functions primarily as a sedimentation tank. It can be either rectangular or cylindrical in form. Septic tanks are often used for wastewater with a high concentration of settleable particles, such as effluent from home sources, but they can also be used for other types of wastewater with comparable characteristics (SASSE 1998).
- Anaerobic degradation occurs as a result of the accumulation of sediments at the bottom of the tank over time.
- The effluent from the septic tank must be distributed by means of aSoak Pit, an evapo-transpiration mound, or a Leach Field, or it must be conveyed to another treatment technology by means of aSolids-Free Sewer, a simplified sewer, or a solids-free sewer system.
- In order to dispose of or reuse sludge safely, it must be emptied on a regular basis (see also human-poweredemptying and motorizedemptying).
- It is possible to use sewage sludge in agriculture as a good nutrient-rich soil additive if it has been dried or composted (see alsopplication of pit humus and compostorapplication of sludge).
- Generally, when septic tanks are utilized as the primary settling treatment in DEWATS systems, they are followed by anaerobic filters, anaerobic baffled reactors (ABRs), horizontal, surface flow, or vertical flow built wetlands (planted gravel filters), and maturation ponds (if applicable).
- An illustration of a septic tank’s general layout.
- The biogas produced during anaerobic digestion can be expelled through a venting pipe.
- coli removal rates of one log can all be expected in a properly designed and maintained septic tank, though actual removal rates can vary greatly depending on operating and maintenance practices as well as environmental conditions.
The Body of the Factsheet Concrete or brick work should be used to construct at least two chambers in a sewage treatment system. PVC or fibreglass septic tanks, as well as pre-fabricated concrete rings are also available and may be more cost-effective in some situations (WSP 2008). The first chamber should account for at least half of the overall length (SASSE 1998), and if there are only two chambers, the first chamber should account for two-thirds of the total length (SASSE 1998) The majority of the solids are concentrated in the first chamber.
- The use of a T-shaped outlet pipe, with the bottom arm of the pipe diving 30 cm below the water surface (SASSE 1998), helps to further minimize the amount of scum and particles released.
- When the flow is smooth and undisturbed, sedimentation can provide the most effective physical therapy possible.
- Different treatment effects prevail depending on how the incoming influent flows through the tank during the initial treatment.
- As active materials that have not been entirely fermented exit the tank, foul odors are produced as a result (SASSE 1998).
- It is necessary to allow for the escape of the gases created during anaerobic digestion.
- If the drainage system is not vented, a screened vent pipe should be installed from the septic tank to the outside environment (WHO 1992).
- Source: Environmental Protection Agency of the United States (n.y.) It is important to have access to all chambers (through access ports) in order to do maintenance.
- The design of a septic tank is influenced by the number of users, the amount of water used per capita, the average yearly temperature, the frequency of desludging, and the properties of the effluent being treated (SASSE 1998).
- According to SASSE (1998), a tank volume of around 80 to 100 L should be given per residential user, however most nations have a national requirement for tank volume per domestic user.
- If you want to attain modest results, you need keep the patient for 48 hours.
- Sources: U.S.
coli (a fecal indicator bacteria) (TILLEY et al. 2008), although efficacy varies greatly depending on influent concentrations and climatic conditions (UNEP 2004). If you want to attain modest results, you need keep the patient for 48 hours.
An Aquaprivy is a type of septic tank that is a variant on the standard design. This is a basic storage and settling tank that is situated just below the toilet, allowing the excreta to fall into it through a line that leads to the toilet. When the bottom of the pipe is submerged in a liquid in the tank, it forms a water seal, which keeps flies, mosquitoes, and odors from escaping (WHO 1992). The tank performs the same duties as a septic tank. The wastewater is normally infiltrated into the ground through a soak pit, and the solids (sludge) that build must be cleaned on a regular basis (WHO 1992).
The Aquaprivy has a low efficiency in terms of therapy.
WAaF is the source (2002)
Known as an Aquaprivy, this type of septic tank is a twist on the traditional septic tank design. This is a basic storage and settling tank that is situated right below the toilet, allowing the excreta to fall into it through a pipe when the toilet is used. To prevent flies, mosquitoes, and scent from escaping from the tank, the bottom of the pipe is buried in liquid to form a water seal (WHO 1992). Septic tanks are used to describe how the tank operates. Sludge (accumulated solids) must be collected on a regular basis since the effluent normally infiltrates into the ground through a soak pit (WHO 1992).
A poor treatment efficiency is seen at Aquaprivy, according to the data.
The WAaF is the source (2002)
Factsheet Block BodySeptic tank construction costs are quite modest when compared to the costs of other water-based systems. However, they are significantly more expensive than dry toilets or composting toilets, making them unaffordable for the majority of individuals in our society. There must also be enough piped water to flush all of the wastes through the drains, and human or mechanical de-sludging (using a vacuum or a gulper) de-sludging must be performed on a regular basis. Engineers are required to develop the design and plan, while untrained laborers can carry out the building work provided a mason oversees the project.
The Body of the Factsheet Septic tanks should be “seeded” with sludge from another tank that has been in operation for some time in order to ensure that the required bacteria responsible for anaerobic digestion are present when the tank is first started (WHO 1992). Because of the fragile ecosystem, it is important to avoid discharging harsh chemicals into the septic system. The levels of scum and sludge in the tank must be checked to verify that the tank is operating properly. De-sludging is required when sludge and scum occupy half to two-thirds of the entire depth between the water level and the bottom of the tank, as measured above the water level (WHO 1992).
- Septic tanks should be drained on a regular basis, usually every 2 to 5 years.
- This is an unpleasant job, and care must be taken to ensure that sludge does not spill around the tank during the emptying process.
- faecal sludge must be dehydrated (see also planted or unplanted drying beds, settling or thickening ponds) and further processed before it can be used (e.g.smallorlarge scalecomposting,anaerobic digestion).
- It is recommended that the separated effluents from these systems be treated in waste stabilisation ponds (WSP) or built wetlands (CW) (surface flow,horizontalorvertical flow).
- The integrity of septic tanks should be tested on a regular basis to ensure that they are not leaking.
It is also important to conduct routine inspections in order to remove floating debris such as coarse materials and grease, to verify that there are no obstructions at the inlet or exit, and to determine whether de-sludging is required.
At a Glance
The Body of the Factsheet
|Working Principle||Basically a sedimentation tank (physical treatment) in which settled sludge is stabilised by anaerobic digestion (biological treatment). Dissolved and suspended matter leaves the tank more or less untreated.|
|Capacity/Adequacy||Household and community level; Primary treatment for domestic grey- and blackwater. Depending on the following treatment, septic tanks can also be used for industrial wastewater. Not adapted for areas with high groundwater table or prone to flooding.|
|Performance||BOD: 30 to 50%; TSS: 40 to 60 %; E. coli: 1 log unitsHRT: about 1 day|
|Costs||Low-cost, depending on availability of materials and frequency of de-sludging.|
|Self-help Compatibility||Requires expert design, but can be constructed with locally available material.|
|O M||Should be checked for water tightness, scum and sludge levels regularly.Sludgeneeds to be dug out every 1 to 5 years and discharged properly (e.g. in composting or drying bed). Needs to be vented.|
|Reliability||When not regularly emptied, wastewater flows through without being treated. Generally good resistance to shock loading.|
|Main strength||Simple to construct and to operate.|
|Main weakness||Effluentand sludge require further treatment. Long start-up phase.|
Applicability The majority of the time, this technology is utilized at the home level. The design of larger, multi-chamber septic tanks for groups of residences or public buildings can be accomplished by combining many chambers (e.g., schools). A septic tank is ideal in situations when there is a means of dispersing or transferring the sewage away from the property. Septic tank effluents can be penetrated into the soil and stored in soak pits, aleach fields, or mounds. Due to the presence of pathogens in the effluent, it should not be utilized for agricultural irrigation and should not be released into canals or surface water drains (WHO 1992).
Septic tanks should be connected to some form of conveyance technology (such as a simplified sewer or a solids-free sewer), via which the effluent is transferred to a later Treatment or Disposal site, rather than being used alone (e.g.surface flow,horizontalorvertical flowconstructed wetlands).
- Because the septic tank must be desludged on a regular basis, it is necessary for a vacuum truck to be able to reach the site.
- Every sort of environment may accommodate septic tanks, albeit the efficiency of these tanks will be reduced in colder climes.
- However, they must be emptied on a regular basis and require ongoing upkeep (TILLEY et al.
- Material for Raising Awareness
Alternative Versions to
Septic tanks are used in the vast majority of on-lot sewage systems nowadays. The subject of how frequently a septic tank should be pumped has been a source of contention for several decades. For example, there are some homeowners who say they have never drained their septic tank and that it “appears” to be in fine working condition. While trying to establish a standard pumping strategy, authorities have taken a more conservative approach and have declared that all septic tanks should be pump out every two to three years.
How a Septic Tank Works
Box 1.Can you tell me how much solid trash you generate? The average adult consumes around one quart of food every day. The body removes just a very little percentage of this meal and utilizes it to provide energy for the body’s functions. The remaining portion is discharged into the waste water system. This translates into around 90 gallons of solid waste being discharged into the septic tank per adult each year. Based on the assumption that the anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank reduce the waste volume by around 60%, this indicates that each adult contributes approximately 60 gallons of solids to their septic tank each year.
- Consequently, it will take around 5 years for one adult to completely fill a 1,000-gallon septic tank with sludge and scum, which is approximately 300 gallons.
- It is simple to infer that a septic tank should be pumped every two to three years after accounting for adults who work outside the home for a third of the time and children who attend school after making these modifications to the study.
- Single chamber septic tanks were the most common type of septic tank until recently.
- Septic tanks are designed to aid the removal of particles that are heavier than water by encouraging these heavy particles to settle to the tank bottom, resulting in the formation of the sludge layer.
- It is also designed to keep particles that are lighter than water by encouraging these lighter particles to float to the surface and be maintained in the tank, resulting in a layer of scum on the surface of the tank.
In part, this is due to the fact that the temperature of the septic tank is equal to that of the soil surrounding it, and the anaerobic bacteria require higher temperatures in order to effectively decompose organic material in wastewater and thus reduce the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the wastewater.
- Holding on to the heavy (settleable) and lighter (floatable) particles allows the septic tank to gently fill with solids from the bottom up as well as from the top down.
- Septic tanks with an exit filter will catch and decrease the flow of solids into the absorption area when the tank is properly designed and installed.
- As a result, it is critical that every septic tank be pumped on a regular basis to eliminate the organic particles that have been collected and partially digested.
- Small amounts of the particles kept in the tank degrade, but the vast majority of the solids stay and build up in the tank.
- Under no circumstances should you enter a septic tank.
- With continued usage of the on-lot wastewater disposal system, an accumulation of sludge and scum builds up in the septic tank.
- As the amount of sludge and scum in the tank fills up, wastewater is maintained in the tank for a shorter period of time, and the solids removal process becomes less efficient as a result.
It is necessary to pump the tank on a regular basis in order to avoid this. Asseptage is the term used to describe the substance injected. Cross-sectional view of a two-chamber septic tank (Figure 1).
|Number of bedrooms in the home||Estimated daily flow (gallons/day)||Minimum septic tank size (gallons)|
How Frequent should a Septic Tank be Pumped?
Describe your solid waste production in the following box: Box 1. A quart of food is consumed by the average adult on a daily basis. When this meal is consumed, just a very little fraction is used by the body to provide energy for the organism. What’s left gets expelled into the environment as garbage. Approximately 90 gallons of solid waste are discharged into the septic tank annually by each adult. The anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank lower the waste volume by around 60%, which implies that each adult contributes approximately 60 gallons of solids to their septic tank per year.
Consequently, it will take around 5 years for one adult to completely fill a 1,000-gallon septic tank with sludge and scum, which will total approximately 300 gallons.
It is simple to infer that a septic tank should be pumped every two to three years after accounting for adults who work outside the home for a third of the time and children who attend school after making these modifications to the analysis: Typically, septic tanks are either single-chamber or dual-chamber tanks that are used to collect raw wastewater from a residence.
A two-chamber septic tank, such as the one seen in Figure 1, is currently required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA-DEP) for all new and renovated on-lot wastewater disposal systems.
The scum layer in septic tanks is also meant to retain particles that are lighter than water by encouraging these lighter particles to float to the surface of the tank and be maintained in the tank.
This decomposition process is slow and largely ineffective because septic tanks are as cold as the soil around them, and anaerobic bacteria require higher temperatures in order to effectively decompose the organic material in the wastewater, thereby reducing the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the water.
- Holding on to the heavy (settleable) and lighter (floatable) wastes allows the septic tank to gently fill with solids from the bottom up and from the top down, resulting in a cleaner system.
- Septic tanks with an exit filter will collect and decrease the flow of solids into the absorption area when the tank is properly installed and maintained.
- To ensure that these collected, partially digested organic particles are removed from the system, it is essential that every septic tank be pumped at least once a month.
- Only a tiny fraction of the solids stored in the tank decompose, with the remainder accumulating in the tank as a result.
- It is never a good idea to go into a septic tank.
- With continued usage of the on-lot wastewater disposal system, an accumulation of sludge and scum forms in the septic tank’s collection basin.
- In proportion to the rise in the amount of wastewater containing sludge and scum, wastewater retention time in the tank decreases, resulting in a decrease in the efficiency of the solids removal process.
Periodic tank pumping is required in order to avoid this. Asseptage is the term used to describe the substance that is being pumped. Cross-sectional view of a two-chamber septic tank in Figure 1.
- The capacity of the septic tank
- The amount of wastewater that is put to the septic tank each day (see Table 1)
- The amount of solids in a wastewater stream is measured. In this regard, it should be noted that there are various different types of particles that are regularly dumped into a septic system. This group of solids includes (1) biodegradable “organic” solids such as feces (see Box 1), (2) slowly biodegradable “organic” solids such as toilet paper and cellulosic compounds, which take a long time to biodegrade in the septic tank, and (3) non-biodegradable solids such as kitty litter, plastics, and other non-biodegradable materials, which do not biodegrade and quickly fill the septic tank It is possible to significantly reduce the quantity of slowly biodegradable organics and non-biodegradable trash that is introduced to your septic tank by reducing the amount of organic waste that is added to the tank.
Another factor that influences how soon a septic tank will fill with solids is one’s way of living. In terms of septic tank function, the two most essential aspects of one’s lifestyle are as follows: A person’s way of life has an impact on how quickly a septic tank fills with solids. In terms of septic tank performance, the two most important aspects of one’s lifestyle are the following:
Is It Time To Pump Your Septic Tank?
Another factor that influences how quickly a septic tank fills with solids is one’s way of living. In terms of septic tank function, the two most critical lifestyle considerations are as follows:
The Pumping Process
Contractors who specialize in septic tank pumping and hauling may pump your septic tank. It is a good idea to be present to check that everything is completed correctly. For the material to be extracted from the tank, it is necessary to break up the scum layer, and the sludge layer must be combined with the liquid section of the tank. In most cases, this is accomplished by alternately pumping liquid out of the tank and re-injecting it into the bottom of the tank. Not the little intake or outlet inspection openings situated above each baffle, but the two huge central access ports (manholes) are required for pumping the septic tank.
- It is not suggested to use additives in septic tanks to minimize the volume of sludge or as a substitute for pumping in order to achieve these goals.
- When you have your septic tank pumped, you should consider taking an additional step to ensure that your septic system continues to perform correctly for a long time.
- This inspector can tell you whether or not your septic tank needs to be repaired, as well as whether or not other components of your sewage system require upkeep.
- Mark the position of the tank as well, so that it may be found simply in the future for pumping.
Schedule Septic Tank Pumping
Homeowners should develop the practice of getting their septic tanks drained on a regular basis. As long as you are able and willing to schedule regular septic tank pumping (every two or three years, for example), it may be feasible to improve the overall performance of your complete on-lot wastewater disposal system. According to research conducted at Penn State, your soil absorption system will benefit from frequent resting periods (a period during which no wastewater is added to the absorption area).
In other words, the whole system, particularly the soil absorption region, will have the opportunity to dry up, and any organic waste (biomat) that may have formed in the soil absorption area will degrade swiftly in the absence of water.
Having the sewage tank emptied should become an annual ritual for homeowners. If you are able and willing to have your septic tank pumped on a regular basis (every two or three years, for example), it may be feasible to improve the overall efficiency of your complete on-lot wastewater disposal system even more. It has been demonstrated by researchers at Penn State that occasional resting of your soil absorption system is beneficial (a period during which no wastewater is added to the absorption area).
Therefore, the entire system, particularly the soil absorption region, will have the opportunity to dry up, and any partially digested organic waste (biomat) that may have grown in the soil absorption area will degrade swiftly in the absence of water.
For additional assistance contact
Your local Sewage Enforcement Officer or Extension Educator can help you with these issues. A contact for the Pennsylvania Association of Sewage Enforcement Officers (PASEO) is as follows:4902 Carlisle Pike,268Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 Phone: 717-761-8648 Email: [email protected] Philadelphia, PA 18016 717-763-7762 [email protected] Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA)P.O. Box 144 Bethlehem, PA 18016 717-763-7762
Septic System Frequently Asked Questions
A septic system, sometimes known as a septic tank, is an underground system that processes the sewage that flows from your house before disposing of the treated, cleaner water. Septic systems are typically seen in residential areas. The treated water is subsequently re-introduced into the environment through filtration. This is critical because untreated sewage may harm nearby streams and water systems, as well as the soil around the perimeter of your septic system. Because your septic system is designed to cleanse and filter sewage, it is critical that it is in proper operating order.
What is a Drainfield?
The drainfield, also known as the leach field, is the area where the water from your septic system is sent after it has been cleansed and filtered. It is necessary to construct a drainfield in order to ensure that water is distributed uniformly back into the soil.
How do I find my septic system?
Once the water from your septic system has been cleaned and filtered out, it is sent to the drainfield or leach field. It is necessary to construct a drainfield in order to ensure that water is distributed uniformly back into the soil.
How long do septic systems last?
Septic systems are not designed to endure for a specific number of years, thus there is no defined time frame. In the event of adequate maintenance, you may expect your septic system to last several decades before it has to be replaced; but, if your system fails or deteriorates as a result of bad care, its lifespan will be drastically diminished. In order to obtain an accurate estimate of how much longer the life of your septic system may be extended, you must first have it checked thoroughly by an experienced septic system installation or repairer.
However, if you are confident that your tank is in good condition, the date of installation should provide you with an indication of how long it will endure.
What’s the advantage of installing a newer septic system rather than an older system?
Although it is not required to install a new system, there are advantages to having a modern septic tank rather than an older one. For starters, when you get a new septic tank, you can be confident that it will serve you for decades if it is properly maintained, and you will not have to worry about it being “too old.” Additionally, newer systems have been modified to reduce the likelihood of your system becoming clogged, and if something does go wrong with a new system or when it comes time to have your septic system pumped, a new system will likely be easier to locate because they are frequently constructed with ground-level lids.
New septic systems also provide a further treatment for your waste water, allowing it to be cleaner before it is released into the surrounding environment.
How much does a new septic system cost?
Installation of new septic systems may be a significant financial commitment, with costs typically reaching tens of thousands of dollars. Whenever you have to replace an outdated septic system, you should look into financing alternatives that will make it simpler for you to pay for a new septic system in the long run. Purchase further information from a septic system installation business on how to obtain septic systems at the most competitive prices while also taking advantage of low-interest financing options.
How big is my septic tank?
Septic tank capacity is determined by the amount of water consumed in your property as well as local codes and requirements. Check with your local health agency to find out how big your tank is before installing it.
Why should my septic system be pumped out?
Without regular pumping, the gases emitted by human waste accumulate in your septic system, increasing the risk of septic tank damage and the need for more frequent pumping. The regular pumping of your septic system will allow you to limit the rate at which your tank deteriorates and save money in the process. It’s crucial to remember, though, that degeneration is unavoidable in the long run. It is only via regular maintenance, such as pumping your tank, that your septic system will survive longer.
Does my tank need to be dug up to know if it needs to be pumped?
Risers are commonly found in newer septic systems, which allow you to access your tank from the ground level through a lid. It is straightforward for any septic system professional to determine whether or not your yard has risers placed, and whether or not it is necessary to pump it. If, on the other hand, your tank cannot be accessible from the ground level, it will need to be dug up in order to determine whether it has to be drained.
Instead of inspecting your septic system to see whether it needs to be pumped on a regular basis, set a timetable for having your system pumped every 2-3 years.
Why should I have risers and lids installed on my septic system?
As a result, when it comes time to find, pump, or repair your septic system, risers are the best choice since they provide ground-level access to your system. Having a septic system lid will allow you to mow your grass while still being able to find your system with no difficulty. Lids and risers also have the advantage of being accessible all year round, as opposed to earlier septic systems that could only be accessed by digging a trench through your yard. If your septic system has to be pumped or repaired for any reason during the winter months, getting beneath layers of frozen earth can be difficult, if not impossible, and you may be forced to wait until the spring to have access to your tank again.
How often should my septic system be pumped out?
A typical septic system contains a 1,500-gallon tank, which needs to be pumped around every 2-3 years for a household of four, according to industry standards. If you have less than four people living in your house, you will most likely be able to pump your septic system every five years rather than every three. You should speak with your local health agency to determine the exact size of your tank, and you should consult a septic system business to determine how frequently your tank should be pumped based on the size of your family and the size of your septic tank.
Do I need to have the septic tank pumped if I’m selling my house?
Consult with your local health department to learn about the restrictions that apply to your region of residence. Generally speaking, as long as your septic system has been pumped on a regular basis by a licensed septic system company and recently enough for the new homeowners to be able to live there for a year or two without having to pump the septic system, you should not be required to have it pumped again in the near future.
How do I find someone to pump my septic system?
It is important to be aware that not all septic system businesses are licensed and that not all firms properly dispose of or recycle the waste they pump from your septic system when you are looking for one to pump it. Finding a firm that complies with EPA standards should be your first concern, and then you should look at price, how pricing is split down, and which company is delivering the most honest, economical, and dependable service should be your next consideration. Investigate business evaluations, and when you select a septic system provider to pump your septic tank, be certain that they do the work properly, leaving enough water and waste to keep the sewage decomposing while leaving no visible trace more than a few inches of waste behind.
How much does it cost to have my septic system pumped?
It is recommended that you call many pumpers before making a selection, and that you ask as many questions as possible to ensure that you are receiving the best service for your money. Pumping may cost upwards of $200, so it is always wise to shop around before making a decision.
You should not consider it a waste of money to have your septic system pumped when the time comes. By correctly maintaining your septic system, you may avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars to replace your septic system long before it should have been replaced in the first place.
What happens if I don’t have my septic system pumped?
The sediments will pile up in your septic tank if you don’t pump it out regularly, ultimately overflowing into the drain field and clogging the drain field. Backups can occur, causing damage to your property and even necessitating the replacement of your drain field, which can be a very expensive error.
I just had my septic system pumped. Why is it full already?
Septic systems are designed to refill rapidly since the purpose of pumping is not to remove water but rather to remove non-biodegradable waste, and the water itself is not the aim of pumping. Once your septic system has been pumped and you begin to use the water in your house, your tank will quickly refill in order to maintain good operation of the system. If the water level rises to a point where it is above the outlet line, contact your septic system service provider for assistance immediately.
What do you look for when inspecting my septic system?
When we do an inspection, we make certain that your septic system is in good operating condition and that it satisfies the standards for receiving a Certificate of Compliance. If you’re planning to sell your home, you should have your septic system checked out by a professional who is certified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This will allow you to sell your home faster and for more money, if you can prove that your system has been checked out by an accredited professional. The level of liquid in your septic tank will be checked, and we’ll make sure there is no surface-level discharge.
The drains in my home aren’t draining as quickly as they normally do. Does this have to do with my septic system?
Drains that are clogged and that empty slowly are not necessarily a big source of concern. Before presuming that there is an issue with your septic system, check sure that there isn’t anything obstructing your drain first. In the case of one plumbing fixture in your house that is draining slowly, it is likely due to clogging; however, if all of the drains in your home are slow or leave waste backed up, it is probable that your septic system requires inspection and may even require pumping.
What happens when my septic system fails?
Symptoms of a failing septic system may include minor issues such as drain breaks or pipes that have been stopped, which can be caused by tree roots intersecting with the system. Septic system failure, on the other hand, might indicate that your septic tank has degraded to the point that it cannot be repaired and must be replaced. A blocked drainfield will hopefully not become your problem because it is the most expensive component of your system to replace; nevertheless, if it does, you must act quickly to make the necessary repairs or else your waste will continue to back up, perhaps causing damage to your property.
A blocked drainfield is likely the reason of your sluggish draining pipes, damp yard above your tank or drainfield, sewage stench coming from your yard, or tainted well water. You’ll need to replace the drainfield as soon as possible to avoid further pollution of drinking water sources.
How do I prevent my septic system from failing? How can I properly maintain my septic system?
Symptoms of a failing septic system may include minor issues such as drain breaks or pipes that are stopped, which can be caused by crossed tree roots. Septic system failure, on the other hand, might indicate that your septic tank has degraded to the point that it can no longer be repaired or maintained and must be replaced. You’re hoping that you won’t have a blocked drainfield since it’s the most expensive part of your system to fix. However, if it does, you must act quickly to make the necessary repairs or else your waste will continue to back up, perhaps causing damage to your property.
What shouldn’t I flush down the toilet?
As a general rule, only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed. There are several reasons why flushing medicine down the toilet is not a good idea. First, medication might kill some of the bacteria in your septic tank, which is necessary to break down solid waste. Second, drugs can pollute adjacent well water. In addition, you should avoid flushing feminine hygiene items, paper towels, tissues, hair, cat litter (even if it is flushable), diapers, wipes, condoms, cigarettes, and anything else that seems to be inorganic and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet.
What shouldn’t I pour down the drain?
Grease from the kitchen, motor oil, anti-freeze, gasoline, paint, and food should not be flushed down the toilet or drain. You should avoid flushing anything down your drain other than soap and water, and you should especially avoid flushing any form of chemical down your drain that should not be recycled back into the environment, such as fertilizer.
Is using a garbage disposal bad for my septic system?
Using a trash disposal will result in the requirement to pump your septic system more frequently than you would otherwise need to do if you avoided flushing food particles down your drains. Too much food collection in your tank might cause your drainfield to clog since the microorganisms in your tank are not capable to digesting it. When using a trash disposal, check with your septic system company to find out how frequently the disposal should be serviced.
Should I add bacteria to my septic system?
Aside from being completely useless, introducing bacteria to your septic tank is also highly discouraged. The bacteria produced by human waste is sufficient to break down the solid sewage in your tank without the need of bacteria supplements or other methods. If, on the other hand, multiple members of your home are using pharmaceuticals, they will enter your septic system through human waste and kill some of the beneficial bacteria in your tank, causing it to malfunction. Please contact the firm who installed your septic system to see whether or not you should be worried about the amount of bacteria-killing compounds entering the system.
There’s a strong sewer odor outside of my house. Could this be my septic tank?
Strong sewage stench coming from your yard might be coming from your septic system, but it could also be coming from someplace else completely. Identifying the source of the smell is important. Check for propane or gas leaks in your home before concluding that your septic system is at fault; however, if your gas or propane lines are not leaking, determine how long it has been since you had your tank pumped, and whether there is any sewage waste in your yard or other signs of septic system failure before making your final decision.
Can my septic system contaminate nearby water?
It is possible for your septic system to pollute surrounding water sources if it is not properly managed or fails completely. In the event that you suspect that your septic system is failing, make sure that it is routinely pumped and inspected by an expert.
My gutters’ downspouts drain into my yard above my septic system. Is this a bad thing?
The drainage of your gutters into your yard above your septic system, and particularly into your drainfield, can be hazardous to your septic system. All water should be diverted away from your septic system in order to minimize flooding and damage to your septic system’s tank or drain field.