For homes that have poor drainage or are not connected to the mains sewage network septic tanks allow a safe disposal of wastewater. They work by collecting the excreta and wastewater in one big underground tank, they are predominantly used in rural areas. Regular maintenance of the septic tank will also be required.
- A septic tank acts as a settling chamber where waste from your house separates from the wastewater before this water flows into the drain field. With time, the solid waste left behind in the septic tank accumulates and can inhibit the settlement and separation process.
Why do we need septic tanks?
Septic tanks eliminate waste by using the natural filtering process of the soil. Bacteria is filtered by the soil once the wastewater is out of the septic tank, which makes the water safe to re-use. The use of septic tanks allows for local water tables to be naturally replenished.
Are septic systems worth it?
No. A septic tank can help you save money on several fronts, from the installation all the way through to the day when you sell your property. Costs less to install. A new septic system will often cost significantly less than the installation of sewage pipes on a residential property.
What are the disadvantages of a septic tank?
- Maintenance costs $300-$600 every few years (which can still be cheaper than municipal sewer).
- It can cause groundwater contamination if the system leaks.
- If not maintained, you can have a costly mess on your hands.
- Septic tanks will eventually need to be replaced.
Is septic tank better than sewer?
Although septic systems require a bit more maintenance and attention, they have a number of advantages over sewer lines. Since they don’t pump wastewater long distances to be processed at a water treatment facility, they use less energy overall and have a smaller environmental impact.
Does shower water go into the septic tank?
From your house to the tank: Most, but not all, septic systems operate via gravity to the septic tank. Each time a toilet is flushed, water is turned on or you take a shower, the water and waste flows via gravity through the plumbing system in your house and ends up in the septic tank.
What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
How long does a septic system last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
Do septic tanks smell?
A properly-maintained septic tank should be odor-free, so if you notice a bad smell inside your home or outside near the leach field, it’s a sign that there’s a problem. Septic odors are caused by gases in the system, including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and methane.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
Is it hard to maintain a septic tank?
Septic system maintenance is not complicated, and it does not need to be expensive. Upkeep comes down to four key elements: Inspect and Pump Frequently. Use Water Efficiently.
How do I know if my house has a septic tank?
A surefire way to confirm whether or not your home has a septic system is to check your property records. It is likely that the building permit and blueprints for your home and property will contain information about the presence (or lack) of a septic tank.
What to do after septic is pumped?
After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.
- 1) Get on a Schedule.
- 2) Take Care of the System.
- 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
- 4) Check Other Possible Issues.
What are the pros and cons of a septic system?
The Pros and Cons of Septic Systems
- Pro: Environmentally friendly.
- Con: Be More mindful of what you flush.
- Pro: Cost effective.
- Con: Routine maintenance.
- Pro: Durability.
- Con: Pipe ruptures.
Can I sell my house with a septic tank?
If you currently have a septic tank that discharges to surface water then the sale will trigger the requirement to replace or upgrade the system. Buyers should satisfy themselves that any system is in good working order and does not cause pollution.
Is septic same as sewer?
The main difference between a septic system and a sewer system is, a septic system treats your wastewater on site. Usually, it’s placed underground on the land your house is built on. Sewer systems take the wastewater away from your home and route it underground to a treatment plant typically operated by the city.
How Your Septic System Works
The size of your septic tank is proportional to the number of people that live in your home. For example, if your house has just two tenants, you will only require a tiny septic tank. If your home has more than five people, on the other hand, you will want a larger septic tank in order to manage your wastewater more effectively and hygienically. Consider the following when determining the amount of septic tank you require: septic tank sizes impact the overall effectiveness of your septic system; It is possible for wastewater to back up your house when the holding capacity of your septic tank is exceeded, producing clogs and floods, and placing you and your family in danger.
Septic system sizes for North Atlanta, GA homes may be determined by contacting us.
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:
- There are several signs of a faulty septic system, and not all of them are unpleasant odors. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek professional help:.
How to Care for Your Septic System
Septic system maintenance is neither difficult or expensive, and it does not have to be done frequently. The maintenance of a vehicle is comprised of four major components:
- Inspect and pump your drainfield on a regular basis
- Conserve water
- Dispose of waste properly
- And keep your drainfield in good condition.
Inspect and Pump Frequently
Inspection of the ordinary residential septic system should be performed by a septic service specialist at least once every three years. Household septic tanks are normally pumped every three to five years, depending on how often they are used. Alternative systems that use electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be examined more frequently, typically once a year, to ensure that they are in proper working order. Because alternative systems contain mechanical components, it is essential to have a service contract.
- The size of the household
- The total amount of wastewater produced
- The amount of solids present in wastewater
- The size of the septic tank
Service provider coming? Here is what you need to know.
When you contact a septic service provider, he or she will inspect your septic tank for leaks as well as the scum and sludge layers that have built up over time. Maintain detailed records of any maintenance work conducted on your septic system. Because of the T-shaped outlet on the side of your tank, sludge and scum will not be able to escape from the tank and travel to the drainfield region. A pumping is required when the bottom of the scum layer or the top of the sludge layer is within six inches of the bottom of the outlet, or if the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the bottom of the outlet.
In the service report for your system, the service provider should mention the completion of repairs as well as the condition of the tank.
If additional repairs are recommended, contact a repair professional as soon as possible. An online septic finder from the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) makes it simple to identify service specialists in your region.
Use Water Efficiently
In a normal single-family house, the average indoor water consumption is about 70 gallons per person, per day, on average. A single leaking or running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water each day, depending on the situation. The septic system is responsible for disposing of all of the water that a residence sends down its pipes. The more water that is conserved in a household, the less water that enters the sewage system. A septic system that is operated efficiently will operate more efficiently and will have a lower chance of failure.
- Toilets with a high level of efficiency. The usage of toilets accounts for 25 to 30% of total home water use. Many older homes have toilets with reservoirs that hold 3.5 to 5 gallons of water, but contemporary, high-efficiency toilets consume 1.6 gallons or less of water for each flush. Changing out your old toilets for high-efficiency versions is a simple approach to lessen the amount of household water that gets into your septic system. Aerators for faucets and high-efficiency showerheads are also available. Reduce water use and the volume of water entering your septic system by using faucet aerators, high-efficiency showerheads, and shower flow restriction devices. Machines for washing clothes. Water and energy are wasted when little loads of laundry are washed on the large-load cycle of your washing machine. By selecting the appropriate load size, you may limit the amount of water wasted. If you are unable to specify a load size, only complete loads of washing should be performed. Washing machine use should be spread throughout the week if at all possible. Doing all of your household laundry in one day may appear to be a time-saving strategy
- Nevertheless, it can cause damage to your septic system by denying your septic tank adequate time to handle waste and may even cause your drainfield to overflow. Machines that have earned theENERGY STARlabel consume 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than ordinary ones, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Other Energy Star appliances can save you a lot of money on your energy and water bills.
Properly Dispose of Waste
Everything that goes down your drains, whether it’s flushed down the toilet, ground up in the trash disposal, or poured down the sink, shower, or bath, ends up in your septic system, which is where it belongs. What you flush down the toilet has an impact on how effectively your septic system functions.
Toilets aren’t trash cans!
Your septic system is not a garbage disposal system. A simple rule of thumb is to never flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Never flush a toilet:
- Cooking grease or oil
- Wipes that are not flushable, such as baby wipes or other wet wipes
- Photographic solutions
- Feminine hygiene items Condoms
- Medical supplies such as dental floss and disposable diapers, cigarette butts and coffee grounds, cat litter and paper towels, pharmaceuticals, and household chemicals such as gasoline and oil, insecticides, antifreeze, and paint or paint thinners
Toilet Paper Needs to Be Flushed! Check out this video, which demonstrates why the only item you should flush down your toilet are toilet paper rolls.
Think at the sink!
Your septic system is made up of a collection of living organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household. Pouring pollutants down your drain can kill these organisms and cause damage to your septic system as well as other things. Whether you’re at the kitchen sink, the bathtub, or the utility sink, remember the following:
- Septic systems are made up of a variety of live organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household. In addition to killing these creatures, dumping poisons down the drain might damage your septic system. It makes no difference if you’re standing at the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, or the laundry sink:
Own a recreational vehicle (RV), boat or mobile home?
If you have ever spent any time in an RV or boat, you are undoubtedly familiar with the issue of aromas emanating from sewage holding tanks.
- The National Small Flows Clearinghouse’s Septic System Care hotline, which may be reached toll-free at 800-624-8301, has a factsheet on safe wastewater disposal for RV, boat, and mobile home owners and operators.
Maintain Your Drainfield
It is critical that you maintain the integrity of your drainfield, which is a component of your septic system that filters impurities from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank once it has been installed. Here are some things you should do to keep it in good condition:
- Parking: Do not park or drive on your drainfield at any time. Plan your tree plantings so that their roots do not grow into your drainfield or septic system. An experienced septic service provider can recommend the appropriate distance for your septic tank and surrounding landscaping, based on your specific situation. Locating Your Drainfield: Keep any roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainfall drainage systems away from the drainfield area. Excess water causes the wastewater treatment process to slow down or halt completely.
Buying A House With A Septic Tank: Pros And Cons
Do you want to buy a house, but it has a septic tank, and you’re not sure what to check for when you go looking? Several considerations should be made while looking at a house that has an underground septic system. Here’s what you should do to make sure your septic system is in working order before purchasing a home. Learn about the laws in your area. Septic systems are custom-designed to compliment your property and meet local building codes. These local ordinances may include requirements for septic tank inspection, maintenance, and replacement, among other things.
- If you decide to expand your home and add plumbing, they may also need you to install a larger septic tank to accommodate the additional waste.
- Septic systems must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis in order to avoid complications.
- Their job will be to search for leaks and blockages, identifying possible problems before they become major ones.
- It is recommended that you ask to examine the tank’s inspection history before purchasing a house with a septic tank.
- You must have a general understanding of the septic tank’s technical parameters.
- Additionally, you must be aware of the date it was installed, because septic tanks may need to be updated every 20-40 years.
- Make Preparations for Routine Maintenance A septic tank must be examined, maintained, and emptied on a regular basis in order to avoid problems.
Depending on the size of the tank, this can cost anywhere from $300 to $600 on average.
The distinction is that if you flush something down the toilet that shouldn’t be there, it becomes your responsibility on a septic system.
Pipes that are clogged can leak and sewage can back up into your home as a result of these obstructions.
Understand what may go wrong.
It is possible to create a large amount of mess when there are leaks, broken and clogged pipes, and flooding in a drain field.
Due to an excessive amount of liquid present either within the tank or within the drain field, a tank may fail to drain properly – or at all.
Spot Potential Problems As Soon As They Appear You must be able to recognize a possible problem before it manifests itself as a genuine one. Peculiar scents, unusual plumbing indicators, poor drainage, and backflow into your drains are all indications that your septic tank needs to be inspected.
The 5 Biggest Questions Home Buyers Have About Septic Systems
Image courtesy of istockphoto.com The word “septic system” in a home ad is well-known for scaring away potential purchasers from the property. Some homebuyers may consider the system to be obsolete, expensive to fix, or difficult to keep up to date. Septic systems, on the other hand, do not have to be frightening. A septic tank and its accompanying parts may easily endure for decades if they have a good maintenance record and are properly inspected on a regular basis. Don’t instantly rule out an attractive property because it has this sort of system buried out back if you’re contemplating booking a viewing appointment.
Continue reading to learn more about septic systems, including how they function, common misunderstandings about them, how to maintain them, how to locate a septic system inspector, and indicators that a septic system is in danger of collapsing.
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 require regular care and maintenance in order to function properly. The good news is that keeping a septic system in excellent working order is rather straightforward. Here’s how to keep it in proper functioning order.
- 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?
Once an offer on a home is made, the deal is nearly always subject on the outcome of a thorough inspection of the property, which includes an examination of the septic system. Important to remember is that what is stated on a seller’s disclosure form is not a substitute for a thorough inspection of the property being offered for sale. The average homeowner does not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to conduct a thorough inspection of the system. If there are concealed issues, it is possible that the homeowner will not be aware of them.
- One of the most common types of house inspection is a general home inspection, which evaluates the structure of the home, systems within it (such as plumbing and electricity), roof condition, and maybe some of the external features.
- As a result, always seek the services of a septic system specialist for an inspection.
- Your neighbors and real estate agent may be able to provide you with a few decent leads.
- To begin, contact each possible inspector and ask them about their approach to the task; for example, some may use cameras to evaluate the distribution box and drainfield, while others may dig to complete their inspection.
- Once the inspection has begun, the expert will search for pumping and maintenance records, examine for signs of leakage or backup, measure the levels of sludge and scum, and determine the age of the tank, among other things.
- Depending on whether or not the property includes extensions that were built after the septic tank was originally installed, an inspector may give recommendations to make the residence more sanitary.
For example, a two-bedroom home will require a tank of a different capacity than a three-bedroom home will. Image courtesy of 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?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a well managed septic system may survive for 40 years. It is essential that you get the septic system evaluated before to purchasing a property so that you can get an estimate of how long the septic system is projected to operate.
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.+
Should You Get a Septic Tank for the Cabin?
When I built the cottage in the woods where my wife, daughter, and I currently reside, I realized that putting together a comprehensive waste treatment system would be a major undertaking. In contrast to urban living, where sewage is sent to a centralized treatment plant, rural life nearly often entails finding out how to deal with garbage on your own. Septic systems come into play in this situation.
Almost all rural properties with indoor plumbing are equipped with a septic system of some kind. An understanding of how they operate might assist you in making an educated selection about your cabin or holiday property. Here’s all you need to know about the situation.
Types of Septic Systems
Almost all modern septic systems incorporate an aseptic tank—a big plastic, concrete, or fiberglass container that is buried some distance away from the house or lodge. The tank is connected to the home’s drainage system through a big subterranean conduit. An uncomplicated septic system is one in which waste water and sediments are sent down the pipe into the tank, where they are partially decomposed by bacteria. When the partially treated liquid reaches a specific level, it flows out the other end and is disseminated into the soil, which is often accomplished by a network of perforated subterranean pipelines.
Drainage fields, field beds, and drainfields are all terms used to describe the combination of pipes and soil.
It is for this reason that vacuum truck pump outs are required every couple of years or so.
Holding Tank System
When using a holding tank method, the waste is kept in the septic tank until it is completely depleted. After that, a vacuum truck is required to remove the waste. Compared to traditional systems, holding tank systems are significantly easier and less expensive to set up and maintain. However, you will have to pay to have them cleaned out on a regular basis, which should be incorporated into your expense estimates.
Mound Septic System
Upon visiting our forested property with my wife and hiring an aseptic contractor to implement our system, he informed us that we would have to go with a mound system. He indicated that the bedrock was too close to the surface for a typical drainage system, and that a deeper soil drainage system was required. This system is identical to a normal septic design, except that the tanks and field bed are covered in soil that is trucked in and piled into a “mound” to protect them from the elements.
Benefits To a Cabin Septic Tank System
- Septic systems that are properly constructed and maintained allow you to live a pleasant and completely contemporary lifestyle no matter how far away you are from the nearest municipal sewage treatment facility. Regular maintenance, such as pumping out the system with a vacuum truck every couple of years, can extend the life expectancy of conventional and mound septic systems to 40 or 50 years. Holding tank systems have the potential to endure a lifetime. Septic systems that are properly maintained are ecologically favorable, as they consume no power and emit no pollutants. There is no monthly sewage bill.
Drawbacks To a Cabin Septic Tank System
- Installation is both expensive and time-consuming. Regular vacuum truck pump outs are required for conventional and mound systems every couple of years, and often every few months for holding tank configurations. The greater the amount of waste water and solids produced, the greater the stress imposed on the system. Even the most carefully constructed and maintained septic systems may eventually fail and may require complete replacement.
Installing a Septic Tank System
A professional septic system installation will design and build your system if you don’t have access to heavy equipment such as an excavator and loader tractor, as well as a great deal of knowledge and ability. It will not be inexpensive, either. Depending on the type of system and how much earth must be moved, most septic contractors I know charge between $9,000 and $15,000 or more for a full system installation, depending on the location. It is theoretically feasible to install the septic tank portion of the system on your own, provided that you have the heavy equipment necessary to dig the hole and hoist the tank into position.
It’s an extremely exact process, and any mistakes will be quite costly.
Alternatives To a Septic Tank System
It is not necessary to install a full-fledged septic system if the only waste water that leaves your home comes from showers and sinks. A gray water pit is a hole in the ground filled with gravel or mulch that is used to collect wastewater that does not contain toilet pollutants.
Based on the environmental restrictions in your location, that will most likely be sufficient. Furthermore, a goodcomposting toiletallows for a comfortable bathroom experience without the hassle of a septic system installation.
Outhouse and Gray Water Pit
Photograph courtesy of Christoph Hetzmannseder/Getty Images If you want to keep your cabin as rustic as possible, a well-built outhouse is a terrific method to do your business with the least amount of fuss. Use a gray water pit for everything else, just as you did with the composting toilet.
Words of Caution
A significant possibility that trees will be in the area where you’re putting a septic tank and field bed for your cabin is that you’ll be able to see them. Make certain that all trees in close proximity to your septic system are removed. Aside from that, there is a good potential that they will shoot roots into your pipes in order to take the nutrients in your waste water. Tree roots can cause your septic system to fail at an inconvenient and expensive moment in your home’s history.
Too Much Toilet Paper
A considerable probability that trees will be in the vicinity while you’re establishing a septic tank and field bed for your cabin. Make certain that all trees in close proximity to your septic system are chopped down and removed. Otherwise, there’s a good chance they’ll shoot roots into your pipes in order to take the nutrients in your waste water, which would be disastrous. Tree roots can cause your septic system to fail prematurely and at a high cost.
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…
Garbage that decomposes slowly (or not at all) is flushed down the toilet. Troublesome substances such as cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are frequently seen. Solid waste disposal systems, when utilized often, have the potential to overflow their capacity. In the washing machine, lint made of synthetic fibers floats. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank or drain septic field. Disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps are examples of household chemicals that destroy bacteria.
- It is impossible to fill the tank with enough wastewater in a short amount of time without overflowing the tank.
- Sludge that has accumulated in the drain field might overflow as well.
- Branches and bushes’ roots can obstruct and cause harm to a drainage field.
- Most of the time, this is caused by automobiles driving or parking in the drain field.
…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
Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field. Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.
Meet the Expert
Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.
Buying a Home With a Septic Tank? What You Need to Know
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.
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How Does a Septic System Work?
A pipe gathers all of the wastewater from the residence and transports it to an underground septic tank that is completely waterproof. As explained by the Environmental Protection Agency, solids settle to the bottom of the pond while floatable items (known as “scum”) float to the top. Both are confined within the tank, which is emptied on a regular basis by a professional pumper. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the middle layer includes liquid wastewater (also known as “effluent”) that exits the tank into a buried drainfield in the yard, where the wastewater disperses into the soil.
Is the Septic System Related to the Drinking Water System?
No. Many homes that have septic systems also have a private well to provide water. The septic system, on the other hand, is completely separate from the well. Rather of treating wastewater so that it may be consumed, its objective is to safely distribute it in a manner that prevents pollution.
What Differentiates One Septic System from Another?
No. Many homes that have septic systems also have a private well on the property.
Although it is connected to the well, the septic system is completely autonomous. In contrast to other methods of wastewater treatment, its objective is to safely distribute wastewater in a manner that does not allow for contamination.
How Often Should You Get Your Septic Tank Emptied?
To remove the sludge and scum from the septic tank, it is necessary to hire a professional to pump it. The frequency is decided by the size of the tank and the degree of activity in the home (how much wastewater is generated). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most septic tanks should be emptied every three to five years. However, certain systems may require more frequent pumping – perhaps once a year if necessary.
What Are the Signs of a Failing Septic Tank?
Aside from routine pumping, the tank should be examined for leaks or obstructions on a regular basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, signs of a clogged system include foul odors that appear from time to time and fixtures that drain slowly or gurgle.
What About Maintenance Costs?
The size of the tank and drainfield, the accessibility of the tank, and the distance that waste must be taken for disposal all influence the cost of septic system upkeep. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pumping a tank might cost between $250 and $500.
What Should I Do Before Buying a Home With a Septic System?
Learn about the laws in your state. Some states demand a septic system examination prior to transferring ownership. However, even if your state does not need an inspection, your lender may require one anyhow. As a rule, conventional house inspections do not involve an examination of the septic system. Zillow reports that an inspection may provide a detailed assessment of the system’s integrity, identify whether it is located at an appropriate distance from a well (to minimize contamination), and check the absence of invasive tree roots in the drainfield, which could cause damage to the system.
If you do need to replace your system, the cost might vary significantly.
Owning a property with a septic tank does not have to be a frightening experience.
Many individuals are unfamiliar with the notion of septic tanks. However, for those households that do make use of one, they are extremely important. If you’ve always lived in a property that has been linked to the city’s main sewage system, it’s likely that you haven’t ever heard of a septic tank, let alone understood what it is. What a septic tank is and how it functions will be discussed in detail in this blog.
What Is A Septic Tank?
Essentially, a septic tank is an underwater sedimentation tank that is used to cleanse waste water through the processes of biological breakdown and drainage. A septic tank is a wastewater treatment system that uses natural processes and time-tested technology to treat wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry. The design of a septic tank system is pretty straightforward. It is a waterproof container (usually rectangular or spherical) that is buried underground and made of fiber glass, plastic, or concrete.
- septic tank systems are classified as “simple on-site sewage facilities” (OSSFs) since they only provide rudimentary sewage treatment.
- Excreta and wastewater are collected in a large underground tank, and they are mostly utilized in rural regions to keep the environment clean.
- It is common for them to be comprised of two chambers or compartments, as well as a tank that collects wastewater via an entrance pipe.
- This will be maintained and managed by a local water business.
- There are, however, certain additional measures that must be observed.
- Homeowners who have a septic tank have an added responsibility to ensure that their tank does not have an adverse influence on the surrounding environment.
In some cases, if a drain field becomes overwhelmed with too much liquid, it might flood, which can result in sewage flowing to the ground surface or creating backups in toilets and sinks.
How Does A Septic Tank Work?
It is the job of a septic tank to break down organic waste and separate it from floatable substances (such as oils and fats) and solids in wastewater. Two pipelines will be installed to connect a septic tank (for inlet and outlet). Septic tanks are equipped with intake pipes, which are used to convey water waste from homes and collect it in the tank. It is stored here for a sufficient amount of time to allow the solid and liquid waste to be separated from one another. The second pipe is the pipe that goes out.
- This pipe transports pre-processed effluent from the septic tank and disperses it evenly over the land and watercourses of the area.
- (as seen in the illustration above) The top layer is comprised of oils and grease, and it floats above the rest of the waste.
- Wastewater and waste particles are found in the intermediate layer of the wastewater system.
- Bacteria in the tank try their best to break down the solid waste, which then allows liquids to separate and drain away more readily from the tank.
- This is one of the reasons why a septic tank is considered to be a rudimentary type of sewage disposal.
The Step-by-step Process of How a Septic Tank Works
- Floatable stuff (e.g., oils and grease) and solids will be separated from the wastewater by a septic tank, which will degrade organic matter. Two pipes will link a septic tank to the rest of the system (for inlet and outlet). Septic tanks are equipped with intake pipes, which are used to convey water waste from homes and collect it in one place. It is held here for a sufficient amount of time to allow the solid and liquid waste to be separated. The second pipe is the pipe that leads to the drain. Another name for this area is “drainfield.” A septic tank’s pre-processed wastewater is discharged through this pipe, which distributes it evenly over the land and waterways. After a period of time, waste water will begin to split into three layers when it has been collected. In the image above, you can see that There are oils and grease on the surface of the trash that floats above everything else. Scum is a term used to describe this type of material. Wastewater and waste particles are contained in the intermediate layer. This layer of sludge is formed by particles that are heavier than water and are present in the third and bottom layers. It is the job of the bacteria in the tank to break down the solid waste, which then allows the liquid waste to separate and drain away effortlessly. What is left at the bottom of the tank must be removed on a regular basis as part of the tank’s routine maintenance schedule. A septic tank, for example, is just a rudimentary kind of sewage treatment due to this same reason, among others.
Christian joined the company towards the conclusion of its first year of operation and has since become involved in all parts of the operation.