Septic tanks work by allowing waste to separate into three layers: solids, effluent and scum (see illustration above). The solids settle to the bottom, where microorganisms decompose them. The middle layer of effluent exits the tank and travels through underground perforated pipes into the drainage field.
Does your shower water go into 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.
Do you ever have to empty a septic tank?
As a general rule, you should ideally empty out your septic tank once every three to five years. A septic tank that isn’t working can pose problems for any household, such as sewage backing up into household drains or sewage bubbling up from the ground around the septic tank and lateral field.
How does septic tank drain?
Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil.
What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
Are dead animals good for septic tanks?
This is false. Rotting meat just adds unnecessary and foreign bacteria to your septic tank. At best, this will do nothing. At worst, bones and fur from a dead animal will clog up your system.
How many loads of laundry a day are safe to do with a septic tank?
Spread Out Laundry Loads These use less water which puts less stress on your septic system. Regardless of the type of appliance you have, you should still spread out your loads. Instead of doing several loads in one day, consider doing 1 load per day or space out 2 loads if you must do more in a single day.
What happens if you never pump your septic tank?
What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.
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.
Why does my septic tank fill up when it rains?
Septic systems are designed to only handle wastewater from the house. If runoff water from the storm gets into the septic tank, it will get full and since the soil in the leachfield will be already too saturated, the water will start backing up into the house or from the manhole.
How full should your septic tank be?
But what does full really mean? A septic tank should always be “filled” to its normal liquid level, or the bottom of the outlet pipe which carries effluent to the absorption area. This normal liquid level is usually between 8” to 12” from the top of the tank on average (see picture at right).
How long do septic tanks 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.
How do you maintain a septic tank?
Do’s and Don’ts when maintaining your septic system
- Regularly inspect and maintain your septic system.
- Pump your septic tank as needed.
- Keep your septic tank lids closed and secured.
- Be water-wise.
- Direct water from land and roof drains away from the drainfield.
- Landscape with love.
- Keep septic tank lids easily accessible.
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.
How do I clean my septic tank naturally?
You can mix about a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon to make your own natural cleaning agent. The baking soda will fizz up to help get the dirt and grime in your tub and drains. It’s a great cleaner and your septic system will thank you!
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.
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
How Does My Septic System Work?
Septic systems are marvels of contemporary science, allowing us to take use of the comfort of indoor plumbing without having to worry about how to dispose of our home waste in an effective and safe manner, which is a major benefit. Is it true that you are completely unaware of how your septic system functions? Understanding the operation of your septic system is essential to ensure that it is appropriately utilized and maintained in the future. Continue reading to find out more about what your septic system is and how it works:
Common Parts of a Septic System
A septic system is not necessary a complicated system, and each of its components works together to ensure that the waste generated by your family is properly kept and disposed of as soon as possible.
Located beneath the earth on your property, a septic tank is a huge rectangular or cylindrical container composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that collects and treats waste. They are used for homes that do not have access to a sewer system, which is most frequent in rural regions.
Septic tank sewage is channeled into your yard by a network of pipework known as the drainfield. Wastewater is normally held in the septic tank for two days before being discharged to the drainfield in the yard. This section of your septic system consists of lengthy lengths of pipe, referred to as “drainpipes,” that are punctured with small holes to allow for the release of waste. In the event that sediments accumulate in drainfields and are not adequately pushed away, the drainfield may get clogged.
It is possible that these obstructions are produced by an inadequately sized septic tank, infrequent pumping of the septic tank, or by a large amount of water. If you find any of the following, your drainfield may be clogged:
- The presence of greener grass over the drainfield
- Unusual scents in your yard
- And plumbing backups a squishy or muddy surface
If your drainfield becomes clogged, your complete septic system will be unable to work correctly. It is preferable to hire skilled underground service specialists to take care of the problem.
Even though pump tanks are not a required component of your septic system, they are highly suggested in order to guarantee that the system operates and maintains itself properly. Pump tanks are made up of the following components:
- Pumping of effluents It catches sediments before they leave the tank, preventing them from being discharged into the drainfield, which helps to keep the drainfield from being clogged. Control floats in mid-air. It is connected to a control panel and sends signals to tell the panel when to turn the pump on and off. A high-water alarm has been activated. When the pump fails to function properly, this feature is activated to signal an excessive volume of waste in the septic tank. In most cases, it is found under the kitchen sink or in the garage.
The best course of action for homeowners who have a high-water alarm activated is to conserve water and have a professional septic system specialist assess the water levels.
The distribution box, which is positioned between the septic tank and the drainfield, is meant to transport wastewater evenly across the drainfield lines, which are connected to the septic tank.
Leach Drain Field
Often referred to as the septic field, the leach field is a component of your septic system that accepts wastewater from the septic tank. It refers to the network of drainpipes, stones, and a layer of unsaturated soil that make up the drainage system. It moves trash into the soil, where it is eventually re-circulated back into the groundwater supply.
How a Septic System Works
All of these components work together to securely remove wastewater from your house and disperse it into the surrounding environment. Specifically, it accomplishes this by relying on naturally occurring bacteria to break down the materials that are dumped into the septic tank. All of the things that you flush down the toilet or rinse down the drain fall into one of three categories:
- Sludge is a term that refers to heavy things (such as solid food waste, excrement, and toilet paper) that collect at the bottom of a tank and accumulate there. Natural bacteria break down the particles in the tank over time, allowing them to be drained out of the tank as scum. These are lighter items (soaps, oils, and grease) that float to the surface of the septic tank
- Liquid (Effluent) wastewater
- And solid (Sludge) wastewater. Water that remains in the tank is pumped to the drainfield, which is located in the centre of the tank.
In the end, everything that goes into your septic tank will decompose and produce effluent wastewater, which will then be discharged into your drainfield. This wastewater has been processed (thanks to the bacteria) and is released down the drain pipes before being filtered by the soil. The wastewater is subsequently absorbed, treated, and dispersed by the soil until it finally seeps into the groundwater table. As a natural filter, the soil eliminates dangerous germs and viruses while also absorbing nutrients.
Septic System Issues
As previously stated, septic systems are susceptible to high water levels as well as clogged drainfields and leach fields. There are, however, several other septic-related considerations to bear in mind:
- Clogs. The system between your house and the tank might get clogged for a variety of reasons, including clogs in the drainage pipes themselves. During this time, you’ll observe sluggish drainage and sewage backups in your home. The roots of a tree. Tree roots will naturally grow in the direction of water and moisture, and they will tend to wrap around or bore through any obstructions that stand in their way. There may be harm to your septic system if there are trees growing on or around it
- This includes damage to the tank and pipes. Detergents are products that remove dirt and grime. Certain detergent solutions that contain high amounts of phosphate can foster the growth of algae in your tank, which can subsequently cause the perforations in the drain pipes to get clogged with algae.
In order to avoid problems with your septic system, it is important to be aware of the substances and products that you are releasing into your home’s plumbing system at all times. It is preferable to use phosphate-free detergents and cleaning products that are specifically intended for septic systems. These products degrade more quickly and will help to keep your system from being blocked in the future. Also, be mindful of what you are flushing down the toilet. Everything plastic and non-biodegradable, such as paper towels and sanitary tampons, is not intended to break down in a septic tank and should be avoided.
A regular pumping and maintenance schedule is a certain method to keep your septic system operating at full efficiency.
If you need your septic system maintained or repaired by professionals, please call Peak SewerUnderground Services. We are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your inquiries and handle your issues! Get in Touch With Us
What Is A Septic Tank & How Does It Work?
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.
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.
What is left at the bottom of the tank must be removed on a regular basis as part of the tank’s basic maintenance. 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
- Water from your kitchen, bathroom, and other areas drains into a single main drainage pipe that leads to your septic tank. The septic tank, which is located underground, begins the process of storing waste water. It must maintain this condition for an extended period of time so that particles settle to the bottom and oil and grease float to the top. Following the completion of this operation, the liquid wastewater (effluent) will be allowed to escape the tank and enter the drainfield. This effluent is dumped into the environment through pipelines onto porous materials. The soil is able to filter wastewater through the use of these. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil
- The wastewater eventually discharges into groundwater. Last but not least, the wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed from the environment by coliform bacteria, viruses and nutrients.
Christian joined the company towards the conclusion of its first year of operation and has since become involved in all parts of the operation.
How Does A Septic Tank Work? Learn How Septic Systems Treat Wastewater
Many homeowners are terrified by the thought of having a septic tank because they believe it would be difficult to repair and expensive to maintain in the future. With regular maintenance, a well-constructed septic system may survive for up to forty years. Knowing the ins and outs of your septic system is essential to getting the most out of it. We’ll go over the fundamentals, such as how a septic tank works, what it is, and how to maintain it so that it lasts as long as possible.
What is a Septic Tank?
Septic systems are considered unusual and out of date by many people. As many as one in every five American houses, particularly in rural regions, is equipped with an aseptic tank. A septic tank is a large underground tank that is used to store and treat sewage. It enables homes to securely dispose of wastewater from bathrooms, showers, dishwashing, and other sources by transporting it outside of the home. Septic tanks, as well as the machinery that supports them, are placed underground. For safety reasons, they are usually put at least 10 feet away from the home when possible.
The most common materials used to construct a septic tank are concrete and plastic.
Septic tanks are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate different sized residences.
What is a Septic Tank Used For?
The water that runs from your residence is frequently polluted, making it dangerous to drink or handle in any way. Bathing, cleaning dishes, and doing laundry all contribute to the production of polluted water. Septic tanks treat wastewater that goes through the system by the use of natural and mechanical processes, respectively. It doesn’t matter where it emanates from within the house, either. In order to restore water to the earth, it must first be cleaned of undesired particles and organic materials.
Septic systems are used to treat wastewater when there are no public sewer systems accessible.
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
Septic tanks function by allowing wastewater to rest and settle, which is a natural process. In a septic system, solid particles and sediment settle to the bottom, where they may be separated from the water. Bacteria eat away at the sludge over time, transforming it into more manageable components for human use. This also causes scum to be released, such as fats, greases, and oil. Scum rises to the surface of the water and collects there. Following the filtration of the sediments, the filtered liquid wastewater, also known as “effluent,” is discharged via perforated pipes.
These outlet pipes transport the water to a place known as the drainfield or leach field, depending on the region.
Finally, the wastewater percolates into our soil, where it is able to free itself of any harmful substances. This contains diseases that are potentially hazardous, such as coliform bacteria. In human excrement, coliform bacteria that are harmful to the body can be discovered.
Septic Tank Design
Tanks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the number of bedrooms, soil condition, lot size, and other considerations, a household will choose one over the other. A septic system may be classified into several categories, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The most prevalent of them are as follows:
- The term “standard septic tank” refers to a single or double-chamber tank that is located underground. a conventional septic system is a complete underground water treatment system in which the septic tank discharges onto a soil or gravel drainfield
- And Septic tank system that does not require excavation and instead makes use of linked subsurface chambers rather than an open drainfield. Drip Distribution System: A shallow septic system that uses drip tubing to disseminate sewage gently
- These devices operate similarly to a tiny sewage treatment plant, using oxygen to stimulate naturally occurring bacterial activity for the purpose of treatment. When it is impossible to bury a drainfield, such as in places with shallow soil or high groundwater, a mound septic system is used to properly route wastewater flow through elevated trenches. Pump-Chamber-Sand Filter System: This system circulates effluent from the tank to the pump chamber, where it percolates through the sand filter. Depending on the use, it can be put above or below ground. In the absence of a filter, all waste particles will be able to pass through easily and clog your pipes
- Method of Evapotranspiration: Rather than filtering wastewater through the soil, this system traps it in the drainfield using a watertight membrane, allowing it to evaporate. Constructed Wetland System: This environmentally friendly system mimics natural water treatment processes by directing wastewater to a wetland cell rather than a drainfield for screening and treatment. The use of a community septic system might occur when many home sites are near together and the septic tanks flow into a common drainfield.
Inside a Septic Tank
The most common configuration consists of a septic tank, a distribution box, a drain field, and a network of perforated pipes that connects the first and second tanks. There is a single main drainage pipe, also known as an input pipe, that connects the septic tank and the home. The water waste from your home passes through it and into the septic tank, where solid and liquid waste are separated from the liquid waste and disposed of separately. Nowadays, the majority of septic tanks are divided into two parts.
Both compartments are waterproof and are separated by a sturdy wall that prevents water from entering.
A T-shaped baffle, similar to the inlet and exit pipes, is used to prevent particles from entering.
The Septic System Treatment Process
When wastewater enters a treatment plant through an intake pipe, grease and oil float to the top of the water column, while solid waste and silt sink to the bottom. This is done in order to keep them out of the wastewater once it reaches the drainfield. Solids can clog the perforated pipes in the area, and oils can cause harm to the leached soil as they pass through. There is a healthy population of anaerobic bacteria in the soil underneath the septic tank, and these bacteria feed on and digest the organic waste.
- Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the septic tank and entering the drainfield by an outlet baffle at the other end of the system.
- The drainfield is a shallow area of open ground near the home that filters untreated wastewater via rocks, mud, and sand in order to eliminate contaminants in a natural and environmentally friendly manner.
- A good septic system is one that is hidden underneath and not visible.
- These access points are normally protected by a plastic cap with a diameter of approximately 4″.
What Does a Septic Tank Look Like?
From the exterior, an underground septic tank is typically characterized by the appearance of a huge metal or plastic box. These septic systems may typically be distinguished by the characteristic inspection pipes located on top of the box, which are often covered with green covers. The majority of tanks are equipped with one or two inspection pipes as well as bigger manhole covers for pumping. A vent pipe is used to expel the gases that have accumulated. Above-ground septic tanks have a distinctive appearance that distinguishes them from their underground counterparts.
Aside from that, they are often constructed of fiberglass, polymers, or some other weather-resistant material.
A network of tiny, perforated pipes connected to the outflow and reaching into the drainfield’s soil is also present.
The size of this region is determined by the amount of water that your septic tank must handle. This will be determined by your daily water use as well as the number of bedrooms in your home.
What Does a Septic Tank Do?
Designed to remove sediments and pollutants from water, septic tanks are often used in residential and commercial settings. Understanding what a septic tank accomplishes will help you better understand how to care for your septic system in the future. The majority of conventional septic tank systems consist of a septic tank, which is often a large, hidden rectangular or cylindrical vessel composed of cement, fiberglass, or polyethylene material. It is not uncommon for septic systems built before 1975 to have a single compartment and for those built after 1975 to have many compartments, according to industry standards.
Sewage from all plumbing connections is directed toward the septic tank, where heavy masses fall to the lowest point and bacterial activity produces digested slime and fumes as a result of the digestion process.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t Abuse the System
It is necessary to clean your septic system on a regular basis in order to keep it in good working order. If you don’t, your drains may become blocked, you may notice smells, and your drain field may become backed up with water. Septic tank pumping should only be required every two to three years in a well functioning system. When you have your tank pumped, it eliminates sediments, which enhances the flow and efficiency of the wastewater treatment process overall. If you don’t know what you’re doing when performing system maintenance, it’s possible to cause damage to the system.
This will assist you in ensuring that your septic tank is working at peak performance and will prevent toxins from accumulating in the system over time.
Don’t Use Additives
Inadvertently adding chemical and biological additives is one of the most typical maintenance blunders. There are several flushable pills on the market that claim to improve the performance of your septic system by speeding up the breakdown processing and adding extra bacteria. With the help of these substances, you will be able to cope with septic system failure. These have the potential to disrupt the delicate natural equilibrium in your tank.
Don’t Flush the System
When septic systems are flushed out too quickly, it can have an adverse effect on the bacteria that live there. It can also cause scum and sediments to be disturbed, increasing the likelihood that they will clog up system components.
Take Care of the Drainfield
During normal septic tank maintenance, it’s not only the tank that has to be taken into consideration; the drainfield is just as vital. It is not recommended that you construct a structure or plant anything with deep roots in the region. Avoid driving on the drainfield as much as possible since this might compress the soil and cause the effluent flow to become obstructed.
Don’t Overload the Septic System
When using a septic system, there are several things that should not be flushed down the drain.
Organic waste and septic-safe tissue are the two types of waste that septic tanks can manage. The following are examples of things that might overflow your septic system:
- Toilet paper
- Diapers and sanitary goods
- Disposable wipes
- Paint and chemicals
- Cat litter
- Coffee grinds
- Fabric and apparel.
It’s always a good idea to double-check that anything is septic-safe before flushing it down the toilet. Though most toilet paper is septic safe, biodegradable toilet paper is preferred in order to avoid disturbing the important microorganisms. A clogged toilet or sewage forcing its way up through the leach field are all possible consequences of overburdening your system.
Hire the Best Plumbing Service and Get Your Waste Water TreatmentSystemInspection Done Today!
Septic tank inspections should be performed every two to three years, at the absolute least. This will be done by a professional during normal pumping. If, on the other hand, you detect indicators that your septic system is malfunctioning, you should schedule an inspection as soon as possible. A faulty system might result in untreated garbage being transported to locations where it does not belong. While it’s vital to understand how a septic tank works, homeowners should always seek expert assistance if they have any problems with their system.
A basic home inspection will often only give the septic tank a cursory scan, so it’s advisable to contact a professional to examine the system thoroughly before making a decision on whether or not to purchase a home.
- Septic tank inspection, Septic tank maintenance, Septic tank installation, Septic tank repair, and Septic tank pumping are all services that are available.
From our offices to your home, we always put you front and foremost in all we do. Call now to schedule a free septic check with one of our septic contractors.
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. Image courtesy of istockphoto.com
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 things down the toilet should be avoided at all costs. This includes things like paint and chemicals, kitty litter, coffee grounds, 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 can be classified into two categories, according to the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, which are chemical and biological. Despite the fact that these products are marketed to do everything from accelerate solids breakdown to improve the condition of the drainfield, they typically cause havoc on the bacteria that are supposed 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 species, such as weeping willows, can find their way into the drainfield, outlet pipes, or even the septic tank system itself. TheVirginia Cooperative Extensionsuggests a fair rule of thumb: if a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, keep it at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
- Get the tank pumped out every two or three years, on average, by a professional septic service. An additional visual inspection of the component is typically performed at the same time by a qualified professional
- Call a professional as soon as you notice any signs of potential failure (as described below)! The sooner you call, 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.+
Septic System Guide: How It Works and How to Maintain It
As soon as you flush the toilet in most metropolitan locations, the waste is pumped out to the nearest sewage treatment facility. Garbage is processed at this factory, which separates it into two types of waste: water that is clean enough to be dumped into a river and solids known as residual waste. The remaining material is either disposed of in landfill or utilized as fertilizer. Septic systems, which are used in places where there aren’t any sewage treatment plants, provide a similar function, but on a much smaller scale.
In most cases, waste-water exits the home and drains into an underground septic tank that is 20 to 50 feet distant from the house, kicking off the treatment process.
What are Septic Tanks and How Do They Work?
Septic tanks are normally composed of concrete or heavyweight plastic and have a capacity of 1000 to 2000 gallons, depending on the manufacturer. In the tank, there are two chambers that are divided by a portion of a wall. The waste from the residence is channeled into the bigger room. Solids sink to the bottom of the chamber, and liquids make their way through a partial wall into the smaller second chamber, which is located above it. Anaerobic bacteria, which are found naturally in the environment, digest the solids and convert them into water, carbon dioxide, and a tiny amount of indigestible debris.
Septic Fields Distribute Liquid Effluent
The second chamber has an output pipe via which the liquid (known as effluent) from the tank is discharged to a disposal or leach field, depending on the situation. It is drained into the earth by a network of perforated pipes or through perforated plastic structures known as galleries, which are constructed of perforated plastic. It is common practice to lay the pipe or galleries in a bed of gravel, which aids in dispersing the liquid. During the course of the effluent’s percolation through the soil, the soil absorbs remaining bacteria and particles, resulting in water that is safe to drink by the time the water reaches the aquifer deeper down.
- They are not much deeper than that since a large quantity of water escapes through evaporation or is transpired by grass growing above ground.
- If you have sandy soils that drain too rapidly, you may not be able to treat the wastewater properly.
- Sometimes the water cannot be disposed of properly because the natural soils include a high concentration of silt or clay.
- Topsoil and grass are applied to the mound, which allows more water to leave through transpiration and evaporation than would otherwise be possible.
Septic Systems Rely on Gravity, Most of the Time
The majority of septic systems rely on gravity to transfer the liquid from the home to the tank and then to the field where it will be disposed of. However, due to the slope of the land, the tank or the field may need to be higher than the house in some instances. It is necessary to have a pump, or occasionally two pumps, in order for this to operate. A grinder pump, which liquefies sediments and is installed in a pit in the basement or crawlspace of the home, will be used if the tank is higher than the house.
Sewage pumps are essentially large sump pumps that are used for heavy-duty applications. When the amount of effluent in the pit reaches a specific level, a float activates a switch, which then activates the pump, which empties the pit.
How to Treat Your Septic System
It is not necessary to do much to keep your septic system in good working order, other than cut the grass above it and keep the drainage area free of trees and plants with roots that may block it.
How Often Do You Need to Pump A Septic Tank?
You should have a septic provider pump out the particles from your tank every two years, at the absolute least. A manhole at the surface of the tank will provide the pump operator access, but older systems may necessitate digging a hole in the tank’s top so the pumping hatch can be exposed. Unless the tank is continuously pumped, sediments will build up in it and ultimately make their way into the leach field, clogging it. You’ll know it’s occurring because untreated effluent will rise to the surface of the tank and back up into the home, causing it to overflow.
Pumping the tank on a regular basis can ensure that the leach fields continue to work eternally.
What to Do if Your Septic System Fails
Pumps in a pumped septic system will ultimately fail, just as they will in any mechanical system. Most pumps are equipped with an alarm that sounds when the effluent level in the pit is greater than it should be, indicating that the pump has failed and has to be replaced. This is a job that should be left to the professionals. Visit the following website to locate a trusted list of installation and septic system service companies in your area:
- The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s Septic Locator
- The National Association of Wastewater Technicians
- And the National Association of Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association
It is rare for a homeowner to have to worry about their septic system because it is well-maintained and doesn’t cause problems. Simple maintenance, such as keeping the tank pumped and the lawn trimmed, should result in decades of trouble-free service. What kind of protection do you have in place for your home’s systems and appliances against unforeseen maintenance needs? If this is the case, you might consider purchasing a house warranty.
- Home Warranty Coverage for Roof Leaks
- Septic Warranty Coverage and Costs
- And more. Plans for protecting your mobile home’s warranty
- What Is Home Repair Insurance and How Does It Work? How to Find the Most Reasonably Priced Home Appliance Insurance
7 Steps For How Septic Tank Systems Work
7 Steps to Understanding How Septic Tank Systems Work How Do Septic Tank Systems Work? There are seven steps to follow.
How Do Septic Tank Systems Work?
In the vicinity of a sewage tank, the grass is usually greener. In this case, we’re talking about a healthy green, not a “radioactive mutant-Hulk monster.” The primary function of a septic tank is to clean polluted household water that is discharged from bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other sections of your home into the surrounding environment. This water is then filtered and returned to the surrounding environment, where it is completely cleansed. Septic tank systems function in the following ways:
- Gravity is used to transfer wastewater
- A holding tank is used to retain wastewater
- Anaerobic bacteria are found inside the tank
- Drain fields are found outside the tank
Let’s take a look at the seven real phases that a septic tank system goes through. The video below demonstrates how the procedure works, and the steps are listed below the video as well. You may learn more about septic tanks in Hawaii by reading our guide on septic tanks in Hawaii.
The 7 Steps For How Septic Tank Systems Work
- Wastewater is discharged from the residence into the septic tank. A portion of the trash is broken down by anaerobic bacteria that live within the container. Solid garbage (inorganic stuff) sinks to the bottom of the ocean, whereas liquid waste (oils, fats, and grease) rises. It is possible that wastewater will flow into the drain field*. Aerobic microorganisms are used to further treat this effluent. Drainage of the now-clear water into the groundwater system As soon as the septic tank is completely filled, contact a contractor to come pump out the waste.
* A drain field is a small area near the tank that is constructed of pipes with holes in them that are buried in gravel and then covered with earth and vegetation.
Knowing How Your Septic System Works
It is critical to understand how a septic tank system operates.
Due to a lack of knowledge, your system may fail, resulting in significant damage to your property. You may feel more confident in installing a septic tank in your Hawaiian house now that you understand how they function. You may find out more about our septic tank installation services.
How Does a Septic System Work? 11 Things (2021) You Need to Know
Are you considering purchasing land that has a septic system? If this is the case, you may feel a little overwhelmed. If you’ve never had one before, it’s understandable that you would be curious about what it includes. Because they operate in a completely different manner from a regular sewer system, you are responsible for maintaining your septic system as a property owner. It entails a completely new degree of accountability and duty. But don’t be concerned! We can assist you in understanding not just what a septic system is, but also how it operates and anything else you need to know about owning one of these systems.
1.What is a septic system?
“Underground wastewater treatment structure,” as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is “often employed in rural regions where there is no access to municipal or county sewers.” These systems combine natural elements with time-tested technology to cleanse wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and clothes washing machines.
2.What are the different parts of a septic system?
A basic septic system will be comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drain field (or drain field) (also called a soil absorption field). Septic tank: A septic tank is an underground, waterproof container composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that is designed to hold wastewater. It should be able to retain the wastewater for an extended period of time, allowing all solids to settle out. In addition, there will be compartments and a t-shaped outlet in the septic tank to prevent sludge from exiting the tank and moving into the drain field region of the property.
At this time, just a portion of the effluent has been processed.
3. How does a septic system work?
The septic tank digests organic matter and removes floatable stuff from the wastewater, such as oils, grease, and sediments, via a process called settling. Using a soil-based system, the liquid (referred to as effluent) will be discharged from the septic tank through a series of perforated outlet pipes. They are buried in a leach field, chambers, and other specific units that are designed to discharge the effluent into the soil over time at a gradual rate. There are also other systems that employ pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through sand, organic matter, built wetlands, and other such materials in order to remove or neutralize toxins.
4. What’s the play-by-play of how a conventional septic system works?
When it comes down to it, here’s everything you need to know about how a septic system operates. Water will flow out of your home through a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank, if you have one. The septic tank will be a watertight container that will be buried in the ground. It’s commonly built of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, depending on the use. The septic tank’s duty is to store wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom of the tank.
- During this time period, anaerobic bacteria will begin to decompose the waste.
- Upon exiting the tank, the liquid waste (effluent) will be discharged into the drain field.
- Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater.
- It is possible for a drain field to get overwhelmed with liquid, causing it to flood and cause sewage to run to the ground surface, as well as backups in toilets and sinks.
- Wastewater infiltrates into the soil, where it is naturally removed from the environment by coliform bacteria, viruses, and other nutrients.
Intestinal coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals in large numbers. It’s a sign that there has been human fecal contamination.
5. How do you know if a property has a septic system?
If you’re looking at houses to buy as an investment, it’s possible that some of them have septic systems. Listed below is how to determine whether or not septic systems are present. Water from a well is used on the site. Because there is no meter on the water line that enters the house, it is not possible to use it. The “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged” line appears on the water bill or property tax statement. Septic systems are also installed on the properties adjacent to yours. Once you’ve verified whether or not this is the case, you may locate the septic system by following the methods outlined below: Taking a look at the “as-built” drawing of your house Checking your yard for lids and manhole covers may save you a lot of time.
6.How do you know if your septic system is malfunctioning?
There are a few telltale indicators that your septic system isn’t working properly. If the septic system on your property is not functioning properly, you may notice the following symptoms. Wastewater is backing up into the drains of homes and businesses. On the drain field, there is a lush carpet of brilliant green, spongy grass, which is especially noticeable during dry weather. It is possible that you have pooled water or muddy dirt surrounding your septic system or in your basement. In the vicinity of the septic tank and drain field, there is a strong odor.
7. Do you need to pump your septic tank?
The majority of the time, if your septic system was correctly planned and maintained, it will just require infrequent pumping to remove the sludge and scum that has collected in the tank. Pumping is often suggested once a year, while it is possible to go as long as two to three years between pumping sessions. It will eventually be determined by the size of the tank and the amount of trash that is processed through the tank, among other factors. We recommend that you consult with an inspector to determine a general estimate of how frequently your tank should be pumped.
8. What can you do unknowingly that will destroy your septic system?
The following are all of the acts that might cause your septic tank to fail. Keep an eye out for them and stay away from them so that you just have to do normal maintenance on your septic tank! Avoid dumping cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds down the toilet or down the toilet paper tube. Avoid using garbage disposals excessively since they might introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Keep an eye out for lint from synthetic fiber flows from washing machines, since bacteria in the tank and drain field will not be able to break down the material.
Keep an eye on the amount of sludge that is present in the tank.
Pump your septic tank on a regular basis to ensure that it is free of sludge and that it is functioning properly.
Avoid compacting soil and gravel since this will prevent effluent from seeping into the ground and will deprive microorganisms of oxygen. Automobiles driving or parking on the drain field may unintentionally cause this to occur.
9.Do you need a professional to help with septic system pumping?
Is it feasible for you to pump your septic system on your own, or do you require the services of a qualified professional? You’ll need the assistance of a licensed expert to perform the actual pumping of your septic tank. That being said, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you can determine whether your septic system is ready to be pumped on your own. You can accomplish it in the following ways: If you want to do it yourself, you may purchase an equipment called The Sludge Judge online.
Upon determining that you have a third of your tank filled with sludge, you’ll need to contact a contractor to come out and pump it out for you.
Costs are normally between $50 and $100 per hour (plus labor).
It’s important to remember that frequent inspections and pumping are essential, therefore whether you or a professional does this operation, it must be completed!
10.What are the do’s and don’ts of having a septic tank?
Here’s a simple checklist to help you make sure your septic tank is being properly cared for. If you plan to install a waste disposal device, make sure to check with your local regulatory agency or inspector first. This will guarantee that your septic system is capable of dealing with the extra waste. Before adding any additives, be sure to verify with your local health authority. In addition to being damaging to the system, additives do not completely remove the necessity for frequent pumping.
- HIGH-EFFICIENCY LIGHTING SHOULD BE USED.
- It is recommended that only grass be planted on the ground around and near your septic system, since roots from neighboring trees or bushes may block and harm the drain field.
- DO use commercial bathroom cleansers and laundry detergents sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.
- DO take note of the location of your septic system and make a sketch of it for future reference during service visits and maintenance.
- If you want to keep your septic system running well, avoid the following items:
- Latex paint
- And other potentially dangerous substances include dental floss, feminine hygiene items, diapers, cotton swabs, cigarette butts and grinds, cat litter, paper towels, and latex paint. Please keep in mind that toilet paper is OK.
If you have a clogged drain, avoid using caustic drain openers.
To unclog obstructions, try boiling water or using a drain snake. Don’t allow cars to pass through or park on any section of your septic system. This can cause the soil to become compacted, as well as damage to the pipes, tank, and other components of the drainage system.
11. Why should you maintain your septic system?
When septic systems are correctly planned, installed, and maintained, they can successfully decrease and eliminate the majority of the risks to human health and the environment presented by contaminants in home water. Regular maintenance, on the other hand, is required in order for your septic system to continue to perform correctly after installation. Consider the following two reasons why it is vital that you spend in routine maintenance. It helps you save money. In the long term, keeping your septic system in good working order will save you money.
- Inform yourself on how often you will need to pump your septic tank by consulting with a local professional.
- Therefore, it is sometimes preferable to get a personalized opinion.
- In the event that your septic system fails, you should hire a reliable specialist to do the necessary repairs.
- It is beneficial to both human health and the environment.
- This translates to more than 4 billion gallons of wastewater being distributed beneath the surface of the ground each day.
- In order to avoid this, proper sewage treatment is required.
- Nitrogen, phosphorus, and disease-causing bacteria and viruses are the most common contaminants found in home wastewater, but there are more.
Septic systems are commonly found in rural locations because they provide a cost-effective alternative for waste treatment in isolated places. If you’re looking at homes that have septic systems, following the recommendations above can help you to keep your tank in good condition and guarantee that your water supplies are safe. Some of the simple ideas include examining and pumping your tank on a regular basis, keeping your effluent filter in good working order, and conserving water whenever possible.
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Erika is a former Director of Affordable Housing for the City of New York who has transitioned into a full-time land investor.
She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Architecture and with a Master of Urban Policy from Columbia University before establishing Gokce Capital.
Erika presently resides in the New York Metropolitan area with her husband, daughter, and cat.
She is originally from Chicago and still considers herself to be a midwesterner at heart, despite her current location.
), Erika has a lot of interests.
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