- The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its job is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down to the bottom forming sludge, while the oil and grease floats to the top as scum. Additionally, how much sludge should a septic have?
What happens inside a septic tank?
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.
What is the normal shape of septic tank?
The shape of the tank is circular. Explanation: The shape of the septic tank can be rectangular or cylindrical. Septic tanks are used for wastewater with a high content of settleable solids, typically for effluent from domestic sources.
What should it look like inside my septic tank?
Scum layer should look like rich, living soil and only have mild odors. The liquid level should be even with the base of the outlet pipe. If the tank looks normal, continue with inspection.
Does 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.
How do I know if my house has a septic tank?
Some of the signs that your property has a septic tank are:
- The tank needing to be emptied each year.
- 2, 3 or 4 manholes in close proximity to each other above ground.
- Possible vent pipes above ground – these take unpleasant smells and gasses from the tank and distribute them into the air.
What happens to poop in a septic tank?
The inlet pipe collects the water waste in the septic tank, long enough that the solid and liquid waste is separated from each other. Inside the tank bacteria from the wastewater breaks down the solid waste. These bacteria decompose the solid waste rapidly allowing the liquids to separate and drain away more easily.
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 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 often should a septic tank be pumped?
Inspect and Pump Frequently The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
How do I tell how big my septic tank is?
One way to find out the size of your septic tank is through records kept from when the tank was installed. These records could be with the previous owner of your home. Another way to identify the tank size is to talk with the last company that serviced/pumped your tank.
How deep should a septic tank be?
Septic tanks are typically rectangular in shape and measure approximately 5 feet by 8 feet. In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground.
What should a septic tank look like when opened?
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. If the liquid level is at bottom of the outlet pipe, then one would assume the absorption area is accepting the household wastewater.
What are signs of septic tank problems?
7 Warning Signs Your Septic System Is Failing
- Gurgling Pipes. They would occur when you run water in the house (e.g. when using the sink or shower) or flush the toilet.
- Bad Odours. It’s never a pleasant experience when this occurs.
- Water At Ground Level.
- Green Grass.
- Slow Drainage.
- Blocked Pipes.
Can a septic tank never be pumped?
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.
What Does a Septic Tank Look Like?
A common mistake made by homeowners is to ignore the septic system that serves their property. After all, because this portion of the home is buried underneath, it is difficult to view it from the outside. However, you should not underestimate the importance of a septic system since, without one, your home would be continually flooded from the inside. You’re interested in learning more about the septic system and how a septic tank functions. What Is the Appearance of a Septic Tank? It is the septic tank that is at the core of every system.
It is also the biggest component of the septic system, and it is responsible for storing all of the wastewater that is generated by your home.
The fact that it is buried beneath the ground means that you have very little opportunity to see it.
What Does it Look Like?
The septic system that serves their homes is frequently overlooked by homeowners. As previously said, because this portion of the home is buried beneath, it is difficult to view it from the outside. The importance of a septic system, on the other hand, should not be underestimated because, without one, you would be continually flooded within your home. You’re interested in learning more about the septic system and how a septic tank operates. In what shape and size does the septic tank come in?
A large portion of the processes that take place within the septic system takes place here.
As well as filtering, sludge removal is carried out here as well.
What does it appear to be in terms of physical appearance?
How to Find the Septic Tank in Your Home?
Not every new homeowner is aware of the location of their septic tank on their property. Always keep in mind that septic tanks are typically put in open places, which means that it will most likely be in the backyard or front yard. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you must be aware of the location of your septic tank in order to have it properly maintained. One of the most straightforward methods of locating your septic tank is to check for a lid or a tiny manhole cover anywhere on your property.
- It is possible to refer to the blueprints of the house if you are having difficulty locating your septic tank.
- Alternatively, you may contact a professional septic tank installation firm to assist you in finding the appropriate septic tank.
- Septic tank cleaning will be required every few years, and you will need to hire a professional to clean the system.
- It takes longer to fill 1,000-gallon tanks than it does to fill 300-gallon tanks.
- Aim to get your septic tank cleaned every three to five years, at the absolute least.
- It is much healthier for your pipes and lot simpler for the water to go down the drain if you pump your septic tank on a regular basis.
You don’t have an easy way to tell if your septic tank is already full since you don’t have access to it. However, there are several telltale signals that might assist you in determining the present condition of your tank. Some of the warning indicators you should look out for are as follows:
- Septic tanks that are overflowing cause water to collect in your garden. The drains in your home – particularly those in the lower areas of the house – operate at a slower rate. It becomes difficult to flush your toilet when it becomes clogged. It starts to smell like sewage and other bad odors on your grass
- Another surprising symptom of a clogged septic tank is that your lawn appears to be unusually healthy.
One of the most important things you can do to take care of your septic tank is to avoid flushing any chemicals down the toilet. These have the potential to destroy the bacteria colonies in the tank. Furthermore, it has the potential to result in the accumulation of flammable vapors within the tank. Non-biodegradable products should also be avoided when filling the tank, if at all possible. These are unable to be dissolved and can block drains. Finally, minimize the quantity of grease and oil that you flush down the toilet because they will eventually block your pipes as well as your drain.
In an ideal situation, you would not want to clean your septic tank yourself because it takes specialized equipment to completely pump your septic tank.
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?
Featured image from istockphoto.com Prospective buyers are often turned off by the word “septic system” in a house listing. It is possible that some property buyers will consider the system to be outdated, expensive to fix, or difficult to keep up with. It isn’t necessary to be afraid of septic systems to install one. A septic tank and its accompanying parts can easily endure for decades if they have a good maintenance record and are regularly inspected. 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.
Learn how septic systems function, common misunderstandings about them, how to properly manage septic systems, how to identify a qualified septic system inspection service provider, and how to recognize indicators that your septic system may be failing in the following sections.
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.+
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
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.
- The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt.
- Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system
Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank.
However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.
- Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.
Get your tank pumped…
Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.
…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it
Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.
Install an effluent filter in your septic system
Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata. The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.
Septic tank filter close-up
The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drain field pipes. Obtain an effluent filter for your tank from your contractor and place it on the outflow pipe of your tank. (It will most likely cost between $50 and $100, plus labor.) This device, which helps to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis by a contractor to maintain its effectiveness.
Solution for a clogged septic system
If your septic system becomes clogged and you find yourself having to clean the filter on a regular basis, you might be tempted to simply remove the filter altogether. Hold on to it. Solids, wastewater, and scum are separated into three levels in septic tanks, which allows them to function properly (see illustration above). Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them. The scum, which is made up of trash that is lighter than water, rises to the surface. In the drainage field, the middle layer of effluent leaves the tank and goes through an underground network of perforated pipes to the drainage field.
- Keep the effluent filter in place since it is required by your state’s health law.
- Waste particles might flow through the filter and clog the perforated pipes if the filter is not used.
- Your filter, on the other hand, should not require cleaning every six months.
- A good chance is high that you’re flushing filter-clogging things down the toilet, such as grease, fat, or food scraps.
- A garbage disposal will not be able to break down food particles sufficiently to allow them to flow through the septic tank filtration system.
- Plastic items, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable goods, and tobacco products will clog the system if they are flushed through it.
For additional information on what should and should not be flushed down the toilet, contact your local health authority. More information on removing lint from your laundry may be found here.
Get an inspection
Following a comprehensive first check performed by an expert, regular inspections will cost less than $100 each inspection for the next year. Your professional will be able to inform you how often you should get your system inspected as well as how a septic tank functions. As straightforward as a septic system appears, determining its overall condition necessitates the services of a professional. There are a plethora of contractors who would gladly pump the sludge out of your tank, but many, in my experience, are unable to explain how a septic system works or how it should be maintained.
A certification scheme for septic contractors has been established in certain states; check with your state’s Secretary of State’s office to see whether yours is one of them.
Also, a qualified inspector will be able to tell you whether or not your tank is large enough to accommodate your household’s needs, as well as the maximum amount of water that can be passed through it in a single day.
As you learn more about how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.
Alternatives to a new drain field
If an examination or a sewage backup indicate that your drain field is in need of replacement, the only option is to replace it completely. As a result, it’s important to talk with a contractor about other possibilities before proceeding with the project.
- Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.
Protect your drain septic field from lint
When this device is in place, it inhibits lint from entering the system, especially synthetic fibers that bacteria are unable to digest. One of these filters, which I’ve designed and termed theSeptic Protector, was invented by me. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150 plus delivery. Learn more about how to filter out laundry lint in this article.
Don’t overload the septic system
This device prevents lint from entering the system, particularly synthetic fibers, which bacteria are unable to digest and hence cause infection. Septic Protector is the name I gave to one of these filters that I designed myself. An additional filter is included in the price of roughly $150 plus delivery. See this article for further information on how to filter out lint from your clothes.
Meet the Expert
Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.
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.
Prior to discharging wastewater into the environment, several alternative systems are designed to evaporate or disinfect the effluent.
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 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
Septic Tank (Standard): A single or double-chamber tank that is located beneath the earth; 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 slowly.
- These devices operate similarly to a tiny sewage treatment plant, using oxygen to stimulate naturally occurring bacterial activity for the purpose of treating waste water.
- Pump-Chamber-Sand Filter System: This system circulates effluent from the tank into the pump chamber, where it percolates through the sand filter.
- Due to the lack of a filter, all waste particles will be able to pass through easily and clog your pipes.
- The use of a community septic system might occur when many housing sites are near together and the septic tanks flow into a common drainfield;
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.
Over each baffle, there are normally inspection openings, and most septic tanks also include a manhole access port, which enables for the pumping of the tank to take place. 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.
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.
We recommend that you have your septic tank cleaned by a professional. 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
Keep your septic system in good working order by cleaning it on a regular basis. If you don’t, your drains may become blocked, you may notice smells, and your drain field may become backed up with debris. Every two to three years, your septic tank should be pumped out if it is in excellent condition. When you have your tank pumped, sediments are removed, which enhances the flow and efficiency of the wastewater treatment process. Inexperienced system technicians might easily cause harm to the system while doing routine maintenance.
This will assist you in ensuring that your septic tank is working at peak performance and will prevent toxins from accumulating in the system.
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:
- When using a septic system, there are several items that should not be flushed down the drain. A septic tank is only capable of handling organic waste and tissue that is safe for septic tanks. What might cause your septic system to overwork is the accumulation of:
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.
When you’re looking for a home plumbing professional that will give you straight talk and honest pricing, call The Original Plumber for any septic system services, such as the following:
- 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.
Why Your Septic Tank Looks Full After Pumping – Septic Maxx
Septic tanks must be pumped on a regular basis in order to maintain an effective and healthy system. You’ve probably peered inside your tank after it’s been pumped and wondered why the water level is still so high. When you see a high water level, it might be alarming, especially if you are not familiar with what happens throughout the pumping process. What you need to know about your septic tank is outlined here.
Water is Necessary
Pumping a septic tank removes the solid waste or sludge from the tank’s bottom, allowing it to function properly. Excessive sludge in a septic tank can find its way through the outlet and into the drain field pipes, causing severe flooding in the surrounding area. Not everyone is aware that there is a specified operating level for all septic tanks, which may be found here. 8 to 12 inches from the top of the septic tank’s lid should indicate that the tank is “full.” This might vary based on the size and kind of septic tank used.
When the water level in your tank exceeds the capacity of the pipe, your tank is considered to be overfilled.
You should get your septic system examined and water usage should be restricted until an expert can determine the source of the problem.
What Can Cause Your Septic Tank to Overfill
There might be a variety of factors contributing to your septic tank being overfilled. The presence of an overfilled septic tank is frequently a symptom that your drain field is not operating properly. The drain field is the final fixture in the septic system, and it is responsible for returning treated wastewater to the surrounding soil. When your drain field floods, the water flow becomes obstructed, causing the water level in your septic tank to increase significantly. Plumbing problems and excessive water use are two more prevalent problems.
Excessive water use might cause the septic tank to fill with more contents than it is capable of handling, resulting in a high water level.
Septic Maxx provides high-quality solutions that effectively tackle the problems that afflict septic tanks.
Get in touch with us to talk with a septic specialist right now.
How Do I Find My Septic Tank
If you have an overfilled septic tank, there might be a variety of causes behind it. An overfilled septic tank is frequently a symptom of a problem with your drain field. The drain field is the final fixture in the septic system, and it is responsible for releasing cleaned wastewater back into the ground. Drain field flooding causes the water flow to get obstructed, resulting in an increase in the volume of water in your septic tank. Plumbing problems and excessive water use are two more concerns that arise frequently in the home environment.
Excessive water use can cause the septic tank to fill with more contents than it is capable of handling, resulting in a high level of water in the tank itself.
In order to tackle the challenges that affect septic tanks, Septic Maxx offers powerful solutions.
By flushing our environmentally friendly premium goods down the toilet that is the furthest away from your septic tank, you may help to clean your septic tank of unwanted build-up. To talk with a septic specialist, please contact us right now.
How Do I Find My Septic Tank
Whether or not my property has a septic tank is up in the air. If you live on an acreage or in a rural region, it is highly probable that you have a septic tank or a waste water treatment system in your home. What Is the Appearance of a Septic Tank? The great majority of septic tanks are 1600L concrete tanks, which are common in the industry. They feature a spherical concrete top with a huge lid in the center and two little lids on the sides. They are made out of concrete. Although the lids of these tanks may have been removed or modified on occasion, this is a rare occurrence.
A tiny proportion of septic tanks have a capacity of 3000L or more.
Our expert lifts the hefty lid of a 3000L septic tank and inspects the contents.
If you have discovered a tank or tanks that do not appear to be part of a waste water treatment plant system, it is possible that you have discovered a septic tank system.
How Can I Find My Septic Tank?
According to standard guidelines, the septic tank should be positioned close to the home, preferably on the same side of the house as the toilet. It can be found on the grass or within a garden bed, depending on its location. Going outdoors to the same side of the home as the toilet and performing a visual check of the septic tank is a smart first step to taking in order to discover where your septic tank is. The location of the toilets from outside can be determined if you are unfamiliar with the location of the toilets (for example, if you are looking to purchase a property).
Unfortunately, the position of septic tanks can vary widely and is not always easily discernible from the surrounding landscape.
In cases where the septic tank is no longer visible, it is likely that it has become overgrown with grass, has been buried in a garden or has had a garden built over it, that an outdoor area has been added and the septic tank has been paved over, or that a deck has been constructed on top of the tank.
- They should indicate the position of your septic tank, as well as the location of your grease trap and greywater tank, if any.
- Alternatively, if we have previously serviced the property for a different owner, our helpful office staff can examine our records to see if there are any notes pertaining to the site.
- A specific gadget is used to locate the location of the septic tank, and our professional will mark the location of the tank so that it may be exposed and cleaned out.
- Using an electronic service locator, you may locate a septic tank.
- In the event that you’re not experiencing any problems, the toilets are flushing normally, and there are no foul odors, you may ponder whether it’s best to leave things alone rather than attempting to locate and unburden a hidden septic tank.
- Although you could wait until there is a problem, this would almost certainly result in a significant amount of additional charges.
- Does it make sense for me to have many toilets and also multiple septic tanks?
It is decided by the number of bedrooms, which in turn determines the number of people who are anticipated to reside in the house, that the size of the septic tank should be. The following is the relationship between septic tank volumes and the number of bedrooms:
- There are three sizes of sewer tanks available: 3000L for three bedrooms, 3500L for four bedrooms, and 4000L for five bedrooms.
The most typical septic tank size is 1600L, although there are also some 3000L septic tanks available on the market. It is possible to have septic tanks with capacities as large as 3500L or 4000L, although they are not as popular, and most residences that require these capacities have numerous septic tanks in order to meet the septic litre requirements for each bedroom. Using the septic tank lid as a test, you may quickly determine whether all of the toilets in your home are linked to the same septic tank.
Check the rest of the toilets in the home by repeating the procedure.
Please call us immediately to have your septic tank pumped out or to schedule a free septic tank test when we are next in your area.
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