- A septic tank is an underground chamber made of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic through which domestic wastewater flows for basic treatment. Settling and anaerobic processes reduce solids and organics, but the treatment efficiency is only moderate. Septic tank systems are a type of simple onsite sewage facility. They can be used in areas that are not connected to a sewerage system, such as rural areas. The treated liquid effluent is commonly disposed in a septic drain field, which provides furt
What lives in your septic tank?
Bacteria, algae, protozoa, fungi, rotifers, and nematodes are all present in a typical septic system. Aerobic bacteria are the most effective at breaking down materials in wastewater. This type of bacteria relies on oxygen to survive.
Are septic tanks toxic?
Septic tanks are dangerous as they contain a variety of sewer gases which can be highly toxic when inhaled and result in various complications, including death.
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.
How do septic tanks work?
It is basically a sedimentation tank. Its shape can be rectangular or cylindrical. Liquid flows through the tank and heavy particles sink to the bottom, while scum (mostly oil and grease) floats to the top. Over time, the solids that settle to the bottom are degraded anaerobically.
What can break down poop in septic tank?
Yeast helps actively breaks down waste solids when added to your septic system. Flush ½ cup of dry baking yeast down the toilet, the first time. Add ¼ cup of instant yeast every 4 months, after the initial addition.
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.
Can a septic tank explode?
A septic tank can explode Septic tank explosions are extremely rare so it might sound farfetched but yes, a septic tank can actually explode. Methane gas is usually produced as a by-product during anaerobic digestion of organic waste in the septic tank. This gas is highly flammable.
Is it bad to smell septic tank?
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. A foul smell doesn’t necessarily mean the septic tank needs to be pumped, however.
Do septic tanks give off methane?
Methane gas is naturally produced by septic sludge while nitrate is a byproduct of a failing septic system. These fumes can be released back into your home through toilets, pipes, and drains, putting your family in serious danger.
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.
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?
What are the do’s and don’ts of a septic tank?
DON’T flush material that will not easily decompose, such as hair, diapers, cigarette butts, matches, or feminine hygiene products. DO conserve water to avoid overloading the system. They kill the bacteria needed to decompose wastes in the septic tank and drain field. DO use substitutes for household hazardous waste.
What happens to sludge in a septic tank?
The final destination of treated sewage sludge usually is the land. Dewatered sludge can be buried underground in a sanitary landfill. It also may be spread on agricultural land in order to make use of its value as a soil conditioner and fertilizer.
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 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 Does a Septic Tank Work?
Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.
How does a septic tank work?
Pumping the tank on a regular basis eliminates sludge and scum, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and well built septic system to last for decades, or it might collapse in a matter of years. It is entirely up to you as long as you can answer the question of how do septic tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely collapsed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material costs.
It’s critical to understand how a septic tank works in order to maintain one.
Let’s take a look below ground and observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we?
Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria
Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.
- A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
- Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
- Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
- (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
- The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
- Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
- 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
The temptation to just remove the filter may arise if your septic system becomes blocked and you have to clean it on a regular basis. It should be preserved. Solids, effluent, and scum are separated into three levels in a septic tank, which allows waste to be separated into three layers (see illustration above). Microorganisms breakdown the particles that settle to the bottom of the tank. It is the scum that floats on top because it is made up of trash that is lighter than water. In the drainage field, the intermediate layer of effluent leaves the tank and is carried away by subterranean perforated pipes.
- Keep the effluent filter in place since your state’s health law mandates it.
- In addition, removing the filter may result in a far bigger (and more expensive) problem down the road.
- Cleaning and unclogging the system would need substantial digging.
- The majority of filters don’t need to be cleaned until the tank is pumped, which occurs every two to five years on average, and then only when necessary.
- Food disposal is an error that many people make.
- Solids can accumulate in a septic tank to levels as high as 50% more than normal.
- More information on what should not be flushed down the toilet can be obtained by contacting your local health authority.
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
Make sure the pipes are clean and free of debris. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, can be used to clean out the drain septic field pipe. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system up. A commercial solution (not a home-made product) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installation. Septic-Scrub is a product that I highly suggest. The average cost of a treatment is between $500 and $1,000.
The procedure of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots around the drain field, is authorized in some jurisdictions.
Some contractors use this technique to shatter compacted earth around pipes. This might range from less than $1,000 to more than $4,000, depending on the circumstances.
Don’t overload the septic system
Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field. Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.
Meet the Expert
Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.
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.
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.
Clogs. The connection between your home and the tank might get clogged for a variety of reasons, including clogs in the drainage pipelines. During this time, you’ll observe delayed drainage and sewage backups in your house; Roots of trees Naturally, tree roots will gravitate toward water and moisture, wrapping around and boring through any obstructions that stand in their path. There may be harm to your septic system if there are trees growing on or around it; this includes damage to the tank or pipes.
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.
In some cases, if a drain field becomes overwhelmed with too much liquid, it might flood, which can result in sewage flowing to the ground surface or creating backups in toilets and sinks.
How Does A Septic Tank Work?
It is the job of a septic tank to break down organic waste and separate it from floatable substances (such as oils and fats) and solids in wastewater. Two pipelines will be installed to connect a septic tank (for inlet and outlet). Septic tanks are equipped with intake pipes, which are used to convey water waste from homes and collect it in the tank. It is stored here for a sufficient amount of time to allow the solid and liquid waste to be separated from one another. The second pipe is the pipe that goes out.
- This pipe transports pre-processed effluent from the septic tank and disperses it evenly over the land and watercourses of the area.
- (as seen in the illustration above) The top layer is comprised of oils and grease, and it floats above the rest of the waste.
- Wastewater and waste particles are found in the intermediate layer of the wastewater system.
- Bacteria in the tank try their best to break down the solid waste, which then allows liquids to separate and drain away more readily from the tank.
- This is one of the reasons why a septic tank is considered to be a rudimentary type of sewage disposal.
The Step-by-step Process of How a Septic Tank Works
- 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.
Septic System Basics
When a household isn’t connected to a public sewage system, it normally relies on septic systems to treat and dispose of wastewater. Sewage treatment systems require a substantial financial commitment. The correct maintenance and upkeep of a well-designed, installed, and maintained system will provide years of dependable and low-cost service. The failure of a system can become a source of pollution and public health concern, resulting in property damage, ground and surfacewater pollution (such as contamination of well water used by you and your neighbors), and the spread of disease.
Aside from that, if you are planning to sell your property, your septic system has to be in good functioning order.
Septic systems are available in a variety of configurations to accommodate a wide range of soil and site conditions.
Understanding the major components of a typical (gravity-fed) septic system, as well as how to maintain it working properly and at the lowest possible cost, can help you make the best decision possible. A conventional septic tank system is composed of three major components:
- This is known as the Septic Tank. In order to remove particles from wastewater, store and partially decompose as much solid material as possible, while allowing the liquid (or effluent) to flow to the drainfield, a septic tank must be installed. more
- The Drainage System After the particles have settled in the septic tank, the liquid wastewater (also known as effluent) is released to the drainfield, which is also known as an absorption or leach field, or both. more
- The Soil is a very important factor. The soil under the drainfield is responsible for the ultimate treatment and disposal of the septic tank effluent once it has been treated. Following the passage of wastewater into the soil, organisms in the soil remediate the effluent before it percolates downward and outward, eventually entering ground or surface water sources. A drainfield’s efficacy is also affected by the kind of soil
- For example, clay soils may be too tight to allow much wastewater to run through, while gravelly soil may be too coarse to give much treatment.
- Septic System Inspection Done at Home In order to aid you in examining your system, a VideoField Guide and Checklist may be available at the bottom of the homepage.
Homeowners and residents have a significant impact on the functioning of their septic systems. Overloading the system with more water than it is capable of handling might result in system failure. A septic system can also be damaged by the improper disposal of chemicals or excess organic waste, such as that produced by a trash disposal. The following maintenance suggestions might assist you in ensuring that your system provides long-term, effective treatment of domestic waste.
Inspect and Pump Frequently
The most critical step in keeping your septic tank in good working order is to eliminate sludge and scum build-up before it may flow into the drainfield. The frequency with which your tank has to be pumped is determined by the size of the tank, the number of people in your family, the quantity of water utilized, and the amount of solids (from humans, garbage disposal, and any other waste) that enter the tank’s drainage system. Tanks should be pumped out on average every 3 to 5 years, depending on usage.
- Septic Inspection and Pumping Guide
- Inspecting Your Septic Tank
- Septic Inspection and Pumping Guide
Use Water Efficiently
System failure is frequently caused by an excessive amount of water. The soil beneath the septic system must be able to absorb all of the water that is used in the residence. Too much water from the washing machine, dishwasher, toilets, bathtubs, and showers may not provide enough time for sludge and scum to separate properly in the drain. The less water that is consumed, the less water that enters the septic system, reducing the likelihood of system failure. For further information on water conservation, visit:
- Indoor Water Conservation
- Every gallon of water conserved equates to a savings of $1.00.
Minimize Solid Waste Disposal
What you flush down the toilet can have a significant influence on the performance of your septic system. Many things do not breakdown properly, and as a result, they accumulate in your septic tank. If you have the option of disposing of it in another manner, do so rather than introducing it into your system.
Keep Chemicals Out of Your System
Protect your septic system against home chemicals such as caustic drain openers, paint and pesticides. Also avoid flushing down the toilet with chemicals such as brake fluid, gasoline, and motor oil. The improper dumping of dangerous substances down the drain is damaging to the environment, as well as the bacteria that are necessary for the breakdown of wastes in a septic system, and should be avoided.
Septic System Additives
It is not essential to add a stimulant or an enhancer to a septic tank in order to assist it in functioning or “to restore bacterial equilibrium.” The naturally occurring bacteria required for the proper operation of the septic system are already present in human excrement. Septic systems, like automobiles, are designed to offer long-term, effective treatment of residential waste if they are properly run and maintained on a regular basis. The majority of systems that fail prematurely, on the other hand, are the result of poor maintenance.
If you see any of the indicators listed below, or if you have reason to believe your septic system is experiencing issues, call a trained septic technician immediately. In the event that your septic system fails, call Thurston County Environmental Health at 360-867-2673 for assistance.
- Odors, surfacing sewage, wet spots, or a dense growth of vegetation in the drainfield area are all possible problems. Backups from the plumbing or septic tank (which are typically a dark liquid with a disagreeable odor)
- Fixtures that take a long time to drain
- The plumbing system is making gurgling sounds. Your drainfield may be failing if you have a well and tests reveal the presence of coliform (bacteria) or nitrates in the water from it. Even in the midst of a drought, the drainfield is covered with lush green grass.
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? 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?
Septic systems are considered unusual and out of date by many. Aseptic tanks are installed in as many as one in every five American households, with the number increasing in rural regions and small towns. One large underground tank that stores and processes waste may be found beneath the earth. Wastewater from restrooms, showers, dishes, and other sources may be securely disposed of by bringing it outdoors to a designated area. Septic tanks, as well as the technology that supports them, are placed beneath the surface of the earth.
It’s also important to locate them far enough away from wells to avoid the possibility of contaminating drinking water.
Polyethylene, for example, is used in some of the most recent versions, which are of higher quality.
They typically have a capacity of 1,000 to 1,500 gallons in capacity.
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:
- Designing a tank may be done in a variety of ways. Depending on the number of bedrooms, soil condition, lot size, and other criteria, a household may choose one over the other. A septic system may be classified into several categories, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The most prevalent are as follows:
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 area 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?
A huge metal or plastic box is typically what an underground septic tank seems to be from the outside. These septic systems may generally be distinguished by the characteristic inspection pipes located on top of the box, which are often covered with green covers to protect them. A few inspection pipes and a wider manhole cover for pumping are standard on most tanks. A vent pipe is used to expel the gases that have been accumulated. Above-ground septic tanks have a distinctive appearance that distinguishes them from their underground counterpart.
They are also commonly composed of fiberglass, polymers, or some other weather-resistant material, depending on the use.
A network of tiny, perforated pipes is connected to the outflow and extends into the soil of the drainfield.
How much water you use on a daily basis and the number of bedrooms will determine this.
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, 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.