How Is A Steel Septic Tank Made? (Solved)

  • The reinforcing steel is a mesh of 8 mm diameter reinforcing bars spaced 15 cms (6 inches) apart and built into a mesh box. Septic Tank Construction When casting the concrete shuttering (plywood formwork) is placed around the steel to form a box shaped mould ready to cast the concrete around the steel.

Can a septic tank be made of metal?

Types of Septic Tank Materials There are four major materials that septic tanks are manufactured with: concrete, steel, fiberglass, and plastic. Concrete has been the most widely used septic tank material since the 1880s. These tanks are durable enough to last for roughly 40 years.

Are steel septic tanks good?

Steel septic tanks are the least durable and least common septic tank option. They are designed to last no longer than 20-25 years and can start rusting sooner than that. Plastic septic tanks are also quite popular due to their durability and longevity.

How long do steel septic tanks last?

The life expectancy of a steel tank is shorter than a concrete one. Inspectapedia estimates that a steel tank baffles will rust out in 15 to 20 years and may collapse if driven over, but a concrete tank will last 40 years or more as long as the wastewater is not acidic.

What material is best for a septic tank?

The best choice is a precast concrete septic tank. Precast septic tanks hold many advantages over plastic, steel, or fiberglass tanks. This is why so many cities and towns actually require the use of concrete septic tanks.

What are new septic tanks made of?

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.

Are septic tanks made of concrete?

Modern septic tanks are made out of either industrial plastic or precast concrete. Some tanks are also made of fiberglass, though this material is uncommon in the United States. Concrete is inherently watertight, whereas plastic and fiberglass must undergo extra processes in order to hold water.

What are the 3 types of septic systems?

Types of Septic Systems

  • Septic Tank.
  • Conventional System.
  • Chamber System.
  • Drip Distribution System.
  • Aerobic Treatment Unit.
  • Mound Systems.
  • Recirculating Sand Filter System.
  • Evapotranspiration System.

Are septic tanks still legal?

Septic Tanks Explained… Septic tanks cannot discharge to surface water drains, rivers, canals, ditches, streams or any other type of waterway. you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.

How thick are steel septic tanks?

F. The top of the tank shall be constructed of reinforced concrete, at least four inches thick. G. When the tank is constructed of concrete, the walls and bottom shall be at least six inches thick and shall be adequately reinforced with steel or other approved material.

Do septic tanks have metal lids?

You can locate the lid of your septic tank by poking the ground every few feet with a metal probe. You can also use a metal detector, as most lids have a metal handle or fastener on them to keep the lid closed. Another reason you might not be able to find your lid is due to the depth it was buried.

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.

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 deep is a septic leach field?

A typical septic drain field (see Figure 1), also known as a leach field, is a series of perforated pipes that are set in trenches and buried with aggregates (½- to 2½-inch gravel or ½- to 4-inch rubber chips) and soil. These drain lines are at a minimum depth of 6 inches and are typically 18 to 36 inches wide.

How often do you pump a septic tank?

Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years. Alternative systems with electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be inspected more often, generally once a year.

Septic Tank Condition – How to Inspect Steel Septic Tanks

  • INSTRUCTIONS: SUBMIT A QUESTION OR COMMENTONSTEEL septic tanks: unique difficulties, inspection, installation, troubleshooting, repairs, age, and longevity

InspectAPedia does not allow any form of conflict of interest. The sponsors, goods, and services described on this website are not affiliated with us in any way. Steel septic tank warnings include the following: This paper outlines how to examine the state of a septic tank, with additional considerations for examining steel septic tanks being included in addition. Steel septic tanks are a critical component of onsite wastewater disposal systems, and they must be regularly inspected. Steels septic tank faults, life expectancy, specific issues, and repair procedures are discussed in detail.

For this topic, we also have anARTICLE INDEX available, or you may check the top or bottom of the page.

STEEL SEPTIC TANKS – Life Expectancy, What Breaks, What to Look For, How to Fix a Damaged or Leaky Steel Septic Tank or Tank Cover or Baffle

Steel septic tanks generally survive 20-25 years before rusting and collapsing due to corrosion. If you don’t do this, steel baffles may rust off, clogging the drain field with sludge, the tank top may become corroded and dangerous, or the tank bottom may have rusted through before the time limit. The steel septic tank baffle can be seen in the lower left corner of this photograph; did you notice that the top corners of the baffle have corroded away over time? The steel septic tank lid in this photograph had rusted through and was covered with brush and roughly two inches of earth, as depicted in the photograph.

Guide to Steel Septic Tank Maintenance and Repair

Make sure to keep surface and roof runoff away from steel septic tanks or any other type of septic tank, as well as other septic system components such as D-boxes and drainfields. When unwelcome water is allowed to enter the system, it increases the danger of drainfield collapse and the failure of the septic system. The steel septic tank in the photograph is not only too close to the home (as was customary at the time of its construction in the 1960s), but it is also too close to a roof drainage downspout, which is a safety hazard.

Special Hazard Warning for Steel Septic Tank Covers

Keep an eye out for: Steel tank covers that have rusted may be deadly! Covers that are rusted might collapse. As recently as December 1997, we have received reports of children and adults who have died as a result of this danger. In 2000, the author was consulted in the case of a death involving an adult who had fallen into a sanitary sewer. During a construction inspection, the author, although taking caution not to trip over a buried, rusted-through steel septic tank lid, was caught by surprise (shown in the photos above on this page).

This might be a steel septic tank that has collapsed, or it could be a steel access riser to a cesspool that has been constructed out of stones.

Furthermore, there was no secure cover.

Septic gases are very hazardous and can cause death within minutes of being exposed to them. Even leaning over an empty tank (that had just been pumped) has resulted in the collapse and death of a sewage pumper.

Special Problem with Rusted Off Baffles in Steel Septic Tanks – repair may be possible

Baffling issues with steel septic tanks: On a steel septic tank, the baffles at the inlet and exit are frequently rusted out and break off before the owner notices that the tank requires repair or replacement. It is on the right side of the manhole of this septic tank (picture at left). Solids are able to enter the soil absorption system as a result of this degradation. The steel septic tank baffle depicted in the photo above on this page has rusted away at the top, which can be seen in the bottom left of the tank top aperture in the photo above.

Should we repair a steel septic tank that has lost its baffles?

If a steel septic tank is otherwise in good condition, but its baffles have gotten broken or have been lost totally, placing a plastic tee into the intake and outlet waste lines may be a viable alternative solution. Baffling, or septic tank teeing, is used to prevent solid waste from flowing out of the tank into the drainfield, as well as to prevent waste flow into the tank from the building it serves from being blocked. For further information on this septic system component, please seeSEPTIC TANK TEES (PDF).

Here’s an example: this steel septic tank is still holding effluent, but its sides are crumbling and its baffles have been removed, and it is likely missing its protective septic tank cover.

Until the tank can be replaced, it should be cordoned off and kept out of reach of the public and employees.

Steel Septic Tank SideBottom Rust-Out, Leaks, Abnormal Sewage Levels

Steel tank bottoms rust away, allowing effluent to escape into the soils around the tank and, in certain cases, creating a big void in the tank at the time of testing, so causing a loading or dye test to be invalidated. Because steel tank tops can be replaced while the previous tank is still in place, the condition of the top itself is not a good predictor of the state of the tank in question. You may tell whether a steel septic tank has a leak if the bottom or lower sides are missing by observing that the amount of sewage in the septic tank is lower than the level of sewage in the outlet baffle or pipe for a septic tank that is currently in use and has not been pumped out.

Technical content contributors

In the event of corrosion of the steel tank bottom, effluent may escape into the surrounding soils. This may result in a high volume of void in the tank at the time of testing, which might interfere with a loading or dye test. The state of the steel tank top itself is not a good predictor of the condition of the tank since it may be replaced while the old tank is still in place. By noticing that the level of sewage in the septic tank is lower than that of the outlet baffle or pipe, you may be able to identify a leaky steel septic tank with a collapsed bottom or lower sides.

If the septic tank is still in use and has not yet been pumped out, this may indicate that the bottom or lower sides are collapsed. SEPTIC TANK LEVELS OF SEWAGE contains further information.

  • In addition to being a trained ASHI home inspector, a Licensed Pesticide Applicator, a BPI Building Analyst, and an Envelope Professional with 18 years of house inspection experience, Lawrence Transue is also a Pennsylvania building scientist and consultant. Lawrence Transue may be reached at the following numbers: 610.417.0763 and by email:[email protected] His WEB SITE and FACEBOOK pages are also worth checking out.

Reader CommentsQ A

Lola Thank you for taking the time to leave such a valuable remark. When you have your septic tank pumped, you may want to have a professional evaluate the baffles and the tank itself to ensure that they are in good working order. Considering the age of the tank, it would not be surprising if the baffles and even the sides and bottom of the tank had not rusted away by now @ Crystal, Yes, this is a possibility. On our steel septic tank, which was built in 1960, we have a concrete lid. It is still operational.

  1. Crystal Anything is conceivable when it comes to the variety of things that individuals do to and with their structures, but it would be odd to find a concrete cover on a metal septic tank.
  2. Be cautious if you notice signs that the septic tank lid is tipping, settling, breaking, or collapsing; this is a very dangerous and potentially fatal hazard (if someone falls into the tank).
  3. Hello, we have a concrete cover on our septic tank that we would like to remove.
  4. Is it feasible to install a concrete cover on top of a metal septic tank?.
  5. Alternatively, consider the following:

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ASSESSMENT OF SEPTIC TANKS, STEEL An online encyclopedia of building environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, and issue preventive information is available at Alternatively, have a look at this.


Steel Septic Tanks ( An online encyclopedia of building and environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, and issue avoidance guidance is available at Alternatively, take a look at the following:

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4 Types of Septic Tanks – HomeAdvisor

The characteristics of each type of septic tank are crucial to understand whether you’re deciding which type of tank to use in conjunction with your septic system or solving a problem with your existing tank. Each installation option has its own set of pros and limitations, just like any other installation. Knowing the relative advantages and disadvantages of each option will assist you in making the right selection while establishing, repairing, or replacing your septic tank. Please keep in mind that most of these issues are the consequence of improper septic maintenance or installation.

The cost of an inspection might vary significantly based on a variety of criteria. Make an appointment with a professional to obtain an exact estimate for septic tank inspection costs.

  • Solid Waste Container— Solid waste containers made of concrete are prone to cracking and even separation. These fissures, which are usually extremely durable for several decades, might appear sooner if a poor quality concrete mix was used or if the septic system has not been adequately maintained. These gaps will allow effluence (waste) to leak out of the concrete septic tank and/or allow groundwater to seep in through the tank’s drainage system. Either scenario is undesirable. The system may get clogged as a result of a blockage. Runoff is harmful, but it will not be discovered by a typical dye test since it is invisible. If a concrete septic tank is not physically inspected, it is possible that the problem will not be discovered until it is too late and major difficulties have developed. Tanks made of steel are the least long-lasting and most unpopular of the available tank options. They are intended to survive no more than 20-25 years, although they can succumb to rust even earlier than that. Steel top covers have the potential to rust through, allowing an unwary individual to fall into the tank. It is possible to change these covers without having to replace the complete tank. If you’re purchasing a property or already live in one that has a steel septic tank cover, personally viewing the cover will not necessarily provide you a clear indicator of the general state of your tank in the long run. As with any septic tank, pay particular attention to the baffles (entry and exit points) because they are the first to corrode in most cases. Fiberglass/Plastic Septic Tank—Unlike steel and concrete septic tanks, plastic septic tanks are virtually immune to the corrosion and cracking that occurs in steel and concrete septic tanks. Nonetheless, they have their own set of difficulties that should be kept an eye out for. In some cases, a low effluent level might indicate that a blockage at the bottom of the tank has gotten dislodged. Pumping should be performed even if the effluent level seems to be normal throughout the process
  • Nevertheless, any clogs should be carefully checked after the pumping. It is possible that the process of pumping a septic tank will be sufficient to remove a clog.
  • In spite of the fact that plastic septic tanks are more resistant to the chemical processes that occur naturally in a septic system, their lower weight makes them more prone to structural damage. It is necessary to install the tank with care in order to avoid damage to the tank. It is important to take careful notice of the land above the tank. Avoid driving any vehicles over the tank’s filling station. During periods of wet soil, the lighter can also cause the tank to shift in its position in the ground. Occasionally, a plastic septic tank may emerge from the earth, destroying pipes along the way.
  • Using oxygen to help in the degradation of the effluent is what aerobic septic tanks are all about, according to the manufacturer. They also necessitate the use of power. When a septic system fails, aerobic septic tanks are most frequently utilized to replace it. They can also, on occasion, minimize the amount of space necessary for their drain field. Aerobic septic tanks are generally two to three times more expensive than conventional septic tanks, but their high efficiency can result in significant savings in terms of reclaimed land in the drain field and a longer tank life. The capacity of an aerobic septic tank to function has nothing to do with its long-term dependability. A more regular and more thorough maintenance schedule is required for an aerobic septic system. Because of its more intricate breakdown structure, there is a greater possibility that something may go wrong. However, if the system is properly maintained, its effectiveness will allow you to keep your effluent under control for an almost unlimited period of time.
  • Important Caution: Exercise extra caution when in the vicinity of open or uncovered sewage tanks. Falling into a sewage tank will almost always result in death due to asphyxiation. The simple act of leaning over a septic tank might lead you to pass out.
See also:  How To Get Rid Of Septic Tank Smell In An Rv? (Solved)

Our True Cost Report gathers information from homeowners on the expenses of small and big capacity septic systems. Use this resource while planning your installation project’s financial budget.

4 Types of Septic Tank Materials

1 minute is allotted for reading A septic tank is a tank that collects sewage and treats it through bacterial decomposition. Septic tanks are often buried underground. A decent septic tank is essential for a successful septic system, and the quality of the tank is determined by the type of material utilized in its construction. To choose a decent septic tank, it is necessary to be familiar with the many types of septic tank materials, as well as their pros and disadvantages, which are briefly discussed below.

  1. Septic tanks are available in a variety of materials, including concrete, steel, plastic, and fiberglass.

1. Concrete Septic Tank

Concrete septic tanks are large and heavy, and they are often pre-cast to make installation easier. The specific gravity of these precast concrete tanks is around 2.40, which makes them sturdy enough to withstand the buoyant forces that occur when they are put in the ground. In addition, their strength progressively grows over time. Concrete septic tanks are classified into two varieties depending on their structural configuration: single structure tanks and all-in-one systems. Single structure tanks are the most common form of concrete septic tank.

Some of the benefits and drawbacks of precast concrete septic tanks are discussed in further detail below.


  • The enormous weight of concrete septic tanks means that they will not float if the water table is close to the tank level. Concrete septic tanks have a very long life cycle, and they may last for several decades if properly maintained. They are sturdy enough to withstand heavy machinery and are not readily destroyed. They are resistant to corrosion.


  • When compared to other types of tank materials, it is more expensive. When something is damaged, it is difficult to fix. The transportation and installation of pre-cast concrete septic tanks necessitates the use of large equipment, making the process more complicated. The use of a low-quality concrete mix results in the formation of fissures, which allow the effluent to escape.

2. Steel Septic Tanks

Steel septic tanks are constructed of steel and are the least common nowadays due to the high cost and short lifespan of the tanks. Compared to other types of materials, steel septic tanks have the greatest potential for deterioration, which makes them the most problematic. If the top section of a steel septic tank becomes rusted, it will be unable to withstand any weights placed on top of it and will collapse at any time without warning. As a result, caution should be exercised when checking steel septic tanks.



  • The considerable weight of steel septic tanks ensures that they will not float when the water table is close to the tank. In addition, they have strong resistance to buoyant forces


  • Due to the ease with which steel corrodes, the lifespan of steel tanks is significantly reduced when compared to alternative septic tank materials. A high price for a low level of durability The removal of rusted steel septic tanks from the earth is a difficult task. Their deteriorating condition may put them in potentially unsafe circumstances.

Fig. 3: Corroded steel sewage treatment tank

3. Plastic Septic Tanks

They are also known as poly septic tanks since they are made of polyethylene plastic, which is the material from which they are composed of. Because they are lighter in weight and rustproof than concrete and steel septic tanks, they are an excellent alternative to these materials. Plastic septic tanks are less cumbersome to carry and install because of their reduced weight. Plastic septic tanks have specific gravities in the range of 0.97 to 0.98, which is lower than the specific gravity of water, causing the tank to float when the water table is close to it.

The following are some of the pros and downsides of using plastic septic tanks. Figure 4: Septic Tank Made of Plastic


  • When compared to other types of septic tank materials, plastic septic tanks are more cost-effective. They are simple to handle and install
  • They are chemically resistant
  • And they are lightweight. Abrasion and corrosion resistance
  • Good resistance to breaking


  • When the water table is close to the tank bottom, it may push the tank higher, causing plastic septic tanks to float as a result of the weight of the water in the tank. They are susceptible to harm when exposed to extreme circumstances
  • Heavy weights should not be placed or moved over the plastic septic tank since this may cause it to distort and change its shape, which may eventually result in the tank exploding owing to the high pressure within.

4. Fiberglass Septic Tank

Using fiber reinforced polymers, fiberglass septic tanks are manufactured (FRP). They are similar in appearance to plastic septic tanks, but the addition of glass fiber reinforcement makes them far stronger than plastic tanks. They are also rather light in weight and simple to move around. A consequence of the tank’s decreased weight is the possibility of it floating or moving, which may be avoided by properly securing the tank to the ground. Some of the pros and disadvantages of fiberglass septic tanks are as follows: They are lightweight, durable, and cost-effective.

5: Septic Tank Made of Fiberglass


  • Septic tanks made of concrete and steel are more expensive. When opposed to plastic septic tanks, concrete septic tanks have more robustness. High durability
  • Corrosion resistance
  • And watertightness.


  • In the same way that plastic septic tanks are unable to withstand buoyant pressures, fiberglass septic tanks will float or move when the water table is brought closer to them.

More information may be found at:Septic Tank – Components and Design of Septic Tank Depending on the Number of People

5 Types of Septic Tanks

To view the infographic, please click on the banner picture. Submitted by: First Supply Modern plumbing contributes significantly to the improvement of our quality of life and the prevention of the spread of disease. Systematic delivery of safe drinking water as well as the removal of sewage and wastewater are provided by plumbing. When it comes to draining wastewater from residential and commercial buildings, there are two options. Structures will be connected to municipal sewer lines or will be equipped with a septic system.

Compared to rural homes, sewer lines are more widespread in urban areas, and septic tanks are more common outside of city borders on rural properties.

Parts of a Septic System

When it comes to making a septic system operate, there are two key components to consider: a septic tank and a drainfield. A septic tank is a waterproof box with inlet and exit pipes that is used to treat sewage. Wastewater is channeled into a septic tank, where it is allowed to sit for long enough for sediments and liquids to separate into three distinct levels. The top layer is generated when materials that are lighter than water (such as oil and grease) float to the surface and deposit a layer of scum on the surface.

Sludge forms on the bottom of the tank when particles that are heavier than water sink to the bottom of the tank and combine to form a layer.

All of the solids in the tank that can’t be broken down any further remain in the tank until it is pumped out, lowering the amount of space available in the tank as a result.

Upon leaving the tank, this liquid is transported to a drainfield (also known as a soil absorption field), where it is filtered via gravel and dirt.

Septic System Advantages

Septic systems may be preferred for a variety of reasons by certain people. Given the fact that septic systems process and dispose of residential waste water on-site, they are a more cost-effective choice in rural locations where properties are often bigger and residences are more widely spaced apart. Because septic systems do not necessitate the construction of miles of sewage lines, they are less expensive to build than conventional systems. Septic systems, on the other hand, need regular maintenance and a dedication to their optimal operation.

People should assess whether they would prefer the convenience of use and higher expense of sewer lines over the additional responsibility and cheaper total cost associated with septic systems, if there is a choice available, which is not always the case.

Septic Tank Types

Septic tanks constructed from a variety of materials have differing degrees of strength and longevity. Here is a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of the most prevalent types of septic tanks.

A Clear Choice?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a septic tank that is one size fits all in the world. The best type of septic tank for one circumstance may not be the best type of septic tank for another one. The pros and drawbacks described in this article should assist anybody contemplating a septic system in making an educated decision about their options. For dependable information, tools, and supplies, go no farther than First Supply.

Steel Septic Tanks: History and Information for Homeowners

Steel septic tanks may be found in many older properties. Learn all you need to know about steel septic tanks so that you can properly care for your home’s septic system in the future. 11.14.2018 In some cases, having your home linked to a private sewer system rather than the public sewer system might be advantageous. Although you are directly responsible for the septic tank and system that is installed underground on your property, it is important that you as a homeowner educate yourself on the subject of septic tanks and systems.

Steel septic tanks, which were one of the first types of septic tanks to be used in contemporary septic systems, have been in production for a long time and are still in use today.

Examine what you need know about steel septic tanks in order to effectively care for your private septic system in this article.

History of Steel Septic Tanks

For about 3,000 years, residential sanitation has been a constantly changing concept, yet the first septic tanks were not invented until the 1940s. The originals were most typically made of concrete that was poured into wooden shapes that were set in the ground before being painted. Around 1940, a workable standard for septic tanks became popular in most locations, prompting the development of precast metal tanks not long afterwards. Most people referred to these first steel tanks as dickey tanks because they were similar in size to 500-gallon steel drums that came with a top or cover attached to them.

Lifespan of Steel Septic Tanks

There is a solid reason why most modern homes are built with septic tanks composed of concrete, fiberglass, or other materials rather than natural stone. Steel septic tanks do not have a particularly lengthy lifespan when compared to other types of tanks since they are the least robust of the options available. The average lifespan of a steel septic tank is 20-25 years, and many of them fail much before that. Much if the tank itself is in good condition, steel septic tanks are often equipped with a steel lid, which can degrade at a pace that is even quicker than the tank itself.

In fact, the steel lids have deteriorated to the point that standing over the septic tank would put you in danger of falling through.

Common Problems With Steel Septic Tanks

Another reason steel septic tanks are not as popular as they once were in modern times is the fact that they are more prone to malfunctioning. The corrosion of steel tanks is far faster than that of their equivalents composed of other materials, as previously stated. If the steel septic tank on your property was erected more than 30 years ago, it is likely to be riddled with cracks and holes. Steel tanks can also be troublesome for a variety of reasons, including:

  • They are susceptible to rusting, which can result in holes and problems with collapse
  • In the subterranean, they might be vulnerable to tree root damage. Because of their poor state, they might be difficult to remove once they have failed. They may need to be pumped more often in order to avoid damage to the tank.
See also:  What Happens If Septic Tank Gets Full Of Liquids? (Solved)

Because of septic systems, towns in Webster County, Missouri, have had serious problems with ground contamination for several years. One of the unique concerns with the septic systems in the region was the presence of leaking steel septic tanks. It became necessary to do soil analyses with every new tank installation in 2015 since the situation had gotten so terrible. If your older house is equipped with a steel septic tank, you will need to be extra vigilant in keeping it in good condition and on the lookout for indicators of trouble.

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Steel Underground Septic Tanks

Greer is a manufacturer of underground septic tanks made of strong steel. Our steel septic tanks have two compartments and may be buriable to a depth of ten feet in the ground. Septic tanks made of steel may be purchased from us in a variety of sizes that vary from 500-gallon to 12,000-gallon, with the majority of residential tanks falling between the 1,000-gallon and the 2,500-gallon range. Click on the link below to see the complete variety of sizes available, or call 1-800-725-8108 to speak with a representative about your needs.

Steel Underground Septic Tanks Product Details

  • Buriable up to 10 feet in height
  • Durable steel construction
  • Dual compartments
Steel Septic Tanks:
Nominal Gallons GA DIA Length Weight
500 12 46″ 73″ 420
750 12 58″ 73″ 624
1,000 12 58″ 8′ 860
1,250 12 58″ 10′ 1,000
1,500 12 58″ 12′ 1,084
1,750 10 58″ 15′ 1,543
2,000 10 58″ 16′ 1,629
2,000 (2) 3/16″ 76″ 10′ 2,331
2,500 (2) 3/16″ 64″ 17′ 2,650
3,000 (2) 3/16″ 76″ 15′ 3,120
3,500 (2) 3/16″ 76″ 17′ 3,425
4,000 (2) 3/16″ 76″ 19′ 3,725
4,000 (2) 1/4″ 84″ 15′ 4,870
5,000 (2) 1/4″ 84″ 19′ 5,900
6,000 (2) 1/4″ 84″ 23′ 6,665
7,000 (2) 1/4″ 84″ 27′ 7,435
8,000 (2) 1/4″ 84″ 31′ 8,460
10,000 (2) 1/4″ 84″ 39′ 9,995
12,000 (2) 1/4″ 84″ 43′ 11,800

Evolution Of The Septic System

In the beginning, when man desired some solitude and shelter from the weather while performing his “chores,” he dug a hole in the ground, lined it with stone, brick, wood, or any other available material, and erected a “outhouse” on top of it. Gravity was responsible for transporting the garbage to its final resting spot. Eventually, if the hole became too large, the outhouse was relocated to a new place. With the creation of the flush toilet by Thomas Crapper, man was finally able to do his household responsibilities in the comfort of his own home.

  1. He connected the pipe to the pit that supplied the outhouse and covered the hole to keep the odor under control and to prevent the neighbor’s dogs and children from falling into the pit and drowning.
  2. It soon became apparent that thecesspoolcouldn’t always manage the additional strain caused by the wastewater in addition to the garbage.
  3. The term “septic tank” was used to describe this treatment chamber.
  4. Because it was the component of the system that returned “clarified” wastewater to the earth, the old pit remained in place.
  5. Because of extensive use, bad soil conditions, the age of the system, or any combination of the foregoing, the drywell may get blocked from time to time.
  6. It is common practice to build a second (or third, or fourth) drywell following a first drywell in order to expand the soil absorption area.
  7. In later years, as mankind grew more concerned with safeguarding the environment, it was discovered that many septic systems were installed too deeply into the earth.
  8. According to New Hampshire laws, any leaching element of a septic system (the part that returns water to the earth) must be at least four feet above the seasonal high-water table in order to function properly.
  9. Around the same time, the majority of installers made the changeover from the old-fashioned steel septic tanks to the newer, presumably more durable concrete septic tanks (shown here).
  10. To bring wastewater up to thesemound systems, it is now necessary to build pumps in many situations.
  11. The likelihood is that you have a blueprint accessible that shows you the sort of system you have and its location if you have a reasonably new system that incorporates one of these current advancements.

Using the Troubleshooting Guide that comes with the system should assist you in determining what sort of system you have and also what is wrong with it if you are experiencing a problem. Good luck, and go to work on troubleshooting.

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.
  • 4.
  • 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

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.

What is Septic Tank?- Types and How does it Work!

It is an underground chamber constructed of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic, through which residential wastewater (sewage) runs for the purpose of basic treatment. The treatment effectiveness of settling and anaerobic processes is modest, but the amount of sediments and organics reduced is significant. Septic tank systems are a sort of onsite sewage treatment system that is basic in design (OSSF). They may be utilized in locations that are not linked to a sewage system, such as rural regions, and are thus less expensive.

See also:  Who Does Septic Tank Inspections? (Correct answer)

Groundwater contamination, on the other hand, is possible and can be a concern.

The word “septic tank” refers to this type of bacterial habitat.

The buildup of sludge, also known as septage or fecal sludge, occurs at a pace that is quicker than the rate of decomposition. As a result, the collected fecal sludge must be evacuated on a regular basis, which is generally accomplished using a vacuum truck.

Septic Tank Construction

A septic tank is made up of one or more concrete or plastic tanks that hold between 4000 and 7500 liters (1,000 and 2,000 gallons). One end of the tank is linked to a wastewater inflow pipe, while the other end is connected to a septic drain field, depending on the size of the tank. In most cases, these pipe connections are created with a T pipe, which allows liquid to enter and depart without disturbing any crust that may have formed on the top. Nowadays, the tank is often divided into two chambers, each of which has an access entrance and cover, and which are separated by a separating wall with apertures situated approximately halfway between the tank’s floor and ceiling, as seen in the illustration.

  • The anaerobic digestion of the settled solids results in a reduction in the volume of solids.
  • The surplus liquid, which is now in a reasonably clear state, then flows out the outlet into the septic drain field, which may be referred to as a leach field, drain field, or seepage field, depending on the region in which you live.
  • Excess water is expelled by percolation into the soil, evaporation, and absorption by plants’ root systems, which results in transpiration or entry into groundwater or surface water.
  • The pipe network is often constructed in a stone-filled trench (see weeping tile).
  • The complete septic system can be operated only by gravity, or it can be supplemented with a lift pump if topographic factors necessitate its installation.
  • It is possible to make a difference in the distribution of water in the drainage pipe, as well as the life of the drainage field, by preventing early clogging or bio-clogging.
  • This keeps digested sludge from being mixed with incoming sewage.

An odorless septic system is one that has been correctly built and is typically working. Septic tanks, aside from annual inspection and emptying, should endure for decades with minimum maintenance; concrete, fiberglass, and plastic tanks have a life expectancy of around 50 years.

Septic tank diagram

Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata. The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.

Types of Septic Tank

Septic tanks constructed from a variety of materials have differing degrees of strength and longevity. Here is a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of the most prevalent types of septic tanks.

1. Concrete septic tanks.

These sturdy tanks will normally survive for several decades. If the concrete breaks, however, this sort of tank may allow waste to leak out while also allowing groundwater to seep into the tank itself. The obstruction that can form in a concrete septic tank when a backlog occurs can have an influence on the discharge of water.

2. Steel septic tanks.

Even though steel is a strong and durable material, septic tanks built of steel have a lifespan of just 25 years before they begin to deteriorate. In order to mitigate this risk, steel septic tanks are less commonly used in residential settings. When corrosion begins to form on the roof of a steel tank, the tank’s structural integrity may be compromised, making it incapable of supporting the weight of the surrounding earth. It is possible that an animal or a human will fall into the tank if this occurs.

Property owners should keep an eye out for rust development on the baffles at the entrance and exit points.

3. Fiberglass septic tanks.

Even though steel is a strong and durable material, septic tanks built of steel have a lifespan of about 25 years before they begin to corrode. As a result, homeowners are less likely to choose for steel septic tanks as an option. When corrosion begins to form on the roof of a steel tank, the tank’s structural integrity may be compromised, making it incapable of supporting the weight of the surrounding earth. An animal or a human might be sucked into the tank if something like this happens. If the remainder of the tank is physically solid, it may be possible to change the cover of a steel tank to save money.

4. Plastic septic tanks.

Plastic tanks are long-lasting, lightweight, and economical compared to other materials. When opposed to concrete septic tanks, plastic septic tanks will not corrode and will be less prone to breaking. These tanks are extremely lightweight, which makes them simple to set up. However, because they are so light, they are susceptible to damage during the installation process. Furthermore, if plastic tanks are not fitted correctly, they may float to the surface of the water.

5. Aerobic septic tanks.

These tanks are powered by electricity and are frequently used in situations when other tanks on a property have failed to function properly. Compared to other types of septic tanks, aerobic tanks are up to three times more expensive; however, they are more effective and need smaller drain fields, which can be a significant benefit for smaller properties.

Maintenance on these tanks must be performed on a more frequent basis, although they can endure for many years.

How does a septic tank work?

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. Pumping the tank on a regular basis removes sludge and scum from the tank, which helps to keep the aseptic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and professionally built septic system to last for decades or fail in a matter of months or years.

It is said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment.” This is certainly true in this case.

Understanding how a septic system works and how it might fail is the first step in doing proper maintenance.

After that, I’ll explain why things go wrong and offer you some tips on how to keep your system in peak operating condition.

Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria

Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, allowing the water to become clean enough to safely trickle down into the ground. 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. All garbage is channeled into the septic tank. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, which is referred to as “effluent.” As soon as the organic material in the effluent is exposed to anaerobic bacteria, it begins to break down. A layer of sludge accumulates at the bottom of the container. It is made up of inorganic particles and the waste products produced during bacterial digestion. A layer of scum rises to the surface of the water. Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances. The septic tank functions in the same way as a settling pond. Grease and oils float to the surface of the water. Solids with a higher density sink to the bottom. The majority of particles are prevented from entering the exit pipe by a filter. The effluent is sent to the drain field. In addition to providing a vast area where bacteria can grow, the drain septic field also allows treated water to seep into the earth. In the drain septic field pipe, there are holes that enable effluent to seep into the surrounding gravel. It is possible for water to seep into the soil and oxygen to reach microorganisms when gravel surrounds pipes. Biological breakdown of trash by aerobic bacteria in gravel and soil is complete. Clean water penetrates into the groundwater and aquifer below the surface.

Septic Tank Clean Out

The sludge and scum in an aseptic system that has been correctly built and installed will simply require occasional’pumping’ to remove it from the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you might end up doing something that would injure or ruin 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.

How Often Should a Septic Tank be Pumped?

Certain that each septic tank is custom-sized based on the residence and local requirements, it’s difficult to predict how frequently a given septic tank will need to be pumped in general. However, it is recommended that you have your septic tank inspected by sewage specialists every three years or sooner, and that you have it pumped every five years or fewer, depending on the size of your tank, the number of people living in the home, and their habits. If you have recently acquired a property with a septic system, you should get it evaluated by a professional as soon as possible.

How Much Does It Cost to Pump a Septic Tank?

According to national and regional statistics, a homeowner may expect to spend anywhere between $200 and $600 every time their septic tank is pumped, while the exact amount will vary depending on the firm, the size of the tank, and other variables. As an example, if you pump your septic tank every five years at a cost of $300, you would only pay $60 per year to manage your sewage, which is less than the cost of sewage management when living in an ordinary apartment building. The size of your septic tank will have an impact on the cost of cleaning.

Due to the fact that larger septic tanks do not require pumping as frequently as smaller ones, the size of your septic tank will also influence the length of time you may go between cleanings.

The majority of tanks rely on gravity to function. Sloped pipes transport wastewater from your home to a holding tank that is buried in the ground outside your property. The water is then transported from the holding tank to a drainage field.

Signs Your Septic Tank is Getting Full

Homeowners are frequently concerned about when their septic tank will be completely full, and with good reason. In the event that you wait too long or fail to notice the warning signals, your sign may be the worst and most evident one of all: a sewage backlog. Other signals that your tank is getting close to capacity are listed below:

  • Strong scents emanating from drain pipes such as those in the sink, dishwasher, or washing machine
  • After diagnosing and attempting repairs, the emptying of pipes becomes chronically sluggish. Water accumulating near the septic tank installation site in your yard. The presence of lush green grass at the sewage tank site (which is more nutritious than typical grass)

Homeowner Tip: During periods of heavy rain, the septic tank might actually fill up, giving the impression that you have a problem when, in fact, the water simply needs to drain over time.

How Are Septic Tanks Pumped?

When you hire a firm to pump your septic tank, they will most likely arrive in a huge truck with a massive tank of water. Once the septic tank is opened, a large suction line is attached to the truck, which essentially suckers up all of the waste from the septic tank. That sewage is pumped out and kept in their truck, after which it is transferred to a sewage treatment facility and managed securely.

How to Maintain a Septic Tank

When properly maintained and repaired, a septic tank can endure for forty years or longer and continue to operate without interruption. However, if you do not maintain it, you may ultimately face sewage backups in your house, above ground, or in your groundwater sources, which can be both dangerous and expensive to repair if not done immediately. You will almost always need to replace the whole septic tank after the toxic sewage has been extracted, which can cost upwards of $10,000. Septic tank treatment solutions, such as Rid-X, that may be flushed down toilets to aid in the breakdown of the material in your septic tank are also available for purchase.

When in doubt, consult with your plumber to find out which products they recommend for routine maintenance and how to use them effectively.

Pro-Tip: Contrary to common belief, if you own rental properties or are concerned about solid objects being flushed down your drains or toilet, you should not use a garbage disposal.

However, it is recommended that you check with a skilled plumber for precise guidance on your particular application.

Important Maintenance Tips for Your Septic Tank

  • Have the tank examined and pumped on a regular basis, at least once every few years. It is important not to overuse water (since septic tanks might fill up or overflow with greywater while being treated)
  • Invest in energy-efficient fixtures and appliances such as high-efficiency toilets, faucets, showerheads, and dishwashers. Except for human waste and toilet paper, nothing else should be flushed down the toilet. Consider putting kid locks on toilets to keep children safe. Stay away from pouring excessive chemicals and cooking oils down the sink (they harm the organisms in the tank that break down the waste)
  • And Chemical pipe drain cleaners should be used in moderation or not at all.

How to Clean a Septic Tank Naturally

Some individuals choose to manage their septic tanks in a more hands-on and natural manner, rather than using chemicals. It is less dangerous to use a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and lemon to clean your pipes than it is to pour harsh chemical cleaners down your drain, and it will not destroy all of the natural bacteria that are essential for breaking down the waste in your tank like bleach. More information can be found at

  • How Your Septic System Works
  • Septic Tank Pumping: The Ultimate Homeowner’s Guide
  • How Does Your Septic System Work? Septic Tank Maintenance: How to Clean and Maintain It
  • What is an Aerobic Septic System and how does it work?

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