On average, it takes up to 5 years for a regular, on-lot septic tank to fill up. However, this is a very subjective answer. This also depends on how much waste you produce (lifestyle), the tank’s size, amount of solids in the wastewater stream, water usage in the house, and more.
- The short answer is that a septic system can last anywhere from 15 to 40 years. The reason that it’s such a wide range is because there are many different factors that determine the life expectancy of a septic tank.
How long does a chamber septic system last?
Leaching chambers are reliable, do not have moving parts, and need little maintenance to function properly. They are usually made of plastic materials, with a useful life of 20 years or more in contrast to the average useful life of a drainfield of 15 years, with a maximum of 20 to 25 years.
What is the benefit of a 2 compartment septic tank?
Two-compartment tanks are a cost-saving option, if you are installing a new tank. Access risers are installed on the septic tank. They help owners and inspectors easily locate the tank, and they provide access for maintenance and repair. They also avoid the need to repeatedly dig up the lawn for routine inspections.
How do you know when to change septic tank?
5 Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Septic System
- Age of the System. It’s pretty common for a septic system to last 40 years or longer, which means if you buy a new home, you might never need to replace it.
- You’ve Outgrown the System.
- Slow Drains.
- Standing Water in the Yard.
- Nearby Contaminated Water Sources.
How long should septic tanks last?
Because it is expensive to replace a septic system, proper maintenance is important. The more proactive you are in maintaining your system, the longer it will last. In fact, septic tanks can last as long as 30 years or more.
Can a septic system last forever?
How long does a septic system last? On average, a new septic system will last for 20-30 years. Soil quality – the quality of soil will determine how durable your septic tank is. For instance, acidic groundwater can corrode a concrete septic tank.
How do I know if my drain field is failing?
The following are a few common signs of leach field failure:
- Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard.
- The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water.
- Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.
- Slow running drains or backed up plumbing.
Which is better one compartment or two compartment septic tank?
Some experts believe that a dual compartment septic tank does a better job of settling solids than a single compartment septic tank. A dual compartment septic tank has two compartments. The first is usually longer, about twice as large as the second compartment.
Can you put two septic tanks together?
Yes, and the reason a second tank and drainfield is necessary usually has nothing to do with providing additional gallons of tank capacity. Also, it is now possible to install a buried holding tank and electric pump, called a “grinder pump,” to extend the range of the drain line as an alternative to a second tank.
What is the number of compartment required for the septic tank?
2. The tank should be divided into two compartments. The first should be twice as big as the second. There is hole in the separating wall which allows liquid to flow through but not scum or sludge.
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 is the most common cause of septic system failure?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
Can I shower if my septic tank is full?
Only the water would get out into the leach field in a proper system unless you run too much water too fast. The thing to do is to run your shower water outside into it’s own drain area, but it may not be allowed where you are. Used to be called gray water system.
Does heavy rain affect septic tank?
It is common to have a septic back up after or even during a heavy rain. Significant rainfall can quickly flood the ground around the soil absorption area (drainfield) leaving it saturated, making it impossible for water to flow out of your septic system.
Can a septic tank never be pumped?
What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.
What will ruin a septic system?
Any paper products like tissues, paper towels, tampons, or sanitary products, even some heavier toilet paper, will clog your system if you flush enough of it. Wet wipes are another product that you should never flush into a septic system.
Septic Tank Pumping
Septic tanks are used in the vast majority of on-lot sewage systems nowadays. The subject of how frequently a septic tank should be pumped has been a source of contention for several decades. For example, there are some homeowners who say they have never drained their septic tank and that it “appears” to be in fine working condition. While trying to establish a standard pumping strategy, authorities have taken a more conservative approach and have declared that all septic tanks should be pump out every two to three years.
How a Septic Tank Works
Box 1.Can you tell me how much solid trash you generate? The average adult consumes around one quart of food every day. The body removes just a very little percentage of this meal and utilizes it to provide energy for the body’s functions. The remaining portion is discharged into the waste water system. This translates into around 90 gallons of solid waste being discharged into the septic tank per adult each year. Based on the assumption that the anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank reduce the waste volume by around 60%, this indicates that each adult contributes approximately 60 gallons of solids to their septic tank each year.
Consequently, it will take around 5 years for one adult to completely fill a 1,000-gallon septic tank with sludge and scum, which is approximately 300 gallons.
- It is simple to infer that a septic tank should be pumped every two to three years after accounting for adults who work outside the home for a third of the time and children who attend school after making these modifications to the study.
- Single chamber septic tanks were the most common type of septic tank until recently.
- Septic tanks are designed to aid the removal of particles that are heavier than water by encouraging these heavy particles to settle to the tank bottom, resulting in the formation of the sludge layer.
- It is also designed to keep particles that are lighter than water by encouraging these lighter particles to float to the surface and be maintained in the tank, resulting in a layer of scum on the surface of the tank.
In part, this is due to the fact that the temperature of the septic tank is equal to that of the soil surrounding it, and the anaerobic bacteria require higher temperatures in order to effectively decompose organic material in wastewater and thus reduce the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the wastewater.
- Holding on to the heavy (settleable) and lighter (floatable) particles allows the septic tank to gently fill with solids from the bottom up as well as from the top down.
- Septic tanks with an exit filter will catch and decrease the flow of solids into the absorption area when the tank is properly designed and installed.
- As a result, it is critical that every septic tank be pumped on a regular basis to eliminate the organic particles that have been collected and partially digested.
- Small amounts of the particles kept in the tank degrade, but the vast majority of the solids stay and build up in the tank.
- Under no circumstances should you enter a septic tank.
- With continued usage of the on-lot wastewater disposal system, an accumulation of sludge and scum builds up in the septic tank.
- As the amount of sludge and scum in the tank fills up, wastewater is maintained in the tank for a shorter period of time, and the solids removal process becomes less efficient as a result.
It is necessary to pump the tank on a regular basis in order to avoid this. Asseptage is the term used to describe the substance injected. Cross-sectional view of a two-chamber septic tank (Figure 1).
|Number of bedrooms in the home||Estimated daily flow (gallons/day)||Minimum septic tank size (gallons)|
How Frequent should a Septic Tank be Pumped?
Pumping frequency is determined by a number of parameters, including:
- The capacity of the septic tank
- The amount of wastewater that is put to the septic tank each day (see Table 1)
- The amount of solids in a wastewater stream is measured. In this regard, it should be noted that there are various different types of particles that are regularly dumped into a septic system. This group of solids includes (1) biodegradable “organic” solids such as feces (see Box 1), (2) slowly biodegradable “organic” solids such as toilet paper and cellulosic compounds, which take a long time to biodegrade in the septic tank, and (3) non-biodegradable solids such as kitty litter, plastics, and other non-biodegradable materials, which do not biodegrade and quickly fill the septic tank It is possible to significantly reduce the quantity of slowly biodegradable organics and non-biodegradable trash that is introduced to your septic tank by reducing the amount of organic waste that is added to the tank.
Another factor that influences how soon a septic tank will fill with solids is one’s way of living. In terms of septic tank function, the two most essential aspects of one’s lifestyle are as follows: Homes with expanding families, having children ranging in age from tiny children to adolescents, often consume more water and deposit more sediments into the septic tank than other types of households. Empty nesters, and especially the elderly, on the other hand, have a tendency to consume significantly less water and to deposit significantly less solid waste in septic tanks.
- The particles in a septic tank tend to be taken away from the tank to the soil absorption region, as previously indicated.
- As additional materials collect in the absorption region, these sediments begin to choke the soil, preventing wastewater from being able to fully absorb.
- In most cases, the removal of these biomats is both expensive and time-consuming.
- Pumping the wastewater that has accumulated in the soil absorption area is required for the removal of the biomat.
- The biomat normally decomposes within a few days after the absorption area has been completely dewatered and has been aerated.
Is It Time To Pump Your Septic Tank?
So, how does one go about determining how frequently a septic tank needs be cleaned? We are aware that residences who dispose of huge volumes of non-biodegradable and slowly biodegradable organic waste into their septic tank require more frequent pumping. It is also known that prior to the time at which the collected solids have accumulated to the point that they are being taken with the tank effluent to the absorption region, the septic tank should be pump out. When it comes to determining when (and how frequently) to pump your septic tank, there are two generally safe ways to use.
The alternative method is to open the access port to the first chamber (as shown in Figure 1) once a year and insert a long pole to the bottom of the tank and then pull it out of the tank.
If the sludge has accumulated to more than one-third of the tank’s total depth, it is time to have it drained out completely. The majority of households will benefit from having their tanks drained every two or three years instead.
The Pumping Process
Contractors who specialize in septic tank pumping and hauling may pump your septic tank. It is a good idea to be present to check that everything is completed correctly. For the material to be extracted from the tank, it is necessary to break up the scum layer, and the sludge layer must be combined with the liquid section of the tank. In most cases, this is accomplished by alternately pumping liquid out of the tank and re-injecting it into the bottom of the tank. Not the little intake or outlet inspection openings situated above each baffle, but the two huge central access ports (manholes) are required for pumping the septic tank.
- It is not suggested to use additives in septic tanks to minimize the volume of sludge or as a substitute for pumping in order to achieve these goals.
- When you have your septic tank pumped, you should consider taking an additional step to ensure that your septic system continues to perform correctly for a long time.
- This inspector can tell you whether or not your septic tank needs to be repaired, as well as whether or not other components of your sewage system require upkeep.
- Mark the position of the tank as well, so that it may be found simply in the future for pumping.
Schedule Septic Tank Pumping
Homeowners should develop the practice of getting their septic tanks drained on a regular basis. As long as you are able and willing to schedule regular septic tank pumping (every two or three years, for example), it may be feasible to improve the overall performance of your complete on-lot wastewater disposal system. According to research conducted at Penn State, your soil absorption system will benefit from frequent resting periods (a period during which no wastewater is added to the absorption area).
In other words, the whole system, particularly the soil absorption region, will have the opportunity to dry up, and any organic waste (biomat) that may have formed in the soil absorption area will degrade swiftly in the absence of water.
A septic tank is simply one component of a complete on-site wastewater treatment system. Its purpose is to remove solids from the effluent prior to it reaching the soil absorption region, to allow for the digestion of a part of those solids, and to store the remainder of the solids in a holding tank. It is not necessary to use biological or chemical additions to enhance or speed the breakdown process.
Grinders contribute to the solids load on the system by reducing the size of garbage. Solids must be removed on a regular basis in order to prevent them from accessing the soil absorption zone. Every two to three years, you should have your septic tank drained and examined by a professional.
For additional assistance contact
Your local Sewage Enforcement Officer or Extension Educator can help you with these issues. A contact for the Pennsylvania Association of Sewage Enforcement Officers (PASEO) is as follows:4902 Carlisle Pike,268Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 Phone: 717-761-8648 Email: [email protected] Philadelphia, PA 18016 717-763-7762 [email protected] Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA)P.O. Box 144 Bethlehem, PA 18016 717-763-7762
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
Septic System Education – McCutcheon Enterprises, Inc. in PA
A septic tank is a waterproof tank that is constructed of a sturdy material that will not corrode or deteriorate over time. The majority of septic tanks are constructed of concrete. Tanks with two compartments became the standard in the 1990s. (However, one-compartment tanks that are fully working can still be considered appropriate.) In Pennsylvania, the majority of septic tanks are 1,000-gallon tanks. It is never recommended that you enter a septic tank. Septic tanks contain potentially harmful gases and should only be entered by specialists who have received sufficient training and are equipped with the appropriate oxygen breathing equipment.
- It is the sinkable solids (such as soil, grit, and unconsumed food particles) that settle to the bottom of the tank and produce the sludge layer that causes the tank to back up and clog.
- Effluent is the cleared wastewater that remains after the scum has floated to the top and the sludge has dropped to the bottom of a wastewater treatment plant.
- It exits the tank through the outflow and enters the absorption region.
- It includes drainfields (leachfield or disposal field), mounds, seepage bed, seepage pits, and cesspools.
- Anaerobic bacteria that attach themselves to soil and rock particles and consume the organic stuff present in septic tank effluent make up this microbial community.
Aerobic– bacteria that require oxygen to survive must be exposed to oxygen. Anaerobic– does not require the presence of oxygen in order for microorganisms to survive.
TWO MAIN TYPES OF ON-LOT WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS
The first compartment is made up of the following items:
- This line permits wastewater to flow into the inlet baffle
- The inlet baffle drives water downward as it enters the tank, allowing particles to settle out more efficiently
- And the outlet baffle. Moreover, it prevents untreated effluent from skimming across the surface of the tank and escaping via the outflow. When it comes to the vast majority of scum and sludge layer formation, most of the sludge will settle to the bottom and the scum layer will build on top of it, with the water in the center. In the wall that separates the first compartment from the second compartment, there will be a hole or a pipe that will allow the water to pass through
The second compartment is made up of the following items:
- Baffle near the outlet, which stops the floating scum from migrating into the absorption region
- In order to prevent solid particles from attaching to and exiting the tank, a gas deflector is used to divert gas bubbles away from the outflow pipe and stops them from entering the absorption region. Filtering the wastewater inhibits and limits the flow of any suspended particulates in the effluent (see image at right). The effluent is sent to the absorption region through the outlet pipe.
5 Main Functions of a Septic Tank
Septic tanks are responsible for collecting all of the wastewater generated by the residence. Septic tanks are used to separate solid waste from wastewater flow. Septic tanks are responsible for the reduction and breakdown of solid waste. Septic tanks are used to store the sediments that have been removed from the liquid (sludge and scum). Septic tanks discharge the purified wastewater (effluent) to the absorption region, where it is absorbed. Tanks for Anaerobic Treatment (Previous Next) The use of an air compressor or a propeller to maintain an aerobic (oxygenated) atmosphere for the development of microorganisms is described as a mechanical system.
Comparing aerobic tanks to septic tanks, aerobic tanks have higher initial expenses and higher maintenance costs, but they break down sewage more effectively and produce higher-quality effluent with less particulates, which minimizes the likelihood of an absorption area being blocked.
OTHER TYPES OF ON-LOT WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS
PITS FOR SEEPAGE A seepage pit is a deep hole that is 4-12 feet in diameter and 10-40 feet deep, with a porous-walled chamber in the center and a filling of gravel between the chamber and the surrounding soil on each side of the hole. Effluent from the septic tank enters the chamber and is temporarily kept there until it seeps out and onto the soil surrounding the chamber. These methods have grown less prevalent as time has progressed.
The cesspool is considered to be the first kind of a septic system. A cesspool is often a cylindrical hole in the ground that is several feet in diameter and many feet deep. The majority of them have a permeable inner wall made of stone, masonry, or other building materials. Gravel is used to cover the outside surface of the wall (the area between the stone wall and the outer soil wall). The top of the structure is covered with a concrete lid, and the earth is then backfilled on top of the lid.
- Following its passage through the stones and gravel-filled outer chamber, wastewater eventually finds its way into the earth.
- An on-lot septic system accounts for almost 20 million residences and, as a result, approximately 29 percent of the population of the United States.
- Please refer to the chart on the right for further information!
- We at McCutcheon Enterprises, Inc.
See the section below for some typical septic system misconceptions, as well as some Septic System Do’s and Don’ts to avoid. If you feel that there is an issue with your septic tank or septic system, please contact a professional.
ITEMS THAT SHOULDNOTBE PUT INTO A SEPTIC TANK
- Antifreeze or motor oil
- Paper towels or toilet tissue that hasn’t been approved by the FDA. Drain cleaners that are harsh or caustic
- Filters and buttes for cigarette smoking
- Laundry detergents with a lot of foam
- Plastic, bleach, eggshells, bones, and food scraps, as well as herbicides and pesticides, are all prohibited. Coffee grinds, cat litter, and excessive oils and grease are all examples of contaminants.
Common Septic System Do’s and Don’ts
- Maintain the cleanliness and integrity of your septic system on a regular basis. Garbage disposals should be used as little as possible or not at all. Garbage disposals introduce additional materials into the system that are difficult to break down in the septic system.
- Connecting roof drains and/or yard drains to your septic tank is not recommended. Due to the excess water, the tank and absorption area will be completely filled. Roots from trees in the absorption area will block the pipes in the region, thus avoid planting trees in the absorption area
- Putting vehicles and large things (such as swimming pools) on top of your septic tank or absorption area is not a good idea.
Roof drains and/or yard drains should not be connected to your septic tank. It is possible that the additional water may overwhelm the tank and absorption area. In the absorption area, tree roots are likely to block the pipes, thus avoid planting trees in close proximity to the region. Putting vehicles and large things (such as swimming pools) on top of your septic tank or absorption area is not recommended.
- Measure the amount of scum and sludge present and keep a record of it. In the majority of circumstances, you will need to pump empty your tank. The baffles in your tank should be checked to ensure that sediments are not leaving your tank. Cracks, leaks, and infiltration should all be looked for in the tank. Analyze the design and installation of the tank (this will allow you to check for any sensitivities or potential difficulties in the future)
The following items will be checked during the inspection of your absorption area:
- Observe for symptoms of a faulty system (such as foul smells, mushy areas, or effluent on the surface)
- And Surface water (which demonstrates inadequate filtering)
- Examine the effluent distribution to ensure good operation. Check the absorption area for possibly dangerous bushes, trees, or any other risks that may be present.
The inspector will draw up a report detailing the findings of the examination as well as information about your septic system. This report is not intended to provide a guarantee; rather, it is intended to tell you if your septic system is in proper or improper functioning condition at the time of the inspection. When should I have a home inspection performed on my property? Inspecting and maintaining your septic system should be done on a regular basis. An inspection of the septic system should take place every one to three years, according to industry standards.
- The inspection of the septic system before purchasing a home is strongly advised.
- After passing through the septic tank, the purified wastewater (effluent) will be sent into the soil absorption system for treatment.
- SEPTIC TANK DRAINFIELDThe drainfield is meant to release septic tank effluent below ground into the natural soil where it may be treated and eventually disposed.
- In order to spread the effluent over the length of the trench, a perforated pipe will be installed at or near the top of the gravel.
- Water will drain out of the septic tank through the outlet pipe and will continue to flow through a watertight pipe to the drainfield trenches until it reaches the drainfields.
- Water will drain from the perforated pipes and through the gravel, where it will seep into the soil beneath and next to the perforated pipes.
- The cleaned liquid will ultimately evaporate, be absorbed by plants, or make its way into the groundwater.
- There is a layer of gravel covering the bottom of the pit, and several pipes are set on top of the gravel with a spacing of 3-5 feet between them.
- DistributionThe majority of traditional systems rely on gravity to transport effluent from the treatment tank to and through the absorption region, as shown in the diagram below.
- Asymmetrical effluent distribution results in an overburdening of the absorption region, which can lead to a variety of difficulties and high expenses in the long run.
- A distribution box is utilized in all trench systems, as well as certain bed systems, to split the flow in an equal amount.
Some systems need that the effluent be piped to the absorption region in order to function correctly. This occurs when the effluent cannot be transported to the absorption region by gravity alone, often because it must be pushed up a steep slope to reach the absorption area.
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
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.
How Long Does It Take for Septic Tanks to Fill Up?
Whatever your situation is, whether you have just completed the installation of a new septic tank or are wondering when it is time to do periodic maintenance on your existing underground septic tank, it is critical that you understand how the tank works and when, if at all, it becomes full. The topic of how often you should pump your septic tank or how long it takes for a septic tank to fill up has been questioned for some years now, and the answer is: it depends. Some allege that they didn’t know or just didn’t care to pump their tanks, while others believe that a policy should be in place defining when and how to do so should be implemented.
It should be noted that this is a highly subjective response.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these criteria to see if your septic tank is approaching capacity.
Understanding How a Septic Tank Fills Up
There is a direct relationship between the amount of food consumed in a household and the amount of waste produced in that household. Adults generate approximately one liter of waste per day, which equates to 90 gallons of waste per year on average. Not all of this waste ‘fills up’ a septic tank, as the expression goes. The waste is reduced to approximately 60% of its original volume in the tank. It is recommended by both regulatory authorities and the pumping industry that you do not allow the sludge/scum layer at the bottom of your tank to fill more than 30% of the total capacity of your septic tank.
After the 305-mile mark, the process becomes significantly slower, resulting in a significantly faster filling of the tank.
All of these calculations are based on a single person filling a 1,000-gallon septic tank with sewage.
As children grow older (and reach school age), the length of this time period will shorten.
The smallest septic tank size that is suggested for a certain number of rooms. According to these estimates (which are supported by multiple state-wide studies), it is reasonable to conclude that a septic tank should be pumped once every two to three years. There is just one primary duty for every septic tank, and that is to collect sludge that would otherwise be difficult to deal with while distributing cleaned water to the land underneath the tank via drain fields. The lighter and more floatable particles are ultimately responsible for filling the tank.
What Happens Whenthe Septic Tank Fills Up?
As previously said, many people claim that they have never had to pump their septic tank before, although it appears to be ‘functioning normally.’ In fact, the reason for this is that when an increasing amount of settled and floating organic material is added to the septic tank, certain particles begin to escape. When the tank is full and there is no more space for the tank to absorb and hold solids, particles begin to leak through the tank’s walls and into the water. These are particles that have accumulated at the bottom or near the drain pipes for an extended period of time and have grown soft enough to flow with the water.
- Eventually, these particles reorganize themselves to block the soil absorption region, resulting in backflowing toilets and gutters. Alternatively, small solid particles may escape due to the pressure put on the bottom layer of the soil (because of its weight). Your property will initially have a strong scent that passersby and guests will notice
- But, over time as these particles continue to sink into the soil, your property will develop an unpleasant odor that both passersby and guests will notice.
This is why it is critical to get your septic tank pumped on a regular basis.
Can I Shower If My Septic TankIs Full?
If your septic tank is completely full, you CAN take a shower. Slow drainage is the only issue you’re likely to encounter in this situation. The water in your shower, tub, sink(s), and other fixtures will begin to drain much more slowly as your septic tank continues to fill up with waste. Although this is true in certain cases, it is crucial to remember that shower drains do not run to septic systems, but rather straight into sewage lines, because there is no solid waste contained inside them.
However, because this is only liquid water, you will not be causing as much harm to your septic tank as you might otherwise be if the water were to enter it. However, it is not recommended to do so.
Will My Toilet FlushIftheSeptic TankIs Full?
Your toilet should continue to flush regularly until your septic tank is full to 90 percent capacity. After then, you will notice that the toilet begins to behave in an unusual manner. Either the toilet may flush very slowly or the drain will begin to make strange sounds, depending on the situation (such as passing gas or gurgling). It is fairly unusual for the toilet to begin to bubble. The problem can be solved with a band-aid approach, but keep in mind that this is simply a short-term remedy.
Alternatively, some acid can be used to achieve the same results.
If you flush the toilet, you should be able to pump your tank without experiencing any severe difficulties for a number of days.
Signs ThatItIs Timeto PumpaSeptic Tank
It is always possible to use the “cross that bridge when we get there” approach if you are unable to predict how long it will take for septic tanks to fill up completely. In order to do so, you must be aware of the indicators of a clogged septic tank. It is possible to just open the tank and have a look inside (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME). Afterwards, you’ll almost certainly become ill and spend the following several days in bed – or even worse, in the hospital. You have two alternatives if you want to be on the safe side:
- Simply have it pumped after a specified amount of time, such as 2 to 3 years
- And Alternatively, you may open the inspection port on the first chamber (as seen in the image below) once a year and insert a pole into the chamber to test it. Make an effort to locate a pole (or stick) that is long enough to reach the bottom of the tank. It is possible that these poles will be included in the purchase price or not. When withdrawing, keep your face away from the sludge and pull out to observe how deep the muck has gotten into your pores. If the water level has risen to more than 70% of the tank’s total depth, it is necessary to pump it out. When doing so, make sure you’re wearing the appropriate safety equipment.
An illustration of a common septic tank configuration You should have your tank pumped every 2 to 3 years, unless you are a professional plumber who knows what they are doing.
Septic Tank Pumping Process
A pipe that runs through a septic tank to allow it to be emptied. Hire septic tank pumping contractors and delegate the task to them; this is the best course of action for everyone, including do-it-yourselfers. Keep in mind that you are not only responsible for pumping the waste, but also for transporting it to the appropriate facility. The procedure begins by removing the scum layer that has formed on top of all of the sludge. The sludge, on the other hand, is unable to be pushed out properly.
- The chemicals eat away the sludge and diminish its volume.
- The fact that there isn’t enough liquid in the container indicates that you have filled it to the recommended level.
- Mixing is accomplished with the assistance of a pump, or by simply pumping liquid into a container, withdrawing it, and pouring it back into the container.
- The septic system must be pumped through the two access ports seen in the picture above to function properly.
Manholes are exactly what they sound like (not the smaller one that is used for inspection, above the baffle). Once the water has been drained out, it is typical for specialists to inspect the area for damage. At this phase, it is decided whether or not any repairs are required.
8 Signs of Septic System Failure
Septic tanks are an important resource for both homeowners and the surrounding community. Its goal is to store domestic wastewater in an underground chamber where it may be treated at a basic level. They are generally composed of plastic, fiberglass, and concrete and serve as a sewage disposal system for the home or business owner. Sewage can leak underground and move upward in the earth if a septic unit fails, which can cause flooding. Not only may this result in serious plumbing issues, but it can also pose a health threat over time.
If that’s the case, these are the eight indicators of a failing septic system.
1. Septic System Backup
Everything that has to do with plumbing in your home is tied to your septic system. Sewage and wastewater will no longer be able to enter the tank if your septic system malfunctions or becomes overburdened. Instead, it will remain in the pipes until it begins to rise to the surface again. Sewage and wastewater back up into sinks, drains, and even into your toilet as a result of this condition. A clogged septic tank is the most obvious indicator of a failing system. You should contact a qualified plumber as soon as you discover this symptom to get it repaired.
2. Slow Drains
Slow drainage might also be caused by a clogged septic tank. For example, if a septic tank is completely filled, it will no longer actively collect wastewater from the ground. This implies that your pipes will become blocked with sewage and will be unable to drain your plumbing appliances properly. Your drains will become naturally sluggish in draining water or other liquids, as a result of this phenomenon. Even if you utilize the best gear available to unclog your drain, you will not be successful since the fundamental problem is located in the septic tank.
3. Gurgling Sounds
When using plumbing appliances, you should also be on the lookout for any unusual sounds that may occur. For example, if you flush your toilet and hear strange gurgling sounds, you should call a plumber right once to assess the situation. Toilets generally emit water-related sounds that subside once the flushing cycle is completed. If, on the other hand, you hear sounds that sound like an upset stomach, you may have a serious problem. If you are hearing gurgling noises coming from your drains, the same logic applies.
4. Pool of Water or Dampness Near Drainfield
It is no longer possible to absorb wastewater in a septic tank when it is damaged or fails. This indicates that wastewater will naturally seep out of the earth as a result of the groundwater table. It has the potential to create a significant pool of wastewater near the drain field, as well as cause dampness in the same area. These are the most obvious indications of a failing septic system, and they should not be ignored. A pool of water near the drainfield will often appear as if it has been raining on your lawn for an extended period of time.
Dampness near your drainfield, especially if it hasn’t rained in several days, should be taken seriously. If you have reason to believe that your septic tank is full or broken, make a point of actively looking for these signs.
5. Nasty Odors
One such tell-tale indicator of a failing septic system is the development of foul odors near the drainfield and plumbing equipment. If you notice strong and nasty scents when you walk outdoors and tread onto your grass, it is possible that your septic tank has failed. If the bad aromas emanating from your house are the same as those emanating from the office, you can reach a similar conclusion. It is likely that sewage has entered your home through the drainfield and into your main drain line, resulting in these foul odors.
6. Unusual, Bright Green Grass Above Drainfield
Have you ever seen people applying mulch, fertilizers, and manure to their lawns in order to encourage it to grow more quickly? It is possible that sewage has the same features as manure, namely that it contains nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and micronutrients that plants can use to thrive. When you see exceptionally green grass near your drainfield, it is likely that wastewater is leaking into your lawn from the drainfield itself. Due to the fact that grass is naturally green, identifying this symptom might be difficult.
Pay close attention to your drainfield in order to identify this problem before it becomes too serious.
7. Blooms of Algae in Nearby Water
If you live near a body of water, such as a lake or pond, keep an eye out for unexpected algal blooms that appear out of nowhere. Due to the fact that most individuals regard the appearance of algae to be a regular occurrence, diagnosing this symptom can also be difficult. Algal blooms, on the other hand, occur when a huge concentration of algae forms in a body of water. They appear to be artificial and to be the result of excessive algal contamination in the water. When wastewater is present, it might lead to the growth of algae that is aberrant.
8. High Levels of Coliform in Water Well
A neighboring water well may also be able to identify abnormal amounts of coliform bacteria as well as high quantities of nitrogen dioxide (nitrogen dioxide). However, if your septic system fails, the water in your well will get contaminated with bacteria and harsh chemicals by effluent from the surrounding area. Give Us a Call Right Now! Any problems with your septic tank now occupy your thoughts? If this is the case, please contact us at (941) 721-4645 to talk with a member of our staff. You may also learn more about our septic services by visiting this page.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you have any other queries concerning septic systems? Please let us know. If this is the case, you may find a comprehensive list of FAQs farther down on this page.
How much do septic system repair services cost?
- A septic system repair service might cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 in labor and materials. The ultimate cost is determined by the extent of the task, the number of hours worked, and other factors.
Can a septic drainfield be repaired?
- Even though there is no quick remedy for drainfield repair, it is achievable if you employ an expert plumber or septic system specialist.
How often do septic systems need to be replaced?
- Septic systems may endure for more than 40 years if they are properly maintained. Every three years, the average septic tank should be examined and pumped out in order to avoid long-term problems and septic system failure.