Most residential tanks have a capacity ranging from 750 gallons to 1,250 gallons and the average person uses 60 gallons to 70 gallons of water a day. The problem is that when septic systems and tanks are installed, contractors often choose plumbing hardware based on the size of the house.
- The volume of water that a septic system can handle depends on the size of your tank. For most homes, the septic tank can hold around 1,000 gallons of water every day. While this should be sufficient for any home, leaking faucets can dramatically add to your water usage, making it insufficient.
How do I find the capacity of my septic tank?
Septic Tank Size Calculation based Per User Consumption
- Cooking – 5 Liters.
- Bathing & Toilet – 85 Liters/Person, So for 5 person – 425 liters/Day.
- Washing cloths & Utensils – 30 Liters.
- Cleaning House – 10 Liters.
- Other – 5 Litres.
How often does a 2000 gallon holding tank need to be pumped?
How often does my holding tank need to be pumped? A holding tank may need to be pumped every 30 to 90 days depending on how much waste is generated and the size of the tank.
Can you tell if your septic tank is full?
When your septic tank system is not operating correctly, you will be able to see telltale signs if you know where to look. If you flush the toilet or run the water and hear gurgling coming from the pipes it may be an indication the tank is full, needs pumping or has other problems.
How much water does it take to fill a septic tank?
But what does full really mean? A septic tank should always be “filled” to its normal liquid level, or the bottom of the outlet pipe which carries effluent to the absorption area. This normal liquid level is usually between 8” to 12” from the top of the tank on average (see picture at right).
How often should a septic tank be pumped?
Inspect and Pump Frequently The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
How much does it cost to have a holding tank pumped?
A holding tank needs to be professionally pumped out every 6-8 weeks and does not allow any sewage to seep into the ground surrounding it. The average cost for pumping and hauling away the waste is around $100- $150 and is priced out per gallon of wastewater.
What’s the difference between a septic system and a holding tank?
HOLDING TANKS ARE DIFFERENT FROM SEPTIC TANKS However, instead of releasing treated wastewater into the ground through a drainfield, the holding tank temporarily stores the effluent for removal and transportation to a treatment facility.
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.
How do I check my septic tanks sludge level?
To measure the sludge layer:
- Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it touches the bottom of the tank.
- As the device is slowly pulled out of the water, the check valve closes capturing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water. The thickness of the sludge layer can be measured.
How often should a 1000 gallon septic be pumped?
But here are some general guidelines: Family of 2, 500-gallon tank – pump every 2.5 years. Family of 3, 1000-gallon tank – pump every 4 years. Family of 5, 1000-gallon tank – pump every 2 years.
Can you overwhelm a septic system?
If the septic system is suddenly flooded from a large volume of water generated by a number of guests in a few hours, it can potentially overwhelm the tank and drain field capacity. Your septic tank or onsite waste water system requires about 24 hours for processing and settling out the solid inputs.
What to do after septic tank is pumped out?
After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.
- 1) Get on a Schedule.
- 2) Take Care of the System.
- 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
- 4) Check Other Possible Issues.
Can a lot of rain cause septic tank backup?
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.
Understanding Septic Tank Volume
- A septic system that is undersized results in wastewater backing up. Your tank should be able to manage 95 liters of wastewater per person, per day
- Else, it will fail. The presence of a strong stench, water backing up, and an increase in water use are all indicators of trouble. A concrete septic tank is frequently the most cost-effective alternative.
Get quotations from as many as three professionals! Enter your zip code below to get matched with top-rated professionals in your area. Septic systems enable homeowners in remote locations to maintain a contemporary way of life. They treat all of the nasty wastewater that comes out of our toilets, sinks, and washing machines before safely releasing it into the environment. However, you must select a septic tank that has the appropriate volume for your residence. This information will assist you in making an informed decision to keep your home’s wastewater where it belongs: out of sight.
How Septic Tank Volume Works
A septic system is a structure installed beneath the earth that processes wastewater from a residential building. Their use is particularly prevalent in rural areas where there is limited access to centralized sewer systems. A septic tank and a drainfield are both components of the septic system. The tank is responsible for separating materials such as oil, grease, and sediments from wastewater. The treated sewage, which is referred to as “effluent,” is progressively released into the surrounding environment by the system.
It’s possible that if you buy a tank that is too small, it will not be able to handle the volume of wastewater that your home generates, and the wastewater may begin to back up into your home or your yard.
How to Calculate Septic Tank Size
So, how much of a septic tank do you require? Multiply the total number of people living in your family by 95 to get an idea of how much septic tank daily liter volume you would require. Another way of looking at it is to imagine that you’re sharing a house with three other individuals. You’d need to figure out how much wastewater is produced on a daily basis by each individual and multiply that figure by four to figure out how much capacity you’d need from your septic system. To make an approximate estimate, use the following list of daily average wastewater production to guide your calculations:
- 1 liter per person for the bathroom, 6 liters for the laundry and dishwasher, 1 liter per person for cooking, and 3 liters per person for everything else Per individual, a total of 95 liters
As a result, for a four-person family, a septic system capable of handling 380 liters per day of wastewater output (4 x 95 = 380) would be required.
Signs You Need to Replace Your Septic System
Adobe Stock image courtesy of senssnow What are the signs that it’s time to rebuild your septic system? Because a new septic system may cost upwards of $20,000, it is evident that you want to postpone replacing your system if at all possible. However, there are four primary signs to look out for that indicate you should consider replacing it.
Your Water Consumption Has Increased
The presence of new family members in your home might cause your water use to grow drastically, which is a clear indication that it’s time to upgrade your septic system. You should first determine whether or not your present septic system has the ability to manage the extra water flow.
Water Is Backing up in Your Yard or Home
In the event that you see standing water in your yard or that water is backing up in your toilets and sinks, it is likely that your septic system is overburdened and has to be replaced.
However, before assuming that there is a clog rather than a lack of volume, check to see whether there is a clog. Preventative maintenance is also crucial; it is possible to avoid septic backups by performing regular maintenance.
Tubs and Sinks Take a Long Time to Drain
Even though the water isn’t backing up, if you’ve observed that a sink or a tub is taking an inordinate amount of time to drain no matter how much drain cleaner you pour down there, it may be due to a problem with your septic system rather than a blockage in your pipes, see a professional.
You Notice a Strong Odor
Wastewater is, to put it mildly, nasty, so before you notice any of the other indicators listed above, you may be overcome with a tremendous stink that knocks you off your feet. The presence of this stench, which is particularly prominent around the location of the septic tank and drainfield, is an indicator that wastewater is seeping out of your system and onto your yard, according to the EPA. It is an issue that must be addressed immediately to avoid it becoming worse.
Concrete Septic Tanks Are Probably the Best Option
Steel, plastic, and fiberglass are all common materials for septic tanks, but they can also be made of other materials. However, due of its durability, old-fashioned concrete is probably your best choice in this situation. In comparison to wood, concrete is a considerably stronger material that will hold its shape even after years of use. Moreover, they can be more effective at maintaining heat, which promotes the development of bacteria that break down the waste that enters the tank and resulting in a cleaner effluent that drains into your area of operation.
How to Find Your Septic System
Steel, plastic, and fiberglass are all common materials for septic tanks, but they can also be constructed from other materials. However, due of its longevity, old-fashioned concrete is most likely your best option. After many years of use, concrete proves to be a considerably more durable material that retains its form. Moreover, they can be more effective at maintaining heat, which promotes the development of bacteria that break down the waste that enters the tank and resulting in a cleaner effluent that drains into your field of work.
How to Calculate Septic Tank Size
Riverside, California 92504-17333 Van Buren Boulevard Call us right now at (951) 780-5922. Every septic system owner should be familiar with the process of calculating the size of their septic tank so that they can plan for how often their tank will need to be pumped to maintain it working at top performance. It is significantly less expensive to do even a little amount of preventative maintenance than it is to install a whole new system. As a result, it is critical to be aware of when your septic tank will require pumping in order to avoid missing a maintenance appointment.
Eventually, if the accumulation of particles in the tank gets too great and sediments begin to flow into the drainfield, the system may become clogged and overburdened to the point where a new drainfield will be required.
Types of Septic Tanks
Septic tanks are commonly utilized in residential construction and can be classified into three categories.
- Septic tanks made of concrete
- Septic tanks made of polyethylene/plastic
- Septic tanks made of fiberglass
Construction of concrete septic tanks is the most popular, but because of their weight, they must be installed with heavy gear. Polyethylene and fiberglass are one-piece products that are significantly lighter than steel. This makes them particularly well suited for isolated and difficult-to-reach locations. In order to determine whether or not you need a septic tank system, check with your local building department to see what laws and requirements apply to onsite wastewater treatment.
Why Choosing the Right Septic Tank Size Matters
sewage can back up into your home if a septic tank is installed that is too small and does not have enough holding capacity. When installing a septic tank, it is critical that you determine the proper size. The majority of towns require even the smallest septic tanks to carry a minimum of 1,000 gallons of wastewater. As the number of bedrooms, occupants, bathrooms, and fixtures that will be serviced by the septic system rises, the needed capacity for the system increases accordingly.
How Much Water Do You Use?
There are a variety of calculations that may be used to calculate the size of the septic tank that is required for your residence. The most precise and dependable method is to measure water consumption. The size of the septic tank that is required is determined by the amount of water that will be handled and then dispersed into the field lines of the property. It should be noted that the minimum capacity tank permitted in many regions of the nation is 1,000 gallons. The average individual consumes 50-100 gallons of water each day.
Try to keep these things in mind when you’re putting together your estimate.
As your water use increases, the distance between you and the rest of the world narrows.
Calculations by House Size
The number of bedrooms in your home, as well as the square footage of your home, are less precise guides for determining the size of your tank. What is the maximum number of bedrooms you can have with a 1,000 gallon septic tank? It is tough to say due to the fact that water consumption varies depending on your situation. These estimates are based on the assumption that all bedrooms will be occupied, and the anticipated water consumption is based on this assumption. It is impossible to do these calculations if you live alone in a three-bedroom house.
The suggested tank sizes are listed below, according to the number of bedrooms in the house.
- Three bedrooms under 2,500 square feet: 1,000 gallon tank
- Four bedrooms under 3,500 square feet: 1,200 gallon tank
- And five or six bedrooms under 5,500 square feet: 1,500 gallon tank
- One or two bedrooms under 1,500 square feet: 750 gallon tank
- Three bedrooms under 2,500 square feet: 1,000 gallon tank
Septic Tank Size Affects Pumping Schedule
The size of your septic tank is important because it determines how frequently it has to be pumped in order to stay working at top performance. As a general rule, we recommend that you pump your septic tank every three to five years; however, the smaller the tank, the more frequently it must be pumped.
Tanks that are not maintained properly over an extended period of time are more likely to get clogged or fail, necessitating costly repairs or replacement.
Planning Your Drainfield
Here are some helpful hints for deciding where to locate your drainfield when you’re designing it.
- Vehicles should not be allowed on or around the drainfield. It is not recommended to put trees or anything else with deep roots along the bed of the drain field since the roots of these plants frequently clog the pipes. Downspouts and sump pumps should not be discharged into the septic system. Do not tamper with or change natural drainage features without first researching and evaluating the consequences of your actions on the drainage field. Do not construct extensions on top of the drain field or cover it with concrete, asphalt, or other materials. Make your septic tank lid as accessible as possible so that maintenance and inspection may be performed without difficulty. To aid with evaporation and erosion prevention, plant grass in the area.
Get Help Choosing the Right Septic Tank Size
Obviously, these figures are just intended to be used as a broad guideline, and the operation of the complete system is contingent on you getting your numbers exactly correct. It is important not to leave anything to chance. Make a phone call to West Coast Sanitation. Our professionals understand that you don’t have time to cope with septic system issues. If you believe that your system has reached its maximum capacity, please contact us immediately to discuss your options. If you have any questions, we have specialists standing by to help you resolve them and get your system back up and running.
What size of septic tank do I need?
Probably one of the last things on your mind when you are constructing a new house is the location of your septic system. After all, shopping for tanks isn’t nearly as entertaining as shopping for cabinetry, appliances, and floor coverings. Although you would never brag about it, your guests will be aware if you do not have the proper septic tank placed in your home or business.
septic tanks for new home construction
Probably one of the last things on your mind when you are constructing a new house is the installation of an adequate septic system. In the end, shopping for tanks isn’t nearly as entertaining as shopping for cabinetry, appliances, and floor coverings, respectively. Nonetheless, even if you never show it off, your guests will be able to tell if you don’t have the proper septic system in place.
planning your drainfield
Here are some helpful hints for deciding where to locate your drainfield when you’re designing it.
- Vehicles should not be allowed on or around the drainfield. Planting trees or anything else with deep roots along the bed of the drain field is not recommended. The roots jam the pipes on a regular basis. Downspouts and sump pumps should not be discharged into the septic system. Do not tamper with or change natural drainage features without first researching and evaluating the consequences of your actions on the drainage field. Do not construct extensions on top of the drain field or cover it with concrete, asphalt, or other materials. Create easy access to your septic tank cover by placing it near the entrance. Easy maintenance and inspection are made possible as a result. To aid with evaporation and erosion prevention, plant grass in the area.
a home addition may mean a new septic tank
Do not make any big additions or renovations to your house or company until you have had the size of your septic system assessed. If you want to build a house addition that is more than 10% of your total floor space, increases the number of rooms, or necessitates the installation of new plumbing, you will almost certainly need to expand your septic tank.
- For a home addition that will result in increased use of your septic system, your local health department will require a letter from you that has been signed and authorized by a representative of your local health department confirming that your new septic system is capable of accommodating the increase in wastewater. It is not recommended that you replace your septic system without the assistance of a certified and competent contractor.
how to maintain your new septic system
Septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services are provided by Norway Septic Inc., a service-oriented company devoted to delivering outstanding septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services to households and business owners throughout the Michiana area. “We take great delight in finishing the task that others have left unfinished.” “They pump, we clean!” says our company’s motto. Septic systems are something we are familiar with from our 40 years of expertise, and we propose the following:
- Make use of the services of a qualified specialist to develop a maintenance strategy. Make an appointment for an annual examination of your septic system. Utilize the services of an effluent filter to limit the amount of particles that exit the tank, so extending the life of your septic system. Waste items should be disposed of properly, and energy-efficient appliances should be used. Make sure you get your septic system professionally cleaned every 2 to 3 years, or more frequently if necessary, by an experienced and qualified expert
- If you have any reason to believe that there is an issue with your system, contact a professional. It is far preferable to catch anything early than than pay the price later. Maintain a record of all septic system repairs, inspections, and other activities
common septic questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions by our septic customers.
How do I determine the size of my septic tank?
If you have a rectangular tank, multiply the inner height by the length to get the overall height of the tank. In order to find out how many gallons your septic tank contains, divide the number by.1337.1337
How many bedrooms does a 500-gallon septic tank support?
The exact size of the septic tank is determined mostly by the square footage of the house and the number of people who will be living in it.
The majority of home septic tanks have capacities ranging from 750 to 1,250 gallons. A 1000 gallon tank will most likely be required for a typical 3-bedroom home that is smaller than 2500 square feet in size.
How deep in the ground is a septic tank?
Your septic system is normally buried between four inches and four feet underground, depending on the climate.
How much water does a septic tank hold?
Asked in the following category: General The most recent update was made on June 30, 2020. A person uses around 60 to 70 gallons of water each day on average. Designed with the idea that there are two people in each bedroom, Tanks are quite spacious. As a result, a conventional aseptic tank can handle around 120 gallons per bedroom every day on average. Septic tanks for residential use are typically between 750 and 1,250 gallons in capacity. An aseptic tank is a self-contained device that is meant to retain effluent from a residence.
Second, what are the symptoms that your septic tank is overflowing and needs to be pumped?
- Water that has accumulated. If you notice pools of water on your grass surrounding your septic system’s drain field, it’s possible that your septic tank is overflowing. Drains that are slow to drain
- A lawn that is extremely healthy
- Sewer backup
Is it possible to dump too much water in a septic tank as well? System failure is frequently caused by an excessive amount of water. Every drop of water entering the residence must be absorbed by the earth beneath theseptic system. It is possible that too much water from the laundry, dishwasher, toilets, baths, and showers will not provide enough time for sludge and scum to separate properly. Is it true that shower water goes into the septic tank? The distance between your home and the tank is: The majority of septic systems, but not all, function using gravity to transport waste to the septic tank.
How many gallons does the average septic tank hold?
How to Calculate the Capacity of a Septic Tank in Gallons. Cubic capacity is calculated as 3.14 x radius squared x depth (all in feet). Cubiccapacity multiplied by 7.5 equals gallonscapacity.Also, what is the greatest septic tank capacity? Septic Tanks Made of Plastic
|750 Gallon Septic Tank – 1 Compartment / 2 Manholes||750 Gallons|
|750 Gallon One Compartment Plastic Septic Tank||750 Gallons|
|750 Gallon 1 Compartment Plastic Septic Tank (Loose Plumbing)||750 Gallons|
|750 Gallon 1 Compartment NexGen Septic Tank (Loose Plumbing)||750 Gallons|
Furthermore, is it possible to put too much water in a septic tank? System failure is frequently caused by an excessive amount of water. Every drop of water entering the residence must be absorbed by the earth beneath theseptic system. It is possible that too much water from the laundry, dishwasher, toilets, baths, and showers will not provide enough time for sludge and scum to separate properly. What is the capacity of a cesspool in gallons? The most common sizes are 750, 1000, 1200, and 1500 gallons.
Steel tanks, which are susceptible to corrosion over time, may be used in older tanks, or they may be erected in place of block construction.
What Size Septic Tank Do I Need
The size of an underground septic tank is referred to as its total volume handling capacity in this article, and it will be discussed in further detail later in this article. For additional information on above-ground septic tanks and systems, see our page on above-ground septic tanks. The minimum septic tank capacity requirements are determined by a variety of variables. State, county, and/or city regulations may specify permitted tank sizes, as well as tank materials and installation.
The size of the septic tank will vary depending on whether it is intended for domestic or commercial usage; in this section, we will cover residential use.
Shortly stated, the required size of a septic tank will be determined by the following factors: (1) the specific septic system type; (2) local government requirements; (3) the compatibility of the ground geology; and (4) the anticipated volume of wastewater depending on the size of the residence.
However, this is not true.
Furthermore, plastic septic tanks will not corrode, are weatherproof, are waterproof, are less expensive, are lighter, and are easier to build. They will also not float if they are constructed appropriately.
1) The Specific Septic System Type
There are seven different types of septic tank systems, and the size of the tank required will vary depending on the system you choose. The scope of this article does not allow for a comprehensive discussion of each system type and its associated size requirements. We are referring to traditional gravity-fed anaerobic septic systems in this context when we say “system type.” The anaerobic septic system is the most prevalent type of septic system, and it is the one that most people think of when they imagine a septic tank.
- The following systems are available: conventional, gravity-fed, anaerobic systems
- Above-ground septic systems
- Pressure systems
- Anaerobic systems
- Mound systems
- Recirculating sand or gravel filters systems
- Bottomless sand filters systems
If your septic tank system is anything other than a traditional, anaerobic system, the instructions in this page may not be applicable in their entirety to your situation.
2) Local Government Regulations
The laws for septic tanks imposed by local governments vary greatly across the United States. In part, this is due to the significantly diverse soil geography and water features that exist from state to state and can even differ by a few miles in some cases. In order to determine the appropriate septic tank size and the best position on the land for installation, it is essential to consult with local government rules first. Take, for example, theWastewater Treatment Standards – Residential Onsite Systemsdocument from the New York State Department of Health, which provides a comprehensive informational overview of codes, rules, and regulations frequently promulgated by governing bodies, as well as common terminology and definitions in the industry.
3) Suitability of the Ground Geology
The subterranean soil type has a significant impact on the efficacy of the system and, consequently, the size of the septic tank. This topic is highly tied to the rules of the local government. In most cases, it is related to the standards and recommendations of a designated authority that regulates septic tank installations, which is typically the department of health. In order to determine whether or not the ground is suitable for a septic tank system, a trained specialist must come out to the prospective installation site and conduct a series of tests.
A perc test will assess whether or not the subterranean soil is capable of handling and filtering septic tank effluent in an appropriate manner.
Whether you are hiring an experienced professional or doing it yourself, it is your obligation to contact your local oversight agency and arrange for perc tests and/or ground area evaluations to be performed.
The findings of the analysis and testing will determine whether or not the chosen site is suitable, as well as whether or not a certain septic tank system or size is required.
4) The Expected Volume of Wastewater
The typical amount of wastewater that will be generated and that the septic tank will be able to manage is the most essential factor in determining the size of the septic tank that is required. In a home with simply a septic system, all wastewater is disposed of in the septic tank unless a separate system for managing greywater is in place to handle the waste. In order to calculate and approximate these values for residential dwellings, business structures, and facilities, extensive study has been carried out.
Starting with a 1000-gallon septic tank for residential usage, the advice is to go from there.
Some experts propose adding an additional 250 gallons of septic tank capacity for each additional bedroom over three bedrooms.
This is frequently the case when considering the situation collectively for the entire household rather than individually.
Minimum Septic Tank Capacity Table
For further information on the minimum septic tank capacity dependent on the number of residential bedrooms, please see the following table:
|Number of Bedrooms||Minimum Septic Tank Size||Minimum Liquid Surface Area||Drainfield Size|
|2 or less||1000 – 1500 Gallons||27 Sq. Ft.||800 – 2500 Sq. Ft.|
|3||1000 – 2000 Gallons||27 Sq. Ft.||1000 – 2880 Sq. Ft.|
|4||1250 – 2500 Gallons||34 Sq. Ft.||1200 – 3200 Sq. Ft.|
|5||1500 – 3000 Gallons||40 Sq. Ft.||1600 – 3400 Sq. Ft.|
|6||1750 – 3500 Gallons||47 Sq. Ft.||2000 – 3800 Sq. Ft.|
Take note of the following in relation to the table above:
- As defined by the State of New York, the Minimum Liquid Surface Area is the surface area given for the liquid by the tank’s width and length measurements. The range of Drainfield Sizes is depending on the kind of groundwater present. The State of Michigan provides the above-mentioned drainfield recommendations, which might vary greatly depending on local standards and terrain.
Additional Thought: Can a Septic Tank Be Too Big?
In the absence of consideration for cost, it is reasonable to ask: “Can a septic tank be too large?” The answer is a resounding nay. As long as the septic tank is placed appropriately, it is impossible for a septic tank to be too large; the only thing that can happen is that it is too little. According to the majority of suggestions, constructing a larger-capacity septic tank is frequently the safer and more preferable solution. The following are the reasons behind this:
- With a bigger septic tank, you can adapt for changes in household consumption, such as those caused by parties or long-term guests. In the event that your family grows in size or you want to make improvements to your house, such as adding more bedrooms and bathrooms or installing new plumbing fixtures, having a bigger septic tank can save you the expense of installing a new tank.
Takeaways | What Size Septic Tank Do I Need
The septic tank size recommendations offered here are merely that: suggestions. They are built on a foundation of information gathered from government and academic sources. The actual size of the septic tank you require will vary depending on the factors discussed in this article. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to determining the appropriate septic tank size for your property. There is a great deal of variation depending on where you reside. With addition to providing a basic insight into the septic tank and system size that may be most suited to your application, the providedMinimum Septic Tank Capacity Tablecan also assist in cost estimations.
Before beginning any septic tank installation project, check and double-check with the state, city, or local county’s agency that is in charge of septic tanks, soil testing, and permissions.
If you’re searching for a chart of tank sizes, have a look at our page on the many sizes and quantities of septic tanks available.
They are available in both single chamber and double chamber designs. Consider reading this article from Texas A M University, which provides an overview of onsite wastewater treatment systems, for further information on traditional septic systems.
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:
- If you have a septic system, you may already be aware of this fact. Here are some tell-tale indicators that you most likely do, if you don’t already know:
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
How Big of a Septic Tank Do I Need?
The size and kind of tank required for a new septic system are the two most important considerations to make before beginning the installation process. Private sewage disposal is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, with 33 percent of newly constructed residences choosing for on-site wastewater treatment as part of their construction. Septic tank systems, in conjunction with a soil absorption system, or a drain field, are the least costly way of treating residential wastewater currently available on the market.
- The typical size of a home septic tank is from 750 gallons to 1,250 gallons in capacity.
- The system is made up of two major components: the tank and the drain, often known as the soil absorption field or drain field.
- Oil, grease, and soap residue combine to form the scum layer on the surface of the water.
- With each filling of the tank, the effluent drains out of the tank and into the drain field, where it is absorbed by the earth.
- Septic tanks are commonly utilized in residential construction and can be classified into three categories.
- Polyethylene and fiberglass are one-piece products that are significantly lighter than steel.
- In order to determine whether or not you need a septic tank system, check with your local building department to see what laws and requirements apply to onsite wastewater treatment.
- The square footage of the property, the number of bedrooms, and the number of people who will be living there are all important considerations.
- Septic tanks for one and two bedroom homes that are less than 1,500 square feet and 1,000 gallon septic tanks for three bedroom homes that are less than 2,500 square feet are recommended.
- The figures listed above are only estimates.
- Before acquiring a septic tank system, speak with a professional plumbing contractor who is licensed in your region about the many septic tank alternatives that are available to you.
Get in touch with the Pink Plumber right away if you have any queries or concerns about your septic tank. Image courtesy of Flickr OUR EXPERT PLUMBERS ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP YOU.
Managing waste: Household septic systems – Part 1
The size and kind of tank required are the two most important considerations when establishing a new septic system. It is becoming increasingly popular in the United States to have onsite wastewater treatment for newly constructed residences; 33 percent of newly constructed homes have this option. It is the least expensive approach available for treating residential wastewater when paired with a soil absorption system or a drain field, which is why septic tank systems are so popular. Septic tank sizes are mostly determined by the size of the house and the number of people that will be residing in the residence.
- Introduction to Septic Tanks Typically, a septic tank is a self-contained container that is used to store wastewater from a house or other building.
- Solid waste settles to the bottom of the tank after entering it, forming a layer known as the sludge layer as a result of this settling.
- This stratum is composed of wastewater, often known as effluent.
- Septic tanks are available in a variety of configurations.
- Septic tanks made of concrete; septic tanks made of polyethylene/plastic; and septic tanks made of fiberglass.
- Polyethylene and fiberglass are one-piece items that are significantly lighter in weight than steel and aluminum.
- Obtaining information from your local building department about onsite wastewater treatment laws and requirements prior to acquiring a septic tank system is highly recommended before making any purchases.
- The square footage of the property, the number of bedrooms, and the number of people who will be residing there are all important considerations to consider.
- Septic tanks for one and two bedroom residences that are less than 1,500 square feet and 1,000 gallon septic tanks for three bedroom homes that are less than 2,500 square feet are required.
- Unless otherwise specified, the figures shown above are estimates.
- A competent plumbing contractor licensed in your region should be consulted before purchasing a septic tank system to examine the many septic tank alternatives available.
Today is a good day to call the Pink Plumber if you have any questions or concerns about your septic tank. Flickr is the source of the photo. FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE, OUR EXPERTS IN PLUMBING ARE ON HAND.
- Part Two of Managing Waste: Household Septic Systems
- Part Three of Managing Waste: Household Septic Systems
- Managing Waste: Household Septic Systems
It was written by Michigan State University Extension and published on their website. For further information, please see the website. Visit if you’d like a digest of information delivered directly to your email inbox every day. To get in touch with a local expert, go to 888-MSUE4MI or phone 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). Did you find this article to be informative?
- Septic system education, water quality, and water consumption are some of the topics covered by the MSU Extension program.
Septic System Frequently Asked Questions
A septic system, sometimes known as a septic tank, is an underground system that processes the sewage that flows from your house before disposing of the treated, cleaner water. Septic systems are typically seen in residential areas. The treated water is subsequently re-introduced into the environment through filtration. This is critical because untreated sewage may harm nearby streams and water systems, as well as the soil around the perimeter of your septic system. Because your septic system is designed to cleanse and filter sewage, it is critical that it is in proper operating order.
What is a Drainfield?
The drainfield, also known as the leach field, is the area where the water from your septic system is sent after it has been cleansed and filtered. It is necessary to construct a drainfield in order to ensure that water is distributed uniformly back into the soil.
How do I find my septic system?
If you’re fortunate enough to have a contemporary septic system in your yard, it may be equipped with an access lid that is visible from the ground floor. If this is the situation at your residence, locating your septic system is as simple as taking a few steps into your backyard. It’s unfortunate that this isn’t true for older septic systems. It’s possible that you may locate an older system in your home by checking for greener, faster-growing grass or even an area with less growth than the rest of your yard if you live in an older home.
This will show you exactly where your septic system is located in your yard, if you have one.
You’ll need to look for the location where your septic system’s sanitary line exits your home and follow that line until you find your septic tank, which will take some time.
If you are unable to discover your septic system, your yard may need to be dug up by a septic system installation in order to locate your septic tank as a last option.
How long do septic systems last?
Septic systems are not designed to endure for a specific number of years, thus there is no defined time frame. In the event of adequate maintenance, you may expect your septic system to last several decades before it has to be replaced; but, if your system fails or deteriorates as a result of bad care, its lifespan will be drastically diminished. In order to obtain an accurate estimate of how much longer the life of your septic system may be extended, you must first have it checked thoroughly by an experienced septic system installation or repairer.
However, if you are confident that your tank is in good condition, the date of installation should provide you with an indication of how long it will endure.
What’s the advantage of installing a newer septic system rather than an older system?
Although it is not required to install a new system, there are advantages to having a modern septic tank rather than an older one. For starters, when you get a new septic tank, you can be confident that it will serve you for decades if it is properly maintained, and you will not have to worry about it being “too old.” Additionally, newer systems have been modified to reduce the likelihood of your system becoming clogged, and if something does go wrong with a new system or when it comes time to have your septic system pumped, a new system will likely be easier to locate because they are frequently constructed with ground-level lids.
New septic systems also provide a further treatment for your waste water, allowing it to be cleaner before it is released into the surrounding environment.
How much does a new septic system cost?
Installation of new septic systems may be a significant financial commitment, with costs typically reaching tens of thousands of dollars. Whenever you have to replace an outdated septic system, you should look into financing alternatives that will make it simpler for you to pay for a new septic system in the long run. Purchase further information from a septic system installation business on how to obtain septic systems at the most competitive prices while also taking advantage of low-interest financing options.
How big is my septic tank?
Septic tank capacity is determined by the amount of water consumed in your property as well as local codes and requirements. Check with your local health agency to find out how big your tank is before installing it.
Why should my septic system be pumped out?
Without regular pumping, the gases emitted by human waste accumulate in your septic system, increasing the risk of septic tank damage and the need for more frequent pumping. The regular pumping of your septic system will allow you to limit the rate at which your tank deteriorates and save money in the process. It’s crucial to remember, though, that degeneration is unavoidable in the long run. It is only via regular maintenance, such as pumping your tank, that your septic system will survive longer.
Does my tank need to be dug up to know if it needs to be pumped?
Risers are commonly found in newer septic systems, which allow you to access your tank from the ground level through a lid. It is straightforward for any septic system professional to determine whether or not your yard has risers placed, and whether or not it is necessary to pump it. If, on the other hand, your tank cannot be accessible from the ground level, it will need to be dug up in order to determine whether it has to be drained.
Instead of inspecting your septic system to see whether it needs to be pumped on a regular basis, set a timetable for having your system pumped every 2-3 years.
Why should I have risers and lids installed on my septic system?
As a result, when it comes time to find, pump, or repair your septic system, risers are the best choice since they provide ground-level access to your system. Having a septic system lid will allow you to mow your grass while still being able to find your system with no difficulty. Lids and risers also have the advantage of being accessible all year round, as opposed to earlier septic systems that could only be accessed by digging a trench through your yard. If your septic system has to be pumped or repaired for any reason during the winter months, getting beneath layers of frozen earth can be difficult, if not impossible, and you may be forced to wait until the spring to have access to your tank again.
How often should my septic system be pumped out?
A typical septic system contains a 1,500-gallon tank, which needs to be pumped around every 2-3 years for a household of four, according to industry standards. If you have less than four people living in your house, you will most likely be able to pump your septic system every five years rather than every three. You should speak with your local health agency to determine the exact size of your tank, and you should consult a septic system business to determine how frequently your tank should be pumped based on the size of your family and the size of your septic tank.
Do I need to have the septic tank pumped if I’m selling my house?
Consult with your local health department to learn about the restrictions that apply to your region of residence. Generally speaking, as long as your septic system has been pumped on a regular basis by a licensed septic system company and recently enough for the new homeowners to be able to live there for a year or two without having to pump the septic system, you should not be required to have it pumped again in the near future.
How do I find someone to pump my septic system?
It is important to be aware that not all septic system businesses are licensed and that not all firms properly dispose of or recycle the waste they pump from your septic system when you are looking for one to pump it. Finding a firm that complies with EPA standards should be your first concern, and then you should look at price, how pricing is split down, and which company is delivering the most honest, economical, and dependable service should be your next consideration. Investigate business evaluations, and when you select a septic system provider to pump your septic tank, be certain that they do the work properly, leaving enough water and waste to keep the sewage decomposing while leaving no visible trace more than a few inches of waste behind.
How much does it cost to have my septic system pumped?
It is recommended that you call many pumpers before making a selection, and that you ask as many questions as possible to ensure that you are receiving the best service for your money. Pumping may cost upwards of $200, so it is always wise to shop around before making a decision.
You should not consider it a waste of money to have your septic system pumped when the time comes. By correctly maintaining your septic system, you may avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars to replace your septic system long before it should have been replaced in the first place.
What happens if I don’t have my septic system pumped?
The sediments will pile up in your septic tank if you don’t pump it out regularly, ultimately overflowing into the drain field and clogging the drain field. Backups can occur, causing damage to your property and even necessitating the replacement of your drain field, which can be a very expensive error.
I just had my septic system pumped. Why is it full already?
Septic systems are designed to refill rapidly since the purpose of pumping is not to remove water but rather to remove non-biodegradable waste, and the water itself is not the aim of pumping. Once your septic system has been pumped and you begin to use the water in your house, your tank will quickly refill in order to maintain good operation of the system. If the water level rises to a point where it is above the outlet line, contact your septic system service provider for assistance immediately.
What do you look for when inspecting my septic system?
When we do an inspection, we make certain that your septic system is in good operating condition and that it satisfies the standards for receiving a Certificate of Compliance. If you’re planning to sell your home, you should have your septic system checked out by a professional who is certified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This will allow you to sell your home faster and for more money, if you can prove that your system has been checked out by an accredited professional. The level of liquid in your septic tank will be checked, and we’ll make sure there is no surface-level discharge.
The drains in my home aren’t draining as quickly as they normally do. Does this have to do with my septic system?
Drains that are clogged and that empty slowly are not necessarily a big source of concern. Before presuming that there is an issue with your septic system, check sure that there isn’t anything obstructing your drain first. In the case of one plumbing fixture in your house that is draining slowly, it is likely due to clogging; however, if all of the drains in your home are slow or leave waste backed up, it is probable that your septic system requires inspection and may even require pumping.
What happens when my septic system fails?
Symptoms of a failing septic system may include minor issues such as drain breaks or pipes that have been stopped, which can be caused by tree roots intersecting with the system. Septic system failure, on the other hand, might indicate that your septic tank has degraded to the point that it cannot be repaired and must be replaced. A blocked drainfield will hopefully not become your problem because it is the most expensive component of your system to replace; nevertheless, if it does, you must act quickly to make the necessary repairs or else your waste will continue to back up, perhaps causing damage to your property.
A blocked drainfield is likely the reason of your sluggish draining pipes, damp yard above your tank or drainfield, sewage stench coming from your yard, or tainted well water. You’ll need to replace the drainfield as soon as possible to avoid further pollution of drinking water sources.
How do I prevent my septic system from failing? How can I properly maintain my septic system?
Your septic system should degrade at a normal rate over the course of several decades if you maintain it on a regular basis. Maintenance normally consists of getting your septic system pumped on a regular basis and making certain that you do not flush or wash anything down the drain that might block your septic system.
What shouldn’t I flush down the toilet?
As a general rule, only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed. There are several reasons why flushing medicine down the toilet is not a good idea. First, medication might kill some of the bacteria in your septic tank, which is necessary to break down solid waste. Second, drugs can pollute adjacent well water. In addition, you should avoid flushing feminine hygiene items, paper towels, tissues, hair, cat litter (even if it is flushable), diapers, wipes, condoms, cigarettes, and anything else that seems to be inorganic and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet.
What shouldn’t I pour down the drain?
Grease from the kitchen, motor oil, anti-freeze, gasoline, paint, and food should not be flushed down the toilet or drain. You should avoid flushing anything down your drain other than soap and water, and you should especially avoid flushing any form of chemical down your drain that should not be recycled back into the environment, such as fertilizer.
Is using a garbage disposal bad for my septic system?
Using a trash disposal will result in the requirement to pump your septic system more frequently than you would otherwise need to do if you avoided flushing food particles down your drains. Too much food collection in your tank might cause your drainfield to clog since the microorganisms in your tank are not capable to digesting it. When using a trash disposal, check with your septic system company to find out how frequently the disposal should be serviced.
Should I add bacteria to my septic system?
Aside from being completely useless, introducing bacteria to your septic tank is also highly discouraged. The bacteria produced by human waste is sufficient to break down the solid sewage in your tank without the need of bacteria supplements or other methods. If, on the other hand, multiple members of your home are using pharmaceuticals, they will enter your septic system through human waste and kill some of the beneficial bacteria in your tank, causing it to malfunction. Please contact the firm who installed your septic system to see whether or not you should be worried about the amount of bacteria-killing compounds entering the system.
There’s a strong sewer odor outside of my house. Could this be my septic tank?
Strong sewage stench coming from your yard might be coming from your septic system, but it could also be coming from someplace else completely. Identifying the source of the smell is important. Check for propane or gas leaks in your home before concluding that your septic system is at fault; however, if your gas or propane lines are not leaking, determine how long it has been since you had your tank pumped, and whether there is any sewage waste in your yard or other signs of septic system failure before making your final decision.
Can my septic system contaminate nearby water?
It is possible for your septic system to pollute surrounding water sources if it is not properly managed or fails completely.
In the event that you suspect that your septic system is failing, make sure that it is routinely pumped and inspected by an expert.
My gutters’ downspouts drain into my yard above my septic system. Is this a bad thing?
The drainage of your gutters into your yard above your septic system, and particularly into your drainfield, can be hazardous to your septic system. All water should be diverted away from your septic system in order to minimize flooding and damage to your septic system’s tank or drain field.