How To Use A Sludge Judge In A Septic Tank? (TOP 5 Tips)

How to Measure Septic Tank Sludge Depth

  1. Push the sludge judge through the scum layer until it just breaks through the layer.
  2. Make a visible note of the relationship between the top of the scum layer and the location on the tube.
  3. Pull the tube up and measure the length on the tube.

  • The proper way to use the Sludge Judge is as follows: 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

How do you break down the sludge in a septic tank?

Here are a few things you can do to help you break down the solid waste in your septic tank:

  1. Active Yeast. Add ¼ to ½ cup of active dry yeast to your toilet bowl and flush it down your toilet.
  2. Rotten Tomatoes.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide.
  4. Inorganic Acids.
  5. Chemicals.
  6. Pumping.

How thick should the sludge layer be in a septic tank?

Septic tanks need to be pumped out when the sludge layer exceeds 24 inches in depth or when the bottom of the scum layer is less than 3 inches above the Page 2 lower end of the submerged outlet. If you cannot locate the submerged outlet, clean the tank if the scum layer is more than 12 inches thick.

How do you put in a Drainfield probe?

Scan the area for markers: The location of your septic tank should be marked by a cement marker the size of a manhole cover. Look for it 10 to 20 feet away from your home. Once you locate the tank, follow the downward-most path and check for an empty downward-sloping field. You may have just found your drain field.

What can break down poop in septic tank?

Yeast helps actively breaks down waste solids when added to your septic system. Flush ½ cup of dry baking yeast down the toilet, the first time. Add ¼ cup of instant yeast every 4 months, after the initial addition.

How much sludge is normal in a septic tank?

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).

What eats waste in septic tank?

Large colonies of bacteria and enzymes in your septic tank keep the tank from backing up or overfilling. Enzymes go to work on the scum, and bacteria goes to work on the sludge. The microbes eat the waste and convert large portions of it into liquids and gases.

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 does it look like when your septic tank is full?

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. When the toilet is slow to flush or won’t flush, and a plunger doesn’t fix the issue it could be something wrong with the septic system.

Do all septic tanks have two lids?

A septic tank installed before 1975 will have a single 24-inch concrete lid in the center of the rectangle. A two-compartment tank installed after 1975 will have two lids of either fiberglass or polyethylene, centered at opposite ends of the rectangle.

How do you use sludge judge?

How to Use Sludge Judge:

  1. Lower to the bottom of the tank.
  2. Float valve opens, allowing liquid to flow in.
  3. This sets the check valve, trapping the mixture inside.
  4. Read the amount of solids in the sample using the 1′ increments marked on the sections.

What is a sludge judge measurement?

Sludge Judge. Measure settled solids in sewage treatment plants, chemical plants, or food processing facilities. Take accurate, noncaustic measurement of settable solids, 5% or less.

How to Measure Septic Tank Sludge Depth

What is the best way to determine when to pump your septic tank? In a previous piece, you learned that the only way to know for certain when to pump your septic tank is to take an actual measurement of the amount of accumulated sludge and scum in the tank. It is designed such that the septic tank should be pumped when the combined sludge and scum layer displaces 30% of the tank’s total volume. Using the above example, if the liquid depth of the tank is 48″, the tank should be pumped when the combined thickness of the sludge and scum layer measures 14 12″ (48″ X 0.30).

An example of this would be a long hollow plastic tube with a check valve at the bottom of it.

  • The scum layer should be pushed through until it is almost broken through by the sludge judge. Mark on the tube in a visibly obvious manner the link between the top of the scum layer and the spot on it. Pulling the tube up and measuring the length of the tube are two options. In many cases, you may see part of the scum layer adhered to the tube to help you locate it
  • This is normal.

The following are the measurements for the sludge layer:

  • Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it comes into contact with the tank’s bottom
  • And With each gradual pull of the gadget out of the water, the check valve shuts, allowing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water to be captured. It is possible to determine the thickness of the sludge layer

The collected sludge inside the tube measured around 8″ – 9″ in diameter, and there was no scum layer present in this specimen. The thickness of the scum layer would simply be added to the 8′ – 9″ measurement if there was one. In this particular instance, the scum/sludge layer combined displaces approximately 18 percent of the tank volume (8 12″/48″ in this case). Upon further investigation, it was discovered that this septic tank had last been drained 26 months before. The septic tank should be pumped within 43 months of the last septic tank pump out, based on this date (0.18 / 26 months X 0.30 = 43 months) of the last pump out.

  • Even if the cost of $75 for a sludge judge is beyond of reach for you, you may construct your own gadget that will do the same function.
  • The length of the stick will vary depending on how deep your septic tank is buried.
  • The idea here is to avoid wrapping it too tightly around the stick’s handle.
  • Pay close attention to the relationship between the top of the scum layer and the location on the sticking stick.
  • The scum layer is often adhered to the stick to help you locate it, and this is a good way to identify the location.
  • Continue to slide the stick back and forth in a plus (+) pattern for approximately 2″ in each direction to enable the solids to flow through the cheesecloth slowly and softly.

Measure the witness line of solids that are lodged into the cheesecloth to determine the amount of solids present. Measure the distance between the “wet” mark on the upper end of the stick and the bottom of the stick. Calculate the percent capacity in the same way as in the previous example.

How to Inspect Your Septic Tank – Septic Maxx

If you give your septic system the attention and care it deserves, it will survive a long time. It will endure for many years if you pump as regularly as you need to for the size of your tank, utilize it properly, and do not let anything that shouldn’t be in it to enter. Steel septic tanks corrode with time, generally after 15-20 years of service in most climates. Concrete septic tanks have a lifespan ranging from 40 years to nearly indefinitely. If you want to see your septic system live to a ripe old age and not have to worry about replacing it, it is in your best interests to do periodic septic maintenance.

Gather Materials

It is necessary to have the correct equipment in order to assess the state of your septic tank and determine whether it is necessary to have it pumped out. Aside from wearing loose-fitting clothes and rubber gloves and shoes, you’ll need a specific gadget known as a Sludge Judge to quantify the quantities of scum and sludge that are present in your tank. This instrument is basically a transparent plastic pipe that has been marked at one-foot intervals and divided into three pieces, each of which is five feet in length.

Sludge, effluent, and scum are the three types of waste that accumulate in a septic tank.

Scum is formed when fats, oils, cooking grease, and other lighter trash float to the surface of the water.

To check your tank, you must first assess how much sludge and scum is present within in order to evaluate whether or not it needs to be pumped.

Inspect the Area Around Your Septic Tank

Checking the ground around your septic tank is a good idea before opening the lid and pumping out the sewage. Check to see if there is any accumulation of effluent around the tank, and look over the septic tank lid to check whether it is in good shape.

Remove the Manhole Cover

Many septic systems these days are equipped with ” risers,” which make this task much easier by elevating the lids above earth. If you are unable to locate the lid of your septic tank, locate the tank and dig it up. There should be two lids, one for each compartment, in the box. In the majority of situations, the hole on the left corresponds to the first compartment, while the hole on the right corresponds to the second. In the first one, you simply need to take measurements, and that’s all.

Measure the Scum’s Thickness (SC)

To determine how thick the scum layer is in your tank, you’ll need to go for your trusty scum measuring stick, of course. Measure the distance between the stick and the opening of the septic tank, and then lower the stick until it lies on top of the scum layer and indicate the location of this intersection. As a further step, descend down through the whole scum layer with the elbow end leading directly into the scum layer. Rotate the stick 90 degrees and raise the stick as high as you can until you feel the bottom of the scum layer.

Mark the spot on the scum stick where it comes into contact with the bottom of the scum layer. Take the distance between the two markers and multiply it by two. This is the measurement of the thickness of the scum layer (SC).

Measure the Sludge’s Thickness (SL)

Make a hole in the scum layer with your handy sludge measuring stick and carefully lower the stick through it after tying two feet of a white cloth to the stick. Mark the point on the stick where it comes into contact with the aperture of the manhole or riser. After that, drop it to the very bottom of the tank and keep it there for 5 minutes to allow the sludge to adhere to the cloth towel. Measure the distance between the tanks or the operating depth of the tank. Remove the stick and use the rag to measure the height of the black stain that should be visible on it.

Following the completion of these measures, you will be able to calculate when it is necessary to pump your septic tank.

  1. SC plus SL equals inches
  2. WD inches divided by 3 equals inches
  3. If the sum of A and B equals the sum of A and B, pump your tank.

It is recommended that you engage a professional to examine your tank in order to get an accurate reading; but, if you are comfortable doing it yourself, you may save money by using this approach. Besides saving you money, Septic Maxx may also save you money by reducing the amount of accumulation in your tank and so extending the intervals between pumping.

Inspecting Your Septic Tank

Firstuncover and remove the first manhole cover. Some systems have”risers”that make this job easier by bringing the tank lids up to the ground surface. (We encourage you to have risersinstalled so you won’t need to dig down each time you inspect.)The diagram at left shows the top of the two most common septic tank configurations. The upper figure is found onnewer tanks and the bottom one is usually found on older septic tanks. In most cases, the hole to the left is thefirst compartment, the hole to the right is the second compartment, and the rectangular cover is to the crossoverbaffle. (Some tanks, 25 years or older, may have only one compartment that is round, oval, or square.)This procedure determines the thickness of the scum level(SC).
  1. In order to make the scum stick, One of the PVC pipes was cut down to 6 feet from its original length of 10 feet. Glue a 90-degree elbow on one of the ends. Create an elbow out of a 6-inch piece of PVC tubing and glue it in place. End caps should be placed on the open ends. Place a board or a stick over the top of the hole, manhole, or riser to prevent water from leaking in. As shown in Figure 1, lower the scum stick down the manhole of the first compartment of the tank until it rests on the top of the scum layer (see Figure 1below), and mark the scum stick where it passes the reference point (A). Work the stick through the scum layer, starting at the elbow end and working your way down. Continue pushing straight through the scum layer, turning the stick 90 degrees, and pulling up on the stick until you feel the bottom of the scum layer. Note where the scum stick crosses the reference point (B) with a marker. Removing the scum stick and measuring the distance between the two markings will get the following results. This is the measurement of the thickness of the scum layer (SC).

Figure 1: To expand the diagram, click on it. This process determines the thickness of the sludge layer on the bottom of the pond (SL).

  1. To create the sludge stick, cut the remaining 10-foot PVC pipe into two parts of 5-foot length. Each stick should have an adaptor attached to it. Insert the coupler into one of the adapters by screwing it in. To build a 10-foot stick, connect the two parts together. Wrap a white cloth or an old towel around the bottom of the stick so that it is tightly wrapped. It should be secured with tape or string. Create a hole in the scum It is not acceptable to smear the sludge stick with scum. Stick carefully through hole in scum layer in first compartment until it rests on top of the liquid layer, then remove stick from compartment. Figure 1 shows how to mark the location of the stick when it passes the aperture of the manhole or riser. Reduce the length of the stick until it reaches the bottom of the tank. Keep the stick in the tank for at least five minutes to allow sludge particles to attach to the towel
  2. Otherwise, remove it. The sludge stick should be marked where it crosses the board (Din Figure 1). Work your way carefully away from the stick until you reach the distance between the two markers (CandD). This distance represents the working depth of the tank (WD). On the rag, there should be a visible black stain left by the liquid. Take a measurement of the stain’s height. Sludge layer (SL) depth is measured in millimeters.

Remove the covers from the inlet, outlet, and crossoverbaffles on the ducting system. Examine the baffles to confirm that they are still present and that they are not significantly rusted. Venting holes should be present and unobstructed if the baffles are made of concrete and are molded into the rest of the tank’s structure.

  • Ensure that the intake baffle is unobstructed and that the pipe is properly sealed to the tank
  • Ensure that the exit baffle is unobstructed and that the liquid level is at the bottom of the pipe, rather than below or above the bottom of the pipe. The line connecting it to the tank must be completely sealed. PLEASE NOTE: In the following photo, looking down an output baffle, the effluent is below the pipe, suggesting a faulty seal. Additionally, the crossover baffle should be clear of blockage.
  • Rubber gloves should be used
  • Dirty gloves and sludge toweling should be disposed of in a plastic bag. Sticks should be soaked in bleach water to sterilize them before keeping them.

The Sludge Judge – 15 ft.

With the Sludge Judge®, you can accurately measure settleable solids with a concentration of 5 percent or less in a range of liquids to whatever depth you want. For sewage treatment plants, chemical plants, and food processing facilities – or anyplace exact sample levels of settleable solids in noncaustic materials are required – this instrument is an excellent choice. The device has a capacity of roughly 3 oz. per foot (89 ml per 0.31 m). The Sludge Judge® is available in 5 ft (1.53 m) lengths of 3/4″ (1.90 cm) plastic pipe with screw-type connections, and it can be assembled in minutes.

  • Individual pieces can be merged in any way necessary to get the length that is required.
  • Sludge Judge® is not a product that can be autoclaved.
  • How to utilize it: Using slow, steady motion, drop the Sludge Judge® to the bottom of the tank.
  • When you’ve reached the bottom and the pipe has been filled to the surface level, gently tug on the rope as the unit is hoisted to its final position.
  • The quantity of solids in the sample may be determined by measuring the distance between the pipe sections marked in 1 ft (0.31 m) increments after the unit has been elevated clear of the liquid.

Use a firm surface to press on the pin projecting from the bottom section in order to release the material trapped inside the device. This activates the check valve, allowing the sample to be drained. A one-year warranty is provided. Septic Checker (8 feet) with case, Check When Your Septic Tank Needs to be Pumped. Large 1 inch Diameter to Prevent Getting clogged. Core Sampler/Sludge Sampler : Health & Household

Septic Checker eliminates the need for guessing when it comes to your septic tank! Septic tanks decompose the contents and enable the water to drain into a leach field, where it is treated. Over time, sludge accumulates at the bottom of the tank and must be removed by pumping it out. The most difficult element is determining when to pump your tank. The Septic Checker is simple to use: just remove it from its carrying box, screw the sections together using the built-in unions, remove the lid from the septic tank, and gently extend it into the primary tank (on the home side of the septic tank).

  1. This will draw the stopper all the way to the end of the clear PVC pipe, which has been machined to precisely fit the stopper, and hold it there until the next step is completed.
  2. It is not only shaped to cut quickly through the sludge layer without upsetting it, but the milled end of the pipe also provides a great watertight seal with the stopper when used in conjunction with it.
  3. A tank pumping should be performed if there is more than 30 percent sludge and scum in the tank.
  4. We provide a lifetime warranty, which means that if your Septic Checker ever fails due to a manufacturing flaw, we will repair or replace it at no charge.

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

Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria

Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, 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.

  1. A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
  2. 4.
  3. Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
  4. Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
  5. (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
  6. The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
  7. Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
  8. The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt.
  9. 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.

  1. Keep the effluent filter in place since it is required by your state’s health law.
  2. Waste particles might flow through the filter and clog the perforated pipes if the filter is not used.
  3. Your filter, on the other hand, should not require cleaning every six months.
  4. A good chance is high that you’re flushing filter-clogging things down the toilet, such as grease, fat, or food scraps.
  5. A garbage disposal will not be able to break down food particles sufficiently to allow them to flow through the septic tank filtration system.
  6. Plastic items, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable goods, and tobacco products will clog the system if they are flushed through it.
  7. 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.

You may be able to boost the performance of your system by using a product such as RID-X to introduce bacteria into the system. 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

Regular inspections will cost less than $100 apiece once the initial comprehensive examination by a professional has been completed. It will be possible to learn how a septic tank works from your professional if you have a better understanding of how your system operates. No matter how simple it appears to be, assessing the condition of a septic system requires the expertise 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 properly.

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 your state 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 how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.

  • 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 often should I pump my septic tank?

How to detect whether your septic tank is full or nearly full. So why is it that septic pumping firms are never able to provide you a straightforward response to such a seemingly straightforward question? This is due to the fact that explaining it over the phone is really tough! The process of actually determining the level of your septic tank necessitates the use of specialized gear and the possibility of getting a bit dirty, which is why we never advocate that homeowners do their own investigation.

  1. Is it necessary to get your tank pumped on a regular basis?
  2. The greater the number of people that live in the house, the more regularly your tank should be emptied.
  3. A septic tank can normally contain 1000-2000 gallons of water at a time, which implies that most families would “full” the septic tank within a few weeks of installing it.
  4. Basically, after the glass of water has reached its “fullness,” the water must be disposed of in some manner.
  5. This is referred to as the “typical operating level” in our industry.
  6. The amount of Total Suspended Solids in a septic tank is what determines whether or not it is “full” (TSS).
  7. Over time, those particles will break down, and some will float to the surface of the water above the other solids, forming a suspended suspension.

This might be a challenge for your STA since you want to use only the purest water possible in your leach field, which can be problematic.

Because there is always water above the solids in a septic tank, it might be difficult to assess exactly how full your tank is at any given time.

Although John Todd Companies possesses these instruments, there is a more convenient alternative to sending someone to your home on a regular basis to assess whether your septic tank is ready.

So, how long should you go without having your septic system pumped?

There will be a distinct response for every house, and the answer may alter based on what stage of life you’re now in.

In most cases, estimating how much water your given family consumes is a matter of educated speculation.

It is recommended that you pump your septic tank once every 2-4 years, as a general rule of thumb.

The technician should be able to tell you whether or not you need to decrease or extend the duration between each septic tank pumping after your tank has been pumped once or twice after the first or second pumping.

Every two years or every four years, for example?

If you have just two to three persons that come to your house on a regular basis, we recommend that you have your septic tank emptied every four years because the consumption will be minimal.

Homeowners with three to four people should have their homes pumped every three years, and those who have more than four people should have their homes pumped every two years (or more frequently as needed).

This can cause significant wear on your leach field since it results in a significant increase in the quantity of water utilized, and wastewater does not receive as much pre-treatment time before entering the STA as it would otherwise.

Aside from that, if your property is a rental property, your guests will not be familiar with how to properly operate and maintain a septic system.

If you have an RV dump station at your residence (which is not suggested), it is preferable to have your tank pumped on a more frequent basis.

Other factors that influence how frequently you should pump include: Social gatherings that are large or regular (parties, weddings, etc.) Guests staying for an extended period of time Vacation residences (which don’t require as much pumping as a permanent residence because you won’t be residing there) and rental properties o Ski rental establishments are well-known for attracting big numbers of visitors during the winter season (sometimes 10-12 people in a 3 bedroom home).

If this is the case, you should keep track of the number of guests that stay at your rental property and recognize that many of them are unlikely to be familiar with the “do’s and don’ts” of operating a septic system.

RV Dumping Stations are available (on your property) Summary In summation, when the water level in a septic tank reaches the top, it is not considered ” full.” This is referred to as the “typical operating level.” Solids begin to build up at the bottom of the tank, and while this is difficult to identify without the necessary instruments, there are a few ways to knowing whether your septic tank is ready for pumping.

Septic systems on normal residential properties are pumped every 2-4 years, according to the Colorado Health Department, which requires a septic pumping every 4 years at the very least.

The more harmful substances you flush down the toilet, the more frequently you should have your toilets pumped.

– Also check “How a Septic System Works” for more information.

Check read the other articles in this section to have a better understanding of how to safeguard one of the most significant investments you will make in your home: your septic system! Jesse Todd is an American actor and singer who is best known for his role in the film Jesse Todd’s Life in Pieces.

TruCore Sludge Sampler – Know When Your Septic Tank Needs Pumped!

In addition to core sampling wastewater in septic tanks and other fluids, the TruCore sludge sampler is also utilized for other fluid samples. In addition to the Sludge Judge® and other popular sludge samplers, this sampler offers an alternative to the Sludge Judge®. It is possible to evaluate the need for a septic tank pumping and cleaning by taking core samples of the scum and sludge that accumulates in the tank. The TruCore Sludge Sampler is available for same-day shipping at no additional cost.


The TruCore sludge sampler for wastewater and other fluids is a versatile instrument. With this unit’s design, it is possible to collect samples without causing the excessive turbulence that is commonly associated with traditional sampling devices. In the absence of any obstructions such as valves, stoppers, flaps, or other obstructions, fluid is allowed to flow freely and undisturbed into the sampling tube, resulting in an extraordinarily precise core sample of the contents of the tank being obtained.

  • It is the most accurate sludge sampler available on the market. It is quick and simple to take samples using an 8 FT Sampler (two four foot sections) marked every 12 inches. Large sampling capacity (10 ounces per foot)
  • Two sections for easy storage and handling
  • Large sampling capacity (10 ounces per foot)
  • Sludge Judge® and other samplers can be replaced with this alternative.
Availability: IN STOCKItemSTF-SLUDGE4x2-NC MSRP $175.00SALE $139.00

Put Your Trust in the Professionals With Over 25 Years of Wastewater Industry Experience.

TruCore Sludge Sampler Video Demonstration

We provide a Septic Maintenance Contract, under which we will be glad to maintain your septic system through two site visits each year on your behalf. Our service technicians will completely examine the septic system during these visits to verify that all components are functioning correctly and effectively. We will notify the health department that we are servicing your system and will ensure that you are in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. We will also offer a sludge judge, which will measure the contents of the tank, allowing us to eliminate the guesswork involved in determining when the system should be flushed.

We forgo our $95 service call charge for contract clients in the event that any repair work is required, and we give discounted prices on any components that are required to get the system back up and operating again.

has been in the business of installing, repairing, and maintaining septic systems for more than three decades.

How Often Should You Pump Your Septic Tank? — Western Wastewater Systems – Vancouver Island Septic

If you look for answers to this topic on the internet, you will discover prescriptive advice instructing you to clean your tank every three to five years, according to the experts. However, the fact is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Would you be surprised if your technician told you to replace your automobile tires every three years? A tire wholesaler may, but your mechanic would inspect your tires and tell you when it is time to alternate or replace them. Some individuals just drive more than others, so imposing a prescriptive requirement is not a viable solution.

  1. In many other cases, a factor of at least 8 is more effective.
  2. Because of regulatory amendments implemented since 2005, septic designers have begun designing tanks that are greater than the capacity of the estimated residential occupancy.
  3. The lifespan of modern (bigger) tanks with moderate usage can be extended to eight years, however certain older (smaller) tanks with excessive demand should be pumped every two to three years.
  4. While only one component of your system, the septic tank is a very significant component of that system.

What exactly has to be flushed? With the exception of a garburator (which is not suggested), the following rule of thumb is a good one to remember:

You should compost your kitchen leftovers and avoid flushing things like coffee grinds and bacon grease down the sink or disposal unit. More information, including what to do and what not to do, may be found at: What is the operation of a septic tank? It is helpful to understand how a septic tank operates in order to determine when it should be pumped. Chemical components in your wastewater are digested by microorganisms, which is the basis of the fundamental biological procedure used. Simply said, the heavier stuff sinks to the bottom and becomes sludge, the lighter stuff floats to the surface and forms scum, and the murky water continues to flow.

  1. It is the responsibility of these little animals to metabolize and pre-treat your wastewater before it makes its way to the natural habitat of soil distribution and infiltration.
  2. Generally, after a tank has been in operation for a period of time, the solid layers will collect to the point where it is necessary to do a thorough cleaning.
  3. A sludge judge is a gadget that is widely used to determine when it is necessary to pump a tank of sludge.
  4. A general rule of thumb is that you should have your tank pumped out when the solids (scum + sludge) have accumulated to around 30 – 50% of the entire capacity of your tank, calculated, while taking the overall configuration of your system into consideration.
  5. By doing so, you can be certain that you are not over- or under-pumping, which, over time, can cause difficulties in the dispersion field while also draining your bank account and having a detrimental influence on the environment and environment.
  6. For a “rough” estimate, compare the size of your tank with the number of people that will be living in your home.
  7. Depending on how often your house is occupied and how carefully you avoid flushing anything that may destroy those beneficial bacteria, you may be able to go for far over eight years between pump outs since the small bugs are keeping up with the digestive process.

It will cost more than $500 to have the 1,000-gallon tank pumped in the Greater Victoria region, according to estimates.

Pump out fees are typically computed on the basis of a basic fee plus the amount of the tank being pumped out.

The following are the average prices charged by septage transporters on Southern Vancouver Island: Tanks with a high occupancy rate in small sizes Your tank should be pumped every two years if you have six people living in your house and your tank capacity is less than 600 gallons.

Why would you ever want to pump the tank?

This means that water from your shower this morning may not enter the natural environment for another six days in British Columbia, where we design for retention of three to six days.

When suspended particles escape from the tank and choke up your dispersion field, the soil in your yard and downstream becomes clogged.

In many cases, it is more cost effective to build an effluent filter, flush your laterals, and equalize flows in your dispersion region than than spend your money on other things.

* This tank is not scheduled for a pump out until it measures 8″ plus 3″ = 11″ divided by 41″ = 27 percent

Clarifier Sludge Judge

NavigateBioaugmentation products for Wastewater applications in Papermills, Refineries, Chemical, Tanneries, Municipalities, Textiles, Steel, Agriculture, Animal feedlot,Gun Powder plant, Food and Beverage- Dairy Products, Orange Juice factory, Wineries, Cookie factory, Vegetable processing plant, Meat packing, Barbecue Restaurant, Aquaculture, Ornamental Ponds for algae control, CAFO, Nursing homes, Military, Campgrounds, Universities, Regulatory agenciesFilamentous Identification Lab Service. One reasonto identify filaments is to determine the filaments characteristics andthen determine the type present.If the type is found out, a root cause can usually be associatedwith a particular filament.If the cause is known, then a correction can be made to alleviateproblems. Chlorination is only a quick fix.Without process changes, filaments will grow back afterchlorination.Wastewater Biomass Analyses and Cooling Tower Analyses also availableTraining is an integral part of any job. Not everyone is at the same level of training. Many people want beginning concepts and basics.Some need technical information or troubleshooting. Some want equipment, technology or process information.We have developed a full set of Basic training, Advanced training,Filamentous Identification the Easy Way as well as custom training CD’sManuals. We also provide hands-on training classes and soon will have anOnline “E-University”.At Environmental Leverage ®Inc., we have a team ofexperienced individuals who come into your plant with a fresh pair ofeyes.The system is checked from influent to effluent.Systemoptimization, equipment efficiency and operational excellence are keycomponents explored. Key Benefits Equipment efficiency Total Cost ofOperation reductions Reliability and safetyAn onsite audit is conducted to examine system parameters, process controls, and current monitor and control procedures.A physical walk-through is conducted, process flow diagrams are examined, previous design criteria are examined and current standard operating procedures are evaluated along with data logs. Latest News!What’s New!We have just added “Virtual Audits” to our capabilities.Check out our new Services.We are in the process ofdeveloping new courses for our “”Online E-University” in order to meet the needs of our global customers that cannot travel to our public classes.Visit our new websiteWhat do I need to do to operate my clarifierefficiently?Thepurpose of the clarifier is two-fold. One is to thicken the solids and thensettle them out. The second is to produce a clear effluent off the settledsolids. Clarifiers in activated sludge systems must be designed not only forhydraulic overflow rates, but also for solids loading rates. This is becauseboth clarification and thickening are needed in activated sludge clarifiers.At higher mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) values (i.e., more than 3000mg/l), the ability of the clarifier to thicken solids becomes moreimportant, and the solids loading rate becomes critical.Keep in mind that a major portion of the bacteria is returned to thefront of the plant. They do not stop growing in the clarifier. Many peoplecause most of the growth of filaments in the clarifier or create conditionsthat promote the growth of filaments by holding solids too long in theclarifier.There are numerous control options that plants use to run their clarifiermore efficiently.Monitorthe flow through the secondary clarifier.Flow rates greater than the design overflow rate may result in anincrease in the effluent solids content.This picture shows hydraulic overloading in a clarifier.Monitor the influent and effluent suspendedsolids concentration to determine percent solids removal efficiency.An influent solids loading rate (dry pounds or tons of solids/sq. ft./houror day) greater than the design rate can result in a decrease in the solidsremoval efficiency. Also, the collector mechanism may become torqueoverloaded.Monitor the influent wastewater temperature.A decrease in temperature reduces the settling rate, which can result ina decrease in solids removal efficiency. An increase in the wastewatertemperature can cause short-circuiting through the clarifier, reducingremoval efficiency.Monitor the settleability of the influentsolids.Periodic volumetric settling tests using a settleometer will indicate achange in the suspended solidscharacteristics, which may result in a reduction in solids removalefficiency. This will indicate a change in the biomass that may be due tofilaments or young or old floc. It may also indicate changes in the processthat will impact the biomass characteristics.Monitor the secondary clarifier effluent pH.A drop in pH along with the presence of gas bubbles in the final settlingtank usually indicates a septic sludge bed condition. Check for gassing andashing.Monitor the dissolved oxygen content of theinfluent and effluent of the clarifier.The dissolved oxygen content of the secondary clarifier effluent shouldbe periodically monitored by taking samples from inside of the effluentweir. A large drop in dissolved oxygen from the influent to the effluent ofthe secondary clarifier indicates that the biological sludge activity ishigh in the clarifier and the water contains a substantial BOD demand.Operational corrections of the upstream biological process need to beadjusted in order to achieve final effluent BOD removal.Maintain the effluent weirs in a clean and levelcondition.Weir maintenance is also critical, as well as the outer track. Algae onthe weirs will significantly contribute to TSS and BOD in the finaleffluent. These need weekly maintenance, either spraying or cleaning withbrushes. Algae can fix nitrogen if the environment is correct, and this canimpact or give false reading as the efficiency of nitrification in thesystem. If excess BOD is still present or nutrients are in the system, algaeor cyanobacteria can grow.Proper preventative maintenance of the weirs can alleviate this. Thereare numerous companies that make automated cleaning systems that cansignificantly reduce manpower hours, increase efficiency in a system and cutback TSS and false BOD violations. The cost of the equipment is easilyrecaptured in ROI.WeirWasher Automated Cleaning System (ACS)**There are tons of companies that manufacture equipment to help you withcleaning the weirs. Check out your local supplier or the Internet. We arenot affiliated with any particular company.Maintainthe equipment per the manufacturer’s instructions so that processperformance will not be compromised by equipment malfunction or failure.Monitor the sludge blanket depth and adjustblowdown frequency and/or rate accordingly.Measure the sludge blanket depth and adjust the blowdown rate tokeep the blanket at the optimum depth. The optimum depth is that whichproduces the desired underflow concentration for the type of solids beingseparated but does not reduce the tank volume for the necessary flocculentsettling rate. Best operation in terms of effluent clarity is typicallyattained with as small a sludge inventory (sludge bed) as possible. Thesludge depth can be manually measured by such means as using a ‘SludgeJudge”, or automatically by sludge depth meters.The volume of sludge to blowdown per unit time (gpm) to maintain thesludge bed at the proper depth can be estimated from the influent andeffluent suspended solids, influent flow rate, and the underflowconcentration.Anaerobic decomposition of organic solids can develop in the sludge bed ifthe sludge retention time in the bed is excessive. This decompositionproduces gas bubbles, which will cause the sludge to float to theclarifier’s surface.Monitorthe settleability of the influent solids.Periodic volumetric settling tests using a settleometer will indicate achange in the suspended solids characteristics, which may result in areduction in solids removal efficiency. Such a change could require areduction in the influent rate, adjustment of the upstream biologicalprocess to change the nature of the solids, revisions to the currentchemical program, or the need for chemical treatment, if not currently beingused. A change in settling characteristics may also indicate equipmentfailure or a change in the mill or manufacturing plant process.Sludge recycle flow rates for activated sludge systems should be asconstant and continuous as possible.The solids concentration of the underflow sludge (blowdown) from thesecondary clarifier affects:

  • Sludge recycling rate is an important factor in the operational management of the activated sludge process because it influences aeration basin mixed liquor suspended solids, food (BOD) to mixed liquor suspended solids ratio, and sludge age. When disposing of sludge in the wetform, the cost of sludge disposal includes transportation, drying, burning, and lagoon capacity, among other expenses. There are several types of sludge dewatering expenses that are associated with running time, power consumption, conditioning chemicals, and dewatered cake dryness for equipment such belt filter presses, vacuum filters, centrifuges, plate and frame presses, and screw presses

Optimization of the secondary clarifiers will greatly improve the healthof the secondary systems and decrease the amount of filaments and foamingproblems that occur in the activated sludge tanks.Usingthe Sludge Judge as a way to measure depth of bedWhat is a sludge judge or core sampler?A sludge judge is a core sampler that may consist of three to five foot longsections of plastic tubing, each clearly marked at 1 foot intervals andfitted with screw connections for ease of assembly.

  • The 1-ft markings allowfor quick and accurate assessment of the depth of settled solids in the bedof the clarifier.The bottom section of the core sampler is fitted with a check valve,which opens as the unit is lowered into the liquid.
  • To release the material in the unit, touch the pinextending from the bottom section against a hard surface.
  • This makes it hard for a consistent RASto be drawn off the bottoms, which impacts the returns of biosolids to theaeration basins.
  • Thisis automatically a warning sign if you see this in your sludge judge.
  • Getrid of some of the solids in the clarifier.
  • If instead, you have a ton ofworms and rotifers and do not need to keep a very old sludge age due tonitrification or hard to degrade compounds, you need to increase wasting fora short time.

The best time is during the period of maximum daily flow, becausethe clarifier is operating under the highest solids loading rate.Adjustments in the RAS flow rate should be needed only occasionally if theactivated sludge process is operating properly and the anaerobic treatmentsystem is running smoothly.

We got 5 very different readings, some ofwhich had very black sludge in the bottom, one with only 2 ft of goldsludge, one with 2 zones of black and one with 5 feet of sludge.

This may indicatethe sludge is not properly settling or drawing down through the bottomtubes.

The appearance of the surfaceof the sludge thickener tank showed too much water, which also mightindicate “rat-holing” occurring in the clarifier.An additional advantage of monitoring the sludge blanket depth is thatproblems, such as improperly operating sludge collection equipment, will beobserved due to irregularities in the blanket depth.

These irregularities in sludge blanket depthare easily monitored by measuring profiles of blanket depth across theclarifier.

Limitednutrients are available also to the bacteria in the clarifier.

Holding times ofinfluent should always be kept to a minimum.

This increases solids carryover.Polymer consumption goes up, solids handling is increased.

Not all operators were aware of where the rake shouldbe, where the sludge judge should be placed, how to read the sludge judgeconcerning settled solids and rag layer.

Below is a summary of some of the results.

Below is a summary of some of theresults.

We timedthe rakes and scum draw down and pulled a sludge judge sample at differenttimes depending upon the position of the arms in the clarifier.It was amazing how at some plants there was only a slight bit of difference,and yet at others, there was a major difference.The amount of blanket seemed to also impact the changes in results and alsothe quality of the blanket.

If you happened to pulla sample when you were at a low reading when in reality the bed was high,you would make incorrect adjustments to the system.Find out more about our Troubleshooting and Training programs or considerhaving a Waste Audit performed on your plant with ourWastewater Consulting Engineers.

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