Where Do I Prove I Have A Septic Tank Florida? (Correct answer)

Where can I get more information about septic systems in Florida?

  • For more information on permitting septic systems, contact the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Onsite Sewage Programs at 850-245-4250. DEP and DOH Coordination

Are septic tank locations public record?

Contact your local health department for public records. These permits should come with a diagram of the location where the septic system is buried. Depending on the age of your septic system, you may be able to find information regarding the location of your septic system by making a public records request.

Does my septic tank need to be registered?

Until recently, it was necessary for all septic tanks to be registered. A septic tank discharges water into the ground, and the quantity of such is important so as to avoid damage to the environment. If your septic tank discharges two cubic metres or less above ground, then you don’t need to register it.

How do you figure out where your septic tank is?

How to Find Where Your Septic Tank is Located

  1. Consult a Septic Tank Diagram or Map. This is the easiest way to find your septic tank, as it will indicate exactly where the tank and drain field is located on the property.
  2. Follow the Sewer Outlet Pipes.
  3. Search Your Yard.
  4. Ask.

Do you need a permit to install a septic tank in Florida?

Anyone practicing septic tank contracting in Florida must be registered and approved by the State of Florida. This provides statewide training for any new installations or repairs of septic systems in Florida. Once licensed with the DOH, registration must be renewed annually.

How do you find a metal detector with a septic tank?

6 Steps to Locate a Septic Tank

  1. Find Your Main Sewer Drain Line. Sewage from your toilets, sinks, and showers collects into a main drain line.
  2. Check Permits and Public Records.
  3. Determine Septic Tank Material.
  4. Time to Dig.
  5. Mark the Location for Future Maintenance.

Are septic tanks still legal?

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

Do septic tanks require planning permission?

The short answer is yes. You will need planning permission from a local authority in order to have a septic tank installed, no matter if it’s at your own home or on a business site.

Can you sell a property with a septic tank?

If you’re selling a property with a septic tank, then you must be transparent with buyers about the fact the property uses a one and provide a detailed specification of the system. In fact, You are required by law to inform a buyer in writing about the presence of a septic tank. The age of the system.

How deep is a septic tank usually buried?

Often, septic tank lids are at ground level. In most cases, they have buried anywhere from four inches to four feet underground. If you’ve just bought the home and you don’t know where your septic tank is located, this guide will provide information on how to find your septic tank.

How much is a septic system in Florida?

Purchasing and installing a septic systems can cost anywhere from $1,500 – $15,000. The price varies based on the size of the system and the type of soil. Homes with more than two bathrooms will need a larger tank, which increases the material costs.

Are plastic septic tanks legal in Florida?

Florida Septic Tanks Save up to 50% on plastic septic tanks. These septic tanks are state approved for use in the state of Florida.

What size septic tank do I need in Florida?

Size of Tanks A septic tank in Florida must have a minimum 900 gallon capacity for up to 300 gallons of sewage flow per day. This gallon capacity increases on a sliding scale by household size and whether or not the building is intended for commercial use.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

For more information on the Springs Protection Act and how it applies to septic systems, please see the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s webpage onProtecting Florida’s Springs!

  • You may find out more about this new initiative by visiting the DEP’sSeptic Upgrade Incentive Programwebpage. On the DEP’sSprings Restoration Fundingwebpage, you may get more information about financing opportunities.

Section 381.0065, Florida Statutes (F.S.)

Section 381.0065 of the Florida Statutes prohibits the use of septage for agricultural purposes. Information about septage haulers affected by this prohibition is provided here (F.S.) In order to help septage haulers who are looking for alternate methods of septage management as defined by Section 381.0065, Florida Statutes, the following information is provided:

  • Fact Sheet: Permitting of Septage Management Facilities (includes checklists for applicants to use when preparing a permit application for a septage management facility)
  • Fact Sheet: Permitting of Septage Management Facilities (includes checklists for applicants to use when preparing a permit application for a septage management facility)
  • Facilities that may be willing to accept septage are depicted on a map (click on the facility marker on the map to learn more about the institution)
  • Letter to Septage Haulers from the DEP and the Department of Health and Human Services on May 27, 2016.
  • Overview for Applicants Seeking a DEP Septage Management Facility Permit
  • List of Wastewater Facilities that May Be Interested in Accepting Septage
  • And

Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems

In Florida, a septic system is referred to as an Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal System, or OSTDS, according to state laws. The septic tank is merely one component of an OSTDS that has been appropriately developed. Septic tanks, subsurface drainfields, aerobic treatment units (ATUs), graywater tanks and laundry wastewater tanks; grease interceptors; pump tanks; waterless toilets, incinerating or organic waste-composing toilets; and sanitary pit privies are all examples of on-site wastewater treatment systems (OSTDS).

On-site wastewater treatment systems, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, are “potentially feasible, low-cost, long-term, decentralized alternatives to wastewater treatment” if they are properly planned, constructed, installed, managed, and maintained.

OSTDS are not permitted in any of the following situations: where the estimated domestic sewage flow (as calculated in Table 1 of 64E-6.008, F.A.C.) from the establishment is greater than 10,000 gpd, or where the estimated commercial sewage flow exceeds 5,000 gpd; where there is a likelihood that the system will receive toxic, hazardous, or industrial wastes; or where a sewer system is available; or where any system or flow from the establishment is currently regulated by

  • Contact the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Onsite Sewage Programs at 850-245-4250 for additional information about permitting septic systems.

DEP and DOH Coordination

The Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health came into an interagency agreement in 1983 to coordinate the regulation of onsite sewage systems, septage and residuals, and marina pumpout facilities, among other things. This agreement establishes mechanisms for resolving interagency concerns, particularly those involving authority. Domestic wastewater comprises waste from residences, portable toilets, holding tanks, boats and marinas, as well as wastewater from certain commercial and industrial organizations, according to the terms of the agreement.

Please keep in mind that the term “commercial wastewater” does not always refer to wastewater generated by commercial enterprises.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DOH) may grant a waiver of jurisdiction from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in cases where the estimated sewage flow exceeds the DOH jurisdictional flow specified above or where there is a likelihood of toxic, hazardous, or industrial wastewater.

The applicant must next submit an application for an OSTDS permit to the local county health department (CHD) and file a variance request with the local CHD to be considered.

More information on the interagency agreement can be obtained by calling the DEP OSTDS coordinator at 850-245-8614.

Everything You Need To Know About Your Septic System

Florida people rely on roughly 2.6 million septic systems to dispose of waste and wastewater on a daily basis, accounting for 30% of the state’s population. Homes and businesses in rural regions rely on these systems to dispose of garbage in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner.

What Are Septic Tanks Made From?

Every day, almost 2.6 million septic systems in Florida are used to dispose of waste and wastewater, accounting for 33% of the state’s total septic systems. In rural locations, these systems are relied upon to provide a cost-effective and efficient garbage collection system for homes and businesses.

Common Styles Of Septic Tanks

ATUs treat and filter waste by separating it into three compartments: a garbage compartment, an aeration chamber, and a clarification compartment. An aerobic, or thoroughly oxygenated, environment is created in the effluent by forcing compressed air through it. Because the bacteria thrive in this environment, waste decomposes more quickly than it would in a conventional septic tank. This helps to limit the quantity of organic material that enters the soil and groundwater around the house.

Double Compartment

Most tanks built since 1976 feature two compartments for filtering effluent, sediments, and wastewater that enters the tank during the construction process. The first compartment, which is placed adjacent to the intake pipe, is often bigger than the second compartment, which is located further away. It is possible to see the liquid flowing from the first container into the second compartment. Before the effluent is discharged into the outflow pipe, any remaining sludge and scum separate from the liquid.

Pump Tank

The quantity of wastewater that flows from the septic tank is controlled by a pump tank. Pump tank level increases as effluent accumulates in the tank and eventually reaches the level set by a control float. As soon as the float is activated, the pump starts pumping effluent into the drain field in a predefined volume.

Holding Tank

In lieu of septic tanks, holding tanks can be used to collect and store waste. They are either above or below ground and require constant pumping to remove the contents of their holding tanks. The majority of holding tanks are equipped with an alarm that sounds when the tank is full.

Single Compartment

A single compartment tank was utilized in the majority of septic systems constructed before to 1976. These tanks could hold up to 1,000 gallons of liquid at a time. After entering the tank and separating into three levels, liquid waste is discharged into the septic drain field via the outflow line.

What Is FOG?

Fats, oils, and grease (also known as FOG) are frequent cooking byproducts that occur naturally in a wide variety of foods and other items. While FOG is viscous when it first enters the septic tank, it cools swiftly as it comes into contact with the wastewater in the tank. However, because of its viscosity, FOG coats and covers every surface it comes into contact with when it solidifies.

How A Septic Tank Works

Solids sink to the bottom of the tank’s intake pipe, while FOG rises to the surface of the wastewater and collects at the top of the tank’s intake pipe. In most cases, the tank is large enough to keep wastewater for an extended period of time, allowing effulent separation to take place. There are three levels within the tank as a result of this separation: a sludge layer on the bottom, a wastewater layer in the middle, and a scum layer on top. bacteria, enzymes, and other microorganisms often present in human waste begin to break down the sludge layer and break down the sludge layer further.

Upon entry into the septic tank and drain field, two baffles direct and filter the water. The intake baffle prevents the scum layer from obstructing the inflow pipe, while the outflow baffle keeps scum and particles in the tank until they are removed by the drain.

What Are Septic Tank Solids?

The majority of solids contained in a septic tank may be divided into three categories:

  • Non-biodegradable organic solids include pet litter, plastics, and other items that do not decompose over time
  • Biodegradable organic solids include vegetable scraps and other cellulosic compounds, as well as toilet paper
  • And biodegradable organic solids include solid human feces.

Septic System Drain Fields

After leaving the septic tank, effluent goes into a drain field, which is a network of underground pipes and dirt that collects the waste. Other phrases that are commonly used include absorption field, leach field, and trench. The size of the space required is determined by the following factors:

  • Soil type
  • Seasonal variations in groundwater level
  • Amount of water absorbed each day
  • And soil percolation rate are all factors to consider.

The soil percolation rate is defined as the amount of water that the soil can absorb in one minute per inch of soil thickness. A significant consideration in determining the site of a septic drain field in Florida is the percolation rate, which is crucial because the state has a high water table.

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How A Drain Field Works

An underground network of perforated pipes may be found in this location, which can be found in either several trenches or a gravel-lined soil bed. Drainage from the pipes filters through the gravel and dirt before entering the sewer system. Compaction of the soil has a significant impact on its function, which is why it is critical not to construct structures on it or drive or park vehicles of any size over it.

Why Is A Drain Field Important?

Natural filtration is provided for effluent, which is recycled back into the groundwater source. It is possible that biological and chemical pollutants may infiltrate the water and create health problems for anybody who consumed or came into touch with the water without this filtering system in place.

How To Find Your Septic TankSeptic Drain Field

The location of the septic system will be shown on the majority of property plans and surveys. Possibly handed to you after the sale of your house or company, these documents are also maintained on file at the county government office. The septic tank is often built along the sewage line that leads away from the house or other structure. When this line is many inches in diameter, it means that it is located at the lowest level of your home, such as a basement or crawl space. Stick a metal probe every two feet along the sewage line as it exits the house, following it all the way out to the street.

Locate the borders of the septic tank lid with the probe – typically tanks are 5 feet by 8 feet in size, so this may take some time.

As soon as you discover a discrepancy between the system location and previously prepared diagrams or maps, make sure to update these materials and retain a duplicate for your records.

The Septic Tank Pumping Process

In order to prepare for extraction, the floating scum layer is first broken up by alternately sucking out liquid from the tank and pumping it back in to break up the bottom solid layer. Pumping is accomplished through the two access ports, which are referred to as manholes. The tank should never be pumped through the inspection apertures on the baffle wall.

This can not only cause damage to the baffles, but it can also result in insufficient waste removal from the tank. Until the septic tank is completely depleted, industrial vacuums are used to remove waste from the tank and into our tanker truck.

How Often A Septic Tank Should Be Pumped?

In most cases, every three to five years is sufficient. However, depending on the size of your septic tank and the amount of sediments and wastewater you produce on a daily basis, you may need to contact a septic tank pumping firm such as Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service sooner rather than later.

What To Expect During A Septic Tank Pumping

Before starting the pumping process, it is necessary to measure the thickness of the scum and sludge. This information is important in determining the pace at which waste accumulates and in determining when the next pumping should be scheduled. The pumping process is monitored closely by our personnel, who are actively monitoring for any possible system problems, such as backflow from the outflow pipe. Backflow that is significant typically indicates a backup in the drainfield, whereas slight backflow indicates a weaker outflow line in most cases.

Septic Tank Cleaning

Septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping are not the same thing, despite the fact that many people use the phrases interchangeably. Pumping just removes liquid and uncompressed materials; cleaning, on the other hand, eliminates any leftover solids before washing the interior of the tank with soap and water. Following the removal of the liquid layer from the tank, our professionals employ pressured jets of water to break up any residual particles in the tank. Solids are removed from the tank with the use of an industrial-grade vacuum and a connected hose before the inside of the tank is washed.

This can result in the formation of sinkholes or the breakdown of the entire system.

How Often Should A Septic Tank Be Cleaned?

With every septic tank pump out, there is a new beginning. Keep in mind that the frequency with which the tank is pumped is determined by the number of people who are using the system and the volume of wastewater created on a daily basis. You may work with an aseptic tank pumping firm, such as Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service, to establish a regular pumping and cleaning program for your tank.

How To Keep A Septic Tank In Good Condition Between Cleanings

The most effective strategy to ensure that your septic tank remains in good working order for many years is to be informed of what can and cannot be put into the system.

Don’t DisposeFlush Items At-Will

In order to degrade materials that enter the tank, a septic system relies on bacteria that are found in nature. Although it is a mutually beneficial connection, it is susceptible to being pushed out of balance depending on the materials that are disposed of. Fat, oil, and grease (FOG); chemicals, paints, fuels, and/or motor oils; disposable diapers, sanitary, and personal hygiene products; coffee grounds; egg and nut shells; and disposable diapers, sanitary, and personal hygiene products are all common household items that should never be flushed down the toilet.

Schedule Annual Inspections

Home and business owners may do an outside inspection of their septic system on their own. However, only a professional and skilled septic tank firm, such as Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service, should check the tank and its interior components. Because of the formation of toxic vapors and gases within the sewage treatment plant, it is dangerous to work near one without the proper safety equipment and training. Look for areas of unusually tall grass, sewage odors or smells, and unexplained standing water as you walk around the area where the septic tank is situated.

PumpClean The Tank As Necessary

Skipping regular septic tank services is a surefire way to end yourself in a situation that might have been avoided. Performing routine pumping and cleaning allows our personnel to check the overall health of the system and correct any issues that may arise before they become a major concern.

Keep Records Of Septic LocationService

It is a recipe for disaster if you fail to have your septic tank serviced on time. Performing routine pumping and cleaning allows our personnel to check the overall health of the system and correct any issues that may arise before they become a major issue.

Conserve Water

The volume of water entering a septic system has a greater influence on the health of the system than the amount of solids created by the system. The greater the volume of water that flows through the drain field, the shorter the functional lifespan of the drain field and the overall system. An excessive amount of water flow impairs effective separation of particles inside the tank, increasing the likelihood of clogged intake and outflow pipes, which can result in sewage backups in the tank.

Septic Tank Repair In Gainesville, FL

Too much water in the septic tank increases the likelihood of sediments being transferred into the pipes, which might result in a clogged system.

Aggressive Tree Roots

Tree roots are well-known for generating problems with septic tanks and systems. Many species of tree roots are stronger than septic tanks, and they can cause leaks and other structural damage by cracking the pipes and tank.

Common Septic Tank Repairs

There are a variety of reasons why the pipes might fail, including compacted and/or moving soil. Once the pipes burst, they must be fixed as soon as possible to avoid significant drainage problems. When it comes to reaching and repairing the pipes, excavation of the area is frequently necessary.

Broken Baffles

The baffles of a septic tank are responsible for keeping sediments contained within the tank. Rust or contact with sulfuric acid are the most common causes of damage. It is quite beneficial to have an annual septic check performed in order to see if there are any difficulties with the baffles before a problem occurs.

How To Prevent A Septic Tank Failure

The fact is that septic systems are not foolproof and that they benefit immensely from routine maintenance and upkeep. The majority of failures may be avoided by paying attention to what goes into the plumbing and septic lines.

Only Flush Toilet Paper

As a rule, toilet paper degrades and disintegrates more quickly than other types of paper goods.

Particularly problematic are paper towels and wet wipes, which are two of the most prevalent causes of septic tank clogging and premature tank cleanouts.

Never Pour FOG Down The Drain

FOG is extremely harmful to all plumbing systems, including the septic system. FOG, when it is in liquid form, readily flows into the septic tank and collects in the top scum layer of the tank. This may not appear to be a problem, but the mixture has the potential to run into the drain field, where it might cause contamination concerns with groundwater and the surrounding soil if allowed to do so.

Regular Drain Cleaning

For all plumbing, including the septic system, fog is a horrible hazard. The FOG, while in liquid form, readily flows into the septic tank and collects on the surface of the scum layer at the top. Despite the fact that this does not appear to be a problem, the mixture has the potential to run into the drain field, where it might cause pollution of groundwater and the surrounding soil.

How To Tell When You Need A New Septic System

A septic system may last anywhere from 20 to 40 years if it is maintained properly and repaired when needed on time. However, if you detect any of these frequent indicators of a failing septic system, it’s time to call Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service to have a new septic system installed in your home or commercial property. The following are common indicators that the present system should be replaced:

  • Sinks and toilets that take a long time to drain
  • Plumbing that is always backed up
  • Sewage odors in the company, house, or yard
  • Patchy mushy, swampy, or damp areas of the yard Gray water that has accumulated
  • And grass that has grown more swiftly and is a darker shade of green

What To Know Before A Septic Tank Is Installed

In order to prevent the contamination of water sources and the creation of public health hazards that can result from incorrectly designed septic systems, the state of Florida and local municipalities have established rules and regulations to guide new septic system installations.

Required Applications, FeesPermits

The Environmental Health Service of the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in Alachua County is responsible for issuing the necessary applications and permits. Before a permit may be issued, the house or business owner must submit a completed application, as well as a site plan, a building floor plan, and any applicable application costs to the local building department. A site evaluation is also necessary, which analyzes the overall condition of the land, as well as the soil type. Total fees are determined on the kind of septic system installed as well as the services provided by the county health division.

Minimum Tank Size

A minimum 900-gallon capacity is required for all septic tanks in Florida; however, this capacity requirement rises based on the size of the occupancy and whether the system is intended for residential or commercial usage. The specialists at Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service can assist you in determining the right tank size that complies with local and state specifications.

Landscaping Changes

Because septic systems are installed underground, it is probable that the existing landscaping will need to be removed and replaced. Our professionals, on the other hand, may propose that the new system be installed in a different place in order to minimize interference with plant and tree roots. The Florida Department of Health mandates that the following distances be respected in order to prevent groundwater pollution from septic systems:

  • If the property is located more than 75 feet from the annual flood line of a permanent, non-tidal surface water body or from the high water line of a tidal body of water, the following restrictions apply: 15 feet from a dry drainage ditch or stormwater retention area
  • 10 feet from stormwater pipelines
  • At least 200 feet away from public drinkable wells that are already in use for non-residential or residential structures with a total daily sewage discharge of more than 2,000 gallons
  • And At least 11 feet away from any water storage tanks that come into touch with potable or groundwater
  • A minimum of 15 feet away from a groundwater interceptor drain is required
  • Minimum distances between bays, lakes and surface water
  • Minimum distances between multi-family wells and/or private potable water wells
  • And minimum distances between other wells.
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New Home ConstructionSeptic Systems

Construction of new dwellings in rural locations or in any area that is not served by a municipal sewer system necessitates the installation of septic systems. Any system installed as part of a new house building project will have to take into consideration the elements and laws outlined above.

In addition to establishing septic systems for countless new houses, Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service is happy to assist you through the application and permitting process, in addition to properly installing the system.

Selling a Home with a Septic System, Orlando, FL

If you are selling a property with a septic system in the Orlando, Florida region, you may discover that some buyers are hesitant to purchase a home that is not connected to a municipal sewage system because of the potential health risks. In addition to educating buyers about the many advantages of having a septic system installed, your real estate expert can assist you in improving the marketability of your house by making it more appealing to potential buyers. Performing a real estate septic inspection and providing a report that will reassure purchasers that your home’s septic system is in good working order are two of our specialties at Sauer Septic.

Prospective buyers will be more willing to proceed with placing an offer on your house if you can demonstrate to them that they will not have any septic system-related maintenance bills for a year or more, and that the chance of a repair issue has been decreased.

If you are selling a property with a septic system to someone who is inexperienced with septic systems, we would be pleased to meet with them to ensure that they get off on the right foot with the process.

Give us a call now to set up an appointment and to learn more about what is involved in our inspection and other septic services that may help you sell your house more quickly and profitably.

Selling a Home with a Septic System? Let Us Answer Your FAQ’s!

After purchasing a property that has a septic system, the homeowner will rapidly learn how to properly maintain it on a regular basis. Non-stop maintenance inspections and septic pumping are required to keep septic systems in good working order, but it is equally important to care for your septic system in your daily routine. When it comes to septic systems, we at Sauer Septic recognize that not everyone is familiar with them, and that the mere fact of having a septic system might be off-putting to certain purchasers.

Our company has assisted many of those sellers over the years, and we would like to take a minute to address some of the most often asked issues we receive when it comes to selling a property that has a sewer system.

How can I show my septic system is in good working order?

First and foremost, get your septic system evaluated by a professional before you ever consider putting your property up for sale. Providing the purchasers with this report will assist to soothe any concerns they may have and will demonstrate to them that you are proactive in terms of system maintenance.

What can I do to make my home desirable to buyers, even with a septic tank?

Inspect your house to ensure that it is clean and in proper operating condition.

You may also wish to have your realtor discuss with other realtors the benefits of owning a septic system, such as the fact that you will not be responsible for paying municipal sewer fees.

Will a septic system keep buyers from making an offer?

That is entirely dependent on the buyer! It is possible that your home is the incorrect size or that it is out of your price range. If you are unable to find purchasers, it is possible that your septic system is not the cause of your difficulties. Some of the inquiries we receive on a frequent basis from clients who are selling a house that has an on-site wastewater treatment system are as follows: Please contact us if you have any more queries for which we can provide answers. Our team at Sauer Septic is here to assist you if you are selling a house that has an installed septic system in the cities of Orlando and Windermere as well as Apopka, Clermont, Casselberry, Altamonte Springs, Eustis, Ocoee, Minneola, Mount Dora, Mascotte, Leesburg, Groveland, and Tavares, Florida.

How Often Should My Septic Tank Pumped in Florida?

A properly designed and regularly maintained septic system is essential in determining whether or not your septic tank has to be pumped. An effective groundwater management system is both environmentally friendly and effective in protecting groundwater resources. The majority of septic systems are comprised of two major components: a septic tank and a drainfield. The wastewater generated by your home comes from toilets, sinks, washing machines, and showers. The water that is released goes into a holding tank or a septic tank to be treated.

The first is made of precast concrete, and the second is made of fiberglass.

How Does Your Septic Tank Work?

Using a septic tank, wastewater is separated into three main components:

  • Solids, also known as “sludge,” floatables, sometimes known as the “scum layer,” and liquids. A body of water that is relatively clear

Solids and sludge build up in the septic tank over time, and this is called sludge buildup. This is precisely what it is intended to accomplish. It captures these materials and prevents them from flowing out into the drainfield, where they would clog it. This indicates that your system is set up to have its septic tank drained on a regular basis, which is a good thing. Regular might be once a year or many times a year depending on how much is used or how much strain is placed on the system. In the first stage of wastewater treatment, anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that can survive in an oxygen-free environment) break down solids into liquids and generate gas that is vented through the building’s plumbing vent stack.

  1. Some of the bacteria present in sewage are also rendered inactive by the lack of oxygen in the septic tank’s environment.
  2. Because the drainfield allows aerobic (oxygen-using) bacteria to continue deactivating the germs that remain in the wastewater, it serves as a secondary treatment facility for sewage treatment.
  3. Evaporation of water also occurs through the layer of soil that surrounds the drainfield.
  4. In certain instances, modern wastewater treatment systems that “aerate,” or add oxygen to the wastewater, may be necessary to treat the effluent.

Others are equipped with chlorinating chambers or peat moss-based filtering chambers, which kill disease germs before they may infiltrate into groundwater supplies.

So….How often should my tank be pumped?

As you can see from the diagram of how a septic system operates, there are several elements to consider. The business that originally designed and developed your system should be able to provide you with a quote. This estimate will be based on water use as well as other elements, such as the soil and drainfield, that will be considered. If you live in a home that was not built by you or if you do not know who constructed your septic system, you will need to hire a professional to help you. Give Martin Septic a call if you have any questions.

We can also tell you the size of the tank and give you an estimate on when it should be emptied and cleaned.

Posts from the recent past

Septic Systems and Springs Water Quality: An Overview for Florida

For approximately one-fifth of Florida’s population, the use of septic systems or on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS) is required for the treatment and disposal of home wastewater. Household wastewater includes all water from toilets, kitchens, and washing machines. This corresponds to about 2.6 million systems in operation in Florida, each of which discharges around 426 million gallons of wastewater per day to the underlying soil and groundwater (Figure 1). (Meeroff et al. 2008).

  1. 2017).
  2. Due of Florida’s unique terrain and sandy soils, septic systems can be a successful method of wastewater treatment.
  3. In Florida, most of the regulatory and political debate around septic systems is focused on the nitrogen (N) that these systems may release into groundwater, springs, and coastal waterways, which is harmful to aquatic life.
  4. This is especially true in springs, which are fed directly by groundwater, and in coastal areas, which frequently have older, densely spaced septic systems that may no longer be functioning properly.
  5. Several coastal communities have begun efforts to enact similar legislation or to eliminate all septic systems entirely in an effort to address N loading from septic systems in Florida.

This text is divided into three sections: This paper is designed for use by homeowners, members of the general public, and county, city, and other local officials who are responsible for regulating water quality in areas where septic systems are installed.

How do conventional septic systems work?

It is made up of two parts: an infiltration tank (a waterproof container that is buried in the ground) and a drainfield, also known as a leach field or leach field. Solids (which sink to the bottom of the tank as sludge) are separated from oils and grease in the septic tank, allowing for more efficient wastewater treatment (which float to the top and form a scum layer). The liquid wastewater, which is located in the middle layer of the tank, is discharged into the drainfield by pipes (Figure 2).

  1. Image courtesy of the UF/IFAS GCREC Urban Soil and Water Quality Laboratory.
  2. The drainfield is a series of trenches or a single bed of perforated pipes that allow treated effluent from the septic tank to infiltrate into the underlying soil (Figure 3).
  3. As septic effluent passes through the drainfield soil, pollutants such as pathogens and nutrients are filtered, eliminated, and/or broken down into less harmful forms.
  4. According to Florida permitting laws, the bottom of the drainfield must be at least 24 inches above the wet-season high water table in order to allow for filtering through unsaturated soils during the rainy season.
  5. Figure 3 depicts a traditional septic system with a septic tank and a drainfield in place.
  6. The State of Florida has set criteria for where and how septic systems can be sited or erected in the state.

They take into consideration factors such as the number of people living in a home and the expected waste volume from the home, the local soil type and the ability of the soil to filter pollutants, the depth of the water table, and the distance between the home and water resources such as a drinking-water well or wetland (if one exists).

Contaminant Removal in Conventional Septic Systems

Conventional septic systems have been in widespread use in inhabited regions since the 1940s, when they were first introduced. Designed with public health in mind, they are generally effective at removing pathogens from the environment and protecting human health as long as they are properly sited and maintained (i.e., placed in adequate soils with appropriate setbacks from the water table and pumped every 2–3 years). This, after all, is their primary function. More information on the fate of pathogens (including bacteria, viruses, and protozoans) in septic systems may be found in EDIS papers SL350 () and SL351 (), which are available online ().

Using the example of a traditional septic tank, only around 30 percent of the nitrogen (N) and about 60 percent of the phosphorus (P) that enters the tank are removed (Lusk et al.

Because nitrogen (N) is the most often reported pollutant of concern associated with septic systems in Florida, the following is an illustration of how much N may be supplied to underlying groundwater from a standard home septic system: Septic tanks absorb around 9.1 lbs of nitrogen per person per year in a normal household.

  1. To illustrate how much of a difference septic systems may make, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) estimates that septic systems contribute more than 280,000 pounds of nitrogen to groundwater of the Weeki Wachee Spring each year (FDEP 2018).
  2. Traditional septic systems only remove a small amount of nitrogen since the majority of nitrogen is present in the form of ammonium (NH 4+) in septic system effluent (Toor, Lusk, and Obreza 2011).
  3. Nitrate is extremely mobile in soils and has the potential to leak into underlying groundwater very fast.
  4. However, while study into trace organic substances in septic systems is still underway, investigations conducted in Florida have discovered a variety of medicines and household chemicals in septic system effluent (Yang et al.
  5. These compounds are found in septic system effluent at nanogram levels (very low concentrations), but they have been shown to have negative effects on a variety of aquatic creatures at much lower concentrations than nanograms.

2007). SL352 is an EDIS article that provides more information on the fate of trace organic substances in septic systems as well as their effects on the environment ().

The Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act and Septic System Regulations

Florida has more first magnitude springs than any other state, and it is the most populous state. First magnitude springs are defined as those that release at least 64.6 million gallons of water per day, or 100 cubic feet per second, into the surrounding environment. Because all springs are supplied by groundwater, the water quality of the water in a spring is directly related to the water quality of the groundwater that flows into the spring in question. A new class of protected water bodies in Florida has been established in recognition of the fact that water quality in many of the state’s springs has deteriorated.

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As a result of its water-quality monitoring program, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has determined that 24 of the 30 OFS are impaired by excessive nitrate; as a result, efforts to restore water quality in the springs have focused primarily on identifying and controlling nitrate sources to groundwater.

  • Data on land use, population, geography, predicted behaviors such as how much nitrogen humans contribute to the ecosystem, and the best available scientific data on how N is transferred and changed in soils and groundwater are all incorporated into the NSILT model (Katz and Eller 2016).
  • The NSILT model takes into account a variety of sources of nitrogen, including septic systems, atmospheric deposition (N deposited from the sky through rain or dry particles), fertilizers (both urban and agricultural), livestock manure, and wastewater treatment facilities, among others.
  • Outstanding Florida Springs and OSTDS percent contributions of total nitrogen to groundwater for each springshed are depicted in Figure 4.
  • FDEPA is the source of the data.
  • Declares that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) shall establish a priority focus area (PFA) for each OFS
  • These PFAs are sections of the springshed where the aquifer is judged more sensitive to pollution inputs
  • It prohibits, among other things, the following activities:
  • • The construction of new residential wastewater treatment facilities (such as a central sewer facility) that do not treat sewage to an adequate level of three milligrams per liter for nitrogen
  • Installation of on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems on parcels of land smaller than one acre in size
  • Every time nutrient deficiencies are discovered, it is necessary to conduct an evaluation of all of the OFS and produce a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) to address the situation. The Total Highest Daily Load (TMDL) is the maximum quantity of a specific pollutant that may be permitted in a waterbody while still fulfilling water quality regulations. The TMDL objectives must be reached within 20 years of the BMAP’s implementation. A BMAP is a waterbody management plan that is produced for a waterbody (spring, river, lake, or estuary) that does not fulfill the water quality criteria established by the state of California. FDEP establishes a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for each pollutant if a waterbody is identified as impaired by one or more pollutants (nutrients, microorganisms, or metals such as mercury). In the course of developing the TMDL and BMAP, it is discovered that on-site wastewater treatment and disposal systems (septic systems) contribute at least 20% of non-point source nitrogen pollution, the law requires that local governments within the springshed develop a remediation plan to address this source of N loading. A central sewer conversion or the replacement/remediation of traditional septic tank systems with sophisticated N-removal technology are examples of remediation programs.

More information about the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act may be found in EDIS document FE1019, which is available online ().

Managing Septic System N Loads to Springs

As previously stated, the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act prohibits the installation of standard OSTDS systems on property smaller than one acre in size in the PFA of an Outstanding Florida Spring. This is in accordance with the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act. A further requirement is that, if the contribution of OSTDS systems to N loading in a PFA is projected to be at least 20% (using the NSILT model outlined above), then the governments with authority must implement a remediation plan to address the OSTDS N contributions.

Existing traditional septic systems are being updated or replaced with improved technology that can remove more nitrogen from the environment.

One of the simplest advanced technologies is an In-Ground Nitrogen Reducing Biofilter (INRB), which modifies an OSTDS drainfield with layers of soil specially designed to promote natural N cycling processes that convert NO 3-to a N gas that is lost to the atmosphere, thereby removing N from the soil and groundwater.

These redesigned drainfields may cost $10,000 or more, but they have the potential to be extremely successful in decreasing nitrogen pollution to soils and groundwater sources.

Each soil layer is specifically designed to provide the environmental conditions necessary for microorganisms to carry out these processes naturally, as well as for water to flow through the soil layers by gravity, without the use of any electrical equipment such as a pump, in order to achieve these results.

This is subject to change as new information becomes available.

The FDEP’s interactive map () may be used to see if your home is located inside a PFA by entering your address into the search field.

Example of sophisticated technology for better N removal from OSTDS systems is depicted in Figure 5. Image courtesy of the UF/IFAS GCREC Urban Soil and Water Quality Laboratory.

Conclusions

A total of more than 2 million septic systems exist in Florida, a state that contains several natural springs that emerge from underground water and which may be adversely affected by the inputs from septic systems. Conventional septic systems may be sufficient for wastewater treatment and environmental protection in many parts of the state; however, in other parts of the state, particularly those near springs, it is estimated that septic systems contribute hundreds of thousands of pounds of nitrogen to groundwater each year, which is harmful to aquatic life.

Consequently, greater efforts have focused on eliminating septic systems as suppliers of nitrogen to springs, which have been a priority since 2016.

It may be necessary in some circumstances to replace or upgrade traditional septic systems with sophisticated nitrogen removal equipment in order to meet these standards.

References

The evidence of estrogenic mixture effects on the reproductive performance of fish was published in 2007 by Brian, J. V., et al. Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 337–344. FDEP (Federal Department of Environmental Protection). Management Action Plan for the Weeki Wachee Basin. ‘The Nitrogen Source Inventory and Loading Tool (NSILT) and Restoration of Water-Quality Impairing Springs,’ by B. G. Katz and K. Eller, published online in 2016. Florida Scientist, vol. 79, no. 4, pp.

  1. Lusk, M., and colleagues 2017.
  2. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, vol.
  3. 7.
  4. E.
  5. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, Volume 192, Numbers 11–4, 11–24.
  6. S., Lusk, M., and Obreza, T).

The study “Septic Systems as Hot-Spots of Pollutants in the Environment: Fate and Mass Balance of Micropollutants in Septic Drainfields” was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology in 2016. Science of the Total Environment 566:1535–1544 (July 2005).

Tables

gpd = gallons per day) and the criteria for setback lengths between septic systems and other landscape objects in Florida are shown in Table 1. According to estimates from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, estimated N loads to groundwater for select Florida springs are shown in Table 2 below.

Special Report: Our Septic Tank Crisis

For households that have septic tanks, this might be a significant financial burden. Those who have antiquated septic systems might face fines of up to $20,000 for installing nitrogen-removing tanks and drain fields, or they could be required to pay more than $5,000 to connect to the city sewage system. State and local politicians that must vote on topics such as demanding maintenance and inspections, tank replacement, and connections to municipal utilities face difficult political decisions as a result of the expense.

  • Many homeowners are still not convinced that their septic tanks are a contributing factor to the problem.
  • If more education is provided to residents, Metzger believes that the fear that arises, particularly among the elderly and those on fixed incomes, will be lessened.
  • As Metzger explains, “When they start talking about the expenses of these technologies, it really produces fear.” In the words of (officials), they believe that someone will come up in their front yard and inform them that they must comply with the law.
  • When it comes to water difficulties, Lee Constantine, a Seminole County Commissioner and former state senator who serves on two statewide groups looking into water issues, says “we will never, ever be able to repair our water problems” unless we get a grip on septic tanks.
  • With 216,767 septic systems, Miami-Dade County is the county with the most.
  • High nitrogen levels in Blue Spring, Gemini Springs, Mosquito Lagoon, and the north end of the Halifax River are attributed to septic tanks located in homes around the county.
  • New state laws that became effective in January and are aimed at cleaning up 13 of the state’s “excellent” springs systems will tighten down on septic systems, modifying what will be permitted in the future in regions around Gemini Springs and DeLeon Springs, among other places.

Some homeowners in “priority focus areas” near the springs will be required to upgrade their existing septic tanks, install new tanks that remove more nitrogen, or remove their septic tanks and connect to city sewers over the course of the next 20 years under the new rules, known as “basin management action plans.” Across the county, on the east side, local governments are examining options for eliminating septic tank waste from Mosquito Lagoon and the Halifax River, in anticipation of similar new state rules targeting nitrogen pollution in those waterways, which are expected to be implemented soon.

Inspection rule targets Florida septic tank owners

If Gov. Charlie Crist approves complicated water legislation that has been offered to him by lawmakers, every septic tank in the state – maybe 2.6 million – will be subjected to regular, state-ordered health inspections. As a result, Jacksonville and other towns are spending millions of dollars to clean up dirty streams and rivers, which might help to reduce flooding. However, some households would be forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars to repair or replace leaky systems as a result of the law.

However, the city’s Water and Sewage Expansion Authority, which is responsible for assisting areas in obtaining sewer connections, believed that there were around 70,000 people in the city.

SB 550, a bigger piece of legislation, was enacted by the Legislature last week and includes the provision.

Tanks would be required to be examined every five years – at the expense of the owner – in order to demonstrate to the Florida Department of Health that they are in proper functioning order.

Inspections of septic tanks might be carried out by septic tank contractors.

From the Environmental Quality Division’s standpoint, “it would be a fantastic compliment to our efforts to restore our rivers,” said Vince Seibold, the division’s chief executive officer.

Waterways in some areas have been identified as having significant bacteria sources due to leaking septic systems, however issues in other areas are assumed to be due to faulty sewage lines and other causes.

In 2006, the City Council of Jacksonville discussed a bill that would have required municipal inspections, but it was shelved in part because the state was exploring a similar proposal at the time.

“We’ve recognized a problem, but we haven’t identified a solution,” said Ray, a Republican from Jacksonville who voted against the plan.

People with earnings that are no more than one-third above the federal poverty threshold may be eligible for grants to assist with the cost of repairs.

Communities frequently compete for millions of dollars in state funds, and sometimes even federal funds, to extend sewage lines to previously unserved communities.

The cost of connecting to the new sewage line, however, may range from $2,000 to $6,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for households.

Some of these families may be forced to pay an extravagant price as a result of this situation “Ray shared his thoughts.

When it comes to tank maintenance, Jimmy Orth, executive director of the St.

“We need to start thinking about these things as long-term investments in our future,” Orth said, saying that a healthy environment is critical to the value of real estate and the success of many enterprises.

Susan Smith, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said the department would not comment on the matter while the legislation is still pending in Crist’s administration. Steve Patterson can be reached at [email protected] or (904) 359-4263.

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