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).
- A low level of sewage in the tank is detected by observing, when septic tank is opened, that the top of the floating scum layer is one or more inches below the bottom of the septic tank outlet pipe. Normally low levels of sewage
How do you know your septic tank is full?
A septic tank is considered “overfull” when the water level is at the very top of the tank. If the septic system’s absorption field stops accepting the water, it sits in the outflow pipe and backs up, overfilling the tank.
How do septic tanks not fill up?
This problem is most often caused by not having your septic tank pumped regularly. When the level of solids in the septic tank nears, the outlet pipe, the turbulence caused by wastewater rushing into the septic tank can splash solids into the outlet pipe and allow them to exit the tank, causing clogs.
How do I check my septic tanks sludge level?
To measure the sludge layer:
- Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it touches the bottom of the tank.
- As the device is slowly pulled out of the water, the check valve closes capturing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water. The thickness of the sludge layer can be measured.
What are the signs that your septic tank needs to be pumped?
Common Signs You Need Septic Tank Pumping Services
- Slow or Frequently Clogged Drains. Since your septic tank is connected to the entire network of drains throughout your home, your sinks, showers, and even toilets can exhibit signs of a problem.
- Sewage Backup.
- Regular Gurgling Noises.
- Strong and Pungent Odors.
What is the normal water level 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).
Why is my septic tank low?
Low septic tank levels can have several causes depending on the tank age and the material from which it was built. Low Sewage Levels in Concrete septic tanks: If the tank is made of concrete it should be pumped and cleaned thoroughly so that your contractor can inspect the tank for cracks or other damage.
Will toilet flush if septic tank is full?
Toilets Flush Slowly When your septic tank is excessively full, your toilet may start acting odd. You might find that your toilet doesn’t fully flush or flushes very slowly and odd noises occur when you flush your toilet. These noises usually sound like gurgling or bubbling.
Why is my septic tank full of water?
The water flow backs up when your drain field floods, causing the water level in your septic tank to rise. Other common issues are plumbing and excess water use. The septic system functions as a step-by-step process which takes time to complete.
How do I know if my drain field is failing?
The following are a few common signs of leach field failure:
- Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard.
- The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water.
- Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.
- Slow running drains or backed up plumbing.
How often should you empty a 1000 gallon septic tank?
For example, a 1,000 gallon septic tank, which is used by two people, should be pumped every 5.9 years. If there are eight people using a 1,000-gallon septic tank, it should be pumped every year.
Why does my septic tank fill up when it rains?
Septic systems are designed to only handle wastewater from the house. If runoff water from the storm gets into the septic tank, it will get full and since the soil in the leachfield will be already too saturated, the water will start backing up into the house or from the manhole.
How often should you pump your septic tank?
Inspect and Pump Frequently The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
What to do after septic is pumped?
After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.
- 1) Get on a Schedule.
- 2) Take Care of the System.
- 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
- 4) Check Other Possible Issues.
How do I clean my septic tank naturally?
You can mix about a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon to make your own natural cleaning agent. The baking soda will fizz up to help get the dirt and grime in your tub and drains. It’s a great cleaner and your septic system will thank you!
Why Your Septic Tank Looks Full After Pumping – Septic Maxx
Septic tanks must be pumped on a regular basis in order to maintain an effective and healthy system. You’ve probably peered inside your tank after it’s been pumped and wondered why the water level is still so high. When you see a high water level, it might be alarming, especially if you are not familiar with what happens throughout the pumping process. What you need to know about your septic tank is outlined here.
Water is Necessary
Pumping a septic tank removes the solid waste or sludge from the tank’s bottom, allowing it to function properly. Excessive sludge in a septic tank can find its way through the outlet and into the drain field pipes, causing severe flooding in the surrounding area. Not everyone is aware that there is a specified operating level for all septic tanks, which may be found here. 8 to 12 inches from the top of the septic tank’s lid should indicate that the tank is “full.” This might vary based on the size and kind of septic tank used.
When the water level in your tank exceeds the capacity of the pipe, your tank is considered to be overfilled.
You should get your septic system examined and water usage should be restricted until an expert can determine the source of the problem.
What Can Cause Your Septic Tank to Overfill
There might be a variety of factors contributing to your septic tank being overfilled. The presence of an overfilled septic tank is frequently a symptom that your drain field is not operating properly. The drain field is the final fixture in the septic system, and it is responsible for returning treated wastewater to the surrounding soil. When your drain field floods, the water flow becomes obstructed, causing the water level in your septic tank to increase significantly. Plumbing problems and excessive water use are two more prevalent problems.
Excessive water use might cause the septic tank to fill with more contents than it is capable of handling, resulting in a high water level.
Septic Maxx provides high-quality solutions that effectively tackle the problems that afflict septic tanks.
Get in touch with us to talk with a septic specialist right now.
4 Things to Do When Your Septic Tank Is Flooded
If your neighborhood has recently been flooded or has been subjected to strong rains, you may discover that your toilet isn’t flushing properly and that your drains are draining more slowly than usual. It is possible that raw sewage will back up into your tub and sink drains. Drains that are slow or clogged may signal that the water table has risen over the level of your septic field and septic tank. If you believe that your septic system has been flooded, there are four things you should do immediately.
- Check the level of groundwater in your area.
- Septic tanks are typically located a few feet below the surface of the earth.
- If you are aware of the location of your septic tank and drainfield, you should check the water level in the area to ensure that flooding is not a concern.
- When there isn’t any evident standing water in the area, use a probe to check the water level or an auger to dig deep into the earth to find out how much water is there.
- If your tests reveal that the water level is higher than the top of the septic tank, you should immediately cease utilizing the tank.
- Until the Ground Becomes Dry When you believe that your septic system has been flooded, contact a septic pumping specialist immediately; however, you must wait until the earth has become less soggy before having your tank drained.
- If a septic tank is pumped out when the earth is saturated, it may potentially float out of its location.
- Following a decrease in the water table level, it is necessary to pump your system as quickly as feasible.
- Approximately 70 gallons of water are flushed down the toilet per person every day in the average home.
The first step is to check for leaks in all of your fixtures. An inoperable toilet flapper or fill mechanism can leak up to 200 gallons per day, creating a backup of water that your flooded septic system doesn’t have room for. Other suggestions for keeping water out of the drains are as follows:
- Prepare meals that don’t require cooking, such as sandwiches. Disposable flatware, such as paper plates and paper cups, should be used. Showers are preferable to baths because they are shorter. Save the rinse water and put it to good use on the plants. Only flush the toilet when absolutely essential
If your clothes washing machine drains into your main sewage line, it can cause a significant amount of water to be discharged into your septic system. Wash your garments at the laundry until the water table begins to fall below the surface. In the event that you must use the washing machine, wash only modest loads and wait a few hours between each load of laundry. 4. Make modifications to your septic system to make it more efficient. After your septic tank has been drained and your house drainage system has been restored to working order, you should make certain modifications to your system in order to minimize flooding problems in the future.
During a septic emergency, the backflow preventer prevents waste water from entering your home or building.
Also, check to be that your yard’s storm drainage does not overflow into your septic field and storage tank area.
When your septic system is inundated, call Eckmayer Inc right away.
How High Should the Water Level Be in Your Septic Tank? – Honey-Wagon Septic Pumping
You are responsible for disposing of and treating the waste matter generated by your residence in order to remove hazardous germs and viruses from the environment. It is possible that if the water levels in the tank go too high, it may cause difficulties that will need to be resolved in order to prevent damage to your property. The experts at Honey-Wagon Septic Pumping in Jacksonville, AR, are here to discuss all you need to know about maintaining correct water levels in your system. Septic tanks are equipped with an inlet pipe and an outlet pipe for the entry and escape of water, however the inlet pipe is located higher than the outlet pipe in order to prevent flooding.
- This might be an indication of a clog or damage in the exit pipe if the sewage is higher than this position.
- This might be caused by a variety of circumstances, ranging from the age of the tank to the material from which it was constructed.
- They have the knowledge and tools to carry out the right processes and make the necessary repairs, and they do it quickly.
- Honey-Wagon Septic Pumping is the go-to septic company in Jacksonville, AR when you need the best in the business.
You can trust them to detect any issues with your septic systems and perform the required repairs before the situation escalates and costs you more money in the long run. To learn more about their comprehensive line of services, give them a call at (501) 988-4747 or go to their website.
Septic Systems and High Water Tables — Water Quality
Septic systems and high water tables are two issues that need to be addressed. Authored by Tom Scherer, Irrigation and Water Resources Specialist, and Home Septic Systems. The North Dakota State University Extension Service Local ground water levels have been elevated as a result of above-average rainfall last autumn, which has resulted in many residential septic systems being waterlogged or temporarily flooding. This causes drains in the house to flow slowly and toilets not to flush correctly.
- One of the most important parts of a septic system is the tank, which collects and biologically breaks down solid waste; the other is the drainfield, which serves to offer extra biological treatment while also infiltrating wastewater into the earth.
- Any circumstance that blocks or slows the passage of water through the septic system has the potential to produce complications.
- This will result in the tank being overflowing and filling with groundwater rather than waste water from the home.
- It is at this point that the waste water from the house is unable to pass freely through the septic system.
- Because of the high water table circumstances that might arise, you may need to treat your septic tank as a holding tank and have it professionally cleaned and pumped on a regular basis.
- A tank that has had more than half its contents removed may attempt to float out of the earth, resulting in damage to the tank’s inlet and outlet pipes.
- Raw sewage on the ground (or in the snow) can be a health danger since it can be trampled by children and dogs, and it can also flow into a watercourse, causing contamination.
Some tips to assist your septic system in dealing with a high water table are as follows: 1.Reduce the amount of water used in the residence.
Water that is introduced to the septic system at the rate of one drop every 15 seconds might build up to a significant amount of extra water.
Avoid draining water from a basement sump pump into the septic system.
It is not permissible to allow water to drain into the drainfield area from roof gutters or the sump pump.
Laundry services are available at laundromats.
Only run the dishwasher when it is completely full.
Always keep in mind that the drainfield was created to infiltrate the quantity of water that would ordinarily be released from the home.
If your domestic plumbing does not function properly after the water table has dropped, it is possible that the drainfield or septic tank has been damaged.
As a result of the shifting, the input and outflow pipes from the septic tank may get partially clogged.
In addition, particles from the tank might clog the inlet and outflow pipes, causing them to get clogged. Request that a qualified and licensed septic tank pumper or septic system installation inspect and evaluate the problem.
Troubleshooting: Is the Water Level Too High in the Septic Tank?
Jim Anderson is a well-known author and musician.
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Receive articles, news, and videos about Systems/ATUs sent directly to your email! Now is the time to sign up. Systems/ATUs+ Receive Notifications It is recommended that the tank be opened with the right liquid level for the tank at the invert of the exit pipe when it is first opened. If the liquid level is greater than this, it shows that there is some sort of problem with the system. In a previous piece, I mentioned that the present usage of effluent filters may be a source of concern for the environment.
- The obvious approach is to thoroughly clean the tank and filter.
- In the event that an effluent screen is not there, or if the effluent screen itself is not clogged, what should be done?
- If water does not flow back out of the pipe, it is likely that there is an obstruction in the output piping at some point.
- Some instances of this include feminine hygiene items and condoms, as well as scum that accumulated in the outflow baffle after the tank had not been adequately cleaned during a previous service appointment.
- An inspection of the exit pipe should be carried out to detect whether the piping near the tank has settled, perhaps causing a bow in the pipe where particles can build up.
- Another factor contributing to the obstruction is the collection of roots.
- Once again, it will be necessary to detect and fix the break; merely removing the roots will only provide a temporary remedy.
It is possible that the problem is farther downstream if water spills out of the pipework and back into the tank.
The boxes will need to be found and inspected for the presence of solids that have been carried over from the tank or soil and other solids that have seeped into the tank as a result of excessive water infiltration.
This means that the drainfield area may be completely filled and the liquid level in the trenches or bed may have been elevated to a point where it will flow back into the tank.
Before digging d-boxes or portions of the trench, the homeowner should be consulted and an agreed-upon plan of action should be established.
a little about the author Jim Anderson is associated with the University of Minnesota’s onsite wastewater treatment education program.
Send him your questions on septic system maintenance and operation by email to [email protected] He will respond as soon as possible.
What do I do if My Septic Alarm is Going Off?
In the event that your septic alarm goes off, it may surely create some anxiety and uncertainty; and if you happen to be experiencing this right now, then you’ve arrived to the correct location! Don’t be concerned; it does not necessitate urgent action. Instead, take your time to go through this full essay so that you will be prepared to act now or in the future if the situation arises. What Septic Systems Are and How They Work The alarm works in conjunction with the septic system to alert you when the water level within the pump tank has increased to an unsafe level or has decreased to an unsafe level.
- The timer is in charge of regulating the time intervals during which the pump is permitted to pump wastewater into the drainage system.
- Thus, during periods of excessive water use, the drain field is kept from getting overflowing, which might cause damage to the drainage system.
- A large amount of water is injected into the system in between pumping cycles for whatever cause, and the water has nowhere else to go but back into the system’s pump tank.
- Depending on how much water was and continues to be put into the system and how the pump is set up to operate on a timer, it may take many pumping cycles until the water levels are returned to normal.
- If you’ve ever had your septic alarm go off, you know how much stress and uncertainty it can create. If you’re now experiencing this, you’ve come to the perfect spot! Don’t be concerned
- It does not necessitate urgent action. Instead, take your time to go through this full essay so that you will be prepared to act now or in the future if the situation warrants. What Septic Systems Are and How They Function In conjunction with the septic system, this alarm is designed to alert you when the water level within the pump tank has increased over a certain level or decreased below a certain level. All septic systems with pumps are required to have some type of timer installed. Using a timer, you may control how much wastewater the pump is permitted to pump into the drain field at different times of day. At certain periods of the day, these precise time intervals will occur. Thus, during periods of excessive water use, the drain field is prevented from getting flooded, which might cause damage to the drainage system. How Does a Problem Occur When There Is One? A large amount of water is brought into the system in between pumping cycles for whatever cause, and the water has nowhere else to go but back into the system’s storage tank. As a result, the water level within the pump tank will rise until the timer enables the pump to be turned back on. It may take many pumping cycles until the water level in the system returns to normal levels, depending on how much water was and continues to be injected into the system during the time intervals specified by the timer. Causes of the alarm going off that might occur
- Somehow, groundwater is making its way into the system. If there is an excessive amount of standing water surrounding the septic tanks, whether generated by rain or another source, the water may seep into the tanks and cause the internal water level to rise.
- It’s possible that one of the components of the septic system is malfunctioning. If anything goes wrong with your system — including the pump and floats — the alarm and timer will go off and the septic system will stop working correctly.
The Best Thing to Do If Your Alarm Goes Off Alternatively, if you hear an alert, you should press the red button or turn on the alarm box. The alarm will be turned off as a result of this action. There should be a red light and a green light on the alarm box, which should be situated someplace on the unit. The green light indicates that the alarm is operational and should be left on at all times. It is shown by a red light if the alarm is getting a signal from the pump tank indicating that the water level is increasing above or decreasing below what is expected.
- If the breaker occurs to be tripped, look around the septic tanks to see if there is any standing water.
- It is possible that the red light on the alarm box will go out on its own after allowing the septic system to operate for a couple of pump cycles (which should take approximately 10-15 hours).
- If the red light turns off, it signifies that the system is operating properly and that it only needs to catch up with the extra water that has overflowed into the storage tank.
- To be clear, an alarm signal from the septic system does not always imply that sewage is about to back up into the house right away.
- Do you require septic system repair on a regular basis or emergency service?
To arrange an appointment, please call (804) 581-0001 or send us an email through our contact page. Want to learn more about septic systems? Explore our septic system web sites by clicking on the “Septic” navigation option in the top navigation bar.
How to Check Your Septic Panel and Pump Chamber
It is recommended that you inspect your pump chamber once a year to ensure that everything is in proper working order. Follow the 11-step procedure outlined below to complete this task on your own! (Do you require further assistance? Alternatively, you may watch our instructional video below.)
1. Let’s start by inspecting the panel. Make sure the power is on by verifying the power switch to the panel is on.
The following items should be included in this general overview: The electrical box may be seen in the lower left corner of the image below, starting at the bottom of the image. Check to verify that all of the cables are firmly connected before using it. Next, take a look at the lower right corner of the shot, where you can see the discharge pipe for the pump. Check to see if it is operational (valve should be lined up with pipe). It’s now time to have some fun!
FIRST.PUT ON GLOVES!That is one step you DO NOT want to miss. Remove the float tree (the pipe with a pvc handle located upright left in our picture) and pull up the alarms.
*Please keep in mind that these instructions are for a 4-float system. Some systems contain only two or three floats.
If you don’t hear an alarm, this is cause for concern. Starting at the top, I will explain the floats and how to ensure each one is working.
NOTE: If your water supply is depleted, you may need to replenish it. Fill it up a little with water from a yard hose.
7. Continue testing.
Check that the pump is operating properly by flipping the second float from the bottom upside down and then turning it back around. With your other hand, turn the next float up (which would be the second from the top) upside down while still holding the first float. You should be able to hear the pump start up. As soon as you have confirmed that the pump is operational, just release these two floats. There’s one more float to go. The top float serves as an alert in case of high water. Turn it over down to see whether this is the case.
8. Now is the time to inspect the power cords.
Check to see that everything is securely tied to the float tree and not just hanging free. Zip ties can be used to reattach any stray cables.
9. Securely return the float tree to its holder and coil any dangling cords so that they are out of the water.
What is the best place to go for information about my septic system? Please consult with your local health agency if you require further information or support. More information about onsite or decentralized wastewater systems may be found on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Septic Systems Web site. Do I need to pump my tank if the drainfield is flooded or saturated with water? No! Pumping the tank is simply a short-term remedy at the best of times. Pumping it out might cause the tank to attempt to float out of the ground, resulting in damage to the inlet and outlet pipes in the worst case scenario.
What should I do if my septic system has been utilized to dispose of wastewater from my business (whether it is a home-based or small-scale operation)?
Taking extra measures to prevent skin, eye, and inhalation contact with chemicals in your septic system that receives them is recommended if the system backs up into a basement or drain field.
For particular clean-up information, contact your state’s environmental protection agency or the Environmental Protection Agency.
What should I do with my septic system now that the floodwaters have receded? After the floodwaters have gone, there are numerous things that householders should keep in mind:
- Drinking well water should be avoided until the water has been analyzed. Contact your local health department for further information. Do not use the sewage system until the water level in the soil absorption field is lower than the water level in the surrounding area of the home. If you feel that your septic tank has been damaged, you should get it professionally inspected and maintained. The presence of settling or an inability to take water are both signs of deterioration. Because most septic tanks are below ground and entirely covered, flooding does not usually do any harm to them. Septic tanks and pump chambers, on the other hand, can get clogged with silt and debris and must be properly cleaned. If the soil absorption field becomes blocked with silt, it may be necessary to build a completely new system. Septic tanks should only be cleaned or repaired by skilled professionals since they may contain potentially hazardous gases. Inquire with your local health agency for a list of septic system contractors who operate in your neighborhood. Cleaning and disinfecting the basement floor is necessary if sewage has backed up into the basement. To disinfect the area thoroughly, make a chlorine solution by mixing half a cup of chlorine bleach with each gallon of water. After a flood, pump out the septic system as quickly as possible to avoid contamination. Make careful you pump the tank as well as the lift station. This will clear any silt or debris that may have been washed into the system during the rainy season. It is not recommended to pump the tank while the drainfield is flooded or saturated. Pumping the tank is simply a short-term remedy at the best of times. Pumping it out might cause the tank to attempt to float out of the ground, resulting in damage to the inlet and outlet pipes. Do not compress the soil over the soil absorption field by driving or operating machinery in the vicinity of the soil absorption field. Soil that has been saturated is particularly prone to compaction, which can impair the ability of the soil absorption field to treat wastewater and ultimately result in system failure. Before reconnecting the electricity, check for any damage to all of the electrical connections. Examine to see that the manhole cover on the septic tank is securely fastened and that no inspection ports have been obstructed or damaged. Examine the plants surrounding your septic tank and soil absorption field for signs of disease. Damage caused by erosion should be repaired, and portions should be sodded or reseeded as needed to ensure turf grass cover.
Keep in mind that if the water table is high or your sewage system is threatened by floods, there is a possibility that sewage will back up into your residence. The only way to avoid this backup is to reduce the amount of strain placed on the system by utilizing it less frequently.
- What are some of the recommendations made by professionals for homes who have flooded septic systems
- And Make use of your common sense. If at all possible, avoid using the system if the earth has become saturated and inundated with water. It is unlikely that the wastewater will be cleansed, and it will instead become a source of pollution. Conserve as much water as possible when the system is re-establishing itself and the water table is depleted. Prevent silt from entering septic systems with pump chambers by installing a filter. The pump chambers have a propensity to fill with silt when they are inundated, and if the silt is not cleared, the chambers will clog and obstruct the drainfield. While the earth is still damp, it is not recommended to open the septic tank for pumping. Mud and silt may find their way into the tank and end up in the drain field. It’s also possible that emptying out a tank that’s been sitting in soggy soil can cause it to “pop out” of the earth. (Similarly, systems that have been recently installed may “pop out” of the ground more quickly than systems that have been in place for a longer period of time since the soil has not had enough time to settle and compress.)
- While the land is still wet or flooded, it is not recommended to dig into the tank or drainfield area. While the soil is still wet, it is best not to perform any heavy mechanical operations on or around the disposal area. These operations will have a negative impact on the soil conductivity. It is likely that flooding of the septic tank caused the floating crust of fats and grease in the tank to rise to the surface. Some of this scum may have floated to the surface and/or partially filled the outlet tee, but this is unlikely. If the septic system backs up into the home, first examine the tank for an obstruction in the outflow. Floodwaters from the home that are passed through or pumped through the septic tank will produce greater flows through the system. Clean up any floodwater in the house without dumping it into the sink or toilet, and give enough time for the water to recede. This may result in sediments being transferred from the septic tank to the drainfield, which will block the drainfield. Discover the location of any electrical or mechanical equipment in the system that may have been flooded and avoid coming into touch with them until they are dry and clean
- The presence of mud and silt has a propensity to block aerobic plants, upflow filters, trickling filters, and other media filters, among other things. Cleansing and raking of these systems will be required.
How to Care for Your Septic System
Septic system maintenance is neither difficult or expensive, and it does not have to be done frequently. The maintenance of a vehicle is comprised of four major components:
- Inspect and pump your drainfield on a regular basis
- Conserve water
- Dispose of waste properly
- And keep your drainfield in good condition.
Inspect and Pump Frequently
Inspection of the ordinary residential septic system should be performed by a septic service specialist at least once every three years. Household septic tanks are normally pumped every three to five years, depending on how often they are used. Alternative systems that use electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be examined more frequently, typically once a year, to ensure that they are in proper working order. Because alternative systems contain mechanical components, it is essential to have a service contract.
- The size of the household
- The total amount of wastewater produced
- The amount of solids present in wastewater
- The size of the septic tank
Service provider coming? Here is what you need to know.
When you contact a septic service provider, he or she will inspect your septic tank for leaks as well as the scum and sludge layers that have built up over time. Maintain detailed records of any maintenance work conducted on your septic system. Because of the T-shaped outlet on the side of your tank, sludge and scum will not be able to escape from the tank and travel to the drainfield region. A pumping is required when the bottom of the scum layer or the top of the sludge layer is within six inches of the bottom of the outlet, or if the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the bottom of the outlet.
In the service report for your system, the service provider should mention the completion of repairs as well as the condition of the tank.
An online septic finder from the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) makes it simple to identify service specialists in your region.
Use Water Efficiently
In a normal single-family house, the average indoor water consumption is about 70 gallons per person, per day, on average. A single leaking or running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water each day, depending on the situation. The septic system is responsible for disposing of all of the water that a residence sends down its pipes. The more water that is conserved in a household, the less water that enters the sewage system. A septic system that is operated efficiently will operate more efficiently and will have a lower chance of failure.
- Toilets with a high level of efficiency. The usage of toilets accounts for 25 to 30% of total home water use. Many older homes have toilets with reservoirs that hold 3.5 to 5 gallons of water, but contemporary, high-efficiency toilets consume 1.6 gallons or less of water for each flush. Changing out your old toilets for high-efficiency versions is a simple approach to lessen the amount of household water that gets into your septic system. Aerators for faucets and high-efficiency showerheads are also available. Reduce water use and the volume of water entering your septic system by using faucet aerators, high-efficiency showerheads, and shower flow restriction devices. Machines for washing clothes. Water and energy are wasted when little loads of laundry are washed on the large-load cycle of your washing machine. By selecting the appropriate load size, you may limit the amount of water wasted. If you are unable to specify a load size, only complete loads of washing should be performed. Washing machine use should be spread throughout the week if at all possible. Doing all of your household laundry in one day may appear to be a time-saving strategy
- Nevertheless, it can cause damage to your septic system by denying your septic tank adequate time to handle waste and may even cause your drainfield to overflow. Machines that have earned theENERGY STARlabel consume 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than ordinary ones, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Other Energy Star appliances can save you a lot of money on your energy and water bills.
Properly Dispose of Waste
Everything that goes down your drains, whether it’s flushed down the toilet, ground up in the trash disposal, or poured down the sink, shower, or bath, ends up in your septic system, which is where it belongs.
What you flush down the toilet has an impact on how effectively your septic system functions.
Toilets aren’t trash cans!
Your septic system is not a garbage disposal system. A simple rule of thumb is to never flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Never flush a toilet:
- Cooking grease or oil
- Wipes that are not flushable, such as baby wipes or other wet wipes
- Photographic solutions
- Feminine hygiene items Condoms
- Medical supplies such as dental floss and disposable diapers, cigarette butts and coffee grounds, cat litter and paper towels, pharmaceuticals, and household chemicals such as gasoline and oil, insecticides, antifreeze, and paint or paint thinners
Toilet Paper Needs to Be Flushed! Check out this video, which demonstrates why the only item you should flush down your toilet are toilet paper rolls.
Think at the sink!
Your septic system is made up of a collection of living organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household. Pouring pollutants down your drain can kill these organisms and cause damage to your septic system as well as other things. Whether you’re at the kitchen sink, the bathtub, or the utility sink, remember the following:
- If you have a clogged drain, avoid using chemical drain openers. To prevent this from happening, use hot water or a drain snake
- Never dump cooking oil or grease down the sink or toilet. It is never a good idea to flush oil-based paints, solvents, or huge quantities of harmful cleansers down the toilet. Even latex paint waste should be kept to a bare minimum. Disposal of rubbish should be avoided or limited to a minimum. Fats, grease, and particles will be considerably reduced in your septic tank, reducing the likelihood of your drainfield being clogged.
Own a recreational vehicle (RV), boat or mobile home?
If you have ever spent any time in an RV or boat, you are undoubtedly familiar with the issue of aromas emanating from sewage holding tanks.
- The National Small Flows Clearinghouse’s Septic System Care hotline, which may be reached toll-free at 800-624-8301, has a factsheet on safe wastewater disposal for RV, boat, and mobile home owners and operators.
Maintain Your Drainfield
It is critical that you maintain the integrity of your drainfield, which is a component of your septic system that filters impurities from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank once it has been installed. Here are some things you should do to keep it in good condition:
- Parking: Do not park or drive on your drainfield at any time. Plan your tree plantings so that their roots do not grow into your drainfield or septic system. An experienced septic service provider can recommend the appropriate distance for your septic tank and surrounding landscaping, based on your specific situation. Locating Your Drainfield: Keep any roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainfall drainage systems away from the drainfield area. Excess water causes the wastewater treatment process to slow down or halt completely.
How a Septic System Works – and Common Problems
This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.
One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.
The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.
- In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
- Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
- Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
- Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.
A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.
When used properly, a leach field (also known as a “drain field”) is a series of perforated pipes that are typically buried in gravel trenches 18 to 36 inches below grade — deep enough to avoid freezing, but close enough to the surface that air can reach the bacteria that further purify the effluent (see illustration below). As little as 6 inches might separate you from the ground surface, depending on your soil type and municipal regulations. It is customary to cover the perforated pipes with approximately two inches of gravel and a layer of topsoil that is 18 to 24 inches in depth.
- Grass is often sown above the ground.
- The leach field is comprised of rows of perforated pipes in gravel trenches that are used to spread wastewater over a vast area in order to further purify it.
- A bacteria-rich slime mat forms where the gravel meets the soil, and it is responsible for the majority of the water purification work.
- Despite the fact that wastewater freezes at a far lower temperature than pure water, freezing is still a hazard in cold areas.
- The leftover pathogens are converted into essential plant nutrients by these organisms, while sand, gravel, and soil filter out any solids that remain.
- If the system is operating effectively, the filtered wastewater will return to the aquifer as naturally clean water that is suitable for human consumption at this stage.
- Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
- Special systems may also be necessary in regions where there are flood plains, bodies of water, or other ecologically sensitive areas to protect against flooding.
SIZING THE LEACH FIELD
Using perforated pipes put in gravel-filled trenches, the drain field is sized to accommodate the number of beds in the house. In order for the system to function successfully, the leach field must be appropriately sized for the soil type and amount of wastewater, which is normally determined by the number of bedrooms in the house. In order for the liquid to seep into the soil, it must be permeable enough to do so. As a result, the denser the soil, the larger the leach field that is necessary.
- Better to have surplus capacity in your system than to have it cut too close to the bone.
- Septic tank backup into your house, pooling on the surface of the earth, or polluting local groundwater are all possibilities if the ground is incapable of absorbing the liquid.
- Dense clay soils will not absorb the liquid at a sufficient rate, resulting in a backlog.
- If the soil is mostly composed of coarse sand and gravel, it might drain at such a rapid rate that untreated sewage can poison the aquifer or damage surrounding bodies of water.
- Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
These systems sometimes cost twice or three times as much as a regular system and require significantly more upkeep. Near flood plains, bodies of water, and other ecologically sensitive places, special systems may also be necessary to protect people and property.
SEPTIC SYSTEM CAREMAINTENANCE REQUIRED
If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!
- Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
- Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
- In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
- To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
- You will have years of trouble-free service if you take good care of your system. In order to remove the solids (sludge) and grease layer (scum) from the tank on a regular basis, it is necessary to pump the tank periodically. The solids will ultimately overflow and flow into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not prevented. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult or impossible
- Thus, routine pumping is essential! The most common reason for septic systems to fail prematurely is a failure to pump empty the tank. Additionally, if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if it is overflowing on a regular basis, cooking fats, oil, and particles might wash into the leach field as well. Whenever fats, petroleum compounds, and solids make their way into the leach field, they can clog the biological mat that forms where the leach trenches meet the soil and prevent it from doing its duty of filtering the effluent effectively. Heavy domestic consumption or yard drainage can cause the system to become overloaded, resulting in the transport of oil and particles to the leach field. Drainage from the yard should be directed away from the leach field in order to avoid difficulties. In addition, don’t try to wash a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day. Keeping the load controlled will assist to extend the life of your system and keep it running at its peak performance. Preventing the system from becoming overloaded consists of the following steps.
In addition, refrain from flushing sediments, strong chemicals, and just about anything else down the toilet or sink other than biological waste and white toilet paper. Avoid using garbage disposals in the kitchen. If you really must have one, keep it for small non-meat bits only. Avoid flushing chemicals or paints down the toilet since many chemicals can destroy beneficial microorganisms or cause water contamination in the surrounding area. Avoid flushing the following down the toilet:
- Grease, fats, and animal scraps
- Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
- And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.
It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:
- Heavy machinery should not be driven, parked, or stored on top of the leach field (or septic tank). Placement of a deck, patio, pool, or any other sort of construction over the leach field is prohibited. Remove any large trees or other plants with deep roots from the leach field. Grass is the most effective groundcover.
Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.
A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that. After a few tears, the initial field will naturally heal and may be used once again when the situation calls for it to be. More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.
SEPTIC SYSTEM PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS
Poor original design, abuse, or physical damage, such as driving heavy trucks over the leach field, are the root causes of the majority of septic system issues. The following are examples of common situations that might cause a septic system to operate poorly: Plumbing in the home. obstructed or insufficient plumbing vents, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or an insufficient pitch in the sewer line leading from the house are all possible causes. Sewage tank to leach field connection Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged line leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage caused by sediments that overflowed from the tank Piping in the leach field.
- Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
- Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
- Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.
- This may frequently be remedied by adding subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the immediate area around the drainage system.
- Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
- Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?
- Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test?
- Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page
Septic System Frequently Asked Questions
A septic system, sometimes known as a septic tank, is an underground system that processes the sewage that flows from your house before disposing of the treated, cleaner water. Septic systems are typically seen in residential areas. The treated water is subsequently re-introduced into the environment through filtration. This is critical because untreated sewage may harm nearby streams and water systems, as well as the soil around the perimeter of your septic system. Because your septic system is designed to cleanse and filter sewage, it is critical that it is in proper operating order.
What is a Drainfield?
The drainfield, also known as the leach field, is the area where the water from your septic system is sent after it has been cleansed and filtered.
It is necessary to construct a drainfield in order to ensure that water is distributed uniformly back into the soil.
How do I find my septic system?
If you’re fortunate enough to have a contemporary septic system in your yard, it may be equipped with an access lid that is visible from the ground floor. If this is the situation at your residence, locating your septic system is as simple as taking a few steps into your backyard. It’s unfortunate that this isn’t true for older septic systems. It’s possible that you may locate an older system in your home by checking for greener, faster-growing grass or even an area with less growth than the rest of your yard if you live in an older home.
This will show you exactly where your septic system is located in your yard, if you have one.
You’ll need to look for the location where your septic system’s sanitary line exits your home and follow that line until you find your septic tank, which will take some time.
If you are unable to discover your septic system, your yard may need to be dug up by a septic system installation in order to locate your septic tank as a last option.
How long do septic systems last?
Septic systems are not designed to endure for a specific number of years, thus there is no defined time frame. In the event of adequate maintenance, you may expect your septic system to last several decades before it has to be replaced; but, if your system fails or deteriorates as a result of bad care, its lifespan will be drastically diminished. In order to obtain an accurate estimate of how much longer the life of your septic system may be extended, you must first have it checked thoroughly by an experienced septic system installation or repairer.
What’s the advantage of installing a newer septic system rather than an older system?
Although it is not required to install a new system, there are advantages to having a modern septic tank rather than an older one. For starters, when you get a new septic tank, you can be confident that it will serve you for decades if it is properly maintained, and you will not have to worry about it being “too old.” Additionally, newer systems have been modified to reduce the likelihood of your system becoming clogged, and if something does go wrong with a new system or when it comes time to have your septic system pumped, a new system will likely be easier to locate because they are frequently constructed with ground-level lids.
New septic systems also provide a further treatment for your waste water, allowing it to be cleaner before it is released into the surrounding environment.
All of that being said, if your property currently has an older septic system installed, it should not need to be updated as long as it complies with the standards of your local health department and is in excellent operating order.
How much does a new septic system cost?
Installation of new septic systems may be a significant financial commitment, with costs typically reaching tens of thousands of dollars. Whenever you have to replace an outdated septic system, you should look into financing alternatives that will make it simpler for you to pay for a new septic system in the long run. Purchase further information from a septic system installation business on how to obtain septic systems at the most competitive prices while also taking advantage of low-interest financing options.
How big is my septic tank?
Septic tank capacity is determined by the amount of water consumed in your property as well as local codes and requirements. Check with your local health agency to find out how big your tank is before installing it.
Why should my septic system be pumped out?
Without regular pumping, the gases emitted by human waste accumulate in your septic system, increasing the risk of septic tank damage and the need for more frequent pumping. The regular pumping of your septic system will allow you to limit the rate at which your tank deteriorates and save money in the process. It’s crucial to remember, though, that degeneration is unavoidable in the long run. It is only via regular maintenance, such as pumping your tank, that your septic system will survive longer.
Does my tank need to be dug up to know if it needs to be pumped?
Risers are commonly found in newer septic systems, which allow you to access your tank from the ground level through a lid. It is straightforward for any septic system professional to determine whether or not your yard has risers placed, and whether or not it is necessary to pump it. If, on the other hand, your tank cannot be accessible from the ground level, it will need to be dug up in order to determine whether it has to be drained. Instead of inspecting your septic system to see whether it needs to be pumped on a regular basis, set a timetable for having your system pumped every 2-3 years.
Why should I have risers and lids installed on my septic system?
As a result, when it comes time to find, pump, or repair your septic system, risers are the best choice since they provide ground-level access to your system. Having a septic system lid will allow you to mow your grass while still being able to find your system with no difficulty. Lids and risers also have the advantage of being accessible all year round, as opposed to earlier septic systems that could only be accessed by digging a trench through your yard. If your septic system has to be pumped or repaired for any reason during the winter months, getting beneath layers of frozen earth can be difficult, if not impossible, and you may be forced to wait until the spring to have access to your tank again.
How often should my septic system be pumped out?
A typical septic system contains a 1,500-gallon tank, which needs to be pumped around every 2-3 years for a household of four, according to industry standards. If you have less than four people living in your house, you will most likely be able to pump your septic system every five years rather than every three.
You should speak with your local health agency to determine the exact size of your tank, and you should consult a septic system business to determine how frequently your tank should be pumped based on the size of your family and the size of your septic tank.
Do I need to have the septic tank pumped if I’m selling my house?
Consult with your local health department to learn about the restrictions that apply to your region of residence. Generally speaking, as long as your septic system has been pumped on a regular basis by a licensed septic system company and recently enough for the new homeowners to be able to live there for a year or two without having to pump the septic system, you should not be required to have it pumped again in the near future.
How do I find someone to pump my septic system?
It is important to be aware that not all septic system businesses are licensed and that not all firms properly dispose of or recycle the waste they pump from your septic system when you are looking for one to pump it. Finding a firm that complies with EPA standards should be your first concern, and then you should look at price, how pricing is split down, and which company is delivering the most honest, economical, and dependable service should be your next consideration. Investigate business evaluations, and when you select a septic system provider to pump your septic tank, be certain that they do the work properly, leaving enough water and waste to keep the sewage decomposing while leaving no visible trace more than a few inches of waste behind.
How much does it cost to have my septic system pumped?
It is recommended that you call many pumpers before making a selection, and that you ask as many questions as possible to ensure that you are receiving the best service for your money. Pumping may cost upwards of $200, so it is always wise to shop around before making a decision. You should not consider it a waste of money to have your septic system pumped when the time comes. By correctly maintaining your septic system, you may avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars to replace your septic system long before it should have been replaced in the first place.
What happens if I don’t have my septic system pumped?
The sediments will pile up in your septic tank if you don’t pump it out regularly, ultimately overflowing into the drain field and clogging the drain field. Backups can occur, causing damage to your property and even necessitating the replacement of your drain field, which can be a very expensive error.
I just had my septic system pumped. Why is it full already?
Septic systems are designed to refill rapidly since the purpose of pumping is not to remove water but rather to remove non-biodegradable waste, and the water itself is not the aim of pumping. Once your septic system has been pumped and you begin to use the water in your house, your tank will quickly refill in order to maintain good operation of the system. If the water level rises to a point where it is above the outlet line, contact your septic system service provider for assistance immediately.
What do you look for when inspecting my septic system?
When we perform an inspection, we make certain that your septic system is in good working order and that it meets the requirements for receiving a Certificate of Compliance. If you’re planning to sell your home, you should have your septic system checked out by a professional who is certified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This will allow you to sell your home faster and for more money, if you can prove that your system has been checked out by an accredited professional. The level of liquid in your septic tank will be checked, and we’ll make sure there is no surface-level discharge.
We’ll also note whether the level of solid waste in your septic tank indicates that it should be pumped, and whether any repairs are required to improve the overall functionality of the system.
The drains in my home aren’t draining as quickly as they normally do. Does this have to do with my septic system?
Drains that are clogged and that empty slowly are not necessarily a big source of concern. Before presuming that there is an issue with your septic system, check sure that there isn’t anything obstructing your drain first. In the case of one plumbing fixture in your house that is draining slowly, it is likely due to clogging; however, if all of the drains in your home are slow or leave waste backed up, it is probable that your septic system requires inspection and may even require pumping.
What happens when my septic system fails?
Symptoms of a failing septic system may include minor issues such as drain breaks or pipes that have been stopped, which can be caused by tree roots intersecting with the system. Septic system failure, on the other hand, might indicate that your septic tank has degraded to the point that it cannot be repaired and must be replaced. A blocked drainfield will hopefully not become your problem because it is the most expensive component of your system to replace; nevertheless, if it does, you must act quickly to make the necessary repairs or else your waste will continue to back up, perhaps causing damage to your property.
You’ll need to replace the drainfield as soon as possible to avoid further pollution of drinking water sources.
How do I prevent my septic system from failing? How can I properly maintain my septic system?
Your septic system should degrade at a normal rate over the course of several decades if you maintain it on a regular basis. Maintenance normally consists of getting your septic system pumped on a regular basis and making certain that you do not flush or wash anything down the drain that might block your septic system.
What shouldn’t I flush down the toilet?
As a general rule, only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed. There are several reasons why flushing medicine down the toilet is not a good idea. First, medication might kill some of the bacteria in your septic tank, which is necessary to break down solid waste. Second, drugs can pollute adjacent well water. In addition, you should avoid flushing feminine hygiene items, paper towels, tissues, hair, cat litter (even if it is flushable), diapers, wipes, condoms, cigarettes, and anything else that seems to be inorganic and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet.
What shouldn’t I pour down the drain?
Grease from the kitchen, motor oil, anti-freeze, gasoline, paint, and food should not be flushed down the toilet or drain. You should avoid flushing anything down your drain other than soap and water, and you should especially avoid flushing any form of chemical down your drain that should not be recycled back into the environment, such as fertilizer.
Is using a garbage disposal bad for my septic system?
Using a trash disposal will result in the requirement to pump your septic system more frequently than you would otherwise need to do if you avoided flushing food particles down your drains.
Too much food collection in your tank might cause your drainfield to clog since the microorganisms in your tank are not capable to digesting it. When using a trash disposal, check with your septic system company to find out how frequently the disposal should be serviced.
Should I add bacteria to my septic system?
Aside from being completely useless, introducing bacteria to your septic tank is also highly discouraged. The bacteria produced by human waste is sufficient to break down the solid sewage in your tank without the need of bacteria supplements or other methods. If, on the other hand, multiple members of your home are using pharmaceuticals, they will enter your septic system through human waste and kill some of the beneficial bacteria in your tank, causing it to malfunction. Please contact the firm who installed your septic system to see whether or not you should be worried about the amount of bacteria-killing compounds entering the system.
There’s a strong sewer odor outside of my house. Could this be my septic tank?
Strong sewage stench coming from your yard might be coming from your septic system, but it could also be coming from someplace else completely. Identifying the source of the smell is important. Check for propane or gas leaks in your home before concluding that your septic system is at fault; however, if your gas or propane lines are not leaking, determine how long it has been since you had your tank pumped, and whether there is any sewage waste in your yard or other signs of septic system failure before making your final decision.
Can my septic system contaminate nearby water?
It is possible for your septic system to pollute surrounding water sources if it is not properly managed or fails completely. In the event that you suspect that your septic system is failing, make sure that it is routinely pumped and inspected by an expert.
My gutters’ downspouts drain into my yard above my septic system. Is this a bad thing?
The drainage of your gutters into your yard above your septic system, and particularly into your drainfield, can be hazardous to your septic system. All water should be diverted away from your septic system in order to minimize flooding and damage to your septic system’s tank or drain field.