Waste and sewage is removed from a septic tank into the drain field either through gravity or with the help of a septic system lift pump. Pumps are usually necessary for septic tanks that sit lower than the drain field and gravity is unable to carry and/or push the effluent out of the tank.Waste and sewage is removed from a septic tank into the
Septic drain field – Wikipedia
either through gravity or with the help of a septic system lift pump. Pumps are usually necessary for septic tanks that sit lower than the drain field and gravity is unable to carry and/or push the effluent out of the tank.
- Pumping a septic tank is critical in preventing sewage backups. Heavy solids settle at the bottom of your tank and form a sludge layer. This sludge builds up over time. If it builds up too much, then your septic tank effluent can overwhelm your drain field.
Why do septic systems have two tanks?
Dual tanks naturally hold more wastewater, this, in turn, means that you will have to pay to pump it less. Compared to a regular septic tank it also has a lower chance of overflowing and broken pipes due to the minimal amount of strain it experiences.
Do septic systems have two tanks?
Yes, and the reason a second tank and drainfield is necessary usually has nothing to do with providing additional gallons of tank capacity. We see homes with two septic tanks most often at the long, narrow ranch style homes of the mid-20th century–with one system located near each end.
Does septic tank have a pump?
A septic system consists of two main parts: a septic tank and a drainfield. Some systems also have a pump tank.
What is the difference between a septic tank and a pump tank?
Since holding tanks can’t remove waste on their own, they have to be pumped more often. Homes with a holding tank may require a pump every two to five months. Septic tanks, on the other hand, only require pumping every two or three years. Frequency varies depending on water usage.
How do you tell if your septic tank is full?
How to tell your septic tank is full and needs emptying
- Pooling water.
- Slow drains.
- An overly healthy lawn.
- Sewer backup.
- Gurgling Pipes.
- Trouble Flushing.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
How long do septic tanks last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
How can you tell if your leach 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.
How often pump 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 happens if septic pump fails?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Failure to perform routine maintenance, such as pumping the septic tank generally at least every three to five years, can cause solids in the tank to migrate into the drain field and clog the system.
How do you tell if a septic pump is working?
To test if the pump is working, first turn the pump on by turning the second from the bottom float upside down. While holding that float upside down, turn the next float up (that would be the second from the top), upside down. You should hear the pump turn on.
Can a septic tank never be pumped?
What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.
What are the alternatives to septic tanks?
Alternative Septic Systems
- Raised Bed (Mound) Septic Tank Systems. A raised bed drain field (sometimes called a mound) is just like what it sounds.
- Aerobic Treatment Systems (ATS) Aerobic systems are basically a small scale sewage treatment system.
- Waterless Systems.
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.
What happens if my land doesn’t perk?
NO PERC, NO HOUSE On rural sites without municipal sewage systems, a failed perc test means that no house can be built – which is why you should make any offer to purchase land contingent on the site passing the soil and perc tests.
What is a Septic Tank Pump
Pump for septic tanks In the context of septic tanks, this term refers to a submersible water pump that is positioned either in the last chamber of the tank or in a separate pump sump after the tank. A septic tank pump is a tiny electrical water pump that may be submerged in wastewater and is used to pump out sewage. The pump will be activated and deactivated by a float switch when the chamber fills with water. When the pump is turned on, a little impeller in the pump rotates, which causes the water to be forced upward via the pipes to which the pump is attached.
Why Do You Need a Septic Tank Pump
When it comes to pumping effluent from a septic tank or sewage treatment plant to a higher level, a septic tank pump comes in handy. This may be important if you have either a raised percolation area or a soakaway in your yard. It may also be required in situations when the ultimate sewage disposal destination is positioned upslope from the septic tank outlet, making it impossible for wastewater to flow to the final effluent disposal point by gravity.
Installing a Septic Tank Pump in a Septic Tank
Pumps for septic tanks can either be put directly into an existing septic tank or at a pump station that is connected to the septic tank. The pump should not be installed directly in your septic tank, unless your tank is a single chamber septic tank. In the case of single chamber septic tanks, installing a septic tank pump will result in the pumping out of particles that have accumulated. Solids can accumulate in a soakaway or percolation area, causing it to get clogged. If you have a two- or three-chamber septic tank, you may put a submersible septic tank pump in the final chamber of the tank to help with drainage.
It is possible that the pump will become clogged with tiny particulates if this step is not taken.
Installing a Septic Tank Pump in a Separate Pump Sump
Pumping septic tank effluent is best accomplished by the installation of a septic tank pump in a separate chamber or the purchase of a pre-assembled pump station. A packaged pump station will typically include a pump that has been preinstalled into a chamber that has been outfitted with the requisite gate valves and non-return valves.
Septic Tank Filters
It is preferable to place septic tank filters, also known as bristle filters or effluent filters, in front of a pump station if at all possible. These filters are a very easy and effective solution to protect your pump from being damaged by foreign objects. The effluent filter captures and retains any tiny particulates that are present in the wastewater as it runs into the pump chamber. If possible, this filter should be fitted in a 110mm/4″ T piece under a manhole so that it may be readily removed and washed once or twice each year.
Septic Tank Pump Alarms and Controls
A septic tank pump alarm should always be installed in conjunction with the installation of a septic tank pump. These are typically comprised of a float switch that is hooked into a miniature alarm panel. If the pump fails, the water level in the pump chamber rises since no water is being pushed away from the pump chamber. The rising water level activates the float switch, which in turn triggers an alert and the flashing of a beacon to warn of the impending danger.
In addition, alarms with a GSM dial-out feature are available. A septic tank alarm provides you with prior notice of a pump failure or obstruction, allowing you to take prompt action in the event that your sewers backup and flood.
Septic Tank Pump Costs
Septic tank pumps for residential use are not very pricey items. Normally, they cost £150/€175 per person. The cost of installing the pump may be the same as if you hired a professional septic tank repair firm to do the work for you. Pumps with greater capacity may be necessary when pumping a big commercial septic system, when pumping over a long distance, or when pumping from an elevated position.
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. In order to enable solids to settle to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the top and produce scum, the tank must be large enough to contain both. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet prevent sludge and scum from leaving the tank and moving into the drainfield region. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. Drainfields can flood if they become overloaded with liquid, causing sewage to overflow to the ground surface or causing backups in toilets and sinks. If a drainfield becomes overloaded with liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to overflow to the ground surface or causing backups in toilets and sinks
- And if a drainfield becomes overloaded with liquid, it can flood. Finally, the wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed from the environment by coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients that are hazardous to humans. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
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 frequency with which a septic tank is pumped is influenced by four key factors:
- 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.
When And Why do Septic Tanks Need to be Pumped? Easy Steps And Advice
A common complaint among homeowners is that septic tank maintenance is complex, and they are unsure if their tank need pumping or not. Additionally, even individuals who are aware that their tank has to be pumped out on a regular basis may not understand why. For a complete understanding of why septic tanks need to be pumped, it is necessary to first understand how a septic system works. A septic system is normally comprised of two basic components: 1) the septic tank; and 2) the drain field (or leach field).
- In the septic tank, anaerobic bacteria that reside there break down the solid waste (sludge and scum) as well as any organic materials floating in the liquid, resulting in the formation of less complex organic molecules.
- The anaerobically treated effluent is discharged from the septic tank into the drain field, where aerobic microorganisms further degrade it.
- Solids can be stored for up to three years in a correctly sized septic tank.
- Although as the volume of collected solids rises, so does the amount of time that wastewater is stored in the tank before being discharged to the drain field.
- As the area between the two layers becomes increasingly narrower, the tank’s capacity to hold solid particles diminishes as well.
Because it will not be able to absorb wastewater effluent at the same rate that it enters the septic tank if the soil absorption area becomes too clogged, the result will either be the appearance of unsavoury effluent bubbling to the surface of the soil or the presence of sewage backed up into the home.
While this filter may aid in the preservation of the drain field’s integrity, it will result in a higher volume of solids staying in the tank, which will need the regular removal of solids from the tank by pumping.
When Does a Septic Tank Need to be Pumped?
Most of the time, you will notice some tell-tale symptoms that your septic tank needs to be pumped, such as the following:
- The presence of water pooling on the surface of your grass
- Lawns that are lush and green in places
- Toilet, drain, or septic tank scents that are unpleasant to the nose Flushing and/or drainage that is sluggish
- Septic tank overflowing into the home (worst case scenario)
Pumping out your septic system before the sediments build up to the point where they begin to flow out of the tank with the effluent and onto your drain field can help to keep your system from collapsing. When it comes to determining when your septic tank needs to be pumped, there are two options. The first is to just have it pumped out on a regular basis, such as every two or three years, to keep it fresh. Second, once a year, open the inspection hatch of the tank and, using a long length of PVC pipe or a pole, measure the depth of the sludge that has collected at the bottom of the tank, which will be visible as a black stain on the pipe.
- You should probably have your tank pumped out on a regular basis, every two or three years, or even more regularly if necessary, to be on the safe side.
- This is due to the tiny organic suspended particulates that are present in the tank and will not breakdown very well in the tank.
- Because there will be more solids stored in the sewage system due to the increased amount of dishwashing, having outside visitors stay for prolonged durations should need more frequent tank pumping.
- Taking longer showers and doing more laundry can put additional strain on the system.
- If nothing else, it will at the very least provide a temporary reprieve before the tank is refilled.
- It is usually preferable to take preventative precautions rather than dealing with costly repairs or messy breakdowns after the fact.
- This can result in an early field failure or, in the worst case scenario, sewage backing up into your home.
How MuchWastewater is Produced by 20 Guests During a Party?
Let’s imagine there are up to 20 people visiting the house over a six-hour period. If every guest uses the bathroom and flushes the toilet twice, the total amount of water used will be around 40 x 4gal = 160 gallons, which is less than the capacity of the septic tank. In the case of a typical 2-3 bedroom home with a 1000 gallon or bigger septic tank, if we start our festivities with the tank practically empty, we will be certain to prevent the drain field from being oversaturated and perhaps backing up during the event.
If the system is older and there are apparent maladies, such as sluggish flushing toilets, it is possible that there may be problems when the party is held.
The scum and sludge layers may be measured and recorded if you are unclear whether or not to pump your tank. This will allow you to have a more consistent gauge of your tank’s maintenance and pumping needs throughout time.
Having a Home Business
More and more entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the convenience of working from home. While this is beneficial in many ways, caution should be exercised when it comes to your septic system. It is possible that having a hair salon may introduce large quantities of toxic chemicals and bleaches into the system, affecting the biology of the septic tank and the anaerobic bacteria that digest solids and organics. Photography and taxidermy are two further examples of activities in which higher-than-usual amounts of chemicals are likely to get into the sewage treatment system.
Here are other reasons to pump your septic tank:
- Septic System Failures Have Been Found Some homeowners decide to pump their septic tanks because of issues such as effluent on the property surface in the drain field region or smells.
Despite the fact that there is no precise measure to a tank pumping plan in Canada, the recommended 3-5 year intervals are a good starting point. I discovered these averages and arranged them into a chart form from the Penn State College of Agriculture, which I believe may provide some useful insight:
When To Pump Out A Septic Tank
In British Columbia, the following are the septic tank size regulations based on the daily flow of the home: Home Flows on a Daily Basis:
How To Find Your Septic Tank
The first step in locating your septic tank is to obtain a copy of your property documents. All current septic system approval documents should include an anas-built drawing that will assist you in locating the septic system. If you don’t have a copy of the papers, your local regulatory body may be able to provide you with one upon request. If you don’t have an as-built design, the first step is to figure out where the septic tank is. Look in your basement for the point at which your sewer line exits the foundation wall.
- As a suitable beginning point, take a measurement 1.5 metres (5 feet) away from your home.
- Depending on how deeply the tank is buried, it might take some time.
- If you are unable to locate the septic tank using these methods, you should get assistance from a qualified sewage pumper or an onsite sewage system specialist.
- Its primary duty is to separate and remove particles from wastewater effluent before it runs to the drain field, as well as to partially digest a percentage of the solids and store the remainder.
- All of these solids need to be removed on a regular basis to avoid them building up to the point where they enter and block the soil absorption region in the drain field, causing the system to malfunction.
- In many cases, you may use pumping intervals to determine your pumping schedule (e.g., did you wait too long before having your tank pumped and it was full to capacity, or could you have waited just a little longer to pump?).
- Unfortunately, this is a severe and, at times, costly misunderstanding of the facts.
- Keep a copy of this receipt as proof of purchase.
Septic Tank Pump: When You Need One & When to Call a Pro
When it comes to septic tank pumps, what’s the difference between them and do you really need one in your system? Here’s a brief guide to septic tank pumps: there are three major types of septic tank pumps: a sump pump, a septiceffluent pump, and a grinder pump. A sump pump is the most common type of septic tank pump. We’re pleased to assist you in determining whether or not you require one of these pumps in your septic system. Note: This is only a short reference and not an in-depth how-to; always contact us before attempting to fix an aseptic tank problem on your own.
Septic Tank Sump Pump
Sump pumps, also known as de-watering pumps, are often used in extremely wet areas to remove excess water from basements and foundations as a result of major weather events. This is a pump that is used primarily for insurance purposes, to ensure that buildings preserve structural integrity even in extremely wet situations. Sump pumps are occasionally used in septic systems, however they are utilized seldom since there are better options available if a pump is required.
Septic Tank Grinder Pump
Sump pumps, also known as de-watering pumps, are often used in extremely wet areas to remove excess water from basements and foundations as a result of extreme weather events such as heavy rains or flooding. To be precise, this is an insurance-related pump that makes sure the structural integrity of buildings is not jeopardized under extremely rainy weather. The usage of a sump pump in septic systems is unusual, owing to the fact that there are more effective alternatives when a pump is required.
Sewage Tank Effluent Pump
They are solely designed to carry cleared effluent from a septic chamber (not a tank) to a drain field and are not intended to be used in conjunction with a tank. You should use caution if you are pumping cleared effluent from a septic pumping chamber (meaning a separate holding place downstream from the main septic tank). The removal of this pump from the tank, which contains solids and scum, is vital due to the fact that it is incapable of breaking down solids. Before installing a septic tank pump in your system, ALWAYS consult with a professional septic tank service provider first to ensure that the pump is appropriate for your system.
Whether you have concerns regarding your septic system, the possibility of requiring a pump, or the expenses associated with installing a pump for yourseptic system, we will be happy to answer them.
As always, if you have questions about your septic tank system or needservice, please give us a call at(260)-982-7111.
Septic systems are built in around one-fourth of all residences in the United States, and they are particularly common in rural regions that are not served by municipal sewer systems. In contrast to conventional sewage systems, which pump solid and liquid waste from the home into sewer mains and then to a centralized sewage treatment plant, septic systems pump waste from the house out into a drain field and an underground septic tank.
How Septic System Works
The water and wastes carried by the water in a standard septic system go down the home’s drain system and through a single main sewer pipe to the septic tank, where they are treated. It is possible for wastewater to flow only by gravity or with the aid of an electric pump. However, this is not always the case. The septic tank is designed to store waste material for an extended period of time, allowing solids to sink to the bottom while oil, grease, and liquids – later known as scum — float to the top.
As bacterial activity breaks down the pathogens, the liquids slowly trickle down through the soil and into the groundwater.
Between times, the solids in the tank degrade under the influence of anaerobic bacteria and form an oily substance that settles at the bottom of the tank.
Anaerobic bacteria are responsible for this decomposition. If the bacterial action is efficient, the volume of these solid wastes is significantly decreased as they decompose. Margot Cavin’s The Spruce is a novel about a woman who grows up on a spruce grove.
Anatomy of a Septic Tank
The septic tank is a water-tight container constructed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that is placed in the ground in a location close to the house to collect waste. It is comprised of an entrance pipe through which all waste from the home’s sewage line is directed into the tank and an output pipe through which liquids are directed to the drain field. Unless you look closely, the top of the tank is buried just below the level of the earth and is completely inaccessible except for one or two inspection tubes and a manhole cover, which is used to pump sludge from the tank when it becomes required.
When to Have Your Septic Tank Pumped
An inspection of a septic tank should be performed every two to three years, with mechanical pumping necessary every three to five years to empty the tank, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pumping may be required on a yearly basis for systems that are inadequate or that receive a lot of demand. System components such as electrical float switches, pumps, and mechanical components must be examined more frequently, generally once a year, in certain cases. When you pump your septic tank, you’re getting rid of sludge from the bottom of the tank, and you need to do it as soon as possible since sludge can build up to the point where it stops the outflow pipe, which allows liquids to flow into the drain field.
- Typical for larger houses, waste generation increases, causing the septic tank to fill up more quickly
- Size of the household The amount of wastewater produced is as follows: If there is an excessive amount of wastewater going into the septic tank, it might have an impact on how quickly the tank fills. The amount of particles included in the wastewater is as follows: Households with a large number of toilets or who often use garbage disposals have a tendency to fill their septic tanks more quickly. Septic tank capacity: Larger tanks can retain more solid sludge and, as a result, will need to be pumped less frequently.
There are a few methods that might assist you in estimating when you should have your tank pumped. For example, a typical four-bedroom house may have a 1,200 to 1,500 gallon tank, and if you have a family of four, you may expect to have the tank pumped every 3 to 5 years under normal circumstances.
How a Septic Tank Is Pumped
The expert who inspects and services your septic tank will notify you when it is necessary to pump out the sludge from the tank, if you have a septic service professional who does so on a regular basis. This occurs when the floating scum layer that exists between the sludge and the floating water is within approximately 6 inches of the outflow pipe leading to the drain field. Septic service specialists arrive in a huge tanker truck with vacuum equipment, and when the lid has been removed from the septic tank, they introduce a large hose into the tank through the manhole they have created.
This helps to break up the particles and mix them with the liquid material, which helps the pumping process run more efficiently.
Tips for Maintaining Septic System
There are various proactive actions you can take to ensure that your septic system runs properly and that the frequency with which it must be pumped is reduced. These include the following:
- Reduce your water use. Utilizing toilets and faucets with high water efficiency and water conservation may significantly reduce the quantity of water that enters the septic system and causes it to backup. Water leaks and drips should be repaired as soon as possible in order to avoid misuse of water, which can lead to the septic tank filling up faster. Reduce the amount of solid trash produced: Another technique to ensure that the septic system is operating correctly is to keep track of the solid waste that enters it. Trash that is either washed down the drain or flushed down the toilet can cause the septic system to become overburdened. Other than toilet paper, don’t flush anything down the toilet. Also, avoid utilizing a trash disposer that dumps organic food wastes into the septic system, which might cause problems. Even though it takes just a small amount of work, throwing things in the trash makes a significant impact in how well the septic system is managed. Rainwater should be directed away from the drain field. Rain gutters and landscaping grading that direct water into the septic system’s drain field can impair the field’s capacity to distribute water from the septic system.
- Hot tubs should not be drained into the sewer system. Water from hot tubs or swimming pools should be discharged onto the yard rather than into the drain field, since this might impose an unnecessary strain on a septic system. It is best not to flush chemicals down the toilet. Avoid flushing chemicals down the toilet because they can interfere with the bacterial process that breaks down solid wastes. There are also several other commercial septic tank additives, which are often more harmful than beneficial. Use of septic tank chemicals is not recommended unless it has been prescribed by a trustworthy specialist.
Septic System Guide: How It Works and How to Maintain It
As soon as you flush the toilet in most metropolitan locations, the waste is pumped out to the nearest sewage treatment facility. Garbage is processed at this factory, which separates it into two types of waste: water that is clean enough to be dumped into a river and solids known as residual waste. The remaining material is either disposed of in landfill or utilized as fertilizer. Septic systems, which are used in places where there aren’t any sewage treatment plants, provide a similar function, but on a much smaller scale.
In most cases, waste-water exits the home and drains into an underground septic tank that is 20 to 50 feet distant from the house, kicking off the treatment process.
What are Septic Tanks and How Do They Work?
As soon as you flush the toilet in most metropolitan areas, the waste is pumped out to the nearest sewage treatment facility. In that facility, the waste is treated and separated into water that is clean enough to be released into a river and solids known as residual waste, which are then recycled. A landfill or fertilizer facility disposes of any remaining garbage. If there aren’t any sewage treatment plants in a given location, septic systems can provide much of the same function on a smaller scale.
Septic Fields Distribute Liquid Effluent
The second chamber has an output pipe via which the liquid (known as effluent) from the tank is discharged to a disposal or leach field, depending on the situation. It is drained into the earth by a network of perforated pipes or through perforated plastic structures known as galleries, which are constructed of perforated plastic. It is common practice to lay the pipe or galleries in a bed of gravel, which aids in dispersing the liquid. During the course of the effluent’s percolation through the soil, the soil absorbs remaining bacteria and particles, resulting in water that is safe to drink by the time the water reaches the aquifer deeper down.
- They are not much deeper than that since a large quantity of water escapes through evaporation or is transpired by grass growing above ground.
- If you have sandy soils that drain too rapidly, you may not be able to treat the wastewater properly.
- Sometimes the water cannot be disposed of properly because the natural soils include a high concentration of silt or clay.
- Topsoil and grass are applied to the mound, which allows more water to leave through transpiration and evaporation than would otherwise be possible.
Septic Systems Rely on Gravity, Most of the Time
The majority of septic systems rely on gravity to transfer the liquid from the home to the tank and then to the field where it will be disposed of. However, due to the slope of the land, the tank or the field may need to be higher than the house in some instances. It is necessary to have a pump, or occasionally two pumps, in order for this to operate. A grinder pump, which liquefies sediments and is installed in a pit in the basement or crawlspace of the home, will be used if the tank is higher than the house.
Sewage pumps are essentially large sump pumps that are used for heavy-duty applications. When the amount of effluent in the pit reaches a specific level, a float activates a switch, which then activates the pump, which empties the pit.
How to Treat Your Septic System
It is not necessary to do much to keep your septic system in good working order, other than cut the grass above it and keep the drainage area free of trees and plants with roots that may block it.
How Often Do You Need to Pump A Septic Tank?
You should have a septic provider pump out the particles from your tank every two years, at the absolute least. A manhole at the surface of the tank will allow the pump operator to access the tank, but older systems may require that the top of the tank be dug up to expose the pumping hatch. If the tank is not pumped on a regular basis, it will become clogged with solids, which will eventually make their way into the leach field and clog it. As a result, untreated effluent will seep through the tank’s surface and back up into the house, necessitating a complete field replacement.
What to Do if Your Septic System Fails
Pumps in a pumped septic system will ultimately fail, just as they will in any mechanical system. Most pumps are equipped with an alarm that sounds when the effluent level in the pit is greater than it should be, indicating that the pump has failed and has to be replaced. This is a job that should be left to the professionals. Visit the following website to locate a trusted list of installation and septic system service companies in your area:
- Pumps in a pumped septic system will ultimately fail, just like any other mechanical system. Most pumps are equipped with an alarm that sounds when the effluent level in the pit is higher than it should be, indicating that the pump has failed and the pump must be replaced. Professionals should be hired to complete this task. Click here for an up-to-date list of reliable septic system installer and service companies in your region.
It is rare for a homeowner to have to worry about their septic system because it is well-maintained and doesn’t cause problems. Simple maintenance, such as keeping the tank pumped and the lawn trimmed, should result in decades of trouble-free service. What kind of protection do you have in place for your home’s systems and appliances against unforeseen maintenance needs? If this is the case, you might consider purchasing a house warranty.
- It is rare for a homeowner to have to worry about their septic system because it is well-maintained and does not cause any problems. Simple maintenance, such as keeping the tank pumped and the lawn trimmed, should provide years of trouble-free service. What level of protection do you have in place for your home’s systems and appliances against unexpected maintenance needs? If you don’t have one, you should think about getting one.
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.
How does a septic tank work?
Pumping the tank on a regular basis eliminates sludge and scum, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and well built septic system to last for decades, or it might collapse in a matter of years. It is entirely up to you as long as you can answer the question of how do septic tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely collapsed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material costs.
It’s critical to understand how a septic tank works in order to maintain one.
Let’s take a look below ground and observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we? After that, I’ll explain why things go wrong and offer you some tips on how to keep your system in peak operating condition.
Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria
Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.
- A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
- Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
- Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
- (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
- The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
- Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
- The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt.
- Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.
Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system
Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.
- Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.
Get your tank pumped…
Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.
…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it
Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.
Install an effluent filter in your septic system
Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata.
The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.
Septic tank filter close-up
The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drain field pipes. Obtain an effluent filter for your tank from your contractor and place it on the outflow pipe of your tank. (It will most likely cost between $50 and $100, plus labor.) This device, which helps to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis by a contractor to maintain its effectiveness.
Solution for a clogged septic system
If your septic system becomes clogged and you find yourself having to clean the filter on a regular basis, you might be tempted to simply remove the filter altogether. Hold on to it. Solids, wastewater, and scum are separated into three levels in septic tanks, which allows them to function properly (see illustration above). Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them. The scum, which is made up of trash that is lighter than water, rises to the surface. In the drainage field, the middle layer of effluent leaves the tank and goes through an underground network of perforated pipes to the drainage field.
- Keep the effluent filter in place since it is required by your state’s health law.
- Waste particles might flow through the filter and clog the perforated pipes if the filter is not used.
- Your filter, on the other hand, should not require cleaning every six months.
- A good chance is high that you’re flushing filter-clogging things down the toilet, such as grease, fat, or food scraps.
- A garbage disposal will not be able to break down food particles sufficiently to allow them to flow through the septic tank filtration system.
- Plastic items, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable goods, and tobacco products will clog the system if they are flushed through it.
- More information on removing lint from your laundry may be found here.
Get an inspection
The temptation to just remove the filter may arise if your septic system becomes blocked and you have to clean it on a regular basis. It should be preserved. Solids, effluent, and scum are separated into three levels in a septic tank, which allows waste to be separated into three layers (see illustration above). Microorganisms breakdown the particles that settle to the bottom of the tank. It is the scum that floats on top because it is made up of trash that is lighter than water. In the drainage field, the intermediate layer of effluent leaves the tank and is carried away by subterranean perforated pipes.
- Keep the effluent filter in place since your state’s health law mandates it.
- In addition, removing the filter may result in a far bigger (and more expensive) problem down the road.
- Cleaning and unclogging the system would need substantial digging.
- The majority of filters don’t need to be cleaned until the tank is pumped, which occurs every two to five years on average, and then only when necessary.
- Food disposal is an error that many people make.
- Solids can accumulate in a septic tank to levels as high as 50% more than normal.
More information on what should not be flushed down the toilet can be obtained by contacting your local health authority. More information on removing lint from laundry may be found here.
Alternatives to a new drain field
If an examination or a sewage backup indicate that your drain field is in need of replacement, the only option is to replace it completely. As a result, it’s important to talk with a contractor about other possibilities before proceeding with the project.
- Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.
Protect your drain septic field from lint
When this device is in place, it inhibits lint from entering the system, especially synthetic fibers that bacteria are unable to digest. One of these filters, which I’ve designed and termed theSeptic Protector, was invented by me. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150 plus delivery. Learn more about how to filter out laundry lint in this article.
Don’t overload the septic system
Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field. Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.
Meet the Expert
Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.
Septic Tank Pumping
Septic tanks are used in the vast majority of on-lot sewage systems nowadays. The subject of how frequently a septic tank should be pumped has been a source of contention for several decades. For example, there are some homeowners who say they have never drained their septic tank and that it “appears” to be in fine working condition. While trying to establish a standard pumping strategy, authorities have taken a more conservative approach and have declared that all septic tanks should be pump out every two to three years.
How a Septic Tank Works
Box 1.Can you tell me how much solid trash you generate? The average adult consumes around one quart of food every day. The body removes just a very little percentage of this meal and utilizes it to provide energy for the body’s functions. The remaining portion is discharged into the waste water system. This translates into around 90 gallons of solid waste being discharged into the septic tank per adult each year. Based on the assumption that the anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank reduce the waste volume by around 60%, this indicates that each adult contributes approximately 60 gallons of solids to their septic tank each year.
- Consequently, it will take around 5 years for one adult to completely fill a 1,000-gallon septic tank with sludge and scum, which is approximately 300 gallons.
- It is simple to infer that a septic tank should be pumped every two to three years after accounting for adults who work outside the home for a third of the time and children who attend school after making these modifications to the study.
- Single chamber septic tanks were the most common type of septic tank until recently.
- Septic tanks are designed to aid the removal of particles that are heavier than water by encouraging these heavy particles to settle to the tank bottom, resulting in the formation of the sludge layer.
- It is also designed to keep particles that are lighter than water by encouraging these lighter particles to float to the surface and be maintained in the tank, resulting in a layer of scum on the surface of the tank.
In part, this is due to the fact that the temperature of the septic tank is equal to that of the soil surrounding it, and the anaerobic bacteria require higher temperatures in order to effectively decompose organic material in wastewater and thus reduce the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the wastewater.
- Holding on to the heavy (settleable) and lighter (floatable) particles allows the septic tank to gently fill with solids from the bottom up as well as from the top down.
- Septic tanks with an exit filter will catch and decrease the flow of solids into the absorption area when the tank is properly designed and installed.
- As a result, it is critical that every septic tank be pumped on a regular basis to eliminate the organic particles that have been collected and partially digested.
- Small amounts of the particles kept in the tank degrade, but the vast majority of the solids stay and build up in the tank.
- Under no circumstances should you enter a septic tank.
- With continued usage of the on-lot wastewater disposal system, an accumulation of sludge and scum builds up in the septic tank.
- As the amount of sludge and scum in the tank fills up, wastewater is maintained in the tank for a shorter period of time, and the solids removal process becomes less efficient as a result.
It is necessary to pump the tank on a regular basis in order to avoid this. Asseptage is the term used to describe the substance injected. Cross-sectional view of a two-chamber septic tank (Figure 1).
|Number of bedrooms in the home||Estimated daily flow (gallons/day)||Minimum septic tank size (gallons)|
How Frequent should a Septic Tank be Pumped?
Pumping frequency is determined by a number of parameters, including:
- The capacity of the septic tank
- The amount of wastewater that is put to the septic tank each day (see Table 1)
- The amount of solids in a wastewater stream is measured. In this regard, it should be noted that there are various different types of particles that are regularly dumped into a septic system. This group of solids includes (1) biodegradable “organic” solids such as feces (see Box 1), (2) slowly biodegradable “organic” solids such as toilet paper and cellulosic compounds, which take a long time to biodegrade in the septic tank, and (3) non-biodegradable solids such as kitty litter, plastics, and other non-biodegradable materials, which do not biodegrade and quickly fill the septic tank It is possible to significantly reduce the quantity of slowly biodegradable organics and non-biodegradable trash that is introduced to your septic tank by reducing the amount of organic waste that is added to the tank.
Another factor that influences how soon a septic tank will fill with solids is one’s way of living. In terms of septic tank function, the two most essential aspects of one’s lifestyle are as follows: Homes with expanding families, having children ranging in age from tiny children to adolescents, often consume more water and deposit more sediments into the septic tank than other types of households. Empty nesters, and especially the elderly, on the other hand, have a tendency to consume significantly less water and to deposit significantly less solid waste in septic tanks.
- The particles in a septic tank tend to be taken away from the tank to the soil absorption region, as previously indicated.
- As additional materials collect in the absorption region, these sediments begin to choke the soil, preventing wastewater from being able to fully absorb.
- In most cases, the removal of these biomats is both expensive and time-consuming.
- Pumping the wastewater that has accumulated in the soil absorption area is required for the removal of the biomat.
- The biomat normally decomposes within a few days after the absorption area has been completely dewatered and has been aerated.
Is It Time To Pump Your Septic Tank?
So, how does one go about determining how frequently a septic tank needs be cleaned? We are aware that residences who dispose of huge volumes of non-biodegradable and slowly biodegradable organic waste into their septic tank require more frequent pumping. It is also known that prior to the time at which the collected solids have accumulated to the point that they are being taken with the tank effluent to the absorption region, the septic tank should be pump out. When it comes to determining when (and how frequently) to pump your septic tank, there are two generally safe ways to use.
The alternative method is to open the access port to the first chamber (as shown in Figure 1) once a year and insert a long pole to the bottom of the tank and then pull it out of the tank.
If the sludge has accumulated to more than one-third of the tank’s total depth, it is time to have it drained out completely. The majority of households will benefit from having their tanks drained every two or three years instead.
The Pumping Process
Contractors who specialize in septic tank pumping and hauling may pump your septic tank. It is a good idea to be present to check that everything is completed correctly. For the material to be extracted from the tank, it is necessary to break up the scum layer, and the sludge layer must be combined with the liquid section of the tank. In most cases, this is accomplished by alternately pumping liquid out of the tank and re-injecting it into the bottom of the tank. Not the little intake or outlet inspection openings situated above each baffle, but the two huge central access ports (manholes) are required for pumping the septic tank.
- It is not suggested to use additives in septic tanks to minimize the volume of sludge or as a substitute for pumping in order to achieve these goals.
- When you have your septic tank pumped, you should consider taking an additional step to ensure that your septic system continues to perform correctly for a long time.
- This inspector can tell you whether or not your septic tank needs to be repaired, as well as whether or not other components of your sewage system require upkeep.
- Mark the position of the tank as well, so that it may be found simply in the future for pumping.
Schedule Septic Tank Pumping
Homeowners should develop the practice of getting their septic tanks drained on a regular basis. As long as you are able and willing to schedule regular septic tank pumping (every two or three years, for example), it may be feasible to improve the overall performance of your complete on-lot wastewater disposal system. According to research conducted at Penn State, your soil absorption system will benefit from frequent resting periods (a period during which no wastewater is added to the absorption area).
In other words, the whole system, particularly the soil absorption region, will have the opportunity to dry up, and any organic waste (biomat) that may have formed in the soil absorption area will degrade swiftly in the absence of water.
A septic tank is simply one component of a complete on-site wastewater treatment system. Its purpose is to remove solids from the effluent prior to it reaching the soil absorption region, to allow for the digestion of a part of those solids, and to store the remainder of the solids in a holding tank. It is not necessary to use biological or chemical additions to enhance or speed the breakdown process.
Grinders contribute to the solids load on the system by reducing the size of garbage. Solids must be removed on a regular basis in order to prevent them from accessing the soil absorption zone. Every two to three years, you should have your septic tank drained and examined by a professional.
For additional assistance contact
Your local Sewage Enforcement Officer or Extension Educator can help you with these issues. A contact for the Pennsylvania Association of Sewage Enforcement Officers (PASEO) is as follows:4902 Carlisle Pike,268Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 Phone: 717-761-8648 Email: [email protected] Philadelphia, PA 18016 717-763-7762 [email protected] Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA)P.O. Box 144 Bethlehem, PA 18016 717-763-7762