The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its job is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down to the bottom forming sludge, while the oil and grease floats to the top as scum.
How your septic system works?
- How Your Septic System Works. They use a combination of nature and proven technology to treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry. A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and a drainfield, or soil absorption field.
How often should a septic tank be emptied?
How Often Should I Empty My Septic Tank? To keep your sewage system running correctly, your septic tank needs to be pumped out or desludged every 1 -2 years. It is extremely important to keep your septic tank maintained.
How does a septic tank actually work?
Septic tanks work by allowing waste to separate into three layers: solids, effluent and scum (see illustration above). The solids settle to the bottom, where microorganisms decompose them. The middle layer of effluent exits the tank and travels through underground perforated pipes into the drainage field.
What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
Do you ever have to empty a septic tank?
As a general rule, you should ideally empty out your septic tank once every three to five years. A septic tank that isn’t working can pose problems for any household, such as sewage backing up into household drains or sewage bubbling up from the ground around the septic tank and lateral field.
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.
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.
Does shower water go into septic tank?
From your house to the tank: Most, but not all, septic systems operate via gravity to the septic tank. Each time a toilet is flushed, water is turned on or you take a shower, the water and waste flows via gravity through the plumbing system in your house and ends up in the septic tank.
Do Septic tanks have holes in them?
Most residential septic systems are designed with two tanks. Each of the two tanks has weep holes, allowing for the waste water to seep into a surrounding layer of crushed stone, which is surrounded by filter fabric. The waste water then is absorbed by the surrounding soil.
Do you need to pump both sides of a septic tank?
Septic tanks installed after the late 1980s have two compartments, and it is important to pump out both compartments each time. Most homeowners are unaware when their septic tank has two compartments; some companies use that to their advantage, charging to pump both sides of the tank but only actually pumping out one.
How do I check my septic tanks sludge level?
To measure the sludge layer:
- Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it touches the bottom of the tank.
- As the device is slowly pulled out of the water, the check valve closes capturing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water. The thickness of the sludge layer can be measured.
How 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!
What is the most common cause of septic system failure?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
How do I know when to pump my septic tank?
If the bottom of the scum 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 outlet, your tank needs to be pumped. To keep track of when to pump out your tank, write down the sludge and scum levels found by the septic professional.
What if my septic tank has never been pumped?
What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.
How full should my septic tank be?
A septic tank should always be “filled” to its normal liquid level, or the bottom of the outlet pipe which carries effluent to the absorption area. This normal liquid level is usually between 8” to 12” from the top of the tank on average (see picture at right).
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- 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
A Beginner’s Guide to Septic Systems
- Septic systems are used to dispose of waste from homes and buildings. Identifying the location of the septic tank and drainfield
- What a Septic System Is and How It Works Keeping a Septic System in Good Condition
- Signs that a septic system is failing include:
Septic systems, also known as on-site wastewater management systems, are installed in a large number of buildings and houses. It is easy to lose sight of septic systems, which operate quietly, gracefully, and efficiently to protect human and environmental health due to their burying location. Septic systems are the norm in rural regions, but they may also be found in a lot of metropolitan places, especially in older buildings. It is critical to understand whether or not your building is on a septic system.
Is Your Home or Building on a Septic System?
It is possible that the solution to this question will not be evident. If a structure looks to be connected to a sewage system, it may instead be connected to a septic system. It is fairly unusual for tenants to be unaware of the final destination of the wastewater generated by their residence. Some of the hints or signs listed below will assist in determining whether the facility is served by a septic system or whether it is supplied by a sewer system:
- Sewer service will be provided at a cost by the city or municipality. Pay close attention to the water bill to see whether there is a cost labeled “sewer” or “sewer charge” on it. If there is a fee for this service, it is most likely because the facility is connected to a sewage system. Look up and down the street for sewage access ports or manholes, which can be found in any location. If a sewage system runs in front of a property, it is probable that the house is connected to it in some way. Inquire with your neighbors to see if they are connected to a sewer or septic system. The likelihood that your home is on a sewer system is increased if the properties on each side of you are on one as well. Keep in mind, however, that even if a sewage line runs in front of the structure and the nearby residences are connected to a sewer system, your home or building may not be connected to one. If the structure is older than the sewer system, it is possible that it is still on the original septic system. Consult with your local health agency for further information. This agency conducts final inspections of septic systems to ensure that they comply with applicable laws and regulations. There is a possibility that they have an archived record and/or a map of the system and will supply this information upon request
All property owners should be aware of whether or not their property is equipped with an on-site wastewater treatment system.
Georgia law mandates that the property owner is responsible for the correct operation of a septic system, as well as any necessary maintenance and repairs.
Locating the Septic Tank and Drainfield
Finding a septic system may be a difficult process. They can be buried anywhere in the yard, including the front, back, and side yards. After a few years, the soil may begin to resemble the surrounding soil, making it impossible to distinguish the system from the surrounding soil. It is possible that in dry weather, the grass will be dryer in the shallow soil over the tank and greener over the drainfield, where the cleansed water will be released, but this is not always the case, especially in hot weather.
- The contractor who built the house should have presented the initial owner with a map showing the tank and drainfield locations, according to the building code.
- The installation of the system, as well as any modifications made to it, would have been examined by your local health authority.
- Unfortunately, if the system is very old, any records related with it may be insufficient or nonexistent, depending on the situation.
- Look for the point at where the wastewater pipes join together if the building is on a crawlspace or has an unfinished basement.
- The sewer line that runs through the structure is referred to as the building sewer.
- To “feel” for the tank, use a piece of re-bar or a similar metal probe.
- If you use this free service, you may avoid accidentally putting a rod through your gas or water line.
Try to locate the tank after a rainstorm, when the metal probe will be more easily maneuvered through moist dirt.
This should be done with care; extreme caution should be exercised to avoid puncturing the building sewer.
A tank is normally 5 by 8 feet in size, however the dimensions might vary.
Be aware that there may be rocks, pipes, and other debris in the area that “feels” like the tank but is not in fact part of the tank.
However, it is possible to have the lid or access port positioned on a riser in addition to being on the same level as the top of the tank in some cases.
Once the tank has been identified, make a rough drawing of its placement in relation to the house so that it will not be misplaced again!
It may be easier to discover the drainage lines now that the tank has been identified, particularly if the area has been subjected to prolonged periods of drought.
How a Septic System Works
Typical sewage treatment system (figure 1). It is composed of three components (Figure 1): the tank, the drain lines or discharge lines, and the soil treatment area (also known as the soil treatment area) (sometimes called a drainfield or leach field). The size of the tank varies according to the size of the structure. The normal home (three bedrooms, two bathrooms) will often include a 1,000-gallon water storage tank on the premises. Older tanks may only have one chamber, however newer tanks must have two chambers.
- The tank functions by settling waste and allowing it to be digested by microbes.
- These layers include the bottom sludge layer, the top scum layer, and a “clear” zone in the center.
- A typical septic tank is seen in Figure 2.
- It is fortunate that many of the bacteria involved are found in high concentrations in the human gastrointestinal tract.
- Although the bacteria may break down some of the stuff in the sludge, they are unable to break down all of it, which is why septic tanks must be cleaned out every three to seven years.
- In addition, when new water is introduced into the septic tank, an equal volume of water is pushed out the discharge lines and onto the drainfield.
- The water trickles out of the perforated drain pipes, down through a layer of gravel, and into the soil below the surface (Figure 3).
- A typical drainfield may be found here.
- Plants, bacteria, fungus, protozoa, and other microorganisms, as well as bigger critters such as mites, earthworms, and insects, flourish in soil.
- Mineralogical and metallic elements attach to soil particles, allowing them to be removed from the waste water.
Maintaining a Septic System
The most typical reason for a septic system to fail is a lack of proper maintenance. Septic systems that are failing are expensive to repair or replace, and the expense of repairs rests on the shoulders of the property owner (Figure 4). Fortunately, keeping your septic system in good working order and avoiding costly repairs is rather simple. Figure 4. Septic system failure is frequently caused by a lack of proper maintenance. It is in your best interests to be aware of the location of the system, how it operates, and how to maintain it.
- You should pump the tank if you aren’t sure when the last time it was pumped.
- It is not permissible to drive or park over the tank or drainage field.
- No rubbish should be disposed of in the sink or the toilet.
- It’s important to remember that garbage disposals enhance the requirement for regular pumping.
- When designing a landscape, keep the septic system in mind.
- It is also not recommended to consume veggies that have been cultivated above drainfield lines (see Dorn, S.
- Ornamental Plantings on Septic Drainfields.
Any water that enters your home through a drain or toilet eventually ends up in your septic system.
Don’t put too much strain on the system by consuming a large amount of water in a short period of time.
Additives should not be used.
Various types of additives are available for purchase as treatment options, cleansers, restorers, rejuvenator and boosters, among other things.
To break up oil and grease and unclog drains, chemical additives are available for purchase.
Pumping out the septic tank is not eliminated or reduced by using one of these systems.
They remain floating in the water and travel into the drainfield, where they may block the pipes. Acids have the potential to damage concrete storage tanks and distribution boxes.
Signs a Septic System is Failing
A failed system manifests itself in the following ways:
- Sinks and toilets drain at a snail’s pace
- Plumbing that is backed up
- The sound of gurgling emanating from the plumbing system House or yard aromas that smell like sewage
- In the yard, there is wet or squishy dirt
- Water that is gray in hue that has accumulated
- An region of the yard where the grass is growing more quickly and is becoming greener
- Water contaminated by bacteria from a well
If you notice any of these indicators, you should notify your local health department immediately. An environmentalist from the health department can assist in identifying possible hazards. There are also listings of state-certified contractors available from the local health department, who may do repairs. Repairs or alterations to the system must be approved by the health department and examined by an inspector. Keep an eye out for any meetings that may take place between a health department inspector and a contractor to discuss repairs to your system.
- Household garbage that has not been properly handled is released into the environment when systems fail.
- It has the potential to pollute surrounding wells, groundwater, streams, and other sources of potable water, among other things.
- The foul odor emanating from a malfunctioning system can cause property values to plummet.
- Briefly stated, broken systems can have an impact on your family, neighbors, community, and the environment.
- Septic systems are an effective, attractive, and reasonably priced method of treating and disposing of wastewater.
Figures 2 and 3 reprinted with permission from: CIDWT. 2009. Installation of Wastewater Treatment Systems. Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment. Iowa State University, Midwest Plan Service. Ames, IA.
History of the current status and revisions Published on the 15th of August, 2013. Published on March 28th, 2017 with a full review.
Basic Septic System Information For Homeowners
After experiencing seepage in the yard or a backup into the house, the majority of homeowners pay little consideration to their septic system. Not only can these circumstances be costly, but they may also be inconvenient, untidy, and hazardous to the community’s water supply and overall health.
General Information About Your Septic System
Generally speaking, your septic system is made up of three major parts: a sewage input line from your residence, a septic tank, and a drainfield. The wastewater is channeled into an airtight tank. Solids (sludge) build at the bottom of the tank while grease (scum) floats to the top. Natural microorganisms aid in the breakdown of these compounds, and the waste liquid is discharged into the drainfield as a result. Bacteria continue to break down the waste, which is then filtered through the soil.
- In most cases, every 3 to 5 years, or more frequently if you have additional people in your family or if you frequently use a waste disposal.
- If it is not done on a regular basis, garbage will eventually find its way back into your house.
- Your drainfield may fail due to overcrowding or collapse, and you will need to divert the passage of the wastewater to a new drainfield in these instances.
- Video inspection, septic tank pumping, septic tank replacement and repair, and drainfield replacement and repair are just some of the services we provide.
You may also profit from our knowledge and expertise by following some of our plumbers’ recommendations: Suggestions for Maintaining a Healthy Septic System
Examples of Our Work
31st of May, 2019 Eawag is the author and compiler of this work (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) Dorothee Spuhler is a well-known author (seecon international gmbh)
An underground chamber built of brick, concrete, fiberglass, PVC, or plastic, into which blackwater from cistern or pour-flush toilets and greywater from a conduit running from within a structure or an outdoor toilet is sent for initial treatment, is known as a septic tank. Solids and organics are reduced through settling and anaerobic processes, although the treatment is only modest in effectiveness. Effluent is either absorbed into the ground or carried to a (semi-)centralised treatment facility through a sewer system.
- Advantages Can be constructed and restored using materials that are readily available in the area.
- Technology that is simple and reliable There is no requirement for electrical energy.
- Operational costs are low.
- Low decrease in pathogens, solids, and organics is necessary to transport the waste to the treatment unit.
- This material is only appropriate for low-density dwellings in places with a low water table that are not prone to floods.
- Effluent and sludge require additional treatment and/or disposal in a suitable manner.
|Blackwater,Brownwater,Greywater||Blackwater (settled, Effluent), Faecal Sludge, (Biogas)|
The Body of the Factsheet Among small-scale decentralised treatment units for grey water and blackwater from cistern or pour-flush toilets, the most commonly seen is the septic tank. It functions primarily as a sedimentation tank. It can be either rectangular or cylindrical in form. Septic tanks are often used for wastewater with a high concentration of settleable particles, such as effluent from home sources, but they can also be used for other types of wastewater with comparable characteristics (SASSE 1998).
- Anaerobic degradation occurs as a result of the accumulation of sediments at the bottom of the tank over time.
- The effluent from the septic tank must be distributed by means of aSoak Pit, an evapo-transpiration mound, or a Leach Field, or it must be conveyed to another treatment technology by means of aSolids-Free Sewer, a simplified sewer, or a solids-free sewer system.
- In order to dispose of or reuse sludge safely, it must be emptied on a regular basis (see also human-poweredemptying and motorizedemptying).
- It is possible to use sewage sludge in agriculture as a good nutrient-rich soil additive if it has been dried or composted (see alsopplication of pit humus and compostorapplication of sludge).
- Generally, when septic tanks are utilized as the primary settling treatment in DEWATS systems, they are followed by anaerobic filters, anaerobic baffled reactors (ABRs), horizontal, surface flow, or vertical flow built wetlands (planted gravel filters), and maturation ponds (if applicable).
- An illustration of a septic tank’s general layout.
- The biogas produced during anaerobic digestion can be expelled through a venting pipe.
coli removal rates of one log can all be expected in a properly designed and maintained septic tank, though actual removal rates can vary greatly depending on operating and maintenance practices as well as environmental conditions.
The Body of the Factsheet Concrete or brick work should be used to construct at least two chambers in a sewage treatment system. PVC or fibreglass septic tanks, as well as pre-fabricated concrete rings are also available and may be more cost-effective in some situations (WSP 2008). The first chamber should account for at least half of the overall length (SASSE 1998), and if there are only two chambers, the first chamber should account for two-thirds of the total length (SASSE 1998) The majority of the solids are concentrated in the first chamber.
- The use of a T-shaped outlet pipe, with the bottom arm of the pipe diving 30 cm below the water surface (SASSE 1998), helps to further minimize the amount of scum and particles released.
- When the flow is smooth and undisturbed, sedimentation can provide the most effective physical therapy possible.
- Different treatment effects prevail depending on how the incoming influent flows through the tank during the initial treatment.
- As active materials that have not been entirely fermented exit the tank, foul odors are produced as a result (SASSE 1998).
- It is necessary to allow for the escape of the gases created during anaerobic digestion.
- If the drainage system is not vented, a screened vent pipe should be installed from the septic tank to the outside environment (WHO 1992).
- Source: Environmental Protection Agency of the United States (n.y.) It is important to have access to all chambers (through access ports) in order to do maintenance.
- The design of a septic tank is influenced by the number of users, the amount of water used per capita, the average yearly temperature, the frequency of desludging, and the properties of the effluent being treated (SASSE 1998).
- According to SASSE (1998), a tank volume of around 80 to 100 L should be given per residential user, however most nations have a national requirement for tank volume per domestic user.
- If you want to attain modest results, you need keep the patient for 48 hours.
- Sources: U.S.
coli (a fecal indicator bacteria) (TILLEY et al. 2008), although efficacy varies greatly depending on influent concentrations and climatic conditions (UNEP 2004). If you want to attain modest results, you need keep the patient for 48 hours.
An Aquaprivy is a type of septic tank that is a variant on the standard design. This is a basic storage and settling tank that is situated just below the toilet, allowing the excreta to fall into it through a line that leads to the toilet. When the bottom of the pipe is submerged in a liquid in the tank, it forms a water seal, which keeps flies, mosquitoes, and odors from escaping (WHO 1992). The tank performs the same duties as a septic tank. The wastewater is normally infiltrated into the ground through a soak pit, and the solids (sludge) that build must be cleaned on a regular basis (WHO 1992).
The Aquaprivy has a low efficiency in terms of therapy.
WAaF is the source (2002)
The Body of the Factsheet The influent and effluent are kept separate under normal operating circumstances so that consumers are not exposed to them. Several difficulties associated with septic tank systems develop as a result of a failure to pay proper thought to the disposal of the tank effluent. Because septic tank effluent is anaerobic, it is likely to contain a significant number of germs, which can be a source of infection for those who come into contact with it (WHO 1992). Because they contain high amounts of harmful organisms, effluent, scum, and sludge must be treated with caution when they are generated.
When opening the tank, users should exercise caution since toxic and combustible gases may be emitted into the environment.
Factsheet Block BodySeptic tank construction costs are quite modest when compared to the costs of other water-based systems. However, they are significantly more expensive than dry toilets or composting toilets, making them unaffordable for the majority of individuals in our society. There must also be enough piped water to flush all of the wastes through the drains, and human or mechanical de-sludging (using a vacuum or a gulper) de-sludging must be performed on a regular basis. Engineers are required to develop the design and plan, while untrained laborers can carry out the building work provided a mason oversees the project.
The Body of the Factsheet Septic tanks should be “seeded” with sludge from another tank that has been in operation for some time in order to ensure that the required bacteria responsible for anaerobic digestion are present when the tank is first started (WHO 1992). Because of the fragile ecosystem, it is important to avoid discharging harsh chemicals into the septic system. The levels of scum and sludge in the tank must be checked to verify that the tank is operating properly. De-sludging is required when sludge and scum occupy half to two-thirds of the entire depth between the water level and the bottom of the tank, as measured above the water level (WHO 1992).
- Septic tanks should be drained on a regular basis, usually every 2 to 5 years.
- This is an unpleasant job, and care must be taken to ensure that sludge does not spill around the tank during the emptying process.
- faecal sludge must be dehydrated (see also planted or unplanted drying beds, settling or thickening ponds) and further processed before it can be used (e.g.smallorlarge scalecomposting,anaerobic digestion).
- It is recommended that the separated effluents from these systems be treated in waste stabilisation ponds (WSP) or built wetlands (CW) (surface flow,horizontalorvertical flow).
- The integrity of septic tanks should be tested on a regular basis to ensure that they are not leaking.
It is also important to conduct routine inspections in order to remove floating debris such as coarse materials and grease, to verify that there are no obstructions at the inlet or exit, and to determine whether de-sludging is required.
At a Glance
The Body of the Factsheet
|Working Principle||Basically a sedimentation tank (physical treatment) in which settled sludge is stabilised by anaerobic digestion (biological treatment). Dissolved and suspended matter leaves the tank more or less untreated.|
|Capacity/Adequacy||Household and community level; Primary treatment for domestic grey- and blackwater. Depending on the following treatment, septic tanks can also be used for industrial wastewater. Not adapted for areas with high groundwater table or prone to flooding.|
|Performance||BOD: 30 to 50%; TSS: 40 to 60 %; E. coli: 1 log unitsHRT: about 1 day|
|Costs||Low-cost, depending on availability of materials and frequency of de-sludging.|
|Self-help Compatibility||Requires expert design, but can be constructed with locally available material.|
|O M||Should be checked for water tightness, scum and sludge levels regularly.Sludgeneeds to be dug out every 1 to 5 years and discharged properly (e.g. in composting or drying bed). Needs to be vented.|
|Reliability||When not regularly emptied, wastewater flows through without being treated. Generally good resistance to shock loading.|
|Main strength||Simple to construct and to operate.|
|Main weakness||Effluentand sludge require further treatment. Long start-up phase.|
Applicability The majority of the time, this technology is utilized at the home level. The design of larger, multi-chamber septic tanks for groups of residences or public buildings can be accomplished by combining many chambers (e.g., schools). A septic tank is ideal in situations when there is a means of dispersing or transferring the sewage away from the property. Septic tank effluents can be penetrated into the soil and stored in soak pits, aleach fields, or mounds. Due to the presence of pathogens in the effluent, it should not be utilized for agricultural irrigation and should not be released into canals or surface water drains (WHO 1992).
Septic tanks should be connected to some form of conveyance technology (such as a simplified sewer or a solids-free sewer), via which the effluent is transferred to a later Treatment or Disposal site, rather than being used alone (e.g.surface flow,horizontalorvertical flowconstructed wetlands).
- Because the septic tank must be desludged on a regular basis, it is necessary for a vacuum truck to be able to reach the site.
- Every sort of environment may accommodate septic tanks, albeit the efficiency of these tanks will be reduced in colder climes.
- However, they must be emptied on a regular basis and require ongoing upkeep (TILLEY et al.
- Material for Raising Awareness
Alternative Versions to
When municipal sewer service is not available, a septic system that has been properly constructed and maintained is an excellent option for treating wastewater and protecting groundwater quality. A typical septic system is comprised of two key components: the septic tank and the drainfield (or leach field). Waste from toilets, sinks, washing machines, and showers is channeled into a septic tank, which is a holding tank that is typically constructed of pre-cast concrete or fiberglass and is proportioned according to the projected wastewater flow from a given-sized house or commercial establishment.
- In the first stage of wastewater treatment, anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that can survive in an oxygen-free environment) break down solids into liquids and generate gas that is vented through the building’s plumbing vent stack.
- The lack of oxygen inside the septic tank also has the added benefit of deactivating some of the disease bacteria that are prevalent in sewage.
- Because it allows aerobic (oxygen-using) bacteria to continue deactivating the disease germs that remain in the wastewater, the drainfield serves as a secondary treatment facility for sewage.
- Evaporation of water also occurs through the layer of soil that surrounds the drainfield.
- That way, enough permeable or unsaturated soil is available to filter the wastewater before the remainder of it gets into the groundwater table and underlying aquifer.
- In certain instances, modern wastewater treatment systems that “aerate,” or add oxygen to the wastewater, may be necessary to treat the effluent.
Others are equipped with chlorinating chambers or peat moss-based filtering chambers, which kill disease germs before they may infiltrate into groundwater supplies.
Septic System Care
When municipal sewage service is not available, a properly designed and maintained septic system is an excellent option for treating wastewater and protecting groundwater quality. The septic tank and drainfield are the two basic components of a conventional septic system. Sewage from toilets, sinks, washing machines, and showers is channeled into the septic tank, which is a holding tank that is typically constructed of pre-cast concrete or fiberglass and is proportioned according to the projected wastewater flow from a given-sized house or commercial establishment.
When anaerobic bacteria (those that can survive in an oxygen-free environment) are used to perform the first stage of treatment on wastewater, they generate gas that is vented through a vent stack in the building’s plumbing system and break down the particles into a form that can be disposed of.
- Drainfields are often composed of a series of perforated pipes or slotted panels that are frequently covered by a layer of gravel, tire chips, or other lightweight materials, such as styrofoam pieces, to carry away the liquid component of wastewater from the septic tank to the drainfield.
- As water is drawn downhill through the soil layers of the drainfield, it also serves as a filtering system for wastewater.
- Septic systems must be elevated above the ground surface in some regions due to the presence of certain soil types such as clay layers or bedrock, as well as the presence of a shallow seasonal high water table (“mounded” systems).
- It is possible that typical septic systems will not be suitable in some situations, such as flood zones near rivers or other bodies of water.
- Other modern wastewater treatment methods may include chlorinating chambers or peat moss-based filtering chambers, which are designed to kill disease germs before they reach groundwater levels.
Healthy septic systems
The upkeep of septic systems or underground sewage treatment systems is the responsibility of residents who live in locations without access to municipal sewers (SSTS).
Septic systems that do not perform properly can pose a concern to human health and the environment because they may not be able to remove germs as well as minerals and other pollutants from spent water before it gets into our groundwater or lakes.
Understand your system
A septic system is composed of three components:
- Plumbing for the home, a tank to collect sewage and sediments, and a soil treatment area are all included.
In order to offer successful sewage treatment, all three components must be operational. Septic systems 101 is a good place to start (wq-wwists1-10)
Maintain your system
Many septic system owners believe that as long as their used water “disappear[s],” their system is in proper operating condition. In order to function properly, septic systems must be designed particularly for your site’s requirements and installed properly as well. Maintenance and inspection of the system on a regular basis are the only ways to verify that it is effectively treating your waste water. Look for signs of a septic system that is not operating properly. The following are examples: a pipe that drains straight into a lake or the ground (even laundry water!
Septic system maintenance will extend the life of the system.
For some homes, the accumulation process can take several years, while for others, the process may take less than a year to complete.
For example, using the garbage disposal on a regular basis will result in an increase in the buildup of material in the tank.
Manage your system
Preventing costly repairs or premature replacement of your septic system is possible by following these operating and maintenance guidelines: DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to septic systems (wq-wwists6-14)
- Ensure that you conserve water by repairing any leaks and installing low-flow fixtures. Distribute your water consumption across the day and week. Consult with a septic specialist if you have times of excessive usage to discuss measures that can assist your system handle your lifestyle. Utilize as little as possible harsh cleaning agents such as bleach, antibacterial soaps, and detergents. Paints, medicines, and other chemicals should not be disposed of through your septic system. Exclude greasy substances, lint, food, feminine hygiene products, and plastics from the area.
- Solids should be pumped through the tank’s maintenance hole on a regular basis — at least once every three years
- Solids should not be removed through inspection pipes. Install and insulate risers to the maintenance hole to provide for easier management access
- And When the tank is pumped, have the baffles examined. Install an effluent screen and keep it in good working order
- It is not necessary to apply tank additives or cleansers.
Soil treatment area
- Maintain a lawn, natural grasses, or flowers all around the treatment area for aesthetic purposes. Mow, but do not fertilize, irrigate, or burn the lawn
- And Planting trees, bushes, or deep-rooted plants on or near the property is prohibited. Do not plant vegetables or build playgrounds on the ridge above the area. Heavy vehicles (cars, tractors, snowmobiles, boats, and so on) should be kept away from the region. Contribute to keeping the system from freezing. For more information, go to the links in the supplementary resources section.
Don’t let your septic system freeze
The arrival of cold weather is imminent. Don’t allow your septic system go into freeze-up mode. Here are some straightforward suggestions that might help you prevent costly septic system problems in the future.
Hire a licensed professional to help you
The MPCA maintains a list of professionals who are currently licensed by the state to perform this specialized job, which is updated on a regular basis. Learn about your septic system professional’s business practices by conducting an interview with them. By requesting and reviewing references, you can ensure that they are licensed, trustworthy, and dependable.
It is always a good idea to check with your local government (township, city, or county) to establish the requirements in your region because local regulations might differ from state code requirements.
Fact Sheet: Septic Systems – Septic Tanks
- Additional treatment is required to eliminate any leftover contaminants. Aeration of the soil or discharge into a natural drainage system
About Septic Tanks
- Treatment to eliminate any leftover contaminants
- Additional treatment Aeration of the soil or discharge into a natural drainage system
Scum layer: This top layer comprises solids that are lighter than water – such as greases, oils, and fats, as well as materials such as toilet paper – and thus float to the surface of the water. Water, dissolved materials, and trace quantities of suspended particles make up the liquid layer, which is the middle layer of the ocean. This water is sent into the secondary treatment system. Sludge layer: The lowest layer of the sludge layer comprises particles that are heavier than water. While the effluent is being discharged from the tank, the scum and sludge layers are still there.
Anaerobic digestion is used to break down organic materials (without oxygen).
A plumbing vent on the roof allows the gases produced to be vented back into the building through the building’s sewage system and out into the atmosphere. The residual scum and sludge must be drained out of the tank at some point in the future.
Why Maintain Your System?
There are three major reasons why septic system maintenance is so important: first, it keeps the system running efficiently.
- Three primary reasons exist for the importance of septic system maintenance:
How to Maintain your System
Water Should Be Used With Caution Water conservation is crucial because soil saturation can negatively impact soil quality and the soil’s ability to naturally remove toxins and other contaminants from wastewater if it occurs on a continuous basis. Repair any leaking faucets or running toilets as soon as possible, and only use dishwashers when they are completely full. Activities that need a lot of water (such as laundry) should be spread out across many days. Roof drains, surface water, and sump pumps should all be diverted away from the drainfield.
- Never dispose of potentially harmful home chemicals through your septic system.
- What You Shouldn’t Flush It is never a good idea to put anything in your tank that can be readily disposed of in the garbage.
- Solids accumulate in the tank and must be drained out at some point in the future.
- Only grass should be planted near your septic system since the roots of shrubs and trees might cause damage.
- Never construct anything on top of a drainfield.
- Should an excessive amount of organic material accumulate in the tank, it will flow to the drainfield where it would clog and strain the system, necessitating the installation of a new drainfield system.
- Contact the Water Quality Division at 513.946.7966 or visit their website at www.hamiltoncountyhealth.org for further information.
|250 William Howard Taft Road2nd Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45219Phone 513.946.7800 Fax 513.946.7890hamiltoncountyhealth.org|
Septic System Operation and Maintenance
- It is possible to download Septic System Operation and Maintenance in Portable Document Format (PDF, 935KB).
If a septic system is properly installed, designed, constructed, and maintained, it will provide a long period of service to a home. Even the best-designed and-installed septic system will ultimately fail if it is not maintained on a regular basis. A basic description of septic system components and how they should be maintained is provided in this guide.
Septic System Components
In addition to the home sewer drain, the septic tank, the distribution box, and the soil absorption (leach) field are all components of a septic system, which is also known as an onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS).
- The house sewer drain gathers all of the waste from household fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, and laundry, and links them to the septic tank for disposal. The septic tank gathers all of the waste generated by domestic plumbing and gives the necessary time for wastes to settle or float in the tank. Heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank, where they are broken down by bacteria to generate sludge. Heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank. Eventually, the lighter materials, such as fats and grease, breakdown and rise to the surface, where they produce a layer of scum. This procedure allows for the discharge of partly treated wastewater into the absorption field. The distribution box is responsible for distributing wastewater from the septic tank to pipes in the trenches of the absorption field in an even and consistent manner. It is critical that each trench receives an equal volume of flow in order to avoid overloading of one portion of the absorption field over another. Trenches receive sewage that has been partially treated. Wastewater is biologically treated by the soil around the absorption (leach) field, which is a system of trenches and distribution pipelines. The gravel, stone, or gravelless product used to partially fill the system is cleaned and screened. To ensure optimal functioning and long life, the absorption field must be correctly sized, built, and maintained. Theventallows gases that have accumulated in the pipework to be released from the system.
Septic Tank Maintenance
Once every two to three years, you should have your septic tank emptied out.
Septic tank pumpers who are licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation may examine, measure tank layers, and pump out the tank when it is required.
Maintain Your System
- When necessary, pump out your septic tank on a regular basis. Document all pumps, inspections, and maintenance/repairs that take place. Plan the location of the septic tank and other system components. Either use a map or use permanent pegs to mark the locations of the various components. This is useful for gaining access to the system and will protect system components from being damaged when performing home maintenance or yard chores. Parking or driving big trucks or equipment on the septic system or any of its components is not permitted. It is not permissible to construct constructions such as decks, patios, or swimming pools that would cover the absorption field or restrict access to the septic tank or distribution box
- Flush or use powerful chemicals and bacteria-destroying items such as drain cleaners, solvents, paint, paint thinners, floor cleaners, sink cleaners, motor oil, antifreeze, pesticides, and photo chemicals, which can damage or destroy the environment. These have the potential to interfere with the operation of a septic tank or absorption system. When used in regular domestic applications, household bleach, disinfectants, cleansers, and antibacterial soaps should have no adverse effect on system operation. Paper towels, cotton swabs, personal hygiene items, condoms, pharmaceuticals, disposable diapers, coffee grounds, cat litter, cooking fats/oils, face tissues, dental floss, cigarette butts, plastics, grease, and bones should not be flushed. Septic tank additives should be avoided. A properly designed and maintained septic tank will effectively handle residential wastewater without the need for chemical additions. Keep garbage disposals and grinders out of the septic tank and absorption field since they significantly increase the buildup of solids in the tank and absorption field. If they are employed, the capacity of the septic tank should be raised, and the tank should be drained out more frequently. If at all feasible, direct water treatment system outputs to a separate soil absorption system in order to reduce the amount of water that enters the septic system. Many water treatment system outputs can, however, be sent to the septic tank if the system is in good working order and can handle the increased flow
- Again, this is only true in certain circumstances. Roof, cellar/footing (sump pump), and surface water run-off should be diverted away from the septic system. Plant grass and other shallow-rooted plants over the absorption field to help absorb excess moisture. Keep trees, long-rooted plants, and shrubs away from the absorption area and away from the surrounding area of the absorption area. Roots can grow into the pipes and cause them to get clogged. Water should be conserved. Repair leaky fixtures and appliances, and install appliances and fixtures that use less water and eliminate water-wasting behaviors. If you have a septic system, make sure to regularly examine and repair any effluent pumps and alarms that may be installed.
Find Out More
If you have any questions, please contact your local health agency or the New York State Department of Health, Residential Sanitation and Recreational Engineering Section at (518) 402-7650 or [email protected]