- A factor to consider when determining where you want your septic system placed in your yard is your local zoning code. It will dictate how far the tank and field must be from structures, power and water lines, property lines and bodies of water such as ponds. In some cases, it can be 100 feet or more.
How far do field lines extend from septic tank?
Your septic system site plan is typically drawn right on top of your property survey showing the septic tank ‘setbacks’ with tank 5-10 feet from the house, the leach field at least 20 feet from the house, at least 100 feet away from wells and streams, 25 feet away from dry gulches, and 10 feet away from the property
How long should a septic drain field be?
A typical septic drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36″; or per the USDA, 2 feet to 5 feet in depth.
How long should a leach field be?
A standard leach line is considered to be three (3) feet wide and three (3) feet deep with a length as required. A non-standard leach line is wider, narrower, and/or deeper than three (3) feet with a length as required.
How do you expand a leach field?
Another way to extend the life and efficiency of your drain field is to cover it with a layer of dense grass. You can also plant small plants with very shallow root systems over it, such as flowers and ferns. A plant cover will reduce soil erosion and absorb excess moisture from the drain field soil.
How close can you build next to a drain field?
– A full foundation must be 10 feet from the septic tank and 20 feet from the leaching area. – A slab foundation such as a garage must be 10 feet from the septic tank and 10 feet from the leaching area. – Concrete columns for a deck must be 5 feet from the leaching area and not disturb the septic system.
How far apart are leach field lines?
The minimum separation between the bottom of any leaching device and seasonally high groundwater shall be: 5 feet where the leaching device is between 50 and 100 feet from a stream, spring, or other waterbody.
How do u know when 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?
How do I calculate the size of my septic drain field?
- The size of the drainfield is based on the number of bedrooms and soil characteristics, and is given as square feet.
- For example, the minimum required for a three bedroom house with a mid range percolation rate of 25 minutes per inch is 750 square feet.
Can a leach field be too deep?
Drain Field Depth The result is a drain field about 3 to 4 feet deep. Sometimes, however, a drain field may need to be a bit shallower and can result in drain pipes as close to the surface as 6 inches. Underground obstacles can cause this situation.
How much fall should a leach line have?
In a conventional gravity system, the pipe from the house to the septic tank, and the outlet pipe from the tank to the distribution box or leach field, should both slope downward with a minimum slope of 1/4 in. per ft. (1/8 in. per ft.
Can you add dirt on top of leach field?
Never add additional soil over the drain field unless it is a minimal amount used to restore an area that may have been eroded or pulled up by removing another plant. Try not to be overly zealous when tilling the soil for planting. Remember that the drain lines may be as close as 6 inches from the soil surface.
Can a leach field be expanded?
The drainfield or other soil treatment component (mound, at-grade) will need to be enlarged by two-thirds. However, if the lot size is small or the soils on other parts of the lot are not suitable for drainfield trenches, the cost and difficulty will increase substantially.
How do you fix a saturated leach field?
Additional ways to help keep the soil in your drain field from becoming over-saturated include:
- Avoid using too many water fixtures in the home at once.
- Ensure all home gutter downspouts are directed away from the drain field.
- Don’t point lawn sprinklers toward drain field.
How to Run a Septic Tank Line From Your House
A septic system is made up of two lengths of pipe that are connected together. Initially, it runs from the house, where the system services are located, to a tank, where the waste is separated and solids settle out. The second section runs from the tank to the drainage field, where fluids from the tank are dispersed into the earth underneath the tank. The process of installing the first run of pipe is quite similar to that of installing a traditional sewage line. It is necessary to maintain a downhill slope to the storage tank.
Locating the Septic Tank
The tank serves as the nerve center of the septic system. It is required to be situated between the residence and the drainage field. Each and every septic installation must begin with a soil test, and depending on the results, soil conditions may necessitate the placement of the tank in a less-than-ideal site for digging sewer lines. Also required are minimum setback distances from property borders, functioning wells, surface water and other obstructions to provide a safe working environment.
A standard septic tank has a 4-inch intake at the top, which is positioned towards the bottom. Ideally, a 1/4-inch-per-foot slope toward the pipe from the house should be maintained by the pipe connecting to it. To put it another way, for every 10 feet of distance between a tank and a home, the inlet must be 2 1/2 inches lower than where the pipe departs the house at its lowest point. The pipe usually exits at ground level, although it may need to pass beneath a foundation footing or concrete pad in rare cases.
Digging the Trench
The trench for the septic pipe should be dug before the hole for the tank since you will need a backhoe to complete the work and the tank will get in your way if it is already in the ground. To allow rainfall to drain properly, the pipe should be placed on a 2- or 3-inch bed of drain rock, so remember to account for this extra depth when digging. It is normal to use a four-inch pipe, and it should be installed far enough down to link with the main soil stack, which is a three-inch pipe that runs vertically past the main bathroom and through the roof of the home.
Since you’ll need a backhoe for the task and the tank will get in the way of your work if it’s already in the ground, it’s usually best to build the trench for the septic line before digging a hole for it. Take into consideration that the pipe should be placed on a 2- or 3-inch layer of drain rock in order to allow rainfall to drain properly. It is typical to use a four-inch pipe, and it should be installed far enough underground to link with the main soil stack, which is a three-inch pipe that runs vertically past the main bathroom and through the roof of your home.
How-to Extend the Life of Your Septic Tank
Despite the fact that septic systems are buried underground and out of site, this does not imply that they should be out of sight or mind. Despite their simplicity, septic tanks are very complex, and there is no limit to the amount of environmental factors that might shorten their useful life expectancy, which should be up to 40 years if properly maintained. That is why it is critical for homeowners to do periodic maintenance and service inspections on their vehicles. Too many septic system owners have a “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to their tanks.
- Isn’t that correct?
- Nothing in life operates in this manner.
- Nevertheless, what exactly does it mean to take care of your septic system?
- What is the best way to determine whether you need to engage an expert to address a problem?
How can you tell whether there is an issue in the first place? You can relax. Simply following these six guidelines will put you well on your way to having a septic system that, hopefully, will never require replacement.
1.) Pump your tank every three to five years
Septic systems are not trash incinerators, as some people believe. All of the garbage that you flush down the sink or toilet must eventually find its way elsewhere. A properly operating septic system takes wastewater from your house and eventually filters it through a drain field to eliminate odors. The hard waste, referred to as “sludge,” on the other hand, collects at the bottom of the tank. The sludge is the primary reason for the necessity to pump the tank on a regular basis, since if there is an excessive amount of it in the tank, it will cause complications.
The frequency with which you must pump the tank is determined by the capacity of the tank and the amount of wastewater that is discharged into it.
- Household size: The greater the number of people that live in your home, the more wastewater is drained into the tank, resulting in an increased requirement for a routine septic pump.
- The amount of wastewater generated is determined by the number of people living in the home for the vast majority of individuals. However, no two households are the same. It’s probable that you’ll need to pump the tank sooner than usual if, for whatever reason, your home creates more wastewater than is customary.
- It is important to note that the larger the septic tank, the more wastewater it can manage and the less frequently you will have to pump out the sludge.
2.) Have your tank inspected by a professional
A minimum of once every three years, you should have your septic system examined and cleaned. In certain areas, there are precise regulations for how often a septic tank must be examined, and these standards vary based on the type of system that is in use. Inspection services are provided by private firms as well as by municipal health agencies. You may be able to check the tank yourself if you know what you’re doing and have the necessary credentials. It is the primary goal of an inspection to notice any accumulation of sludge at the bottom of the tank and to ensure that the level has not risen to the point where it is necessary to pump it.
The distribution of wastewater to drain pipes should also be examined by inspectors, who should ensure that it is even and free of obstructions.
The number of occupants can, of course, fluctuate, but the size of the tank is constant.
There is a possibility that the system is overloaded or that there has been a breach in the drain field, allowing untreated wastewater to seep into the soil.
3.) Don’t flush solid objects
Your septic tank is intended to handle only three things: human waste, water, and toilet paper. That’s all there is to it! Unfortunately, many individuals use their toilets and drains as if they were garbage cans, believing that they are capable of handling anything they are flushed down them.
This is not correct! Any of the following items should never be flushed down the drain, regardless of the type of septic system you have installed:
- Wipes for babies or wet wipes
- Feminine hygiene products
- Cooking grease or oil
- Dental floss
- Q-tips or cotton swabs
- And other household items Butts from cigarettes or tobacco residue
- Consumption chemicals (gasoline (paint, pesticides, home cleaners) and paper towels are among the items that might be found in the trash.
All of the goods listed above have appropriate means of disposal. It is quite likely that if they are flushed down the toilet they will cause blockages or at the absolute least will speed up the building of sludge in the tank at the bottom of your toilet. Furthermore, because septic tanks recycle wastewater back into the earth, any dangerous chemicals or pharmaceutical goods that are flushed down the toilet will end up in the local water supply as well. This is extremely detrimental to the ecosystem, animals, and the overall quality of your drinking water supply.
4.) Use water efficiently
The greater the amount of wastewater produced by your home, the greater the burden on your septic system and the drain field surrounding it. Septic tank longevity may be extended significantly by conserving water and reducing the number of times you flush your toilet. In addition to merely being aware of your water use, you may take the following steps to reduce your consumption of water:
- Wait until you have a full load of clothes before starting. Considering that washing machines and hand-washing both require vast volumes of water to clean, this is applicable to both situations
- Only use your dishwasher when it is completely full. Contrary to popular belief, a fully loaded dishwasher consumes less water than washing a comparable quantity of dishes by hand
- Hence, if you have a dishwasher, avoid doing too much hand washing
- And Make repairs to any dripping faucets, pipes, or shower heads, even if the leak is only a little drip
- Toilet and shower heads with high-efficiency aerators should be installed. Compared to earlier versions, these systems consume less water, which may help you save money on both your septic tank and your water bill.
5.) Care for land around the tank and drain field
Proper wastewater treatment is dependent on the health of the grass and soil. You want the soil around your drain field to be healthy and rich in nutrients, so make sure it meets these requirements. Because grass has shallow roots, it is the ideal choice. While having more vegetation surrounding the land implies that more wastewater will be absorbed and broken down, trees and shrubs with large roots might clog the system and cause it to malfunction. By keeping runoff water away from your soil and septic system, you may benefit both of them.
Even while some water would inevitably accumulate, an excessive amount can drown the soil and damage the filtering process.
Keep automobiles, trucks, cattle, and construction equipment away from the soil around the septic system until the system is fully operational.
6.) When in doubt, hire a pro
When in doubt about whether you need to pump your system, when you have questions about what plants to plant around your system, when you are concerned about how your system is running, or when you simply want a routine inspection, it is always best to consult with a septic professional for advice and assistance. In addition to providing you with information on your system, septic specialists can also determine whether or not your system complies with local health standards and regulations. A septic pumping company can provide pricing estimates for a variety of services and repairs, and they can also suggest answers for any difficulties your system might be experiencing.
If you’re moving into a home with a septic system and are unclear about the system’s kind or location, your local health and zoning officials should be able to provide you with that information.
Being armed with the correct knowledge, keeping accurate records, and consulting with qualified professionals is really all you need to ensure that your septic tank lasts its whole useful life.
How Deep Should a Septic Leach Field Be?
Photograph courtesy of Valerie Loiseleux/E+/Getty Images.
In This Article
- Drain Field Operation
- Drain Field Depth
- Drain Field Width and Length
- How the Drain Field Works
It is critical to appropriately size a septic system’s drain or leach field, as an inadequately sized field might result in serious complications. Waste puddles appearing on your lawn are just one of the issues that might arise, therefore it’s crucial to grasp the fundamentals of how a drain field works. Although you are not required to become an expert in septic systems, a little information may go a long way toward ensuring that your drain field is in good operating condition.
The final depth of a septic system’s drain field is determined by a variety of factors. Drain fields, on the other hand, are typically between 2 and 5 feet deep.
How the Drain Field Works
Solid waste is contained in your septic tank until it is pumped out, which is the final step in the process. The bacteria found in that trash, on the other hand, is far more mobile in nature. As part of the septic process, solid waste is removed from your tank and deposited at the bottom of your tank, while wastewater (together with the bacteria it contains) is discharged from your tank and into your drain field. Once there, the water percolates through the soil and eventually joins the local groundwater supply system.
- In the long run, bacteria are eaten by microbes in the soil.
- This is a significant project that necessitates the establishment of correct soil conditions, including the selection of the appropriate drain fieldsize and depth.
- Typically, a completed bed comprises 12 inches of gravel below the pipe and additional 2 inches of gravel on top of the pipe.
- The end product is a drain field that is approximately 3 to 4 feet deep.
- This type of circumstance might be caused by underground impediments.
- High groundwater tables have the potential to accomplish the same thing, necessitating the installation of a drain field capable of filtering germs at a deeper depth in order to avoid pollution.
Occasionally, this is accomplished by making the drain field shallower, but wider or longer in length. In other cases, a mounded or elevated drain field will be required to prevent flooding.
Drain Field Width and Length
If you have more than one bedroom in your house, your septic system designer will figure out what size drain field you’ll need based on the number of bedrooms you have. In addition, the designer will take into consideration the zoning regulations, soil conditions, and the peculiarities of your lot while designing your home. According to many towns’ regulations, for example, your drain field must be at least a set distance away from your property line. The setbacks from streams, marshes, water supply lines (including local water wells), and other possible barriers are also defined by municipal construction standards.
In addition, pipes are frequently spaced 6 feet apart from one another.
The fact that they are spaced 6 feet apart, on the other hand, provides for the addition of more pipes at a 3-foot spacing if necessary in the future without enlarging the total footprint of the drain field.
It is then decided how this pipe should be laid out in relation to the amount of land available for the leach field to be used.
How a Septic System Works – and Common Problems
This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.
One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.
The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.
- In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
- Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
- Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
- Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.
A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.
Septic tanks collect wastewater after it has been discharged from the residence. Most septic tanks are built of concrete, thick plastic, or metal, with a capacity ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 gallons. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or longer provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize their efficiency. In the septic tank, wastewater from the residence is collected and separated before being discharged into the leach field, where it is broken down further.
- During the tank’s operation, oil and grease float to the tank’s surface as scum, while solid waste sinks to the tank’s bottom as scum.
- The sediments in the bottom of the tank are exposed to a wide variety of bacteria and other microorganisms, which begin to break down the materials in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process.
- Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis to ensure that it continues to function correctly.
- Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to a leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility, if applicable.
SIZING THE LEACH FIELD
Using perforated pipes put in gravel-filled trenches, the drain field is sized to accommodate the number of beds in the house. In order for the system to function successfully, the leach field must be appropriately sized for the soil type and amount of wastewater, which is normally determined by the number of bedrooms in the house. In order for the liquid to seep into the soil, it must be permeable enough to do so. As a result, the denser the soil, the larger the leach field that is necessary.
- Better to have surplus capacity in your system than to have it cut too close to the bone.
- Septic tank backup into your house, pooling on the surface of the earth, or polluting local groundwater are all possibilities if the ground is incapable of absorbing the liquid.
- Dense clay soils will not absorb the liquid at a sufficient rate, resulting in a backlog.
- If the soil is mostly composed of coarse sand and gravel, it might drain at such a rapid rate that untreated sewage can poison the aquifer or damage surrounding bodies of water.
- Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
These systems sometimes cost twice or three times as much as a regular system and require significantly more upkeep. Near flood plains, bodies of water, and other ecologically sensitive places, special systems may also be necessary to protect people and property.
SEPTIC SYSTEM CAREMAINTENANCE REQUIRED
If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!
- Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
- Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
- In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
- To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
- Distribute your washing loads and other high-water-use activities across the week
- And In the kitchen and bathroom, use low-flow appliances, faucets, and fixtures. Toilets, in general, are the source of the greatest amount of water use. Water should be diverted away from the leach field from the yard, gutters, and basement sump pumps.
In addition, refrain from flushing sediments, strong chemicals, and just about anything else down the toilet or sink other than biological waste and white toilet paper. Avoid using garbage disposals in the kitchen. If you really must have one, keep it for small non-meat bits only. Avoid flushing chemicals or paints down the toilet since many chemicals can destroy beneficial microorganisms or cause water contamination in the surrounding area. Avoid flushing the following down the toilet:
- Grease, fats, and animal scraps
- Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
- And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.
It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:
- Heavy machinery should not be driven, parked, or stored on top of the leach field (or septic tank). Placement of a deck, patio, pool, or any other sort of construction over the leach field is prohibited. Remove any large trees or other plants with deep roots from the leach field. Grass is the most effective groundcover.
Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.
A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that. After a few tears, the initial field will naturally heal and may be used once again when the situation calls for it to be. More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.
SEPTIC SYSTEM PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS
Poor original design, abuse, or physical damage, such as driving heavy trucks over the leach field, are the root causes of the majority of septic system issues. The following are examples of common situations that might cause a septic system to operate poorly: Plumbing in the home. obstructed or insufficient plumbing vents, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or an insufficient pitch in the sewer line leading from the house are all possible causes. Sewage tank to leach field connection Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged line leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage caused by sediments that overflowed from the tank Piping in the leach field.
- Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
- Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
- Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.
- This may frequently be remedied by adding subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the immediate area around the drainage system.
- Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
- Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?
- Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test?
- Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page
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.
Septic System Frequently Asked Questions
A septic system, sometimes known as a septic tank, is an underground system that processes the sewage that flows from your house before disposing of the treated, cleaner water. Septic systems are typically seen in residential areas. The treated water is subsequently re-introduced into the environment through filtration. This is critical because untreated sewage may harm nearby streams and water systems, as well as the soil around the perimeter of your septic system. Because your septic system is designed to cleanse and filter sewage, it is critical that it is in proper operating order.
What is a Drainfield?
The drainfield, also known as the leach field, is the area where the water from your septic system is sent after it has been cleansed and filtered. It is necessary to construct a drainfield in order to ensure that water is distributed uniformly back into the soil.
How do I find my septic system?
If you’re fortunate enough to have a contemporary septic system in your yard, it may be equipped with an access lid that is visible from the ground floor. If this is the situation at your residence, locating your septic system is as simple as taking a few steps into your backyard. It’s unfortunate that this isn’t true for older septic systems. It’s possible that you may locate an older system in your home by checking for greener, faster-growing grass or even an area with less growth than the rest of your yard if you live in an older home.
This will show you exactly where your septic system is located in your yard, if you have one.
You’ll need to look for the location where your septic system’s sanitary line exits your home and follow that line until you find your septic tank, which will take some time.
If everything else fails, contact a septic installation company. If you are unable to discover your septic system, your yard may need to be dug up by a septic system installation in order to locate your septic tank as a last option.
How long do septic systems last?
Septic systems are not designed to endure for a specific number of years, thus there is no defined time frame. In the event of adequate maintenance, you may expect your septic system to last several decades before it has to be replaced; but, if your system fails or deteriorates as a result of bad care, its lifespan will be drastically diminished. In order to obtain an accurate estimate of how much longer the life of your septic system may be extended, you must first have it checked thoroughly by an experienced septic system installation or repairer.
What’s the advantage of installing a newer septic system rather than an older system?
Although it is not required to install a new system, there are advantages to having a modern septic tank rather than an older one. For starters, when you purchase a new septic tank, you can be confident that it will last you for decades if it is properly maintained, and you will not have to worry about it becoming “too old.” Additionally, newer systems have been modified to reduce the likelihood of your system becoming clogged, and if something does go wrong with a new system or when it comes time to have your septic system pumped, a new system will likely be easier to locate because they are frequently constructed with ground-level lids.
New septic systems also provide a further treatment for your waste water, allowing it to be cleaner before it is released into the surrounding environment.
How much does a new septic system cost?
Installation of new septic systems may be a significant financial commitment, with costs typically reaching tens of thousands of dollars. Whenever you have to replace an outdated septic system, you should look into financing alternatives that will make it simpler for you to pay for a new septic system in the long run. Purchase further information from a septic system installation business on how to obtain septic systems at the most competitive prices while also taking advantage of low-interest financing options.
How big is my septic tank?
Septic tank capacity is determined by the amount of water consumed in your property as well as local codes and requirements. Check with your local health agency to find out how big your tank is before installing it.
Why should my septic system be pumped out?
Without regular pumping, the gases emitted by human waste accumulate in your septic system, increasing the risk of septic tank damage and the need for more frequent pumping. The regular pumping of your septic system will allow you to limit the rate at which your tank deteriorates and save money in the process. It’s crucial to remember, though, that degeneration is unavoidable in the long run.
It is only via regular maintenance, such as pumping your tank, that your septic system will survive longer. It is recommended that you pump your septic system around once every 2-3 years if you want to prevent having to pay for a whole new tank.
Does my tank need to be dug up to know if it needs to be pumped?
Risers are commonly found in newer septic systems, which allow you to access your tank from the ground level through a lid. It is straightforward for any septic system professional to determine whether or not your yard has risers placed, and whether or not it is necessary to pump it. If, on the other hand, your tank cannot be accessible from the ground level, it will need to be dug up in order to determine whether it has to be drained. Instead of inspecting your septic system to see whether it needs to be pumped on a regular basis, set a timetable for having your system pumped every 2-3 years.
Why should I have risers and lids installed on my septic system?
As a result, when it comes time to find, pump, or repair your septic system, risers are the best choice since they provide ground-level access to your system. Having a septic system lid will allow you to mow your grass while still being able to find your system with no difficulty. Lids and risers also have the advantage of being accessible all year round, as opposed to earlier septic systems that could only be accessed by digging a trench through your yard. If your septic system has to be pumped or repaired for any reason during the winter months, getting beneath layers of frozen earth can be difficult, if not impossible, and you may be forced to wait until the spring to have access to your tank again.
How often should my septic system be pumped out?
A typical septic system contains a 1,500-gallon tank, which needs to be pumped around every 2-3 years for a household of four, according to industry standards. If you have less than four people living in your house, you will most likely be able to pump your septic system every five years rather than every three. You should speak with your local health agency to determine the exact size of your tank, and you should consult a septic system business to determine how frequently your tank should be pumped based on the size of your family and the size of your septic tank.
Do I need to have the septic tank pumped if I’m selling my house?
Consult with your local health department to learn about the restrictions that apply to your region of residence. Generally speaking, as long as your septic system has been pumped on a regular basis by a licensed septic system company and recently enough for the new homeowners to be able to live there for a year or two without having to pump the septic system, you should not be required to have it pumped again in the near future.
How do I find someone to pump my septic system?
It is important to be aware that not all septic system businesses are licensed and that not all firms properly dispose of or recycle the waste they pump from your septic system when you are looking for one to pump it. Finding a firm that complies with EPA standards should be your first concern, and then you should look at price, how pricing is split down, and which company is delivering the most honest, economical, and dependable service should be your next consideration. Investigate business evaluations, and when you select a septic system provider to pump your septic tank, be certain that they do the work properly, leaving enough water and waste to keep the sewage decomposing while leaving no visible trace more than a few inches of waste behind.
You may obtain a list of qualified pumpers by contacting your local health department or by searching online for septic pumpers that have websites that clearly show their certificates and qualifications.
How much does it cost to have my septic system pumped?
It is recommended that you call many pumpers before making a selection, and that you ask as many questions as possible to ensure that you are receiving the best service for your money. Pumping may cost upwards of $200, so it is always wise to shop around before making a decision. You should not consider it a waste of money to have your septic system pumped when the time comes. By correctly maintaining your septic system, you may avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars to replace your septic system long before it should have been replaced in the first place.
What happens if I don’t have my septic system pumped?
The sediments will pile up in your septic tank if you don’t pump it out regularly, ultimately overflowing into the drain field and clogging the drain field. Backups can occur, causing damage to your property and even necessitating the replacement of your drain field, which can be a very expensive error.
I just had my septic system pumped. Why is it full already?
Septic systems are designed to refill rapidly since the purpose of pumping is not to remove water but rather to remove non-biodegradable waste, and the water itself is not the aim of pumping. Once your septic system has been pumped and you begin to use the water in your house, your tank will quickly refill in order to maintain good operation of the system. If the water level rises to a point where it is above the outlet line, contact your septic system service provider for assistance immediately.
What do you look for when inspecting my septic system?
When we do an inspection, we make certain that your septic system is in good operating condition and that it satisfies the standards for receiving a Certificate of Compliance. If you’re planning to sell your home, you should have your septic system checked out by a professional who is certified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This will allow you to sell your home faster and for more money, if you can prove that your system has been checked out by an accredited professional. The level of liquid in your septic tank will be checked, and we’ll make sure there is no surface-level discharge.
The drains in my home aren’t draining as quickly as they normally do. Does this have to do with my septic system?
Drains that are clogged and that empty slowly are not necessarily a big source of concern. Before presuming that there is an issue with your septic system, check sure that there isn’t anything obstructing your drain first. In the case of one plumbing fixture in your house that is draining slowly, it is likely due to clogging; however, if all of the drains in your home are slow or leave waste backed up, it is probable that your septic system requires inspection and may even require pumping.
What happens when my septic system fails?
Symptoms of a failing septic system may include minor issues such as drain breaks or pipes that have been stopped, which can be caused by tree roots intersecting with the system. Septic system failure, on the other hand, might indicate that your septic tank has degraded to the point that it cannot be repaired and must be replaced. A blocked drainfield will hopefully not become your problem because it is the most expensive component of your system to replace; nevertheless, if it does, you must act quickly to make the necessary repairs or else your waste will continue to back up, perhaps causing damage to your property.
A blocked drainfield is likely the reason of your sluggish draining pipes, damp yard above your tank or drainfield, sewage stench coming from your yard, or tainted well water. You’ll need to replace the drainfield as soon as possible to avoid further pollution of drinking water sources.
How do I prevent my septic system from failing? How can I properly maintain my septic system?
Your septic system should degrade at a normal rate over the course of several decades if you maintain it on a regular basis. Maintenance normally consists of getting your septic system pumped on a regular basis and making certain that you do not flush or wash anything down the drain that might block your septic system.
What shouldn’t I flush down the toilet?
As a general rule, only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed. There are several reasons why flushing medicine down the toilet is not a good idea. First, medication might kill some of the bacteria in your septic tank, which is necessary to break down solid waste. Second, drugs can pollute adjacent well water. In addition, you should avoid flushing feminine hygiene items, paper towels, tissues, hair, cat litter (even if it is flushable), diapers, wipes, condoms, cigarettes, and anything else that seems to be inorganic and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet.
What shouldn’t I pour down the drain?
Grease from the kitchen, motor oil, anti-freeze, gasoline, paint, and food should not be flushed down the toilet or drain. You should avoid flushing anything down your drain other than soap and water, and you should especially avoid flushing any form of chemical down your drain that should not be recycled back into the environment, such as fertilizer.
Is using a garbage disposal bad for my septic system?
Using a trash disposal will result in the requirement to pump your septic system more frequently than you would otherwise need to do if you avoided flushing food particles down your drains. Too much food collection in your tank might cause your drainfield to clog since the microorganisms in your tank are not capable to digesting it. When using a trash disposal, check with your septic system company to find out how frequently the disposal should be serviced.
Should I add bacteria to my septic system?
Aside from being completely useless, introducing bacteria to your septic tank is also highly discouraged. The bacteria produced by human waste is sufficient to break down the solid sewage in your tank without the need of bacteria supplements or other methods. If, on the other hand, multiple members of your home are using pharmaceuticals, they will enter your septic system through human waste and kill some of the beneficial bacteria in your tank, causing it to malfunction. Please contact the firm who installed your septic system to see whether or not you should be worried about the amount of bacteria-killing compounds entering the system.
There’s a strong sewer odor outside of my house. Could this be my septic tank?
Strong sewage stench coming from your yard might be coming from your septic system, but it could also be coming from someplace else completely. Identifying the source of the smell is important. Check for propane or gas leaks in your home before concluding that your septic system is at fault; however, if your gas or propane lines are not leaking, determine how long it has been since you had your tank pumped, and whether there is any sewage waste in your yard or other signs of septic system failure before making your final decision.
Can my septic system contaminate nearby water?
It is possible for your septic system to pollute surrounding water sources if it is not properly managed or fails completely.
In the event that you suspect that your septic system is failing, make sure that it is routinely pumped and inspected by an expert.
My gutters’ downspouts drain into my yard above my septic system. Is this a bad thing?
The drainage of your gutters into your yard above your septic system, and particularly into your drainfield, can be hazardous to your septic system. All water should be diverted away from your septic system in order to minimize flooding and damage to your septic system’s tank or drain field.