What Is The Second Tank In A Septic System? (Solved)

Unlike a regular septic system, the two tanks on the dual septic system are used to separately store blackwater and greywater. Blackwater entails things such as urine, fecal matter, and flush water. Alternatively, greywater is the much less pathogenic liquid coming from showers, sinks, and washing machines.

  • A septic tank will have at least 2 chambers: one where liquid and solid wastes are separated, and a second which acts as a pumping chamber. In the first chamber, light solid matter floats to the top while the heavy solids sink to the bottom. This leaves a “clearer” layer of wastewater in the middle.

Do septic systems have two tanks?

Although it is only “one” tank it is divided in two by a wall, called the baffle wall. All waste first enters the septic tank through the inlet tee into the primary chamber. All the heavy sludge and solids sink to the bottom of the tank while the grease and oil (from the kichen and bath soap) float to the top.

What is a secondary septic system?

‘Secondary Treatment’ septic systems like Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems (AWTS) and sand filter septic systems treat the wastewater from your home to a much higher quality, before the water can be dispersed to your land and used to water your gardens and lawns.

What is a 2 chamber septic tank?

A dual compartment septic tank has two compartments. The first is usually longer, about twice as large as the second compartment. One of the disadvantages is that a dual compartment septic tank needed to be pumped more frequently.

Why do septic tanks have two compartments?

Septic tanks may have one or two compartments. Two-compartment tanks do a better job of set- tling solids and are required for new systems. Tees or baffles are provided at the tank’s inlet and outlet pipes. The inlet tee slows the incom- ing wastes and reduces disturbance of the settled sludge.

How do you tell if your septic tank is full?

How to tell your septic tank is full and needs emptying

  1. Pooling water.
  2. Slow drains.
  3. Odours.
  4. An overly healthy lawn.
  5. Sewer backup.
  6. Gurgling Pipes.
  7. Trouble Flushing.

What are the 3 types of septic systems?

Types of Septic Systems

  • Septic Tank.
  • Conventional System.
  • Chamber System.
  • Drip Distribution System.
  • Aerobic Treatment Unit.
  • Mound Systems.
  • Recirculating Sand Filter System.
  • Evapotranspiration System.

What does secondary treatment remove?

The secondary stage of treatment removes about 85 percent of the organic matter in sewage by making use of the bacteria in it. The principal secondary treatment techniques used in secondary treatment are the trickling filter and the activated sludge process.

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 both compartments in a septic tank need pumped?

Both compartments are required to be inspected and pumped. If the second compartment goes without pumping, it will eventually fill with solids and create problems. If there is an as-built (a map of your septic system) for your septic system, locating the septic tank will be easy to do.

How many compartments are in a septic tank?

Most septic tanks have one or two compartments. Two compartment tanks, or two single compartment tanks in series, provide better settling of the solids.

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.

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. 1) Get on a Schedule.
  2. 2) Take Care of the System.
  3. 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
  4. 4) Check Other Possible Issues.

How often pump septic tank?

Inspect and Pump Frequently Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.

Here’s Why You Have Two Septic Tanks

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product after clicking on one of our links, we may receive a commission or free product from the firms featured in this post. Amazon is a good illustration of this. Depending on where you live or work, you may have an on-site wastewater management system (also known as a septic system) or you may be linked to your municipality’s sewage system. It is in the best interests of all property owners to be aware of whether or not their land has a dedicated septic system.

What is the purpose of having two septic tanks?

Blackwater is a combination of urine, fecal matter, and flushwater that is used to flush toilets.

On the other hand, greywater is water that comes from home equipment other than toilets (for example, bath tubs, showers, sinks, and washing machines), and it is a type of waste water.

  • A typical domestic septic tank is made up of two spherical concrete tanks with lids that are placed next to each other in a row.
  • Septic tanks are divided into two pieces by a partition, with the first compartment having twice the size of the second compartment.
  • It is preferable in a variety of sanitation systems to keep greywater separate from blackwater in order to decrease the quantity of water that becomes significantly contaminated with bacteria.
  • Blackwater contains pathogens that must be destroyed before wastewater can be discharged into the environment without causing harm to the ecosystem.
  • Due to the large amounts of organic elements in the waste, it is also not digested rapidly.
  • Alternating systems are what these are referred to as.

Consequently, the soil’s capacity to handle wastewater is revitalized as a result of the drying out of the disused part.

How Do Septic Systems Work?

All septic systems, according to conventional wisdom, involve a septic tank, which is often a huge rectangular or cylindrical container constructed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that collects wastewater. The septic tank is a container that is buried below and into which effluent from the property’s plumbing fixtures is channelled. Heavy solid wastes sink to the bottom of the pond, where anaerobic bacterial activity creates digested sludge and gases as a result of the process. Scum layer is formed at the top of the scum layer as lighter solid wastes (such as grease, oils, and fats) rise to the surface.

  • In the septic tank, solids that have not decomposed are still there.
  • When this occurs, the drainfield becomes blocked, which may eventually result in the drainfield failing completely.
  • Furthermore, the septic system may collapse, resulting in sewage effluent being discharged straight to the ground or backing up into the home or structure.
  • Septic failure is more common in older systems that have a single drainage receptacle that does not alternate with the other drains.
  • Clogging may occur more often in systems that have been in operation for a long length of time because the soil surrounding the drainage receptacle has become more porous.
  • When this occurs, you are confronted with the following possibilities: It is possible that sewage will begin to back up into your home or business’s pipes.
  • Alternatively, you may detect sewage pouring from a tiny grated pipe positioned outside your facility’s perimeter (this is called the overflow relief disconnector gully).
  • There will be a noticeable foul stench, and this will represent a serious health hazard to the public.
  • Single compartment septic tanks are the most common type of septic tank found in systems built before 1975.
  • Due to the fact that both compartments of this type of septic tank need to be pumped, it is important that you are aware of this fact.
  • Septic tanks are common in older homes and businesses that have been in operation for more than 40 years.

Either that, or you have a single septic tank divided into two chambers. Whatever the situation may be, there will almost certainly be two lids that you will need to unscrew in order to pump the contents out.

How Often Should a Septic Tank Be Pumped?

Ensure that your septic tank is regularly examined and pumped, ideally every three to five years, by following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Septic tank pumping frequency will, of course, vary depending on the size of the tank, how much solid waste is being dumped into it, and the behaviors of those who utilize its contents. To ensure that your septic tank system remains in excellent working order, there is only one surefire method to do it, and that is to have your tank examined on an annual or more frequent basis.

  • The septic tank should be pumped once the bottom of the scum layer reaches within 3 inches of the base of the outlet baffle, or when the top of the sludge layer comes within 12 inches of the base of the outlet fitting (whichever occurs first).
  • This has everything to do with the size of your septic tank and the amount of waste it can handle.
  • It is important to remember that your septic tank should be opened and examined at the very least once every three years if an annual check is not possible.
  • Pumping will be necessary if the sludge and scum layers are not removed as previously indicated.
  • Keep in mind that if you are vigilant in getting your septic tank pumped on a regular and periodic basis, you will avoid the most prevalent reasons of (very avoidable) septic tank system failure.
  • In most cases, regular and religious maintenance will spare you from the bother and stress of having to pay for highly expensive emergency septic system repairs.
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Dual Tanks Serve a Purpose

Maintaining your septic tank on a regular basis, ideally every three to five years, will save you time and money. Septic tank pumping frequency will, of course, vary depending on the size of the tank, how much solid waste is being dumped into it, and the behaviors of those who utilize its services. To ensure that your septic tank system remains in good working order, there is only one surefire method to do it, and that is to have your system examined on an annual or more frequent basis. Whether determining when the tank requires pumping, it is necessary to measure the thickness of the sludge and scum layers.

  • This has everything to do with the size and capacity of your septic tank.
  • It is important to remember that your septic tank should be opened and examined at the very least once every three years if yearly inspection is not possible.
  • Pumping will be necessary whether sooner or later as a result of the previously reported measurements of both the sludge and the scum layers.
  • Regular maintenance of your complete septic system, whether you have two septic tanks or one tank with two compartments on your property, is possibly one of the most important investments you and any other house or business owner can make in your properties’ well-being.

Plumbing that works properly is important not just for the convenience of the homeowner, but also for the health and well-being of everyone in the community. title=A% 20Beginner% 27s% 20Guide% 20to% 20Septic% 20Systems%20A% 20Beginner% 27s% 20Guide% 20to% 20Septic% 20Systems%20A

Types of Septic Systems

Septic system design and size can differ significantly from one neighborhood to the next, as well as throughout the country, due to a variety of variables. Household size, soil type, slope of the site, lot size, closeness to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, and even municipal ordinances are all considerations to take into consideration. The following are 10 of the most often encountered septic system configurations. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list; there are several additional types of septic systems.

  • Septic Tank, Conventional System, Chamber System, Drip Distribution System, Aerobic Treatment Unit, Mound Systems, Recirculating Sand Filter System, Evapotranspiration System, Constructed Wetland System, Cluster / Community System, etc.

Septic Tank

This tank is underground and waterproof, and it was designed and built specifically for receiving and partially treating raw home sanitary wastewater. Generally speaking, heavy materials settle at or near the bottom of the tank, whereas greases and lighter solids float to the surface. The sediments are retained in the tank, while the wastewater is sent to the drainfield for further treatment and dispersion once it has been treated.

Conventional System

Septic tanks and trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common type of system. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of water drainage. The term is derived from the process of constructing the drainfield. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration, which is commonly used.

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Effluent filters through the stone and is further cleaned by microorganisms once it reaches the soil below the gravel/stone trench, which is located below the trench.

Chamber System

Gravelless drainfields have been regularly utilized in various states for more than 30 years and have evolved into a standard technology that has mostly replaced gravel systems. Various configurations are possible, including open-bottom chambers, pipe that has been clothed, and synthetic materials such as expanded polystyrene media. Gravelless systems can be constructed entirely of recycled materials, resulting in considerable reductions in carbon dioxide emissions during their lifetime. The chamber system is a type of gravelless system that can be used as an example.

The key advantage of the chamber system is the enhanced simplicity with which it can be delivered and built.

This sort of system is made up of a number of chambers that are connected to one another.

Wastewater is transported from the septic tank to the chambers through pipes. The wastewater comes into touch with the earth when it is contained within the chambers. The wastewater is treated by microbes that live on or near the soil.

Drip Distribution System

An effluent dispersal system such as the drip distribution system may be employed in a variety of drainfield configurations and is very versatile. In comparison to other distribution systems, the drip distribution system does not require a vast mound of dirt because the drip laterals are only placed into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. In addition to requiring a big dosage tank after the sewage treatment plant to handle scheduled dose delivery of wastewater to drip absorption areas, the drip distribution system has one major disadvantage: it is more expensive.

Aerobic Treatment Unit

Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) are small-scale wastewater treatment facilities that employ many of the same procedures as a municipal sewage plant. An aerobic system adds oxygen to the treatment tank using a pump. When there is an increase in oxygen in the system, there is an increase in natural bacterial activity, which then offers extra treatment for nutrients in the effluent. It is possible that certain aerobic systems may additionally include a pretreatment tank as well as a final treatment tank that will include disinfection in order to further lower pathogen levels.

ATUs should be maintained on a regular basis during their service life.

Mound Systems

Using mound systems in regions with short soil depth, high groundwater levels, or shallow bedrock might be a good alternative. A drainfield trench has been dug through the sand mound that was erected. The effluent from the septic tank runs into a pump chamber, where it is pumped to the mound in the amounts recommended. During its release to the trench, the effluent filters through the sand and is dispersed into the native soil, where it continues to be treated. However, while mound systems can be an effective solution for some soil conditions, they demand a significant amount of land and require regular care.

Recirculating Sand Filter System

Sand filter systems can be built either above or below ground, depending on the use. The effluent is discharged from the septic tank into a pump compartment. Afterwards, it is pushed into the sand filter. The sand filter is often made of PVC or a concrete box that is filled with a sand-like substance. The effluent is pushed through the pipes at the top of the filter under low pressure to the drain. As the effluent exits the pipelines, it is treated as it passes through the sand filtering system.

However, sand filters are more costly than a standard septic system because they provide a higher level of nutrient treatment and are thus better suited for areas with high water tables or that are adjacent to bodies of water.

Evapotranspiration System

Evaporative cooling systems feature drainfields that are one-of-a-kind. It is necessary to line the drainfield at the base of the evapotranspiration system with a waterproof material. Following the entry of the effluent into the drainfield, it evaporates into the atmosphere. At the same time, the sewage never filters into the soil and never enters groundwater, unlike other septic system designs. It is only in particular climatic circumstances that evapotranspiration systems are effective. The environment must be desert, with plenty of heat and sunshine, and no precipitation.

Constructed Wetland System

Construction of a manufactured wetland is intended to simulate the treatment processes that occur in natural wetland areas. Wastewater goes from the septic tank and into the wetland cell, where it is treated. Afterwards, the wastewater goes into the media, where it is cleaned by microorganisms, plants, and other media that eliminate pathogens and nutrients. Typically, a wetland cell is constructed with an impermeable liner, gravel and sand fill, and the necessary wetland plants, all of which must be capable of withstanding the constant saturation of the surrounding environment.

As wastewater travels through the wetland, it may escape the wetland and flow onto a drainfield, where it will undergo more wastewater treatment before being absorbed into the soil by bacteria.

Cluster / Community System

In certain cases, a decentralized wastewater treatment system is owned by a group of people and is responsible for collecting wastewater from two or more residences or buildings and transporting it to a treatment and dispersal system placed on a suitable location near the dwellings or buildings. Cluster systems are widespread in settings like rural subdivisions, where they may be found in large numbers.

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.

Prior to discharging wastewater into the environment, several alternative systems are designed to evaporate or disinfect the effluent.

Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:

  1. 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

Septic System Guide: How It Works and How to Maintain It

As soon as you flush the toilet in most metropolitan locations, the waste is pumped out to the nearest sewage treatment facility. Garbage is processed at this factory, which separates it into two types of waste: water that is clean enough to be dumped into a river and solids known as residual waste. The remaining material is either disposed of in landfill or utilized as fertilizer. Septic systems, which are used in places where there aren’t any sewage treatment plants, provide a similar function, but on a much smaller scale.

What are Septic Tanks and How Do They Work?

Septic tanks are normally composed of concrete or heavyweight plastic and have a capacity of 1000 to 2000 gallons, depending on the manufacturer. In the tank, there are two chambers that are divided by a portion of a wall. The waste from the residence is channeled into the bigger room. Solids sink to the bottom of the chamber, and liquids make their way through a partial wall into the smaller second chamber, which is located above it. Anaerobic bacteria, which are found naturally in the environment, digest the solids and convert them into water, carbon dioxide, and a tiny amount of indigestible debris.

Septic Fields Distribute Liquid Effluent

The second chamber has an output pipe via which the liquid (known as effluent) from the tank is discharged to a disposal or leach field, depending on the situation. It is drained into the earth by a network of perforated pipes or through perforated plastic structures known as galleries, which are constructed of perforated plastic. It is common practice to lay the pipe or galleries in a bed of gravel, which aids in dispersing the liquid. During the course of the effluent’s percolation through the soil, the soil absorbs remaining bacteria and particles, resulting in water that is safe to drink by the time the water reaches the aquifer deeper down.

They are not much deeper than that since a large quantity of water escapes through evaporation or is transpired by grass growing above ground.

If you have sandy soils that drain too rapidly, you may not be able to treat the wastewater properly.

Sometimes the water cannot be disposed of properly because the natural soils include a high concentration of silt or clay.

Topsoil and grass are applied to the mound, which allows more water to leave through transpiration and evaporation than would otherwise be possible.

Septic Systems Rely on Gravity, Most of the Time

The second chamber has an output pipe via which the liquid (known as effluent) from the tank is discharged into a disposal or leach field, depending on the situation. After that, the effluent drains into the earth through a succession of perforated pipes or through galleries, which are perforated plastic structures. The pipe or the galleries are set in a bed of gravel, which aids in the dispersion of the liquid. During the course of the effluent’s percolation through it, the soil absorbs any remaining bacteria and particles, resulting in water that is safe to drink by the time the water reaches the aquifer deeper beneath.

  1. They are rarely much deeper than that since a large quantity of water escapes through evaporation or is transpired by grass growing above ground.
  2. The wastewater may not be properly treated on sandy soils that drain too rapidly.
  3. Sometimes the water cannot be disposed of properly because the soil has a high concentration of silt or clay.
  4. Topsoil and grass are applied to the mound, which allows more water to leave through transpiration and evaporation than would otherwise be the case.
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How to Treat Your Septic System

It is not necessary to do much to keep your septic system in good working order, other than cut the grass above it and keep the drainage area free of trees and plants with roots that may block it.

How Often Do You Need to Pump A Septic Tank?

You should have a septic provider pump out the particles from your tank every two years, at the absolute least. A manhole at the surface of the tank will provide the pump operator access, but older systems may necessitate digging a hole in the tank’s top so the pumping hatch can be exposed. Unless the tank is continuously pumped, sediments will build up in it and ultimately make their way into the leach field, clogging it. You’ll know it’s occurring because untreated effluent will rise to the surface of the tank and back up into the home, causing it to overflow.

Pumping the tank on a regular basis can ensure that the leach fields continue to work eternally.

What to Do if Your Septic System Fails

Pumps in a pumped septic system will ultimately fail, just as they will in any mechanical system. Most pumps are equipped with an alarm that sounds when the effluent level in the pit is greater than it should be, indicating that the pump has failed and has to be replaced.

This is a job that should be left to the professionals. Visit the following website to locate a trusted list of installation and septic system service companies in your area:

  • The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s Septic Locator
  • The National Association of Wastewater Technicians
  • And the National Association of Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association

It is rare for a homeowner to have to worry about their septic system because it is well-maintained and doesn’t cause problems. Simple maintenance, such as keeping the tank pumped and the lawn trimmed, should result in decades of trouble-free service. What kind of protection do you have in place for your home’s systems and appliances against unforeseen maintenance needs? If this is the case, you might consider purchasing a house warranty.

  • Home Warranty Coverage for Roof Leaks
  • Septic Warranty Coverage and Costs
  • And more. Plans for protecting your mobile home’s warranty
  • What Is Home Repair Insurance and How Does It Work? How to Find the Most Reasonably Priced Home Appliance Insurance

Can you have more than one septic tank?

Asked in the following category: General The most recent update was made on May 14th, 2020. Yes, and the reason for the need for a second tank and drainfield is frequently unrelated to the need for more gallons of tank capacity. Two septic tanks are most commonly seen in the long, thin ranch style homes built in the mid-20th century–one system at each end of the house. A: In a word, yes. Everyone who has an aseptic tank should have risers installed. If your house is more than 40 years old, it is possible that you have two septic tanks, or that there is one septic tank with two sections.

As a result, the issue arises as to how many septic tanks I have.

Bedrooms Home Square Footage Tank Capacity
1 or 2 Less than 1,500 750
3 Less than 2,500 1,000
4 Less than 3,500 1,250
5 Less than 4,500 1,250

In light of this, how many dwellings may be served by a single septic tank? You have two residences that are near to one another and would like to place them both on a single septic system to save money. Assuming that the project is permitted by local construction and health rules, it should be a straightforward undertaking. What is the operation of a two-tank septic system? An internal split between two compartments is intended for use in septic tanks; the first compartment is twice as large as the second compartment.

How Does a Septic Tank Work?

Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.

How does a septic tank work?

Pumping the tank on a regular basis eliminates sludge and scum, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and well built septic system to last for decades, or it might collapse in a matter of years. It is entirely up to you as long as you can answer the question of how do septic tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely collapsed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material costs.

It’s critical to understand how a septic tank works in order to maintain one.

Let’s take a look below ground and observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we? After that, I’ll explain why things go wrong and offer you some tips on how to keep your system in peak operating condition.

Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria

Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.

  • A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
  • 4.
  • Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
  • Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
  • (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
  • The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
  • Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
  • The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt.
  • Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.

Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system

Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.

  • Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.

Get your tank pumped…

Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.

…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it

Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.

Install an effluent filter in your septic system

Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata.

The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.

Septic tank filter close-up

The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drain field pipes. Obtain an effluent filter for your tank from your contractor and place it on the outflow pipe of your tank. (It will most likely cost between $50 and $100, plus labor.) This device, which helps to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis by a contractor to maintain its effectiveness.

Solution for a clogged septic system

If your septic system becomes clogged and you find yourself having to clean the filter on a regular basis, you might be tempted to simply remove the filter altogether. Hold on to it. Solids, wastewater, and scum are separated into three levels in septic tanks, which allows them to function properly (see illustration above). Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them. The scum, which is made up of trash that is lighter than water, rises to the surface. In the drainage field, the middle layer of effluent leaves the tank and goes through an underground network of perforated pipes to the drainage field.

  1. Keep the effluent filter in place since it is required by your state’s health law.
  2. Waste particles might flow through the filter and clog the perforated pipes if the filter is not used.
  3. Your filter, on the other hand, should not require cleaning every six months.
  4. A good chance is high that you’re flushing filter-clogging things down the toilet, such as grease, fat, or food scraps.
  5. A garbage disposal will not be able to break down food particles sufficiently to allow them to flow through the septic tank filtration system.
  6. Plastic items, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable goods, and tobacco products will clog the system if they are flushed through it.
  7. More information on removing lint from your laundry may be found here.

Get an inspection

Following a comprehensive first check performed by an expert, regular inspections will cost less than $100 each inspection for the next year. Your professional will be able to inform you how often you should get your system inspected as well as how a septic tank functions. As straightforward as a septic system appears, determining its overall condition necessitates the services of a professional. There are a plethora of contractors who would gladly pump the sludge out of your tank, but many, in my experience, are unable to explain how a septic system works or how it should be maintained.

A certification scheme for septic contractors has been established in certain states; check with your state’s Secretary of State’s office to see whether yours is one of them.

Also, a qualified inspector will be able to tell you whether or not your tank is large enough to accommodate your household’s needs, as well as the maximum amount of water that can be passed through it in a single day.

You may be able to boost the performance of your system by using a product such as RID-X to introduce bacteria into the system. As you learn more about how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.

Alternatives to a new drain field

If an examination or a sewage backup indicate that your drain field is in need of replacement, the only option is to replace it completely. As a result, it’s important to talk with a contractor about other possibilities before proceeding with the project.

  • Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.
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Protect your drain septic field from lint

When this device is in place, it inhibits lint from entering the system, especially synthetic fibers that bacteria are unable to digest. One of these filters, which I’ve designed and termed theSeptic Protector, was invented by me. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150 plus delivery. Learn more about how to filter out laundry lint in this article.

Don’t overload the septic system

Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field. Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.

Meet the Expert

Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. The installation of the system, as well as any modifications made to it, would have been examined by your local health authority.
  3. Unfortunately, if the system is very old, any records related with it may be insufficient or nonexistent, depending on the situation.
  4. Look for the point at where the wastewater pipes join together if the building is on a crawlspace or has an unfinished basement.
  5. The sewer line that runs through the structure is referred to as the building sewer.
  6. To “feel” for the tank, use a piece of re-bar or a similar metal probe.
  7. 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.

  1. The tank functions by settling waste and allowing it to be digested by microbes.
  2. These layers include the bottom sludge layer, the top scum layer, and a “clear” zone in the center.
  3. A typical septic tank is seen in Figure 2.
  4. It is fortunate that many of the bacteria involved are found in high concentrations in the human gastrointestinal tract.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The water trickles out of the perforated drain pipes, down through a layer of gravel, and into the soil below the surface (Figure 3).
  8. A typical drainfield may be found here.
  9. Plants, bacteria, fungus, protozoa, and other microorganisms, as well as bigger critters such as mites, earthworms, and insects, flourish in soil.
  10. 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.

C 1030).

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.

  1. Household garbage that has not been properly handled is released into the environment when systems fail.
  2. It has the potential to pollute surrounding wells, groundwater, streams, and other sources of potable water, among other things.
  3. The foul odor emanating from a malfunctioning system can cause property values to plummet.
  4. Briefly stated, broken systems can have an impact on your family, neighbors, community, and the environment.
  5. 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.

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