A septic tank is a type of On-Site Sewage Facility (OSSF) to homes not directly connected to municipal sewer pipes. Septic tanks function as private sewage treatment systems in 25% of the households in North America.
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How a Septic Tank Works
A septic system consists of a 1,000 or 2,000 gallon tank connected to a wastewater pipe on one end and a drainfield on the other end. Waste from the home is discharged into the septic tank where it is separated into solids and liquids. Heavy solids sink to the bottom of the tank and form a layer of sludge while light solids float and form a top layer of scum. The anaerobic bacterial environment that exists in the watertight tank decomposes both layers to effluent that is then released to a drainfield, also known as a leach field or disposal field. The drain-field biologically filters effluent with a series of perforated pipes running through underground trenches filled with gravel. As effluent trickles out of the pipes, into the gravel and through the soil - a filtration process occurs through which effluent is neutralized from harmful contents and is sent to local water sources as clean water.
Symptoms of Septic Tank Failure
Contrary to the common notion that septic tank is maintenance free, it should actually go through periodic inspection and pumping to prevent septic tank problems. Usually septic tank failure happens as a result of too much disposal of grease and cooking oil that causes septic tank inlet drainage to block. Another factor could be the improper dumping of non-biodegradable items and flushing it into the toilet bowl. Harmful chemicals could also precipitate septic tank failure like pesticides, herbicides, household cleaners and paints.
Septic tank failure includes the following symptoms:
- Slow drainage of showers, tubs and sinks, as well as poor flushing toilets
- Chronic sewage backups
- Disproportional plant growth on drainfield
- Sewage odors in and around home
- Wastewater near septic tank
These drainage system insufficiencies could cause inconvenience and extensive repair may be required. In order to decrease aggravation of these and other problems, we should observe different measures of preventive maintenance. Frequent check up of the septic tank by septic tank cleaners will enable early detection for any foreseeable crisis. Septic tank treatment should also be initiated in order to remove accumulated solids that will cause clogging.
If you notice foul septic tank odor, or if you sense the initial stages of an impending septic tank drainage problem - nip these undesirable predicaments in the bud. Ask septic tank contractors to examine the system, and if required, have them administer the required septic tank cleansers. This will not only enable your plumbing system to function properly, but will also greatly benefit the environment.
Septic Tank Pumping
Regular septic tanks pumping is crucial for sludge and scum removal. Over accumulation of indigestible solids will plug the drainfield and lead to septic tank failure. The frequency at which an individual should conduct septic pumping depends on the actual volume of the tank and amount of indigestible solids. Regular septic tank pumping helps prevent any of the above plumbing problems and prolongs the life of the system. Septic tank cleaning is best left to professional plumbers with the appropriate tools to empty tanks without harming the system or environment. Periodical septic tank inspections can go a long way at detecting and correcting hidden faults before they hinder the overall performance of the system.
Just as cleaning a septic tank is not a DIY job so are repairs. Best left to plumbers, septic tank repairs require professional knowledge and experience fixing the system without hurting the drainfield or leaking septic tank waste to the environment.
Neglecting the condition of Septic Tank may cause a lot of predicaments. But by simply abiding by the tips on how to preserve its optimal functioning, you could eradicate possibilities of damage and unpleasant situations in general. Here is some pertinent information for maintaining septic tank operation.
- Perform regular septic pumping to empty tank from accumulated solid waste that can otherwise plug the drain-field. A 1000 gallon septic tank should be emptied at least once in 3-5 years to prevent premature clogging.
- Maintain a distance between trees and drain-fields. Initiating distance from trees for at least 100 meters will decrease the possibility of clogging, damaging drainage and pipelines.
- Don't use the drain-field as a parking lot and do not drive over the drain-field. Direct and heavy pressure can compact the soil and crush pipes buried beneath the drain-field. Instead secure it by covering concrete or asphalt.
- Don't overload the system with additives or water. Check water pipes and faucets for leaks and initiate repair if necessary. Excessive water levels in septic tank may overflow and malodorous smell.
- Prevent oils, grease, fats, or plastics from penetrating the septic system. Grease and oil can cause soil to insufficiency absorb water waste of septic tank.
- Don't plant trees and shrubs on drain-fields to avoid tree root intrusion. Avoid grasses on drain field to prevent soil erosion.
Septic Tank Pumping Schedule
One measure to maintain proper functioning of septic tank is establishing a regular septic tank pumping schedule. This is mainly done in order to remove retained and unabsorbed waste to prevent clogging that would further damage the system. In creating a septic tank pumping schedule and frequency, you must first consider the septic tank capacity and the number of people in a certain household. In view of those factors and calculations, you can now work out a certain schedule for pumping the septic tank.
However in dealing with the cleaning and pumping of septic tanks, you should be aware that it requires critical septic management. Remember that by adhering to a fixed schedule, you can prevent unpleasant problems in the long run.
|Tank - Gallons||2 Per House||3 Per House||4 Per House||5 Per House||6 Per House|
|Septic Tank Pumping Frequency in Years|
|500||2.6 yrs||1.5 yrs||1.0 yrs||0.7 yrs||0.4 yrs|
|750||4.2 yrs||2.6 yrs||1.8 yrs||1.3 yrs||1.0 yrs|
|900||5.2 yrs||3.3 yrs||2.3 yrs||1.7 yrs||1.3 yrs|
|1000||5.9 yrs||3.7 yrs||2.6 yrs||2.0 yrs||1.5 yrs|
|1250||7.5 yrs||4.8 yrs||3.4 yrs||2.6 yrs||2.0 yrs|
|1500||9.1 yrs||5.9 yrs||4.2 yrs||3.3 yrs||2.6 yrs|
|1750||10.7 yrs||6.9 yrs||5.0 yrs||3.9 yrs||3.1 yrs|
|2000||12.4 yrs||8.0 yrs||5.9 yrs||4.5 yrs||3.7 yrs|
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