Septic tank maintenance

What is a septic system?

What is a septic system and how do they work is a common question asked by many new homeowners. It’s not a yes or no question. It is something that you have to know a great deal about to elaborate the presented term. If you don’t have access to the city or town’s sewage system, you have a septic system installed in your property to take care of your wastewater production. It is has been known to be a very effective means to collect, treat, and dispose of the produced sewage in suburban and rural households.

Wastewater is called as such because of the filth, contaminants, and pathogens that will definitely cause a health and environmental havoc in the surrounding system. With the help of the septic system, the wastewater is treated and purified before it is safely returned to the environment. Two main components make the system efficient—the septic tank and the drain field.

The septic tanks size is determined and built according to the number of people that it has to accommodate. When the wastewater is collected in the tank, the pre-treatment already starts. Here, three layers are formed—scum layer (top—lightweight solid particles), effluent (clear liquid layer), and sludge (bottom—heavyweight solid particles). At the bottom part, the anaerobic bacteria take action and digest the solid wastes.

The drain field then received the clear, pre-treated effluent from the tank. There are up to 5 trenches installed in this area. These trenches have lateral lines that are perforated to enable the dispersion of the effluent. A d-box or a distribution box is also situated here to allow equal distribution of the treated effluent. The drain field or leach field is also known as the soil absorption field or nitrification field. It also has the aerobic bacteria and the biomat that purify the pre-treated effluent before it reaches the nearby lakes, estuaries, ponds, or rivers.

What is a septic system? The function of the septic system actually depends on the soil that you have around your home. If the soil you have has a good percolation rate and could effectively purify the effluent, then the septic system could serve your household well. But if the soil in your property is not capable of performing the effluent purification and distribution, then a health and sanitation problem is bound to happen. When the soil isn’t right for the septic system, the drains and toilets will back up and the groundwater will be contaminated. The type of soil should be bright red, yellow, or brown with gray spots. This is known to be very wet soil. The texture should be just right—not too clayey or sandy to the feel. To know if your soil is really fit for the septic system, you should ask the help of your environment health professional or sanitation professional so that a proper inspection may be conducted.

To have a septic system installed in your property, there should be a permit issued by the local health department. It must be understood that proper maintenance and care should be given to the septic system:

  • Lessen your daily water load
  • Do not dump non-biodegradable materials or grease into the system (only wastewater should be present in the system
  • Install a dry well to take care of the grey water (helps lessen the septic water load)
  • Know the exact location of your septic system
  • Keep construction activities and vehicles away from the system area
  • Adhere to the regular pump out schedule
  • Avoid planting gardens or trees over or around the septic system area

The homeowner’s main responsibility is to maintain the regular pump out sessions with the help of the septic expert. You have to discuss the living situation in your home so that a stable pump out schedule can be established. Biological or bacterial treatments could also be used to enhance or improve the performance of the resident septic bacteria. Aeration could also be performed. This process increases the number of aerobic bacteria that helps break down even the smallest solid waste particles. We hope we helped you in determining what is a septic system?

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