How to Know If Your Septic Tank is Working Properly

A septic system treats wastewater in homes that don’t have municipal sewer systems. The tank is an underground box with baffles, inspection pipes and manhole access ports for pumping.

Waste particles are separated inside the tank, and bacteria decompose some of them. Heavy solids sink to the bottom and form a layer of sludge, while oils and grease float to the top. Visit Septic Tank Armadale for more information.

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The wastewater from your home travels into the septic tank through an inlet pipe where it undergoes a settling process. The heavy solids settle at the bottom of the tank forming a layer of sludge while the lighter fats, oils and grease float to the top forming a semi-solid scum. In between the sludge and scum is the liquid wastewater known as effluent. Effluent exits the septic tank through a pipe attached to a distribution box. The distribution box evenly distributes the effluent through pipes in your drain field to ensure that only water is pumped into the soil, not sludge and scum.

The bacteria in your septic system work to naturally break down and digest organic waste that enters the septic tank. This natural digestion is essential for your septic system to function properly. If too much solid matter enters your septic tank, the bacteria will die off and natural digestion won’t occur, leading to a clogged drain line or an overflowing septic tank.

As the bacteria break down the contaminants in your septic tank, they release gases. These gases, including hydrogen sulfide (that nasty rotten egg smell), must be vented to prevent a build-up of pressure that could block the drain lines in your house. The septic tank vent, which has a mushroom shape and often is fitted with a charcoal filter to reduce odors, is located in the lid of the septic tank.

It is important to only flush toilet paper, human waste and kitchen garbage down your septic system to avoid overloading the tank and killing the bacteria that naturally break down waste. You should also avoid putting any hazardous or toxic substances in your septic tank or drains. Such items include cooking oil, cigarette butts, paint thinner, cleaning products, chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

In addition to a septic tank, your home’s septic system includes an absorption field where wastewater is filtered through the soil and absorbed into groundwater. The absorption field consists of a series of perforated pipes in gravel trenches buried in the soil. Wastewater passes through these pipes and is absorbed into the soil, where the bacteria continue to treat it before it seeps into groundwater.

The septic tank acts as a settling basin where solid waste accumulates and gets broken down by natural bacterial action. Some of the solids form a layer known as sludge. The remaining waste liquid is known as effluent, which floats to the top of the tank. A healthy population of anaerobic bacteria breaks down the sludge and liquid waste in the tank. The resulting wastewater is then carried through underground perforated pipes into the drain field. In the drain field, gravel and soil act as biological filters to purify the wastewater before it seeps into groundwater.

A septic system needs to be maintained regularly. This means getting the tank pumped when needed. This usually happens when the sludge level rises to about one-third full. Ask your inspector for a recommendation on how often you should get your septic tank pumped.

You can also take steps to reduce the amount of wastewater that goes through your septic system. For example, you can install low-flow toilets and use energy-efficient appliances and fixtures in your home. You should also avoid flushing items that can’t break down, including paper towels, sanitary items and cooking grease. You should also only use septic-safe cleaning products in the home.

In addition to pumping, you should schedule regular inspections of your septic tank and system. This helps prevent problems and extends the life of your septic system. In addition to a visual inspection, your inspector will check the condition of the sludge and scum levels in the tank. Your inspector may recommend adding an aeration pump to your system. This adds oxygen to the tank to speed up bacterial decomposition.

The aeration pump also helps to keep the effluent flowing freely into the drainage field. Finally, you should plant grass or other shallow-rooted plants over the absorption field to help filter the wastewater that is seeping into the soil.

Lastly, you should keep vehicles and other machinery away from the drainfield. Regularly driving or parking on the drainfield compacts the soil, which can limit its ability to absorb treated wastewater. Additionally, driving or parking on the septic system can cause damage to the septic tank and/or system components.

A septic tank is usually buried underground and out of sight, making it difficult to know if it is working properly. However, there are a few signs that can help you know when it is time to call in professionals for repairs or replacement.

If you notice standing water on your property, sewage or a rotten egg smell around the drain field, or wet areas, you may need to have the septic tank pumped. This is the best way to clear any clogs that may be preventing waste from flowing freely into the absorption field.

The septic tank serves as a settling basin where solid waste collects and gradually gets broken down by natural bacterial action. Some of this material accumulates in the bottom of the tank as a sludge while the fats and oils float to the top to form a semi-solid scum. This sludge and scum must flow out of the tank into the drainage system before it can be digested by bacteria in the soil. If this process is interrupted for any reason, such as a blocked inlet baffle, the septic tank will become full and can no longer digest waste.

Other common problems with septic tanks include the deterioration of the tank itself or the pipes and leach field that connect it to your home. These problems are typically more serious and may require a significant investment in repairs or replacements.

Some septic tank repair problems can be easily fixed, such as replacing a damaged pump or fixing a clogged pipe. These repairs generally take no more than a few hours to complete and don’t involve digging up the entire septic tank or absorption field.

A corroded septic tank wall may also need to be replaced, which can take several days or weeks. Corroding walls can trap hydrogen sulfide gas and cause a foul odor throughout the house.

Some septic tank repairs are more extensive, such as replacing the entire drain field or septic tank. The time it takes to make these repairs will depend on the severity of the problem and the condition of the soil surrounding the tank and drain field. If the soil is rocky or compacted, it will take more time for technicians to excavate the area and install a new septic tank.

A septic tank is an expensive investment that aims to make your home independently sustainable for its water needs. To get the most out of it, you’ll need to know how it works and what maintenance tasks are involved. This includes understanding what you can and can’t flush, how often you need it pumped, and how to handle clogs and leaks. You also need to understand how to keep the septic system free of debris. A professional installation team can provide you with this information and help you learn how to maintain the septic system correctly.

Septic tank installation requires specialized knowledge and equipment that is typically beyond the capabilities of most homeowners. To reduce the risk of costly mistakes, it’s best to choose a septic tank installer with a proven track record of providing quality service. Look for a company that provides detailed proposals and answers your questions clearly. Reputable installers will also have well-maintained excavators, backhoes, and transport vehicles that are specifically designed for septic tank excavation.

The septic tank is an underground container that holds all waste discharged from household plumbing connections. The weighty waste masses sink to the bottom of the tank, where bacteria do their work to break down the waste into a sludge layer. The lighter masses, such as oils and grease, float to the top of the septic tank where they decompose into a layer of scum. Liquid wastewater then drains to a distribution box, where it is evenly distributed to the trenches of a drain field or absorption area.

Once the septic tank is in place, it’s usually buried under 6 inches of soil. A vent pipe, which is often located at the top of the tank, lets out gases, including hydrogen sulfide, that are generated when bacteria break down waste. A lid that is securely fastened with baffles and a manhole cover allows for access when the tank needs to be pumped.

It is important that the septic tank is the correct size for your house and household. An improperly sized septic tank can lead to groundwater contamination and other problems. A qualified septic tank installer will perform a soil test to ensure the site is suitable for the septic tank, drain field, and pipes.