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All household wastewater from toilets, showers, tubs, and washing machines enters a septic tank. Solid waste sinks to the bottom, forming sludge, and fats and oils float to the top, creating scum. Bacteria in the septic tank anaerobically break down these pollutants into liquid effluent.
You can prevent clogs and costly repairs with regular inspections, treatment, pumping, and maintenance. Learn more about how your septic system works. Click https://www.septictankarmadale.com.au/ to learn more.
A septic tank is a secure system for collecting household wastewater from toilets and drains. It’s common in rural areas that don’t have municipal sewer networks. A septic tank can be made of precast concrete, fiberglass, steel, or high-density polyethylene and is usually buried underground. The number of bathrooms and bedrooms typically sizes septic tanks.
Wastewater flows from home plumbing into the septic tank through a building sewer, which has a baffle or T-shaped pipe that slows and directs the flow downward. The wastewater is held for a day or more in the septic tank, which allows bacteria to break it down and separate solids from liquids. Heavy solids sink to the bottom, and oily waste floats to the top to form two distinct layers. The middle layer is a mixture of liquid and sludge. The wastewater exits the tank through a T-shaped outlet, which should have a screen or filter to block large particles.
As bacteria break down wastewater, they produce gases that need to escape. These gasses include hydrogen sulfide (the smelly stuff that accompanies sewage). A ventilation point in the tank’s lid releases these gases and prevents them from building up to a dangerous level.
In most conventional septic systems, the partially treated wastewater trickles from the septic tank through perforated pipes into an absorption field, or drainfield, in the soil. The absorption field removes disease-causing pathogens and nutrients from the sewage before it is returned to the environment. Some alternative septic systems use pumps or gravity to help septic tank effluent trickle through media such as sand, peat, constructed wetlands, or other materials before it’s discharged into the soil.
The key to a septic system’s success is the bacteria that break down sewage and remove contaminants. To keep the bacteria happy, septic tanks must be pumped periodically to eliminate accumulated solids and sludge. The frequency depends on the size of the tank and the number of people living in the house. New homeowners should ask to see the septic tank maintenance records of the previous owner or have the tank inspected and pumped before moving in.
Septic systems are designed to treat wastewater from homes and businesses that don’t connect to a municipal sewer system. They manage waste through a combination of natural and technological processes that include septic tank purification, an absorption field, and soil filtration.
Waste flows into your septic tank from sinks, toilets, and other drains in your home. The solids that are heavier than water settle to the bottom of the tank, where bacteria break them down. The lighter liquids, including grease and oil, rise to the top of the tank, where they are separated from the wastewater. The liquid, or effluent or wastewater, drains out of the tank through a T-shaped outlet valve into a drain field or absorption system.
The septic tank also contains a layer of sludge that is dense and more solid than the wastewater. The septic system must be pumped out periodically to remove this waste buildup from the tank. The drain field also called a leach field or septic field, allows the liquid waste to seep through and into the soil, naturally treating it with microbes as it percolates into the groundwater.
A distribution box evenly distributes the wastewater from your septic tank into pipes in trenches around the absorption field. Holes in the pipes allow the wastewater to seep into gravel, where aerobic bacteria decompose contaminants and create clean water that seeps into the groundwater and aquifer.
While a septic tank purification system is quite efficient, it does have limitations that require regular maintenance. Keeping up with your pumping schedule is the best way to avoid sludge buildup and other problems in the tank and drain field. You should also limit the amount of waste you put into your system by preventing unnecessary drains, especially garbage disposals and water treatment systems, and by washing clothes and dishes in batches rather than back-to-back.
Finally, please don’t cover the tank or drain field with a driveway, parking lot, or other impervious surface, as this can interfere with its operation and cause problems. Excessive rainfall, rapid snow melt, and flooding from rivers or the sea can also cause the septic system to overflow and fail.
A septic system uses microbes and soil to treat household wastewater. Wastewater enters your septic tank, where solid waste sinks to the bottom and liquid waste floats on top. Helpful bacteria break down some of the solid waste and turn it into sludge and effluent. The liquid waste flows through a pipe that leads to your drain field or soil absorption system.
A conventional septic system usually consists of an underground tank and perforated pipes in the surrounding soil, called the drain or leach fields. The tank provides primary wastewater treatment, removing disease-causing organisms, organic matter, and nutrients. The drainage field treats the wastewater as it seeps through and dissolves into the soil.
Your septic tank has three layers: sludge, scum, and liquid waste. Oils and fats float on top, while heavy solid waste sinks to the bottom of the tank. The liquid waste, known as effluent, exits through a T-shaped outlet valve into the drain field. The effluent passes through a filtration medium, such as gravel-filled trenches or a network of perforated plastic pipes in the drain field. The filtered wastewater then seeps into the surrounding soil, where natural filtering removes harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients.
The septic tank also has a vent that allows the gases produced by bacteria to escape. The gases are mostly hydrogen sulfide, which has a strong odor similar to rotten eggs. These gases must be released to prevent a buildup of pressure that could clog the drain lines or cause the tank to overflow.
To prevent clogs and overflows, have your septic system inspected and maintained by a certified septic professional at least once every two years. It is also recommended that you have the septic tank pumped out every two to five years.
Keep vehicles, heavy equipment, and livestock off the septic tank and system components to avoid damage. Avoid planting large trees and tall plants near the septic system or leach field, as roots can grow into the pipes. Don’t over-irrigate in the drainfield area, as this can saturate the soil and reduce its ability to absorb the effluent. Map out your septic system and label its parts so you can find them when doing yard work or home maintenance.
The septic tank, absorption field, and drain fields all need proper maintenance to ensure their functionality. In addition to keeping up with regular pumping and inspections, there are many things you can do from your home to help your septic system stay healthy and prevent problems.
Limit water usage in your home as much as possible. This will reduce the amount of wastewater that enters the system, which will prevent a clogged absorption field and extend its life.
Keep chemicals, drain cleaners, fungicides, and oil-based paints out of your septic system. These materials can kill helpful bacteria and cause the tank to fill up faster.
A septic tank should be pumped every two to three years. It is important to use a certified septic waste transporter who can properly inspect and measure tank layers and pump your septic tank. A professional can also spot signs that your septic system is getting full and needs attention, such as slow-draining toilets or a gurgling sound.
The inlet and outlet tees on your septic system are vital to the functioning of the absorption field. These tees are designed to let water pass into and out of the septic tank while keeping the scum layer and sludge layer separate. This will prevent the sludge and scum from entering your absorption field, which could lead to a clogged or oversaturated drain field.
The septic drain field or leach field is a network of trenches and pipes where wastewater is biologically treated by soil. It is important to ensure the septic system drain field is correctly sized, constructed, and situated in your yard to prevent oversaturation, damage, and unpleasant odors.
A healthy drain field will not only extend the life of your septic system but will protect the health and safety of you and your family. Keep pets, vehicles, and playground structures away from the septic drain field, as they can compact and damage the soil and destroy the pipe connections. Keep gardens, landscaping, and any other impermeable material away from the septic drain field, as these can block oxygen to the bacteria that break down the sewage.