Maintenance For Your Septic Tank System

By on February 4, 2019

Sewage disposal is universal among buildings; in fact, even the ancient Romans and the Harappan civilization near present-day India had primitive plumbing systems in their buildings, and today, sewage disposal is more efficient and leak-resistant than ever. Buildings and homes in a city or town will usually be connected to a public utility for disposing of sewage, but for about one in four American homes today, more often the rural ones, a septic tank may be used instead, and septic cleaning and septic pumping should be done every so often so that this system can stay clean and in good working order. A clogged or damaged septic system may quickly result in backed up toilets or other issues in the home, so the owner of a septic tank should be diligent about septic tank treatment as needed, and if so, their sewage disposal will continue to work smoothly. How do these systems work, and what can be done if there are problems with the septic tank or the pipes connected to it?

How A Septic Tank Works

This is an alternative method to public sewage disposal when such public services are impractical in a certain area. Instead, a home will make use of a septic tank, and septic systems are self-contained. Once used water from the toilets, sinks, bath tubs, and more flow from pipes and into the tank, the work begins. Here in the septic tank, many species of benign bacteria will start breaking down solids in the waste water, and this results in solids settling at the bottom (they will never leave the tank), and fats and oils floating to the top, with the cleanest part of the water in the middle. Generally, a septic tank will be big enough to contain two days’ worth of waste water, since it takes about that long for solids to settle out.

Now, the relatively clean water fill flow deeper into the system, and pass through a filter found on the tank as the water enters new pipes. At this point, the water will blow along pipes that have nozzles or holes in them, and the water will leak out of these pipes and into loosely compacted gravel, soil, and more bacteria colonies, and all this acts as a natural filtration system for the water emerging from the pipes. This water can soak back into the natural environment in what is called the drainage field, and now the process is complete.

Care for Septic Tanks and Systems

This system may need routine maintenance and care so that it can continue to function at its best. For one thing, the septic tank will have to be cleared out every so often, since there is no way to dispose of the sludge otherwise. A long measuring stick, sometimes called a “sludge judge,” will be used to determine the sludge’s level, and once a tank is one third to half full, it is time to call in professional crews to clear it out. These crews will dig up the tank and use a truck’s pumps to draw out all the sludge, and the tank is now empty and ready for more work.

Owners of a septic tank should also check the filter found on the tank, and if this filter is clogged, water may not pass through to the pipes, and if it is damaged, dirty water fan flow through and compromise the system. An owner should not simply remove a clogged filter, however; it should be cleaned off, repaired, or replaced as needed, then put back so that it can keep filtering water. What is more, vehicles should never be allowed to flow across the drainage field, since the weight of vehicles will compress the soil enough so that the gravel and dirt block the water from flowing, and this can cause issues for the system. Meanwhile, the pipes may become clogged or coated with grime over time, and crews can be hired to dig them up and blast them clean with pressurized water, or repair or replace damaged pipes. A homeowner should also be careful to not allow solids like cigarette butts or diapers into the system, since they don’t break down the way regular waste water solids will.

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