Septic tank maintenance is not just for people who live on a farm or out in the country in Georgia. The future costs of a septic tank has a lot to do with the initial septic tank installation. It is imperative to have a licensed septic tank company to install your new septic tank system.
- Solids must eventually be pumped from the tank. Many experts advise a family of four with a 1,000-gallon septic tank to have the tank pumped after three to five years of full-time use. Other experts say you can go much longer between pumping operations.
- Never attempt to open a septic tank yourself. It contains dangerous gasses and bacteria.
Protect the System from Damage
- Do not drive over the septic tank drainfield, build a structure on top of it, or cover it with concrete or asphalt.
- Plant grass on the drainfield to minimize soil erosion.
- Don’t flush or pour non-biodegradables and chemicals down the drain. These can clog the septic tank and its drainfield; certain chemicals can kill bacteria that help break down solids.
- Avoid using a garbage disposal
- Use septic safe products and chemicals
- Then every few years have the septic tank pumped (this will depend on amount of use)
Septic Systems: The Inside Story
Septic Tank Sewage Treatment Systems
These provide a very crude method of treating sewage for properties which are not connected to mains drainage. Many septic tank systems throughout the world are never maintained and so do not work properly and pollution control laws exist to try to limit the amount of environmental and health risks they cause. These laws are getting tighter, and minimum standards have been put in place for new or replacement septic systems. In many cases you will need to install a sewage treatment plant system instead. Always get the sewage system checked by a wastewater system expert prior to purchasing a property in order to prevent a pollution problem.
Types of Septic Tank Systems Available
There are various types of septic tank systems. They consist of an underground septic tank in differing shapes and sizes, which then connects to a secondary soil treatment system, usually a land drainage system in the form of a soakaway or drainfield, or a mound soakaway.
How a Septic Tank works
Raw sewage and wastewater from baths, kitchens, etc. discharges into the tank, where the solids are separated from the liquid waste. Fats and oils float to the top of the tank and form a crust layer. Faeces and food scraps sink to the bottom of the tank and form a sludge layer. Anaerobic bacteria which are natural colonisers in the tank "digest" this sludge by up to 70%.
The dirty septic water flows out of the tank to a soakaway or drainfield. Baffles or 'T' pipes in the tank hold back the floating crust and prevent it from entering the outlet of the tank. In order that the sludge and crust layers do not become too deep, septic tanks should be emptied annually. This also prevents a higher and higher concentration of suspended solids washing out into the soakaway. Solids can block the air spaces in the soil drainage system, creating a drainage problem and the septic tank effluent will not be able to soak away or be treated by the natural soil bacteria.
Variations in Septic Tank systems
Traditional septic tanks comprise of two rectangular chambers: the first one being 2/3 of the whole and the second 1/3, usually built in brick or concrete. Strict design rules are in place and septic tanks must be designed in accordance with BS 6297 1983. The inlet pipe into the first chamber ends in a 'T' pipe which travels down the at least 450mm (18") below top water level (TWL), and the chamber must be a minimum of 1500mm (5'-0") deep from TWL. This first stage chamber is usually twice as long as it is wide. The pipe from the first chamber into the second chamber consists of an 'H' pipe and the bottom of the pipe is a min. of 300mm (12") below TWL in the first chamber and 450mm (18") below top water level (TWL) when it enters the second chamber.This second stage chamber is usually square. The outlet pipe from the second chamber of the tank also consists of a 'T' pipe with the bottom of the pipe 300mm (12") below TWL.
Site Conditions and Installation
Most sites in the UK are not suitable for septic tank systems. Either the soil contains too much clay or is too porous, or the winter water table or bedrock is too near the surface. If the soil is clay, then it will not soak the septic effluent away and if it is too coarse it will not retain the effluent long enough for treatment. You could consider a non-electric sewage treatment plant instead. Sometimes, it is possible to adapt a septic system to suit a basically unsuitable site, but this requires careful planning and design by an expert. As a general rule, if the site has either insufficient soil depth, or the wrong type of soil, it is not suitable for a septic system. Always contact your Building Inspector before deciding on a septic system.
The size of a septic system, both the tank and the soakaway area, is determined by the number of bedrooms in the house and porosity of the soakaway soil. A septic system cannot work if it is overloaded, so always bear in mind any plans you may have for extending the property before you decide on the size of the septic system. Increasing the size later results in a ruined garden.
Finally, always check with the Environment Agency and you local Building Control before deciding on a septic system in [post_name]. They will have a very good idea as to whether it is likely to work in your area and could save you thousands of pounds in replacing an unsuitable septic installation.
Septic Tanks - Ensuring Water Quality
For many people, the science behind new technologies that have been developed to clean sewer drains couldn't be more mundane. Not many homeowners in [post_name] care much about methods to unblock a badly clogged drain until it becomes necessary for them to use the technology for themselves. High pressure water drain jetting is a relatively recent development that allows drain cleaners to literally blast obstructions out of your drains, but it doesn't just consist of a hose that sprays a stream of water. Instead, high pressure water drain jet systems are sophisticated pieces of equipment that often cost tens of thousands of dollars.
High pressure water jetting isn't the right choice for every kind of clog. Simpler clogs can often be fixed by a less expensive sewer snake or other means. If your drain has significant problems from layers of heavy built up debris and grease, however, the drain jet is the best option. Although it is slightly more costly, a professionally applied high pressure drain jetting can make your blocked pipes look and operate like new again.
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