At least one in every four homes in the United States is installed with septic systems, especially in the rural areas that are not reached by the municipal sewer service. Instead of pumping waste via sewer mains to a central sewage treatment property, a septic facility pumps liquid and solid waste from the household out into an underground septic tank and a drain field.
This article will show you the basic details you need to know about septic tanks and the pumping process. Land Drainage Pipes is also a good choice to make your drainage system smooth. It is a given that they are a critical part of maintaining hygiene and sanity not only in a house but in the entire community. You wouldn’t want to be strolling around with some seemingly rotting smell wafting everywhere, right?
So, without further ado, here we go. Note that these apply for Septic Pumping Services in Oklahoma City.
How Septic System Works
A traditional septic system features all waste and water carried through the drain system by flowing water towards the septic tank via one main sewer pipe. The flow of wastewater may be enhanced with an electric pump or driven by simple gravity.
The septic tank will hold the waste material long enough for the solid wastes to settle to the bottom, while the liquids, oil, grease, and scum will soon float to the top. The liquids that surfaced to the top of the scum layer will flow onward into layers of porous pipes once the tank reaches total capacity. Then the liquids will channel to a drain field, wherein integrated aggregates and other gravels will disperse them.
As bacterial action breaks down the pathogens, the liquids slowly filter down through the soil. The liquid waste then becomes virtually sterile by the time it filters down to groundwater supplies.
On the other hand, the solids in the tank create a sludgy material that settles in the bottom of the tank, primarily due to the effects of anaerobic bacteria, which breaks them down. These solid wastes are significantly reduced in volume as they break down as long as the bacterial action is effective.
Anatomy of a Septic Tank
The septic tank water-tight container made of polyethylene, concrete, or fiberglass buried in the ground in a spot a few meters away from the house. It features an inlet pipe where all waste from the house’s sewer pipe goes through the tank and an outlet that leads to the drain field where the liquids settle after flowing onward.
The top of the tank is invisible since it is slightly buried under the soil surface except for a utility hole cover and one or two inspection tubes used to pump the sludge from the tank when the need arises.
When to Have Your Septic Tank Pumped
Every two or three years, homeowners with assistance from technicians should inspect their septic tank as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The same institution also advises that mechanical pumping should be done every three to five years to rid the tank of liquid and solid waste.
However, annual pumping is recommended for systems that see burdensome use or that are undersized. At least once a year, some components of the septic tank system such as mechanical parts, pumps, and electrical float switches should be inspected.
Pumping is the process of ridding the bottom of the septic tank of heavy sludge, and it is done so that the outlet pipe will not be blocked, hindering the flow of liquids into the drain field. Note that when this is not implemented, the sludge will pile up and can even cause damage to the system, rendering it dysfunctional.
The following are some of the factors to consider to determine the frequency of pumping:
- Household Size: It is a given that larger houses or buildings predictably fill up the septic tank more quickly as they generate more waste.
- Amount of wastewater generated: As raised earlier, the sheer volume of wastewater flowing into the system can affect the pace at which a septic tank fills up.
- The amount of solids in the wastewater: The septic tank fills up faster for households who frequently use garbage disposals and those with multiple toilets.
- Size of septic tank: Larger tanks will need less frequent pumping since they can accommodate more solid sludge.
To determine when you should have your tank pumped, there are ways you can consider for estimation. Let’s cite an example. Let’s say you are a family of four with an average four-bedroom house which is expected to have a 1,200 – 1,500-gallon tank. With that volume along with typical use, you should be pumping the tank every three to five years.
How a Septic Tank is Pumped
Aside from the earlier step of estimation, you can tell when it is time to pump the sludge from the septic tank when you have a septic service professional who regularly inspects your tank. If you notice, the scum layer that settles between the floating water and the sludge is generally within about six inches of the outlet pipe towards the drain field.
Aside from vacuum equipment, the septic service comes with a large tanker truck, and skilled technicians inject a large hose into the septic tank. That is done through a manhole while it becomes visible after the cover is taken out. A technician typically stirs the solid and liquid wastes in the tank to break up the solids using a muckrake. That is done while the truck’s vacuum sucks out the wastes in the septic tank. To make pumping more efficient, the technician mixes the solid materials with the liquid wastes.
The average expenses for pumping a septic tank ranges from $200 to $500 depending on the size of the tank and the area in which you live.
Tips for Maintaining Septic System
To ensure that your septic system functions efficiently, there are several proactive measures you can undertake. These measures will also lessen the frequency with which pumping has to be executed. Among them are:
1. Reduce water usage
To significantly decrease the amount of water that flows into the septic system, consider using high-efficiency and water-saving plumbing toilets. Another way to lessen the overuse of water that can cause the septic tank to fill faster is by repairing drips and leaks.
2 Reduce solid wastes
An alternative approach to keeping the septic system functioning properly is monitoring the solid waste entering the facility. Expect that the septic system will experience overburden when trash either gets flushed or washed down the drain. That is why it’s important to refrain from utilizing garbage disposer that channels organic food wastes into the septic system. Also, avoid flushing any material other than toilet paper down the toilet. Although it only takes a little effort, throwing things in the trash can make a significant difference in the efficiency and effectiveness of the septic system.
3. Channel rainwater away from the drain field
Landscape grading and downspouts that channel water onto the septic system’s drain field can hinder its capacity to disperse water from the septic facility.
4. Refrain from draining hot tubs into the drain system
When you drain hot tubs into the drain system, expect unwarranted pressure on the septic facility. You should then drain water from swimming pools or hot tubs away from the drain field and into the yard.
5. Refrain from putting chemicals down the drain
Avoid flushing chemicals down the drains as they interfere with the bacterial actions that break down solid wastes. Among these common chemicals are commercial septic tank additives, which are usually more damaging than helpful. Again, refrain from using any septic tank chemicals unless a trusted professional has prescribed such.
6. Regularly maintain and inspect your septic system
How do you ensure that your septic system is in its optimal condition? That is by regularly maintain and inspect the system. Note that routine maintenance can lengthen the life of your septic system. To review and monitor your system with the frequency your septic system requires, consider reaching out to a certified on-site system maintainer. Here are the factors or parameters to consider:
- Every three years for gravity systems
- Annual inspection for pressure distribution systems
- Proprietary system including drip irrigation, membrane bioreactor, aerobic treatment unit, and other items. Do the clean-up and inspection of these aspects annually or more depending on the manufacturer’s requirements.
- Annual clean-up for mound or sand filter systems.
7. Landscape with Love
What is the best cover for your drain field and septic tank? You might be surprised to know that the simple answer is grass. For landscaping purposes, you can also use other species of plants with shallow root systems. Even septic pumping services in Oklahoma would highly recommend such. Not only would you expect high efficiency and effectiveness but also an aesthetic view of your surroundings. Enjoy strolling around while relishing the refreshing views of your landscape without having to worry about a rotten-like smell.
So there, you have the fundamental things to know about septic tank management and its roles. If you’re new to operating or maintaining one, consider tapping Septic Pumping Services to provide practical guidance at the budget-friendly level.