Septic Tank Problems

Septic Tanks

A properly designed, constructed and maintained septic system
should be virtually trouble free. Unfortunately things do go wrong and problems
with the septic tank are usually the cause. But since they are buried, out of
sight out of mind so to speak, it’s not until a nasty odor starts to hang over
the property that the homeowner is aware that something is amiss.

There are several things to watch for that will indicate if you are indeed
having issues with your septic system. First, as mentioned earlier, is bad
smells emanating from various areas of the house. The smell may be coming from
toilets or drains, or it may just be lingering with no real identifiable source.

Toilets that flush slower then normal or backed up drains may also indicate a
problem. Of course this may be nothing more then a clogged drain or pipe but if
plunging or snaking doesn’t fix the problem then it is probably a septic system
problem.

How to do it

You may also notice the proverbial “the grass is always greener over the septic
tank” actually coming to life. If the grass over the septic drain field is
noticeably more lush then surrounding areas, particularly during dry weather,
this may be an indication that there is an issue with the tank.

There are a variety of things that may cause these problems and we have listed
them out below.

1. Failure to get the septic tank pumped out at regular intervals. Proper
maintenance will keep most septic systems running smoothly and number one on the
maintenance list is regularly scheduled removal of built up solids and sludge.

2. Flushing non-biodegradable or slow to degrade items down the toilet or sink
drains. Sanitary napkins, paper towels and cotton balls are all able to cause
clogs in the systems pipes and the tank. Plastics and Styrofoam are even harder
on septic systems as they are nearly impossible to break down and should never
be flushed if at all possible.

3. Pouring cooking oil and grease down the sink drain will also cause major
issues. It does not break down quickly and will cause clogs in the inlet and
outlet drains as well as in the upper chamber. It can also cause odors and make
pumping out the tank more difficult.

4. Limit the amount of food particles put into the system. While garbage
disposals are a great convenience septic systems aren’t designed to break down
food wastes.

5. Too much or too little water in the system can also create problems. Excess
water in the system can force sludge and solids into the drain field pipes
resulting in clogs and environmental hazards. It can also cause a system failure
resulting in expensive repairs.

Not enough water is also detrimental and can lead to a die off of the bacteria
that breaks down the sewage. These bacteria are responsible for neutralizing the
nitrogen that build up in septic tanks.

6. Inadequate tank ventilation can be another problem. Vents are used to ensure
adequate airflow through the system and keep the pressure within the tank
equalized. If these vents get plugged or don’t work correctly there is a good
chance that bad odors will result.

7. Dumping chemicals, paints, solvents, herbicides or pesticides into a septic
system can cause un-repairable damage resulting in a complete system replacement
elsewhere on the property. It can also cause harmful damage to the environment
that could take many years to fix before returning to normal.

The best way to prevent septic tank problems is to follow the 7 points listed
above and get the tank pumped out and inspected regularly. For most systems this
is about every 2 to 3 years. Doing so will minimize potential problems and
ensure that your system will work efficiently year after year.

For millions of people living in rural settings septic tank
pumping is a fact of life. With the closest municipal sewage hookup miles away a
properly maintained and working septic system is vitally important and getting
it pumped out at regular intervals is a part of that maintenance.

In this
article we will look at why getting it pumped out regularly is so important, how
it is done and about how much you can expect to pay for this service.Septic Tank Maintenance
Living the rural lifestyle has its advantages for those who wish to avoid the
hustle and bustle of a more urban environment.

It also means that certain
services aren’t readily available including access to a municipal sewage system.
In these cases a self contained waste management system or septic system is
needed and the septic tank is the most important part of this system. It only
makes sense then that regular maintenance is an important part of keeping the
tank and the rest of the system in good working order.

Septic Tank Installation

Septic tank installation is a pretty straight forward process but homeowner’s
need to be aware that there are codes, regulations and zoning ordinances in
place to ensure the entire septic system is installed correctly. To make sure
that these rules are followed and the system is suitably designed for the
property in question it is a good idea to hire a designer or contractor who is
very familiar with all local, state and federal codes.

Septic Tank Maintenance

When You Ned Septic Tank

Living the rural lifestyle has its advantages for those who wish to avoid the hustle and bustle of a more urban environment. It also means that certain services aren’t readily available including access to a municipal sewage system. In these cases a self contained waste management system or septic system is needed and the septic tank is the most important part of this system. It only makes sense then that regular maintenance is an important part of keeping the tank and the rest of the system in good working order.

If you currently own or are thinking of buying a home with a septic system you may be wondering why is septic tank maintenance so important? As the system is used sludge, grease and other solids build up in the tank and failure to pump it out can lead to a clogged up system.

When It Stops Working

This can lead to backups and overflows which can cause damage to not only your home but also the environment. It can also cause damage to the system which can lead to expensive repairs or in some cases an even more expensive scenario, replacement. In the case of environmental damage the home/property owner is responsible for any damage and can face criminal charges and fines.

If you look at what a septic tank is you can see why maintaining it is important. It is what its name says it is, a tank that collects everything that is put down a homes drains and toilets. It has an opening at both ends, one connected to the house to accept the waste water and one at the opposite end that allows liquids to flow into the drain field. All the solid waste settles to the bottom and like any tank it will fill up sooner or later.

Maintenance

There are really two parts to proper septic tank maintenance; pumping/cleaning and what gets put into it.

Determining how often the system need to be cleaned depends on the system itself and how it is used. First you have to factor in how big the tank actually is. Most tanks are of the 1000 to 1500 gallon variety. The second factor is the amount of use the system gets; how many people are consistently using it, is there a washing machine and how often is it run, what about a dish washer and is it run daily.

Scheduling

A general rule of thumb is that for 1 to 2 people the tank needs maintenance every 4 to 5 years while 3 to 4 people will up the cleaning schedule to every 2 to 3 years. For even larger families or a system that gets excessive usage it may require pumping out and cleaning every 1 to 2 years.

What gets flushed down the toilet and flows down the sink drains can also impact the maintenance schedule of any septic tank. Septic systems are designed primarily to deal with sewage and water, anything else that gets put into them can cause problems. Paper towels, cotton balls, sanitary napkins or any other solid materials that are slow to degrade or are non-biodegradable causing the tank to fill up faster then normal and can cause clogs requiring expensive repairs or replacement.

Inspections

A full system inspection is probably the most important part of any septic tank maintenance program. This should be done every time the tank is pumped out by the pumping service. It will add some extra cost to the on-site visit but it is well worth the cost when you consider how much system repairs and replacement can cost.

A full septic system inspection included with septic tank pumping will include:

1. A thorough examination of the tank after it has been pumped and cleaned.

2. Checking all the components of the home plumbing system as this can also have an effect on system performance. Connections will be checked and water run through each fixture to ensure there is proper water pressure throughout the system. Running water through the system will also give the inspector the opportunity to make sure that waste water is flowing into the septic tank in an acceptable fashion.

3. The drain field needs to be inspected. A visual inspection of the ground over the drain field will be done to make sure there are no signs of system clogs. If there looks like there is a problem small cameras mounted on a plumbers snake can be used to inspect the pipes going into the drain field.

Keeping your septic system working efficiently requires proper maintenance practices throughout the year. Get it pumped out at regular intervals, avoid flushing non-biodegradable or hard to degrade items into it and get it inspected regularly will go along ways towards extending the life of the system. It will also prevent problems that could lead to expensive repairs.Septic Tank Pumping ArticlesSeptic Tank Pumping For millions of people living in rural settings septic tank pumping is a fact of life. With the closest municipal sewage hookup miles away a properly maintained and working septic system is vitally important and getting it pumped out at regular intervals is a part of that maintenance. In this article we will look at why getting it pumped out regularly is so important, how it is done and about how much you can expect to pay for this service.

Septic Tank Problems

A properly designed, constructed and maintained septic system should be virtually trouble free. Unfortunately things do go wrong and problems with the septic tank are usually the cause. But since they are buried, out of sight out of mind so to speak, it’s not until a nasty odor starts to hang over the property that the homeowner is aware that something is amiss.

Septic Tank System Design

Designing a septic tank system is an important part of building a home that does not have access to a city sewer system. In fact serious consideration must be given to where the septic system should be placed on any property before the final house design is decided on. Doing so can mean saving thousands of dollars on the design and construction of the septic system.

How Does A Septic Tank Work

Basically a smaller version of a municipal sewage treatment plant a septic system is made up of two parts; the drain field and the septic tank. These types of waste management systems are common in rural settings and areas that do not have easy access to city services. The key to this type of sewage system is the septic tank, without it the outhouse would still be a common site along the many back roads and country lanes.

The most common type of septic tank is made of concrete and is essentially a rectangular box that is divided into chambers. You can also get tanks made of plastic and fiberglass which have the advantage of not weighing as much as a concrete one. They are easier to maneuver and don’t require heavy equipment to install. The disadvantage is that they can and will float, so areas that have high ground water or are prone to floods should avoid these types of tanks.

So how does a septic tank work?

Basically it works by running the waste effluent through various stages inside the chambers that separate its internal makeup. The first chamber is the largest as it collects all the household waste water from the inlet pipe. As organic solids, commonly called sludge, enter the first chamber they settle to the bottom. The sludge is then broken down and digested by different bacteria, some anaerobic but mostly facultative bacteria that produces a combination of carbon dioxide and methane gas. This helps stabilize the sludge and stops it from rotting. Most of the sludge will stay on the bottom of the tank but a small amount will float forming a layer of scum.

Sludge

All septic tanks are designed to allow the sludge to spend a maximum amount of time being exposed to the digestive bacteria’s. They do this by locating the inlet, overflow and outlet pipes diagonally across from each other. The pipes
for the overflow and outlet are also vertically placed, forcing waste material to flow upward between stages. This makes the effluent travel a longer distance before entering the next phase of processing, furthering the break down of waste products during each phase.

After the semi-processed waste water leaves the first chamber via the vertical pipe overflows it enters the second chamber. Forcing the waste water to go upward prevents large solids from getting into the second chamber. The same processes are in place in the second chamber as in the first as the organic matter is further digested and settled by bacterial microorganisms. The second chamber is normally about half the size of the first chamber and as a result the effluent only spends about half as long processing before being discharged into the drain field.

Drain

The outlet to the drain field is located in the opposite corner from the overflow into the second chamber. Only waste water should be flowing into the drain field as all solids should have settled out into one of the two septic chambers. The waste water is further filtered and purified by the soil in the drain field before it is taken in by plant roots or filters downward to any ground water that exists in the area. The size of the drain field will be dependent on soil types and porosity.

Design

Most septic tanks and systems are designed to use the pull of gravity to allow a natural flow of waste effluent from the home to its final destination in the drain field. In some instances the lay of the land may not be conducive to a gravity fed system so a pump or pumps may be needed.

The way in which septic tanks work is pretty straight forward. They use natural processes and time to effectively break down household sewage. This protects not only homeowners and their families but also their property and the environment.

For millions of people living in rural settings septic tank pumping is a fact of life. With the closest municipal sewage hookup miles away a properly maintained and working septic system is vitally important and getting it pumped out at regular intervals is a part of that maintenance. In this article we will look at why getting it pumped out regularly is so important, how it is done and about how much you can expect to pay for this service.

Septic Tank Problems

A properly designed, constructed and maintained septic system should be virtually trouble free. Unfortunately things do go wrong and problems with the septic tank are usually the cause. But since they are buried, out of sight out of mind so to speak, it’s not until a nasty odor starts to hang over the property that the homeowner is aware that something is amiss.

Septic Tank System Design

Designing a septic tank system is an important part of building a home that does not have access to a city sewer system. In fact serious consideration must be given to where the septic system should be placed on any property before the final house design is decided on. Doing so can mean saving thousands of dollars on the design and construction of the septic system.