What You Must Know About Septic Tank Care

The very idea of indoor plumbing and running water dates back to the days of the Roman Empire, when lead-coated pipes were the norm. Today’s water utilities, treatment plants, and sewage systems are of course much more advanced, to meet modern demand and sanitation standards. In cities and some towns, houses and other properties are all connected to these public utilities, but some rural properties are too remote for that. Instead, around 25% of American homes are making good use of septic tanks and drainage fields, which are independent and self-contained systems that can dispose of all waste water and return it to the natural water cycle. For the most part, these septic tanks and filtration systems run automatically, but septic tank services or septic pumping crews may sometimes be hired to help if something goes wrong. What is there to know about septic tanks and septic system repairs? And how does such a system function, anyway?

Standard Operation of a Septic System

A rural property will have all of the hardware it needs on its land to completely clean all waste water, from the septic tank to sewage pipes to a drainage field, not to mention various filters. To begin with, waste water is flushed from the house and down sewer pipes, and all of it is deposited into a huge septic tank underground. Such a tank may hold hundreds of gallons of content at once, or at least two days’ worth of dirty water. Inside this tank, over the course of two to three days, bacteria colonies will break down organic waste into particles, which then settle at the tank’s bottom to form a thick sludge. Fats and oils will float to the top, and relatively clean water is found in between. Soon, this water will pass through a filter grate for further cleaning, and the water proceeds deeper into the system.

Now, this partially clean water will flow through a series of branching pipes that are found just under the soil’s surface, and those pipes have nozzles or holes that allow the water to leach right out. All of this takes place in the drainage field, and bacteria colonies, loose soil, and gravel act as natural water filers that further purify and scrub that water clean. Now, the fully clean water re-enters the natural water cycle, and the process is complete.

Hiring Septic Tank Repair or Cleaning Crews

A septic system’s operation is largely automatic, but the hardware will sometimes need repair, cleaning, and other upkeep to keep functioning at its best. For one thing, take note that the sludge inside the septic tank has no means of leaving the tank, so it continues to build up over time. The homeowner may insert a long stick known as a “sludge judge” to measure the tank’s sludge level, and once the tank is one third to one half full, the time has come for septic pumping. Crews can be hired for this, and they will arrive with a tank that mounts a disposal tank, pump, and large hose. The crew will unearth the septic tank’s hatch, attach the hose, and draw out all waste matter inside, leaving behind an empty tank. This may be done once every few years or so.

If that septic tank is very old, though, such as 20 years old or more, it may get worn out and start to leak. That can be a real problem, so a very old tank can be dug up and replaced with an entirely new one with professional help. A new tank might be larger than the old one, if need be. Meanwhile, a septic tank’s water filter grate may be clogged or damaged, and that interferes with regular water flow and filtration. The grate should be cleaned, repaired, or replaced as needed.

Also, the pipes in the drainage field may build up sediment or other waste on the inside, which restricts water flow. Crews can be hired to dig up the pipes, blast their insides clean with pressurized water, and then bury them again, ready for work. No vehicles should drive across the drainage field, though, since their weight compresses the soil and blocks water flow for the septic system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

RSS
Follow by Email