About 25% of homes in the US use septic systems. Septic systems are typically found in areas without sewer lines. Therefore, these areas need septic companies to inspect, pump, and maintain septic systems. It is also beneficial for owners of homes with septic systems to know all about septic systems because proper maintenance requires proper usage of the septic system.
A typical homeowner should have their household septic tank pumped every three to five years. If properly used and maintained, then a septic system can function smoothly without running the risk of contaminating groundwater.
A septic system consists of a septic tank and a drain field. Waste from the household passes through the tank as solids collect at the bottom, where it decomposes. Inorganic waste matter in the septic tank will not decompose and will pose a threat to your system.
Waste water drainage is the next step. With solids at the bottom of the septic tank, waste water at the top flows into pipes that further filter bacteria and pathogens before finally releasing the waste water to the drain field. Thus completing the septic sewage treatment system.
Septic systems are used in areas without sewer lines, to treat wastewater from households. The treatment of wastewater happens in two stages, in the two areas of the septic system – the tank and the drain field. Septic systems need maintenance and also regular inspections to ensure that they function properly. An improperly maintained septic system can lead to bad odors and unhealthy conditions, and even pollute groundwater. Regular inspections and pumping by septic services are necessary to maintain a septic system.
How does a septic system work?
A septic system consists of two parts, the septic tank and the drain field. Wastewater from the household, from kitchen, laundry and bathroom use, collects in the tank. The tank separates solid and floating waste from the water, and breaks down and decomposes organic matter. The effluent or remaining wastewater passes through pipes to the drain field, which is also known as the soil absorption field.
The soil absorption field provides the second stage of wastewater treatment, where the effluent passes through sand, organic matter like sawdust or peat or other materials to filter bacteria and pathogens. The soil field also removes nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants from the wastewater before releasing it into the soil or surface water or letting it evaporate. Some systems disinfect the wastewater as the final step in treatment.
Does a septic system need maintenance?
Septic systems need regular inspections from professional septic services to ensure that they are functioning properly. An improperly maintained septic system will release untreated wastewater into the soil or surface water, polluting the groundwater and contaminating aquatic life in the area. Because about one fourth of all homes in the U.S. use septic systems, the potential for groundwater contamination is high, unless these are properly maintained.
Besides professional inspections and maintenance, residents should keep in mind that everything that goes down the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry drains will end up in the septic tank. While solid waste will be broken down and decomposed by the bacteria in the septic tank, chemicals will not be treated or removed before they reach the groundwater. Chemicals like drain opener and paint thinner can also destroy the bacteria that break down the solid waste in the septic tank, and should not be washed into the septic system.
How often should a septic tank be pumped?
A septic tank should be large enough to hold two days usage of waste water from the household. It takes that much time for the solid waste to settle, before the remaining waste water can be moved to the next stage of treatment in the drain field.
Septic pumping is used to remove the settled solid waste from the tank. For most households, it is usually done every three to five years. Inspections should be carried out every three years. The frequency of pumping can depend on factors like the number of people living in the house, the amount of wastewater and the volume of solids, and the size of the tank.
Septic systems must be properly maintained to avoid groundwater pollution and health risks to the household. Professional septic services can provide regular inspections and maintenance to ensure that the system functions properly.