How to Take Good Care of a Septic Tank
A septic tank is an invisible essential for many homeowners. It holds waste in a discreet underground container and properly maintained septic tanks can last a long time. However, septic tanks do eventually run into problems, especially if they aren’t cared for.
Most people don’t know all about septic systems, even if they own one. Septic tanks are essentially individual wastewater treatment systems that are automated and expected to run well without interference over years. Homeowners rarely think about hiring septic tank cleaning services unless there is a major backup and the septic tank stops working. However, septic tanks should be maintained and pumped out before they reach that level.
Installation of a new septic system can be expensive and involved because the process usually involves burying the system underground. How much is a septic holding tank? New sewage holding tanks for sale can be as little as $1500 or upwards of $5000, depending on size and quality. An investment like this is worth protecting with regular maintenance and frequent inspections so that it won’t need to be repaired or replaced for a long time.
Running water is taken for granted today, and the same is true of sewage disposal. Long gone are the days of chamber pots, and modern water utilities, sewage pipes, and water processing plants make convenient plumbing possible. Most buildings today are connected to these public utilities, but rural properties are too far away to connect, and instead make use of septic tanks and septic systems on their land. In fact, around 25% of all American homes make good use of these septic tanks, and of course, such hardware may need attention from time to time. So, septic tank services can be called upon to fix or clean up anything in the system, and septic pumping is essential to keep the tank running correctly. What might septic tank service crews do for you, and how does a septic system work, anyway? What might go wrong with this model of plumbing and waste disposal?
The Basics of Septic Disposal
A septic tank system is self-contained, and all necessary hardware is found on the property, operating independently. To begin, waste water is flushed from the house and through sewer pipes, and it all collects in a large underground septic tanks. A typical septic tank may hold hundreds of gallons of material at once, and should hold at least two days’ worth of wastewater. Inside this tank, bacteria colonies will start breaking down organic waste, and the broken-up waste settles to the tank’s bottom to form a thick sludge. Meanwhile, fats and oils float to the top, and relatively clean water is found in between these two layers. This may take two to three days, and once that is done, the water will pass through a filter grate for further cleaning, and go deeper into the system.
Now, the partially clean water will pass through a branching series of pipes that are found just under the soil’s top layer, and hole and nozzles all over those pipes will allow the water to leach right out. Loose soil, gravel, and bacteria colonies will further clean and scrub that water, acting as natural filters as the water re-enters the natural water system. By now, the process is complete. What sort of problems may arise with this system, though, that call for septic tank services?
Calling Upon Septic Tank Services
A septic system is largely automated and quite convenient, but the overall system will still need some care and maintenance on the homeowner’s part. For one thing, take note that the sludge building up in the septic tank has no means of exiting the system, so it will keep building up more and more. To track the tank’s sludge levels, the homeowner can insert a long stick, or a “sludge judge”, and see how full the tank has become. Once the tank is one third to one half full, it is time for septic tank services to be called. Pump crews will arrive on the scene with a truck, which carries a disposal tank, pump, and a large hose. Crews will unearth the tank’s hatch and open it. Now, the hose is attached, and all waste matter inside is pumped out, leaving a clean tank. This may be done once every few years or so.
If a septic tank is quite old, such as around 20 years old or so, then it may start leaking, and that can be a real problem. Once a tank is this old and worn out, the owner may decide to hire septic tank services who will dig it up, and then replace it with a brand new one. If necessary, that new tank may be even larger than the old one. Don’t forget the grate filter, either, since it may become clogged or damaged over time, which interferes with the normal filtration and flow of water. That filter can be cleaned off or repaired, or in some cases, replaced entirely with a new filter.
The pipes under the drainage field, meanwhile, might become clogged on the inside with sediment and waste over time, which restricts water flow. To fix this, crews can be hired to dig up those pipes, scour their insides clean with pressurized water, and then bury them again, ready for work.