A septic tank is a personal sewage treatment system. They are common in rural areas where there are no municipal sewage pipes for houses, farms, businesses or other facilities to hook into. They are less usual in urban locations.
What your septic tank looks like, how it’s designed and how it’s built depends upon where you live, how it will be used, how much space you have, the features of the surrounding land and the make-up of the soil. Whatever the type, all septic tanks need mindful focus on design, construction, operation and maintenance.
How does a septic tank work?
With a traditional septic tank, your family waste water flows with pipes to an outdoor, underground septic system in which solids settle and separate from the fluid.
Light solids, such as soap suds and fat, float to the top and form a residue layer that progressively thickens till you have the tank cleaned.
The liquid waste streams through a series of pipes to where it is gradually released into the leaching bed. The leaching bed is made up of porous products, such as sand and gravel, and acts as a filter to clean the water prior to it seeps back into the ground.
The heavier solids settle to the bottom of the septic tank where they are slowly broken down by bacteria. But some non-decomposed solids continue to be, forming a sludge layer that have to be pumped out every three to 5 years.
Why is it important to keep a septic tank in excellent working order?
A septic tank constructed to current-day standards and maintained effectively may improve the value of your property, prevent costly replacement or repairs in the future and prevent pollution.
Septic systems that are in good working condition help in reducing the quantity of nutrients that leach into neighboring waterways. These nutrients can contribute to the development of aquatic plants.
Septic tanks in great working condition also lower the threat of drinking water contamination, both to your supply of water and your neighbor’s. This is very important, especially if there are consuming water wells or surface area water.
How will I spot trouble with my septic system?
- If your septic tank is not working effectively, you may discover the following indicators:
- Big quantities of algae growth take place in or around neighboring lakes or water bodies.
- Sinks, showers and toilets back up with sewage or drain gradually.The yard over the leaching bed has patches of unusually healthy-looking turf.
- There are soggy locations, areas with surfacing grey water, or locations with surfacing sewage on or near the leaching bed.
- The yard above the leaching bed is wet.
- There is a sewage smell in your home or over the location of your leaching bed.
- Close by well water tests suggest high levels of nitrates, bacteria, or other pollutants.
- Dosing pumps, if your system has them, run continuously or not at all.
If you feel there is a need to have a contractor look at your system for any reason, click here to read more on a local Vancouver plumber