How Your System Works:
A septic system has at least two componets: a septic tank and a leachfield or drainfield. Primary treatment occurs in the septic tank, where bacteria digest organic materials in the wastewater. The effluent then flows into the leachfield for secondary treatment. Here, bacteria complete the digestion and purification process as the wastewater slowly leaches or infiltrates into the soil.
This is an example of a Conventional Septic System
Septic System Maintenance
All septic systems will need the septic tank pumped to help keep solids from entering the absorption field and clogging it, how often depends on several factors:
- The size of the tank.
- The number of people using the tank for disposal.
- If you use allot of toilet paper, have a garbage disposal, or any else that you might do that adds extra food or other solids to the septic system.
Most tanks should be pumped from every 2 to 5 years. Regular pumping can greatly increase the life of your septic system. Solids must be pumped to ensure that they are not carried out into the leachfield where clogging can occur. Clogging can cause a septic system to fail or function poorly. Common signs of failure include:
- High surface or standing water in the leaching area.
- Odor or slow drainage from household fixtures.
- Sewage back-up into the home.
Treat Your Septic System Well:
To keep your septic system functioning properly you should NEVER:
- Allow excess amounts of fat or grease to enter the system.
- Use excessive amounts of laundry soap, detergents, bleach or chemical drain cleaners. Large amounts of these chemicals can kill the friendly bacteria that make your system function properly.
- Allow trucks or heavy equipment to drive over the septic system or leachfield.
- Introduce large amounts of water into the system at one time. Stagger water use such as showers and laundry.
Maintenance Of Conventional Septic Sytem:
Most people are familiar with a convetional system, which consist of a septic tank and gravity fed lateral lines for the absorption field. The lateral lines could be pipe and rock, chamber or other variations of these. Maintenance for this type of septic system is fairly basic. Every 2 to 5 years you should have the septic tank pumped, this helps prevent solids from getting into the absorption field which will speed up clogging of the field. Most septic systems of this type do not have an aerator which speeds up digestion of organic materials and allows for an almost complete digestion of suspended solids, so eventually the field will clog up. There are bacterial additives that can be added to a system to clean them up if they are clogged. Also the periodic adding of some bacterial additives can help prevent clogging of the absorption field from accurring.
Maintenance Of LPP:
The LPP or Low Pressure Pipe septic system generally consist of a septic tank, pump tank, and absorbtion field. The absorption field for a LPP consist of a series of lines that are generally 1" PVC with a series of holes drilled in them with pee gravel surrounding them or they may be placed inside chambers. This type of septic system allows for shallower placement where the soil that will not move water efficiently or not at all, is shallower. Maintenance for this type of septic system is the same as the conventional, except that the distribution lines will need to have the sludge flushed out of them and the filter or filters in the tank will need to be cleaned at least once a year.
Maintenance Of Drip Irrigation System:
The Drip Irrigation system will have a septic tank, aeration tank, and pump tank with a disc filter. The disc filter keeps large particles from clogging the emitters in the drip line. The absorption field will consist of drip lines that disperse the water at a slow consistent rate when pressurized. There will also be a return line back to the pump tank there by continually flushing the distribution lines. This helps keep sludge from building up in and clogging the drip lines. This type of septic system is used for shollow placement with very low rates of absorption in the soil. This system is also used to overcome problems with a high water table. Maintenance for this type of septic system should be done every 6 months, this includes checking the aerator, cleaning filter, and flushing the drip lines.