Septic Systems: The Inside Story - Two Main Causes of System Failures


Article by: Gil Strachan

How well do you understand septic systems? To see if you know enough about these systems, try to answer the following questions.

Septic Systems: Do you know...?

Do you know what a septic system is and how it works?

Do you know what causes septic systems to fail?

Do you know what it costs to replace a faulty septic system?

Do you know that a faulty septic system creates a potential health hazard?

Most people know very little about their septic system. This is understandable. In urban and suburban areas there are sewers to carry household , Wallpaper Doesn't Just Cover...It Defines The Room waste to municipal wastewater treatment plants. , Bunk Bed Basics In most rural areas however, septic systems provide the function of both sewers and treatment plants. , How To Hang Your Billiard Lights All household , Why You Should Consider Staining Your Concrete Floor waste is disposed of through the septic system. The proper operation of the septic systems is essential to health, property , A Guide to Choosing the Best Security Mailboxes value, and the ecology.


Hoisting a 1200 gallon septic tank from a truck.Following these hints, and observing the warning signs will help to ensure a long-lasting sewage system, avoid expensive repairs , The Most Often Overlooked Aspect Of Bathroom Remodeling or replacements, and protect everyone's water , How the Grandfather Clock Got Its Name supply.

1. Have the septic tank pumped out every two to three years. This will remove the accumulated sludge and scum which would other wise reach the tile , Do-it-Yourself Roofing, Is It Advisable? Some Tips and Guidelines field and cause blockage resulting in a malfunctioning sewage system and costly repairs. , How To Hang Your Billiard Lights This is the single most effective means of ensuring a long-lasting sewage system.

2. It is always wise to practice water , Breathe Easier with the Help of an Air Filter conservation.

3. Use soaps and detergents which are low in phosphates. Most automatic dishwashing detergents contain high concentrations of phosphates.

4. Do not flush hazardous chemicals such as paints, , Using Colors in Your Room varnish, thinners, waste oil, pesticides, photographic solutions, etc.

5. Do not flush coffee grinds, dental floss, disposable diapers, kitty litter, sanitary napkins, tampons, cigarette butts, condoms, fat, grease or oil, paper towels, etc.

6. Commercial septic tank additives are not necessary and not recommended.

7. Do not allow vehicles including snow , Purifiers Q&A: Water And Air Purifier And Filter Basics machines and ATV's to park on or drive over your sewage system.

8. Divert roof , Decorating On A Dime drains, surface water, , Beautify With Awnings and Save Money on Your Energy Bills sump pumps , Spice Up Your Bedroom With Paint and house , In Praise of Satin -- Wordy Pleasures in Mind inDeed! - Sheets of fun or just Fun in sheets? footing drains away from the sewage system.

9. Sewage systems should have a good cover of grass, , Radiator Cover ventilation and sunlight. Trees , Inexpensive Comfort Found In Portable Air Conditioners and shrubs , Bunk Bed Basics should not be planted over sewage systems. However, trees , Beautify With Awnings and Save Money on Your Energy Bills and shrubs , How the Grandfather Clock Got Its Name planted between your system and a water , Green Building: The Time is Now! course would be beneficial.

10. Be alert to these warning signs:

* Sewage surfacing over the tile , Asphalt Shingles field

* Sewage back-up in the house

* Mushy ground or greener grass

* Slow draining toilet or other drains

* Sewage odors

THE INSIDE STORYLowering a tank into place

Waste is piped out of the house , In Praise of Satin -- Wordy Pleasures in Mind inDeed! - Sheets of fun or just Fun in sheets? into the first chamber of a concrete , Water Treatments box called a septic tank.

Organic solid material floats to the surface and forms a layer of what is commonly called "scum." Bacteria in the septic tank biologically convert this material into liquid.

Inorganic or inert solid materials and the by-products of bacterial digestion sink to the bottom of the tank and form a layer commonly called "sludge."

Only fairly clear water , Tips for Designing with Hardwood Floors should exist between the scum and sludge layers. This water , Treatments fills the second chamber of the tank where it becomes even more clear. It is this clear water , Great information regarding sauna selection - and only this clear water , Selecting the Right Kitchen Sink - that should be allowed to over flow from the tank into the drainage tiles , Simple, Organizational Tips For Cleaning Your House in the absorption area, commonly called "the field" or "the bed" or sometimes "leaching field."

Solid material overflowing into the soil , Beautify With Awnings and Save Money on Your Energy Bills absorption area should be avoided at all costs. It is this solids overflow which clogs soil , Beautify With Awnings and Save Money on Your Energy Bills pores and causes septic systems to fail.

"Two main factors cause solid materials to build up and overflow: Bacterial deficiency and lack of sludge removal."

Septic tank in place, , Using Colors in Your Room ready to be connected to the house , Under Floor Heating and the tile , Ceramic Flooring- The Healthy House Choice bed. Bacteria must be present in the septic tank to digest the organic solids. Normal household , How To Hang Your Billiard Lights waste provides enough bacteria to digest the solids, unless any harm is done to the bacteria. Bacteria are very sensitive to environmental , Inexpensive Comfort Found In Portable Air Conditioners changes. Many home-care products , Do-it-Yourself Roofing, Is It Advisable? Some Tips and Guidelines used in most homes , Quick Tips for Carpet and Rugs: Softness Under Foot today will destroy bacteria. Check the labels of these products , In Praise of Satin -- Wordy Pleasures in Mind inDeed! - Sheets of fun or just Fun in sheets? to see if they are "Septic Safe" or "Safe for use in septic systems."

A Pretty Good Rule: "Shock the pool, not the septic system!"

For more in-depth information , Storage Shed Plans about septic systems, their care and maintenance, including diagrams and illustrations - visit Homes , Wood Vs. Metal Loft Beds (Bunk Beds) A-Z in the Library.
Copyright Gil Strachan - All rights reserved.

Gil Strachan is a professional home , A Guide to Choosing the Best Security Mailboxes inspector, representing Electrospec Home , Purifiers Q&A: Water And Air Purifier And Filter Basics Inspection Services in east-central Ontario, Canada since 1994. Visit to learn more about home , Negatives of Using Geothermal For Your inspections.

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