Septic systems treat wastewater from homes. Disease-causing germs and environmental pollutants are broken down by bacteria in septic tanks. Solids settle into sludge and scum layers, while liquid waste flows to the drain field.
Limiting garbage disposal use minimizes extra solids entering the septic tank. But even this doesn’t eliminate the need for frequent pumping.
Inorganic Septic Tank Treatment are powders, liquids, or tablets that you pour into your toilet to limit the buildup of scum layers in your septic system. They contain solvents such as trichloroethylene and methylene chloride that break down fats, oils, and greases. They are usually the most cost-effective septic tank treatment option.
In addition to solvents, some inorganic septic tank treatments contain oxygen-enhancing compounds that add oxygen to the septic tank contents. These products increase the aerobic bacteria in the septic system, making them more effective at breaking down sewage. The oxygenation of septic tanks also helps to control odors and slows the decomposition of solid wastes in the septic tank.
Other products are marketed for their ability to remove phosphate and borate-containing detergents from wastewater. These chemicals are the primary contributors to pollution in waste water systems. Phosphorus removal products may reduce eutrophication in lakes and streams by limiting the amount of phosphorus entering surface waters.
Some septic tank additives are made of natural ingredients such as baking soda, yeast, or enzymes that improve the condition of the bacteria in the septic tank. They are the most environmentally-friendly septic tank treatment options. However, they are not as effective as inorganic treatments. Products containing bleach, which contain chlorine, are not recommended. Adding bleach to a septic tank can kill the aerobic bacteria and cause the septic system to fail prematurely.
Biological treatments include a range of products marketed as “septic tank cleaners, restorers and rejuvenators” that are intended to provide extra bacteria to a septic system in order to break down solids. These products are typically made from organic or inorganic substances and come in the form of household drain cleaners, detergents and septic tank additives.
Most septic system additives work by providing bacteria with food in order to encourage the growth of their colonies within a septic tank. These septic tank additives are marketed as a way to boost the number of bacteria present in a septic tank so that it can digest more waste, remove odours and prevent blockages.
The problem is that the process of using septic tank additives to feed bacteria is counterproductive. The whole reason that septic tanks are designed the way that they are is to allow bacteria to naturally separate waste materials into distinct layers. Solids fall to the bottom, creating a sludge layer and fats rise to the top, creating a scum layer. Bacteria inside the septic tank are then able to break down these solids and liquefy the greases. Adding septic tank additives to the septic system disrupts this natural process and can lead to overcrowding of bacteria in the septic tank, which can result in a lack of digestion and a clogged drain-field.
In addition to additives, the other most important part of a septic tank treatment plan is regular pumping. Solid waste that accumulates in the tank can clog the soil absorption system and lead to costly repairs. Your pro will recommend a pumping schedule based on the tank size and household usage.
Water from sinks, bathtubs, and washing machines flows into septic tanks where the heavier waste settles to the bottom (forming a sludge layer), while lighter fats, oils, and greases float to the top (forming a scum layer). The wastewater is then discharged through a series of porous pipes to a drain field that contains gravel or other aggregates to help disperse the liquid waste. Bacteria in the soil then neutralizes pathogens before the wastewater percolates into groundwater supplies or enters surface water bodies.
A septic tank should be pumped whenever the sludge layer reaches 25 to 33 percent of the liquid capacity or when the scum layer is more than 4 to 6 inches thick. Pumping removes the sludge and scum, allowing the bacteria to continue breaking down the remaining waste. When choosing a company to perform septic tank pumping, get written estimates from several professionals and ask for references. Be sure to have a safe working space for the contractors and keep house pets and large animals away from the tank opening.
A septic tank is a large, underground, watertight container into which wastewater from toilets, kitchens and laundry flows. Solids settle at the bottom of the tank where microorganisms reduce them to sludge. Liquid sewage leaves the tank through perforated pipes into a drain or leach field, where it absorbs into the soil.
A homeowner needs to maintain a septic system just as he or she would any other home improvement project. Keeping up with routine inspections and pumping is essential. A septic tank that becomes too full of sludge can overflow, contaminating the environment and posing a health hazard.
In addition, a septic system owner should avoid putting anything into the drains and toilets that could damage the tanks or the absorption field. This includes cleaning products, which can kill the bacteria that septic systems rely on to break down wastes. The owner should also be careful when using a garbage disposal, as this increases the amount of solids in the tank and can result in clogs in plumbing.
The owner of a septic system should also make sure that the drainage field is not covered with any impermeable material, such as concrete or asphalt. This can prevent the system from functioning properly, as the soil must be able to allow oxygen into it in order for bacteria to work.