Septic System Maintenance

This article will help the reader with some general information regarding living with and maintaining a septic tank system and drain field. We will offer some general information estimating the cost of pumping out a septic tank system and the frequency explaining how often should a septic tank be pumped out? This article will also advise the reader as to simple “Do’s and Do Not” addressing house hold products and chemicals that could be inadvertently disposed of in the sinks and drains possibly damaging the septic system tank and drain field.

Septic system maintenance is and important part of maintaining a home. When a septic system malfunctions, it disrupts the entire household, not to mention the cost factor involved with the repair or even replacement of the system. Considering the fact that the cost of replacing a septic tanks and drain fields can run from $2,500.00 to the $60,000.00 range, depending on the geographical location of the home should motivate home owners to do everything in their power to ensure their septic systems are well maintained and performing properly.

Garbage disposals should not be installed if your home has a septic system. If your home already has a garbage disposal, only occasionally turn the unit on to control the odor that will occasionally build up. Using a garbage disposal as a trashcan will result in solid waste food particles accumulating in the septic tank.  Eventually, this accumulation of non-digested food will flow out into the drain field creating a bio-mat, clogging the drain field.

Anti-bacterial hand soaps and household cleaners containing phosphorous and other bacterial killers can damage the natural occurring bacteria enzyme found in the septic system, disrupting the digestion process creating a buildup of solids in the septic tank. Without the natural occurring bacteria creating the digestion process, solid organic matter will migrate out to the drain field, converting into a black tar like organic substance commonly referred to as bio-mat. Bio-mat will clog the gravel that make up the septic tank drain field restricting the leaching process that is essential to the function of the drain field system.

Depending on the number of people living in a home, a septic tank will require pumping every 2 to 4 years. The typical cost will range depending on your geographical location. The cost can vary from $125.00 to $1,500.00. One of the key factors determining the pumping cost is the fee the pumping contractor pays for disposing of the waste. Ensure the pumper contractor inspects the septic tank system for cracks or any sign of dampness around the tank or over the drain field. Look for discoloration of well fertilized green grass over the drain field. This is a clear indication the system is failing.

Minimize the amount of water you use. Reframe from taking long 40 minute showers. Septic systems are typically designed to handle in the range of 400 gallons of waste water per day. This will add up quickly with a large family causing septic system failure.

Septic tank additives that contain beneficial bacterial enzyme enhance the growth of bacteria helping to digest solids and offset the destructive chemicals that find their way into our system.

Take care of your septic system by performing scheduled maintenance on a regular basis and this will help to ensure a safe, problem free septic system providing the home owner with years of service.

Septic System Basics 101

Septic systems as we know them have been around since around the 1800’s and maybe as far back as the Romans era. Today virtually 25% of all households in America use on site waste water septic systems to filter waste generated by the residence. These individual septic systems are usually located in rural areas of the country where city sewer systems are not available or would be too expensive and in practical to install septic system drain lines connecting rural residence to city waste water facilities.

There are several types of systems available on the market today including, gravity fed systems, pressure septic systems, mound type septic systems and sand filter septic systems. The most common onsite septic systems are the standard concrete septic tank and drain field system. This type of septic system is usually made up of a concrete 1000 gallon septic tank and a drain field consisting of a gravel stone bed and perforated schedule 40 PVC pipe. This type of septic system is very basic and considered a gravity fed type system.

Septic systems use a process referred to as digestion. Bacteria enzyme produced by the human body work to reduce or eliminate toxic gas odors and break down organic solids matter into effluent before they migrate into the drain field and leach into the ground. Natural bacteria found in the soli will complete the digestion process before returning the water or filtered effluent back to the water table.

There are a few factors to consider in choosing and determine the size and scope of a septic tank system and drain field. The first factor to consider is the ground or soil absorption rate. The local sewer inspector or engineer will performed a perk test that will measure the rate at which the water is absorbed into the ground. If the water drains slowly during the perk test, then the septic system and drain field will be larger to accommodate for the slow leaching rate. The second is the number of bedrooms and the square foot of the home. Every municipality has their own set of regulations and standards that home owners and builders must comply with. Check with your local sewer authority for a complete list of rules and regulations regulating your municipality.

Performing septic system maintenance on your septic tank and drain field is crucial if you want to maintain optimum performance with your septic system. Have your septic tank pumped and inspected every two to four years. Septic tank additives with beneficial bacteria enzyme will help to offset the use of anti-bacterial hand soaps, chemicals and soaps containing phosphorus commonly used in most households. This will reduce the possibility of septic system failure and ensuring a healthy septic system, ensuring the home owner years of problem free service.