What Is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a buried, watertight container that holds the wastewater long enough for solids to settle down to the bottom and form sludge while fats and oils float to the top and form scum. Compartments and an outlet baffle prevent sludge and scum from exiting the tank and traveling into the drain field area.

The septic tank is the main part of an onsite wastewater treatment system for residential properties. It is designed to store, handle, and break down human wastes before they are pumped into the soil. Septic systems also function to eliminate the need for public sewer lines, which are a potential health risk and a costly disruption to property owners when they become damaged. Click https://www.septictankarmadale.com.au/ to learn more.

septic tank

Wastewater from the toilets (called blackwater) and drains of sinks, bathtubs, showers, washing machines and dishwashers (called greywater) runs into a drainage pipe that leads to the septic tank. The tank holds a mixture of liquid and solid human waste. Heavy solids settle to the bottom and are broken down by anaerobic bacteria to form sludge. Lighter solids, such as fats and greases, float to the top of the septic tank where they are attacked by anaerobic bacteria and form a layer of scum. Effluent, the liquid left over after scum and sludge have separated from the wastewater, then flows into a distribution box. The tank outlet connects to a septic system drain field, where perforated pipes distribute the filtered water through layers of gravel into the soil.

When the septic tank is working properly, it drains the sewage into the drain field without producing any overflow problems or clogging. However, if too much water is sent into the septic system at one time — for example, several people taking long showers at the same time — the tank will fill up too quickly and overflow into the distribution pipe. This can result in a clog and the need for pumping.

To help prevent this, homeowners should make sure they only use a garbage disposal when absolutely necessary, and are careful not to dump excessive amounts of wastes down the drains. Additionally, it is important to plant grass and keep trees and other long-rooted plants away from the absorption field area. These can cause roots to invade the pipes and clog the tank or the drain field. Lastly, regular septic system pumping will reduce the frequency of tank clogs and repairs.

The drain field is the last stop for wastewater before it is released into the soil. After the septic tank, the wastewater travels through a drain field, where it is further treated and filtered by gravel and soil microbes. Without the drain field, wastewater would flow freely into the soil and flood the area around the septic tank and house.

Wastewater flows from the home through pipes to the septic tank, where bacteria begin to decompose the waste materials. The heavy solids settle to the bottom of the septic tank and form sludge. Oils and grease float to the top and create scum. The liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the septic tank through an outlet, which should have a screen or filter to block large particles.

The effluent then flows to the drain field through perforated pipes buried underground. A drain field is typically a series of downward-sloping, shallow trenches of gravel or stone, surrounded by a geofabric or similar material to prevent the septic tank’s wastewater from seeping into the surrounding soil. The septic tank’s wastewater is further filtered in the drain field and then slowly released into the ground.

In a traditional septic system, the drain field’s wastewater treatment is accomplished by bacterial decomposition and filtration. The bacteria in the drain field reduce many of the organic and inorganic wastes from the sewage, which allows the water to be safely absorbed into the soil.

If you’ve noticed a strong smell of sewage in your home or yard, it may be because the septic tank is not functioning properly. This is an indication that a clog has developed in the septic system’s ventilation, which traps septic gases like methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. These gasses are not safe for the environment or your family to breathe.

One of the best ways to prevent problems with your septic system is to never pour anything but toilet paper, human waste and waste-free food down the drains. Fats, oils and grease should be poured into the garbage or trashcan instead of down the drains. These substances can build up in your septic tank, clog the outlet and cause a backup. They can also build up in your drain field and clog or destroy the pipes that run to it.

While civilization has been trying to improve sanitation for millennia, it wasn’t until the early 1860s that septic systems and tanks became a regular part of living. It was a bit of a fortuitous accident, too! In 1860, French inventor John Mouras built a concrete and clay tank to store his home’s wastewater. He used it for 10 years, and when he went to empty it, he found that it was nearly empty with only a small layer of wastewater scum on the top. He realized that natural bacteria in the septic tank broke down solid waste before it could enter the leaching field. This new system was a huge success, and it made its way to the in 1883.

A septic tank is a watertight container that collects all the water that drains from your house, including toilet, kitchen, and washing machine waste. It separates the solid waste from the liquid wastewater into 3 layers: sludge, effluent, and scum. Sludge is the bottom layer that is comprised of sewage, household cleaners, and cooking grease. Fats and oils float to the top and form the scum layer. Liquid waste is the middle layer called effluent, and it flows out of the septic tank through a baffle. The watertight septic tank keeps the sludge and scum from entering the leaching field where they could pollute groundwater and contaminate surface waters.

After World War II, the population boom put a great strain on waste-treatment centres and many smaller cities and rural areas began using septic systems to remove wastewater from homes. Today, the septic tank is still an important component of the onsite wastewater treatment system that serves many homes in the area. It works in conjunction with a leaching field and pipes to remove wastewater from houses that aren’t connected to the city’s sewer system.

Since then, septic tanks have been improved upon with the addition of risers and effluent filters. Regulations regarding minimum septic tank size and water tightness have also been established to ensure that septic tanks and the surrounding drainage fields aren’t polluting groundwater or contaminating rivers, lakes, and streams. The best septic tanks are made of high-quality concrete, but plastic and fiberglass models are also available. Regardless of the type, your septic tank should be tested at least once every three to five years for faecal coliforms, suspended solids, biological oxygen demand, and nitrate levels.

Septic tanks require regular maintenance to function properly. This is to ensure that the solid waste is broken down and the liquid waste flows out of the tank into the drain field unimpeded. Solid waste that is not broken down or that floats to the top of the tank will flow out into the drainage field and clog it. This waste can also leak out into the ground, which could pollute drinking water.

After the wastewater leaves the septic tank, it moves to a drainage field or absorption field that is usually located under the lawn or in a gravel trench. This is where the wastewater is absorbed into the soil by microorganisms and grass that grows over it. This is a very important step in septic system treatment because it removes most of the contaminants from the wastewater before it reaches groundwater.

A good way to maintain your septic system is to limit the amount of water you use. This will prevent the system from becoming overloaded. You should also avoid flushing anything other than human waste and toilet paper. This includes feminine hygiene products, condoms, baby wipes and other items that can clog the drainfield. You should also keep trees and other long-rooted plants and shrubs away from the drainfield area, since their roots can invade and clog the pipes and absorption field.

It is also important to have your septic tank pumped regularly. The standard rule is that a septic tank should be pumped every one to three years.

In addition to regular septic tank pumping, you should have the drain field checked on a schedule. A professional can tell you how often to have it inspected and what frequency of cleaning is needed. It is a good idea to save all records of work done on your septic system. They will come in handy if any problems arise or if you decide to sell your home. This will help the new owner understand how to care for the septic system and extend its lifespan. This is especially important since a septic system can be very expensive to replace.