conventional-septic-tankHomes that aren’t hooked up to a public sewage system often have a septic tank and drain fields to handle their wastewater. This type of setup is also referred to as an individual wastewater treatment system. All of your wastewater from the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry flows into this system and is eventually returned to the environment through the drain fields. It is the septic tank’s job to clean this wastewater before introducing it back into the ground.

What Is a Septic Tank?

A standard septic tank is made from precast concrete, heavy-duty plastic, or metal. It is designed to hold all of the wastewater exiting a home, providing a storage place for solid wastes to accumulate until they are broken down and processed out of the system. Older versions consist of a single compartment, whereas newer models typically have two  or three compartments. The tanks are available in different capacities, ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 gallons.

How Does a Septic Tank Work?

Knowing how a septic tank works is critical to understanding the importance of having it cleaned regularly. An inlet is located on one side of the tank. This is where all of the waste from your home enters the system. The bacteria inside the tank help to break down the solid waste.

Three layers are created during this process. The top layer of organic solids floats to the top of the tank and is called “scum.” The inorganic solids, which are referred to as “sludge” drop to the bottom of the tank. In between these two layers is a liquid known as the “effluent,” which is actually treated wastewater that is ready for expulsion into the environment. The effluent is transferred through an outlet that directs it through a draining system on its way to designated area known as the drain fields.

Three Important Reasons to Clean Out the Septic Tank

No matter which size or style of septic tank you have it is important to have it cleaned regularly to ensure that it is working properly. Unless you take care of your system, eventually it is going to fail. Here are three important reasons to arrange for septic tank cleaning.

Good Health: An improperly maintained septic tank leads to significant health risks created when inadequately treated wastewater drains into your yard, well, and surface water. A severely neglected tank might even cause backwash to flow into your home, introducing bacteria into it.

Financial Savings: Maintaining your septic tank through regular cleanings is less expensive than replacing it. When your tank is properly cleaned, the service technician can examine the tank for signs of structural damage, including cracks, leaks, and issues created over the years by the settling of the tank.

Property Value: If you decide to sell your property, an inspection of your septic tank could reveal problems that indicate the system hasn’t been maintained properly for years. As a result, you could lose a potential sale. You might be asked to reduce your asking price or be required to replace the system.

The Overall Picture

If you fail to clean out your tank regularly, the layers of sludge and scum begin to take over, thickening and growing in volume until little room is left for the effluent to exist and do its job. As a result, solid excrement enters the draining system each time that water enters your septic tank. If solids are permitted to overrun your drain fields in this manner, they can lead to clogs or a breakdown of the field’s ability to process wastewater properly. Solid wastes should never exit the tank in this manner. They are supposed to remain stored there until such time as you have the tank cleaned by a professional septic cleaning company.

Since most tanks are designed to hold only three years’ worth of waste, it is recommended that you have you arrange for septic tank cleaning after three years of use. If you use your home for large gatherings on a regular basis, frequently use the garbage disposal, or suspect a problem, it is recommended that you have your septic tank cleaned more frequently.

Champion Plumbing

If your septic tank needs cleaning or maintenance, give Champion Plumbing a call today to receive $30 off your next septic tank cleaning or inspection. Just mention this blog or see our San Antonio plumbing coupons.