A septic system is a mini water treatment plan which is responsible for holding, treatment and disposal of household water-waste. Household water-waste contains bacteria, harmful chemicals, and viruses which may affect our health adversely. In order to protect ourselves from such health hazards, installing septic system is necessary.
How does septic system work?
A typical septic system has four main components: a drainage pipe, a septic tank, a drain field, and the soil. The septic tank is a buried, watertight container where the initial process of water-waste treatment takes place. The septic tank is typically made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene.
Septic tank has a major role of holding the water-waste long enough to allow solids to disintegrate, and oil and grease to float to the surface. The partially purified water-waste is then discharged into the drain field for further treatment. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet in the septic tank prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and flowing into the drain field area. Micro-organisms in the soil provide final treatment by removing harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients.
Most contaminants of the water-waste are digested and removed by the microbes. The microbes-purified water finally reaches the groundwater.
Information for Homeowners
Homeowners are the sole caretaker of the septic system. As a home owner, it is your responsibility to maintain your septic system. All the homeowners must be well aware of the working principle of septic system, its importance and maintenance. In order to lessen the problems of the septic system, it is crucial to not only know the working principle but also how to maintain it regularly. Proper septic system maintenance will help keep the system up and running, and fulfill the purpose of your investment. Failing septic systems can contaminate the ground water and also pollute nearby rivers, lakes and coastal waters.
How do I maintain my septic system?
Inspect and Pump frequently
You should have your septic system inspected at least every three years by a professional, and your tank pumped accordingly. Your service provider should inspect for the leaks as well as the scum and sludge layers in the septic tank. Under the guidance of an inspector, you will know how often pumping is required. When the septic tank is pumped regularly, after prescribed time intervals, the septic tank is at less risk.
Use water efficiently
Most of the problems in septic system arise when water is used carelessly. If we use less water then there will be less water-waste. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day. The more water a household conserves, the less water enters the septic system. Dripping faucets add a lot of unnecessary water to your septic system. Therefore, it is recommended to use water efficiently and be careful about leaks and drips.
Watch your drains
The next important step is to take care of your drainage system. Do not flush any material that could clog and damage septic system. The things such as floss, feminine hygiene products, diapers, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, cat litter, paper towels, and other kitchen and bathroom waste could pose a great threat to the septic system. In addition, flushing household chemicals can stress or destroy the biological treatment taking place in the system, as well as contaminate surface waters and groundwater.
Why should I maintain my septic system?
Maintaining septic system is quite crucial, despite the fact that it’s troublesome. It can save you from many health-related and environmental issues in the long run. The maintenance could be costly and time-consuming in the beginning. But all these troubles seem completely justified when compared to the ultimate damage, a failing septic system can cause.
When a system fails, it lands up contaminating the under-ground water, which unfortunately is the drinking water source for many. Drinking contaminated water can put your health at great risks. Further, it pollutes the soil. Contaminated water and polluted soil degrade the environment immensely. But when septic systems are in proper working order, most of the health issues and environmental hazards are reduced or eliminated.
Here are few important reasons why maintaining the septic system is important.
One of the main reasons to maintain the septic system is to save money. Once your septic system fails, it is expensive to repair or replace the entire system. The various components must be thoroughly checked surmounting huge cost. It is therefore recommended to maintain your septic system by inspecting it every three years. However, the decision of when to inspect totally depends on the size of the system and a number of people living in your house.
You can choose whether to replace the entire septic system or maintain it by having a regular inspection of your septic tank. Septic system maintenance is definitely important to avoid the costly repair as well as for hygienic living.
Protect Health and Environment
Another good reason to maintain the septic system is to protect health and environment. The household waste comprises of harmful chemicals, which, if left unfiltered, can spread contagious diseases. Clean water sources are one way to keep the viruses and bacteria at bay. We can only protect our health and environment when household wastes are treated. In order to treat them, it is necessary to have our septic systems maintained regularly.
Things to keep in mind
- Plant only grass over and near your septic system. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs might clog and damage the drain field.
- Don’t drive or park vehicles on any part of your septic system. It can lead to serious damages in septic system components such as soil and pipes.
- Keep roof drains, basement sump pump drains, and other rainwater and surface water drainage systems away from the drain field.