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Septic tanks: installation, maintenance, pumping and general care

Septic tanks: installation, maintenance, pumping and general care

Posted on 30 Jul 2013 by Biorock

It is never a pleasant experience when a septic tank breaks, and there is often an incredible amount of pressure to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible. At times like this, consumers are well advised to stop, take a deep breath and count to ten. A broken septic tank may seem like the end of the world, but it is actually a somewhat common experience. Instead of panicking and calling the first septic repair crew in the phone book, start to consider the options. After all, very few wise decisions are made by people in a hurry. Instead, carefully thought out decisions are typically the best, and a wise decision in this case might save one a substantial amount of money.

While most cities and even many smaller towns have at least one company that can handle septic tank repairs, the damage to the septic tank might be easy to repair without outside assistance. If one has free time and a moderate amount of skill with tools and/or the ability to follow instructions, there is a good chance that the septic tank repairs can be completed without outside assistance. If one is worried that they may not be up to the challenge, then perhaps calling a firm that specialized in septic tank repairs is a good idea, but what harm could there be in taking a look? Sure, it may not be the most appealing thought, but even investigating the problem can help save one a lot of money.

Some septic tanks are two-tank systems with one tank inverted, or placed upside-down, on another septic tank. The seal between these two tanks is often one of the first things to erode due to bacteria, but earthquakes and heavy vehicles driving too close to the septic tank can also cause the delicate seals to break. Digging up the tank can be dirty work and time consuming, but a seal is an easy-fix, often costing less than GBP 50. Seals need to be patched, and then patched again in order to be truly safe. After the second patching, a solid polymer-seal is often applied, and then the entire area needs to be buried. In some cases, it might take only a few hours to complete the inspection and a few more hours to patch and bury a broken seal.

Broken septic tanks with physical cracks can also be broken, but one would do well to bring a digital camera with them and use it to e-mail their local hardware store pictures of the damage. If the septic tank is broken in one area, it may be nearly broken in other areas. Worse, the internal bacteria may have escaped and need to be repopulated in order to ensure the efficacy of a septic tank. Having a professional offer advice at this stage is important, and be prepared to consider the possibility that a septic tank needs to be replaced.

Septic Tank Problems

You will not know if you need to do septic tank cleaning if you do not know any of the signs that point to problems with your septic tank. It is best to know the signs of a problem with your septic tank instead of being caught by surprise. Here are signs that you need to watch out for to find out if your septic tank has any problems:

  1. Your septic tank has a buildup of sludge.
  2. Failure to install your septic tank correctly that leads to easy sludge build up.
  3. Loose and faulty connections that can lead to damage and fast sludge build up.
  4. A blocked flush that leads to build up of solid waste in your septic tank.

These are clear signs that you need to do septic tank pumping. A blocked septic tank causes slow flushing and poor sewage drainage. Your water may also become discolored if you do not fix the problems with your septic tank immediately. A poorly functioning septic tank will also affect the other water systems in your house. A damaged and overflowing septic tank can slow down the drainage of faucets and showers. It is best to do the necessary septic tank pumping to return to the normal functioning of your septic tank.

Septic Tank Care

Septic systems are still in use today among regions where a connection to the main sewerage cannot be established. It has been reported that at least a quarter of the British population is dependent on these systems that basically make use of a septic tank for treating human waste. As a sewage treatment system, it has to be placed underground where it can handle the wastewater all the way through the drain field. And just like any other mechanisms, a regular septic tank care is required to ensure the efficiency of this system.

Over the time, the septic tank might become full and inefficient unless checked out for drainage problems. Understanding the whole process that takes place in this sewerage system will give you the idea about the possibilities of septic tank malfunction. First, the wastewater enters the tank through an inlet pipe. Solid wastes are settled at the bottom of the tank while the water flows above. When another surge of wastewater comes in, the tank releases the content that has been there into the drain field. However, due to cloggings around the pipes, the whole process of sewage treatment is affected. The tank may refuse to hold incoming wastewater and the excess gush of water into the drain field might give way to its insanitary overflow. Periodic septic tank care and maintenance is therefore needed to prevent this thing from happening.

Guidelines for septic tank care

The guidelines for septic tank care may vary depending on the size of the system, as well as the amount of waste that it accumulates. Still, the basics of maintenance work are usually the same for all septic systems. Here is a list of tips that one should consider for septic tank care:

  • Pump Out the Tank – The sludge layer that the tank accumulates can get too much over the time, causing the tank to malfunction due to overload. Hence, it is important to get rid of these solid wastes at least once every three years. Hire a professional sanitary engineer or a local septic pumper to get this task done.
  • Do not Dispose Garbage Unto the Septic Tank – Solid wastes differ from the garbage in a sense that they can be broken down by the bacteria located inside the tank. Garbages are simply the stuffs that you carelessly drop into the drainage system. These can be cigarettes butts, diapers, and other toiletries. These stuffs can cause cloggings around the pipes since they often refuse to settle down at the bottom of the tank. They cannot be treated so they are left to float inside the tank.
  • Conserve Water – Not only it will lessen your monthly bill, but also it will prevent the septic tank from accumulating too much wastewater. Controlling the amount of water that goes through the drainpipes is perhaps the easiest technique in septic tank care.
  • Avoid Draining Oil along with Wastewater – Oil or grease that goes with wastewater can cause clogs along the drainpipes. The scum layer that floats above the wastewater should not be very thick in order for the tank to work properly. For a better septic tank care, separate the disposal of grease and wastewater. Too much oil will only plug the system because it does not dissolve with wastewater. All in all Septic Tank Care is not so complicated.

A lot of work is put into the maintenance of septic tanks and septic systems so the consumer won’t have to replace them, but sometimes it’s impossible to avoiding replacing a septic tank or replacing a septic system. Whether it is from an old tank or problems that have already occurred, tanks don’t last forever and there will come a time when every septic tank will need to be replaced. Knowing about septic tank installation, or who to call when you need a new septic tank, is important information to keep in your back pocket.

It’s not recommended to attempt septic tank installation without proper assistance, and if done improperly might even be illegal, causing government fines. The actual septic tank installation boils down to three basic steps: installing the pipe from the house into the septic tank, installing the septic tank, and setting up the drain field.

Improperly installing any of these can cause serious damage to your property, as well as the aforementioned utilities. Certain requirements for installation performed by the homeowner can be found in the Uniform Plumbers Code, and there are step-by-step guides available to help with home septic tank installation, though it is not recommended that you install the 5-ton septic tank by yourself or without some professional septic plumbing assistance.

There’s also the issue of septic system cost. A brand new septic tank, usually in plastic, is usually upwards of a thousand pounds, and depending on how advanced the filtration system is, the septic system cost ends up being more than twice that. The new septic system cost can be even more expensive than that, depending on how durable it is, how long it’s supposed to last, and how much it can hold. We advise you to consider the price of a full BIOROCK sewage treatment system prior to take a decision.

Though it might seem like a large difference in the immediate future, installing a brand new septic system is not an easy task, so it’s advised to pick quality and work out the payments over time, as opposed to hoping the cheapest tank holds up. It’s also important to know where to buy a septic tank. Hardware stores and home repair companies can often help you out, but considering the sheer size of the tank, your system might take a few days to be delivered. Buying a tank is better to do face-to-face, so you can ask as many questions as you like and make sure you’re getting a tank that works for your family and your property.

Replacing a septic tank is not the home-improvement project that homeowners get excited about, but it’s something that needs doing about every fifty years, so if you’re in it for the long haul it’s important to get the right septic system for your family and make sure the septic tank installation is carried out properly.

Septic Tank Emptying

Keeping your septic tank in top shape isn’t just about having professionals looking at your septic system. Septic tank maintenance is also about how you treat your septic system in terms of what you dispose of in the toilet or in the sink.

Septic Tank Pumping

Many people do not know that there is a relationship between septic tank pumping and septic tank pumping cost. The septic tank is designed, in part, to separate elements and continue the process of filtration.

Septic Tank Pumping Tips

Septic tank pumping is an essential maintenance you need to do to keep your septic tank working properly. This is also true for BIOROCK primary tanks. A blocked septic tank will lead to many problems. It is best to keep your septic tank cleaning. Septic tank pumping is one way of keeping your septic tank clean and effective at what it does best.

Septic Tank Pumping Cost  

The cost of pumping your septic tank ranges from GBP 200-300. The cost is affordable especially when you do not have the time or lack the knowhow to maintain your own septic tank. It is best to clean and pump your septic tank on a regular basis to avoid overflowing. A clogged septic tank will affect the different water systems in your house. Regular septic tank pumping will help maintain your septic tank.

Important Pumping and Maintenance Information

Septic tanks are an important part of on-lot wastewater disposal systems used in commercial and residential areas. These large tanks remove settleable and floatable solids from wastewater. Typically tanks were single chamber but today a septic tank is more likely to be a multi-chamber tank that receives raw wastewater from a residential building, commercial building or single-family home. These tanks are typically located in rural areas. The negative most often cited concerning the use of septic tanks is the septic tank pumping cost. Proper maintenance, regular pumping and cleaning of these tanks can reduce the cost associated with using a septic tank.

To reduce the costs property owners should adhere to simple tips concerning maintenance, cleaning and pumping of septic tanks. A properly sized septic tank can hold up to three years of sludge and scum. The sludge contains the heavier materials and can be found at the bottom of the tank. The scum contains the lighter particles that float to the surface of the tank. As much as 50% of the solids retained in the tank will decompose over time while the remainder accumulates in the tank. If the tank is not properly maintained and pumped on a regular schedule too much sludge can accumulate and the wastewater’s solids will flow to the soil absorption field which will then contribute to system failure. In order to prevent this from occurring the tank must be pumped periodically, inspected, cleaned and maintained properly.

Frequency of Septic Tank Pumping

The frequency of septic tank pumping will depend on several factors including the capacity of the tank, the volume of wastewater which will be determined by the size of the household or business and the amount of solids found in the wastewater. A typical 3 person household may go through an estimated 1500 liters of daily flow while a family of 7 may have a 3000 liters daily flow. The family of 7 will require a tank size of 7000 liters while the family of 3 will only need a 3000 to 4000 liters size tank. If a family of 2 has a 2000 liters tank they could go 2.6 years between pumpings while a family of 4 with the same 2000 liters size tank would need to pump it out every year. If a family of 5 had the same 2000 liters septic tank they would need to pump it out more frequently approximately every 0.7 years between pumpings. If the size of tank would be increased to a 4000/4500 liters tank that family of 2 could go 5.2 years between pumpings and the family of 5 could go 1.7 years between pumpings.

The household size and tank size does make a difference in how many years a household can go between pumpings. However, homeowners in the habit of having their septic tank pumped out every two years may further enhance the effectiveness of the on-lot wastewater disposal system. It benefits the system to have a rest period after pumping so it is recommended that if possible the pumping should occur the day before the family leaves for a summer vacation. The rest period allows the entire system including the soil absorption area to dry out. In the absence of water any partially decomposed organic waste that may have moved into the soil absorption area during pumping will have the opportunity to decompose while there is no water flowing into the tank. When a septic tank is pumped out the material pumped is known as “septage”. Septic tank pumping cost will depend on several factors including the accessibility of the tank, how well the tank has been maintained, and the condition and size of the tank. Normal costs will start around GBP 150.

Septic tanks Maintenance

Once you have pinpointed the problems with your septic tank it is about time to perform the necessary maintenance to return it to its old form. Here are some tips that you can follow to keep your septic tank from overflowing and help it perform better for you:

  1. When you clean and pump your septic tank, you not only remove the waste but also remove the good bacteria that process the waste material. To avoid removing the good bacteria you can purchase a starter bacteria set to remove the waste and keep the good bacteria.
  2. Your septic tank was filled with waste and water because of heavy consumption. You can prevent the frequent overflowing of your septic tank by conserving water when you shower, use the toilet, and use the kitchen.
  3. Avoid throwing or discharging unnecessary waste into the septic tank to avoid overflowing and blocking.
  4. You must perform regular septic tank pumping to avoid overflowing and clogging of your septic tank. But you should also keep in mind the capacity of your septic tank and how many people are expected to use the septic tank on a regular basis.

These are some of the tips you can follow to avoid frequent clogging and overflowing of your septic tank. It is best to keep your septic tank clean by conserving water. You can also purchase a bigger septic tank so that it has more capacity to take in waste material. You can reduce your costs by taking care of your septic tank and getting a bigger septic tank.

Septic tank inspection

Septic tanks should be inspected every 1 to 3 years. Whenever you move into a home with a septic tank, the tank should be pumped and inspected. Septic Tank maintenance is important because continued neglect of a tank may result in system failure or the need for replacement of the soil absorption area. It is important to check the condition of the baffles before closing the tank after pumping. If they are missing or in a deteriorated condition, they should be replaced with appropriate sanitary tee baffles. Any repair to the tank or when replacing baffles this work can be done without entering the tank. It is important for maintenance workers, inspectors and those conducting septic tank cleaning to understand that the decomposing wastes in the septic tank produces toxic gases which can kill a human being in just a matter of minutes. Whenever maintenance is being conducted on a septic tank it is vital that the area be well ventilated. In an emergency situation such as when someone falls into the tank the person rescuing must wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). All septic tank owners should realize the importance of regular inspections, proper cleaning, and pumping by professionals and also to have repairs performed whenever necessary in order to keep the cost of operating the septic tank down.

The green, sustainable and clean alternative to sptic tanks: BIOROCK Non-electrical Sewage Treatment Plants

In nature, the sewage treatment process of pollutants is fuelled by oxygen in the air only. BIOROCK technology uses the same biological process on a shorter period. The greatest amount of oxygen that can be dissolved in water can breakdown up to 14.6mg sewage pollutants per liter whereas air has 299.05mg oxygen per liter. As a result the most efficient breakdown of sewage pollutants takes place on and in the aerobic part of the soil in the nature. At BIOROCK we have understood this process, and we have designed our tanks and specifically the air draft accordingly. The air is the “oil and engine” of BIOROCK non-electrical treatment process.

Our technology is different: Green, sustainable, 100% natural.

Conventional, liquid based sewage systems leave the waste in the water; an electrical blower then pumps air in the tank to break down pollutants into the liquid effluent in the tank.

BIOROCK non-electrical sewage treatment technology:

The key advantage of our system is the separation of both the primary water treatment (sedimentation) and secondary water treatment (filtering and consumption of the waste by the bacterias). The first phase of the treatment takes place in the primary tank, and the second phase inside the treatment unit. BIOROCK is the original developer of this non-electrical sewage treatment technology.

The result of years of research and development is a sewage treatment system using no energy, no electricity-driven pumps, motors, engines or compressors in the treatment unit.

“RETROFIT” application: the installation and use of BIOROCK Sewage Plants after an existing septic tank.

The BIOROCK sewage treatment plant can be retro-fitted onto a traditional 2 chamber septic tank already installed in the ground. This application is ideal to upgrade older septic tanks and failing soakaways. Nevertheless, you can’t install a BIOROCK treatment plant after every septic tank; our engineers will first visit your site and check the tank (shape, volume, material, condition of the tank) before advising this solution.

If your site and septic tank are suitable for a retrofit add-on of a BIOROCK unit, your actual septic tank becomes the primary settlement tank of the BIOROCK sewage treatment system and you just connect our unit to the septic tank's outlet.  The quality of the effluent discharged by the system will meet sufficient standards to flow to a watercourse or a ditch.

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