Septic tanks and septic systems are crucial for the safe removal of wastewater and sewage from your home or building. If your home or building is not connected to a wastewater treatment facility or sewer, the best option for the sewage and domestic wastewater is a septic system. Proper usage of the septic system is essential for not spreading disease and keeping your septic system controlled and not overflowing. Sewage and wastewater can have pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa that can cause diseases in humans such as cholera, gastrointestinal illnesses, diarrhea, and hepatitis. The importance of septic tanks and septic systems for the environment and human health is paramount. This article will look at septic tanks, how they are designed, how they work, and the different types of septic systems. We will look at the conventional septic system, the chambers system, the mound system, and the sand filter system.
A septic tank is a double chamber put underground in the yard of your property to treat wastewater. It is made up of different materials such as concrete, plastic, or fiberglass. The septic tank is used to separate and filter the wastewater into three categories: scum, liquid sewage, and sludge solids. All the solids and wastes that go through the water systems in your homes end up in the septic tank, and the main contributors to this waste are toilets and washing machines.
Types of Septic Systems:
Septic Tank Design and Conventional Septic System
The septic system must meet many different requirements. The size of the system is determined by the size of the home and the number of bedrooms present in the home. There are many things to consider when building a septic system. Before constructing a septic tank and septic system, you must be aware of existing structures in the area, the slope of the land, and any existing wells and streams nearby that your drain field could potentially impact the local water quality. Septic systems must be built to a certain depth and high enough above the groundwater table.
The conventional septic system is a gravity system that has three parts: the septic tank, the drain field, and the soil beneath the drain field. Different states have different soil depth requirements of native and undisturbed soil under your septic system apparatus. The conventional septic system works as the wastewater flows from the home through the inlet baffle into the septic tank. As the sewage water flows into the septic tank, the denser, heavier material naturally separates to the bottom of the tank. As all the layers settle, the naturally present microbes start to break down the sludge solids part of the tank, and the liquid and lighter materials surface to the top and flow out through the baffle into the second compartment. The effluent or clear wastewater flows into the second compartment of the septic tank. After the effluent has reached the second chamber, it flows to a distribution box that distributes the liquid equally among all the lateral pipes in the drain field to keep effluent distribution equal among the drain field land. There are small holes in each of the lateral pipes that distribute the effluent equally in the soil. The naturally occurring aerobic bacteria and microbes treat the water entering the soil by removing pathogens. Below the lateral pipes, there is a gravel layer and a fabric layer to protect the fine soil below.
Alternative Septic Systems
If gravel is unavailable in the conventional septic system, there is gravel-less chambers to use for your drain field. This chamber system has the same idea as the traditional septic system but instead uses plastic chambers. The chambers are connected and under and below the soil. This is where the wastewater comes into contact with the soil. The chamber alternative is helpful if the groundwater table is high and the home or small business does not typically have high water usage.
One alternative septic system is the mound system. The mound system is used when there’s not enough vertical soil available, and you must build a sand mound to elevate the waste going into the soil. The water flows through the double-chambered septic tank and then flows into the pump chamber. The pump chamber pumps the effluent up the mound to percolate down through the mound and then to the soil below. The mound system can require a lot of maintenance and take up a lot of space, but it is a good alternative septic system.
Another alternative system is the sand filter system. This septic system is used when you have little vertical soil available. This system is a box of engineered gravel and sand and treats wastewater that flowed from the house to the septic tank and then to a pump chamber that distributes the water over the sand. The sand then filters out the wastewater so that it can then percolate through the sand to the soil. This is a more expensive method than a conventional septic system but is an effective way to treat wastewater.
Septic Tank Care
There are consequences to mishandling your septic system. Septic tanks must be handled with caution. Too much water and overuse of chemical cleaners such as bleach can cause harm to your septic system. Too much bleach can slow sludge breakdown and can lead to a sewage backflow into your home. Failure to your septic system can also lead to the flooding of drainage fields, which causes environmental hazards and terrible odors. It is crucial to have your system checked for any hazards or failures. Also, you must be aware of using too much water at any time, too much water in your septic tank can cause your solid materials to flow past the first chamber and get into the soil. It is important to pump your tanks to remove your solid material every three to seven years, but it depends on your home size and occupancy of the home.
Wrapping up, septic tanks are essential for the disposing of wastewater in the environment. Thanks to naturally occurring microbes and many different septic system options, septic systems can run smoothly and remove human wastewater effectively and safely. Septic tanks and septic systems are important for rural communities and keep our water system clean and safe.