One in every Four homes in the United States have a septic system or holding tank. They are a cost efficient way to rid the waste water from your home. While they are similar in some ways there is a major difference that separates the two. A septic system is composed of three major parts; the septic tank, the drain field, and the soil or earth. All of the components plus the pipes and drain lines work together as a water treatment system. Septic systems are designed to be self sustaining, it depends on bacteria and enzymes to decompose the waste in the septic tank, it does not have to be pumped-out. A holding tank is just that a tank that holds the waste, it does not treat the water and it must be pumped out when it is filled. Although there are differences between a septic system and a holding tank they both need to be maintained properly to work properly.
What happens to the waste water that we use every day? Pipes carry the waste water and the solid waste in it, to the septic tank or holding tank. In the tank, solids settle to the bottom, fats, oils, and light solid waste float to the top to create a layer of scum, and in between gray water, or effluent make up septage. This is where the water treatment begins. Bacteria decomposes the waste. With a holding tank there is no further treatment of the water. The bacteria will decompose the waste but when it is full. It has to be emptied. Maintaining your tank with a septic tank cleaning product that contains bacteria will aid in the decomposition of waste in the tank as well as in the lines going to your tank. This will prolong the time in between pump-outs. It will also ensure that the bacteria do their job efficiently.
With a septic system leading from the tank there are a system perforated pipes laid in sand or gravel trenches which is the drain field ( leach field). This is where the liquid waste water from the tank goes to be treated even further. When the water trickles down through the sand or gravel the waste is removed from it and what is left to go into the soil is pure water. When you pump out a septic tank you disrupt the ecological system. The lines going to and from the tank are in danger because the bacteria in the middle of the system ( the septic tank) are removed. This causes drain field pipes to become narrow and ultimately clog. When you pump out a septic tank you are essentially making it a holding tank. The water is not treated it is just removed.
Septic maintenance is very important when it comes to a properly working system. There are a few things you can do to make sure your septic system works properly. Following these tips will also ensure your holding tank runs at a higher efficiency.
1) Avoid too much water going into your tank. We need water for cooking, bathing and of course using the bathroom. The average person uses between 30-100 gallons of water a day. Limiting each person in the household to 50 gallons a day will prevent too much water from going into the septic tank.
2) Avoid disposing any harsh liquids in the septic. Chemicals (household cleaners and bleach), pesticides, paints and disinfectants kill micro-organisms that purify sewage in your tank.
3) Avoid disposing solids that are not organic. Sanitary napkins, tobacco butts, sanitary wipes, even tissues can block inlet and outlet lines.
4) Limit the use of bleach and other detergents. Sodium in ordinary detergent soaps, cleaners, and water softeners cause clay particles in soil to chemically bond. This blocks water from draining from your septic.
5) Maintain the vegetative cover over your septic. Make sure there are no trees or plants that can grow roots into the tank. This can compromise the system and cost thousands of dollars in repairs.
6) Maintain your septic system with a septic tank treatment that contains bacteria and enzymes. Using a septic tank cleaner will aid in the decomposition of waste in your tank. A product containing both bacteria and enzymes will ensure all your lines are clear and free from any blockage.
Some towns require you to pump-out your septic tank every 2-3 years. If this is the case use a septic tank additive containing both bacteria and enzymes to put your system back in balance. Do not substitute pumping out your septic tank for proper septic tank cleaning. Neglecting your septic system can lead to major problems and costly repairs. Following all these septic maintenance tips and using the a good septic tank treatment product will ensure that your septic tank runs safely and smoothly.
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