Septic systems are a very common way to conduct plumbing functions in residential areas. Did you know your septic system has bacteria in it? Do you know what the function of this bacteria is or is it important for the functionality of your system? We're answering all the top septic system questions in this blog post so keep reading to learn more!
Q: What's a septic system?
According to the National Environmental Services Center, the septic system is a "highly efficient, self-contained, underground wastewater treatment system." Basically, it is a particular form of plumbing system that collects and disposes of wastewater on site. This generally makes them more economical in rural areas.
Q: How does a septic system work?
Usually, the septic system consists of two parts, the septic tank and the drain area. The tank is a watertight container, generally made of concrete, with an inlet pipe and an outlet pipe. Wastewater flows from the home and through the inlet pipe into the tank and through the outlet pipe.
The wastewater is naturally treated in the tank by the use of time. After a while, the solids and liquids begin to separate; they end up forming three layers in the tank, a top layer of dirt (greases and oils), a middle layer of liquids, and a bottom layer of solids also known as sludge. Once the water has been separated, it flows from the tank to the drain area.
Q: Why are there bacteria in the septic system?
Bacteria are naturally present in the septic tank wastewater, but they serve a function. It is responsible for breaking down the sludge and the soil as much as it can in the tank. The remainder of the sludge and the soil that cannot be broken down is left in the tank until it can be drained out by a professional.
Q: What is the drain field doing?
As we have said before, the partly clarified wastewater that leaves the septic tank reaches the drain area. The drain field is generally a series of trenches lined with gravel a few feet below the surface of the earth. Water steadily flows through the drain area, and gravel and soil serve as natural biological filters for wastewater.
Q: How am I supposed to maintain my septic system?
The pumping of your septic tank is one of the most critical tasks when it comes to maintaining the machine. How much you need a pump depends on a variety of factors, including:
- How many people are staying in your house
- The amount of wastewater generated by your residents
- The ratio of solids to sewage
In addition, while your drainage field does not need maintenance, make sure you never plant trees or plants in the area because the roots will grow into, break or clogg the septic lines.
Q: What am I not expected to flush in my septic system?
Like a typical plumbing device, there are only only two things you can ever do down your toilet: human waste, and toilet paper.
Some of the things that should never be flushed include:
- Cigarette butts
- Sanitary napkins
- Kitty litter
- Fat, grease, or oil
- Paper towels
- Coffee grounds
- Dental floss
- Chemicals: (these will contaminate the wastewater and kill the bacteria in your septic tank that help to purify the wastewater).
Are you interested in learning more? Please contact your nearest plumber today!