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How Do Septic Tanks Work?

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A septic tank system uses the processes of biological decomposition and drainage to dispose of sewage and wastewater where there is no sewage network or adequate drainage system. During the process, the wastewater from places such as toilets, sinks, and washing machines flows out of the house, into a septic tank, where it is separated and bacteria used to help to decompose the waste before it is drained away safely.

Basics of Septic System for Homes

The premise behind a septic tank wastewater system is simple. The wastewater goes into a septic tank that is usually located under the ground in an area outside of the building. There are, of course, septic tanks of different sizes, but they usually have a volume capacity of around 3000 litres.

When the wastewater flows into the septic tank, it is collected and left there for enough time for it to separate. The dirty water separates into three levels – according to the density of the substance:

Scum – the top layer that usually consists of grease and oil.

Middle layer – this is usually consisting of wastewater with waste particles.

Sludge – consisting of the heavier waste particles that have sunken to the bottom.

Special bacteria inside the septic tank break down the solid waste, helping the layers to separate and easily drain away.

Grease traps and grease separators can be used to separate the grease – especially in commercial places that could have higher amounts of grease like restaurants. They help the septic tank system to work more effectively.

The wastewater is then drained out safely into a drainage area.

Cleaning Requirement of Septic Tanks

It is important that septic tanks – regardless of their size – are cleaned every so often. Most people recommend that it is done roughly once a year, but it could be more – or less – depending on your circumstances. The main reason for cleaning the septic tank is to ensure that there is the correct balance of bacteria present, meaning that the waste particles get broken down safely and effectively.

There can be a build-up of sludge within the septic tank system, and this must be disposed of regularly – before it blocks the system and causes a back-up of wastewater.

Why Do Septic Tanks Need to Be Clean to Be Effective?

If a septic tank is not cleaned regularly, an imbalance of bacteria occurs. This means that the solid waste is not broken down enough or quickly enough, and this can then cause blockages.

These blockages can put extra strain on the whole system, cause solid waste to back up, and means that, eventually, the entire system could start to fail. When there is a failure in the septic tank system, not only is there an awful smell, but it can also be very damaging and expensive to fix.

What Do Our Experts Suggest You Do?

Our experts here at Tanks For Everything suggest that septic tank systems are cleaned every 1-3 years. By cleaning it regularly you are treating the problem before it gets big enough to take hold. If you are going to try to clean the septic tank yourself, you can add a cleaning solution and put it through the system. However, it is important that you use products that won’t also kill the bacteria in the tank that are important for the decomposition process.

Alternatively, a safer and effective way to clean a septic tank system is to hire a wastewater company to do it for you.

Thursday 29th July 2021
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