The ancient Romans were among the first people to develop and use indoor plumbing, and they coated their pipes with lead. This is where the modern term “plumbing” comes from, and lead’s atomic symbol is Pb. Today’s septic tanks and water processing plants are more advanced than anything the Romans had, however, and septic pumping may be a routine activity for rural Americans. Many houses today are connected to public waste disposal utilities, such as in cities and large towns, but 25% of American homes instead make use of septic systems on their properties. The idea is that a septic system is a self-contained waste disposal array that can filter water and return cleaned water into the natural water cycle. This can be done smoothly and easily as long as septic tank cleaning and maintenance is done, and professionals can be called upon to repair, clean off, or replace anything in a compromised system. What is there to know about calling a septic tank service, and how does such a system work, anyway?
How a Septic System Will Work
When a house creates dirty water and flushes it away, this dirty water will flow through various pipes and into a large underground septic tank. These tanks may vary in how many gallons of material they can hold, but the basic idea is the same. In there, colonies of bacteria will break down solid waste, and particles of that waste will settle at the bottom and form a thick sludge. Fats and oils will form a thin scum layer at the top, and a zone of relatively clean water is found in between. This may take two or three days.
After that is done, the septic tank will flush the dirty water deeper into the system, allowing it to pass through a filter that further cleans the water. Now, the partially cleaned water will flow through a series of pipes found just underneath the ground’s surface, and holes and nozzles allow the water to leach right out. This water passes through loose soil and gravel that, combined with more bacteria cultures, will further scrub the water clean. This allows clean water to re-enter the natural water cycle in the leach field, and the septic process is complete. Proper care and maintenance of the septic system allow to keep all of this running smoothly. What might be done to that effect?
Repair and Cleaning of the Septic Tank
A routine part of septic tank care is making sure that only the proper materials are flushed into it. For example, items such as cigarette products, baby diapers, or moisturized hand towels should not be flushed, since they will not break down in the tank the way natural waste products will. This may clog the system.
Meanwhile, every few years, the sludge layer in the tank will be thick enough to require removal, and a measuring stick known as a “sludge judge” may be used to determine when this time has come. Sludge in the tank cannot leave on its own, so the homeowner will call upon an expert crew who will bring a pump truck onto the premises. The tank is unearth and its hatch is opened, and a tube allows the tank to draw up all sludge found inside.
Some septic tanks may be quite old, or if the house expands and flushes more water than it used to, the homeowner may replace the tank entirely. Crews will unearth the tank and remove it, and install a larger model to the owner’s liking.
Routine cleaning is also important. The filter between the tank and later pipes may become clogged or damaged, but the owner should not simply remove it to restore water flow. It must be cleaned off, repaired, or replaced so that the water filtration system works at maximum capacity. What is more, the pipes deeper in the system may get caked with grime on the inside over time, so crews can be hired to dig them up and use pressurized water to blast all debris free. This can restore water flow. And vehicles should not be driven across the leach field, or their weight will compress the gravel and soil and make filtration difficult.