More than 21 million households in the United States use septic tanks to trap and filter their wastewater, especially in rural areas. However, septic tanks can lead to health hazards if not adequately maintained.
Learn the basics of your septic tank, when to clean it, and how to incorporate a septic tank and water well by reading on.
Understanding the Septic Tank System
The septic tank can be an environmentally friendly system that naturally and safely filters and manages your household waste. Once wastewater enters the tank, the three parts of solid, liquid, and scum become separated.
Bacteria and microorganisms consume the heavier solids or sludge, which settle at the bottom. Scum, which consists of fats, will float at the top, and the middle liquid follows to drainage or flow to a nearby leach field. Rocks and soil act as the natural filter as the water drains back to the water system.
If too much sludge accumulates in the septic tank, the bacteria will not efficiently break it down hence the need for septic tank cleaning.
Septic Tank Maintenance
The main aim of septic tanks maintenance is to prevent water contamination and disease transmission due to the accumulation of waste.
Maintenance is carried out in several ways, including:
- Septic tank inspection
- Septic tank treatment
- Septic tank cleaning or pumping
- Septic tank repair
A septic tank maintenance schedule will help you track when it is due for its next inspection and cleaning.
Signs that Your Septic Tank Needs Cleaning
When you notice any sign of a fault in your plumbing system, do not ignore it. Instead, contact your residential plumber to have a look at your septic system. As you may end up making your family sick.
Some of the signs that indicate your septic system needs immediate attention include:
- A foul odor emanating from your drains
- Clogging of sinks and toilets
- The septic tank location has wet sewage covering the top
- Septic tank alarm goes off
- Slow drains if there are several drains
- Presence of raw sewage in your drains
- Sinks draining back up or gurgle when you flush your toilet
Frequent clogging of your sinks, drains, bathtubs, and toilets may indicate a fault in your septic system or signal a septic tank overflow is imminent. A septic tank full of sludge can force water out of the tank causing the surroundings to flood in wastewater, though newer septic tanks will sound an alarm will if the overflow is compromised.
If you have witnessed the above signs, do not attempt to carry out a septic pumping on your own, as doing so may only carry a temporary fix. Also, do not ignore the signs but seek the services of a septic tank company for a viable solution.
How Often Do I Need Septic Tank Cleaning?
Most experts recommend that you should carry out a complete septic pump cleaning every three to five years. But, this frequency depends on several pre-existing conditions which you need to consider.
What Is the Size of Your Septic Tank?
The size of your tank will determine the frequency of the septic tank cleaning. You should clean a 2000 gallon tank after approximately five years, but a 1000 gallon tank needs a clean every two and a half years.
Usually, septic tanks range between 1,000 to 2,000 gallons. If you are not sure of the size of your septic tank, seek a professional inspection by a company offering Septic Tank services, such as Blair & Norris.
What Is the Size of Your Household?
The number of people in your home and the size of your house can impact how often your septic system needs cleaning. The larger the size of your house and the more people it accommodates, the higher the frequency of cleaning or pumping your septic tank.
Total Amount of Wastewater Generated
Managing the amount of water the members of your household use is critical in increasing the life of your septic tank.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a single person uses about 82 gallons of water per day. To prevent clogging, backing up, and leaking, sensitize each member of your home to regulate their water usage.
In addition, you need to consider the different types of wastes generated from your household. What sort of soaps do you use for showering or laundry? Some soaps can be harsh hence the need to consider using biodegradable soaps throughout your house to increase the lifetime of your septic tank.
Fitting a synthetic filter on your drains is also advisable to catch synthetic fibers that your septic tank cannot treat.
When it comes to laundry, carry out your laundry on specific days in a week rather than daily. Doing laundry often does not give your septic tank enough time to treat your waste, thus increasing the probability of flooding your drainage. Plus, consider investing in an efficient washing machine that consumes less water.
Septic tank owners also have to forego using a garbage disposal kitchen sink. The garbage disposal fails to break down the food into small enough particles suitable for a septic tank, and this will introduce the risk of backing up and clogging by increasing solid content by up to 50 percent.
Septic Tank Inspection
A septic service provider will check for leaks and examine scum and sludge levels in your septic tank during an inspection.
They’ll keep a detailed record of potential or present leaks, possible damage, and the level of sludge in your septic tank. This record will help you keep track of your septic tank maintenance schedule.
The service provider can also check the condition of your septic tank filters. You can opt for them to clean them or replace them if need be.
Septic Tank Treatment
Septic tanks bio-friendly systems; hence treating them requires an environmentally friendly process. Live organic bacteria are added to your system to break down unnaturally occurring matter such as soaps and chemicals. The additives help to clear the system and restore it to its proper working condition.
Advantages of Regular Septic Tank Pumping
First and foremost, regular septic tank pumping gives you peace of mind. Septic systems tend to misbehave when you are expecting guests hence a source of embarrassment. Routine septic tank pumping will help you prevent such mishaps.
Septic tanks are expensive to replace or repair but can last up to 30 years if taken care of. So, you need to be proactive to ensure that yours is well maintained.
How to Care for Your Septic Tank
There are several things that you can incorporate into your household to increase the lifeline of your septic tank. These include:
- Not pouring greasy substances down your kitchen drain
- Do not plant any vegetation near your septic lines
- All forms of rainfall drainage systems should be away from the septic drainage system
It is also wise to never flush:
- Feminine hygiene products
- Paper towels and wipes
- Cooking grease, oils, and fats
- Paint and paint thinners
All of these factors would increase how often your tank needs cleaning and maintenance.
Water Wells and Septic Tanks
A water well is drilled up to the groundwater; then, a water well pump makes this water usable to the household. If you treat water from your septic tank, it can help replenish groundwater supplies, however; it can contaminate your water well supplies.
This potential issue makes it super important to have your septic tank cleaned regularly.
It can also be a good idea to have your water pumps serviced or installed simultaneously to your septic system and by the same company to avoid any future issues.
Some advantages of well water and septic tank systems include:
- You do not incur a monthly water bill since you are using your private well
- A water well is a source of freshwater enriched with minerals
- During natural disasters, water wells usually remain safe
Some disadvantages include:
- The owner is responsible for the maintenance of both systems
- The initial costs of water drilling and septic tank installation can be expensive.
- The likelihood of contaminants infiltrating the groundwater is high unless both systems receive regular upkeep
Potential Contaminants From a Septic System
Several contaminants can permeate your groundwater and subsequently be pumped into your water well. Some of the likely contaminants are:
- Heavy metals such as copper, lead, and iron
- Chemicals from household products and cleaners
- Bacteria such as E-coli and salmonella
- Phosphates from soaps and detergents
Your household water well, therefore, should be located far from your septic tank. You need to seek professional services from a drilling and septic services company with expertise in the field before installing or drilling a well. Blair & Norris comes well recommended in both services.
Water Well Placement
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that a septic tank be 50 feet away from a water well used as a source of drinking water. Additionally, local authorities may stipulate more distance between a septic tank and a water well.
Drill your well away from:
- Fuel tanks, whether on the surface or underground. Spills can drain into your well, contaminating the water. Maintain a distance of around 300 feet from fuel tanks.
- Animal droppings. If you have animals on your property, ensure you locate the water well away from their enclosures, this also applies to a manure fertilizer.
- Natural water sources. Far from popular belief, drill your water well away from natural water sources; this is because these sources are prone to be contaminated by animals, industrial waste, herbicides, and pesticides.
Check the Topography of the Land
An elevated area is the most ideal for water well drilling, and this will allow natural surface water to drain away from your well and avoid contaminants.
Know Your Groundwater Level
You need to ensure that once you drill your well, it can provide sufficient water for your household and not run out after a short while.
The groundwater in your property can be either close to the surface or deep below. The water may also be surrounded by layers of sediment and silt or be in an underground reservoir.
If the water is down below, it will require some assistance to get to the surface, and this is where the water well pump comes to the rescue. There are two types of water well pumps; jet pump and submersible. Learn more about them here.
Water well drilling is not a do-it-yourself project, and some of these considerations are technical. So you will need the assistance of experts who can easily plan a safe layout for your Water Well and Septic Tank system, as well as a cleaning schedule for both of them.
What Next After Water Well Drilling?
After drilling a water well, you should conduct regular tests to ensure the safety of the water. It is also essential that you keep a detailed record of the maintenance of the well after installation.
Well Pump Repair and Replacement
It is harder to tell if there is an issue with a water well and septic tank system. Hence, you need to be more vigilant and seek professional help if you notice anything different.
Water well pumps are the heart of the water well system since they power the system needed to flow water from faucets. Water well pumps are bound to get damaged owing to the amount of work they carry out daily.
You need to know how to identify a damaged water pump. Some of the pointers include
inconsistent water pressure, spitting faucets, and dirty water. Contact a water well service provider to either carry out a pump replacement or repair.
Where to From Here?
A septic tank and water well system are convenient and safe when installed properly. Seek the expertise of Blair & Norris, experts in the two systems and can help you set up and maintain either of these systems. Call today!