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What is a Septic Tank


Copyright (c) 2012 Eco-habit

A septic tank is basically a small sewer treatment system for homes without a connection to mains sewage pipes.

It is the homeowner's responsibility to maintain the system. The most essential means to do this is through pump outs and maintenance treatments. This is basically to keep the sludge level in the cesspit at normal levels and the leaching area clear. Once the sludge level goes beyond the maximum level for the holding tank, overflow and system blockage will occur, leaving the household and the environment in a detrimental situation.

Pumping out depends on the number of people in the household. You should talk to your septic expert about the living arrangements in the house so that a stable and consistent schedule can be established. For homes with two residents, pump out the cesspit every three years. For houses with up to 5 people, pump out every 2 years. And for large households of 6 or more people, pump out yearly.

Septic Tanks - how they work

A septic tank usually contains two chambers. The wastewater enters into the first chamber, where solids settle to the bottom and scum floats. The solids are anaerobically digested, and the liquid portion flows into the second chamber. More settling occurs here, and then the rest of the water drains into the septic drain field via the pipe. The waste is disposed of by the field's ecosystem, and the water eventually returns back to the ground water. Your septic tank is technically a living system. It is governed by bacteria that break down the solid wastes that enter it. There are times when the system becomes inefficient because of the heavy use of harsh chemicals, antibiotics, and antibacterial solutions which can destroy the ecosystem inside your tank. This can cause unwanted septic tank problems.

Additional bacteria can provide a great improvement in the efficiency of your cesspit or septic tank during times when the system is really struggling. Many recommend the use of bacteria because they really act fast in aggressively breaking down the solid organic waste materials that have accumulated in the cesspit. They are also extremely effective in eliminating septic tank smells. Most importantly, they don't have chemical components that pollute the surrounding water systems.

How do I maintain a Septic Tank?

Septic tanks eventually have to be emptied to discard any solids that are not digested. If this is not done, the tank can overflow into the septic drain field, which can cause major damage that requires expensive repairs. Each septic tank emptying company will have its own recommendations as to how often a tank should be emptied, and much of it depends on how big or small the tank is compared to the size of the family using it. There are some steps you can take to avoid septic tank problems:

• Don't dump excessive amounts of oil and grease down your drains. • Don't flush non-biodegradable items like feminine hygiene products or cigarette butts. • Garbage disposals are hard on septic systems, so you may want to consider composting or otherwise discarding uneaten food before cleaning the dishes, or install a garbage disposal designed specifically to work with septic systems. • Use a toilet paper that is suitable for septic tanks.

About Author Sian Apjohn-Williams :

Sian is the MD of ecohabit <a href="" target="_blank"></a> their aim is to provide easy eco alternative products in the running of your home, inside and out. ecohabit's cost-effective range of products offers safe and highly effective eco alternatives, for use in your home and garden. We research and utilise the most effective and environmentally sensitive technology available for a particular use.

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Article Added on Tuesday, June 25, 2013
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