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All you need to know about Septic Tanks

All you need to know about Septic Tanks

Old Sep 30th 2005, 2:12 pm
  #1  
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Default All you wanted to know about Septic Tanks

A septic tank is part of a small-scale sewage treatment system often referred to
as a septic system. Septic systems consist of the tank itself and leach field.
Depending upon regional terminology, the leach fields may be referred to as a drain field, or seepage field. Through out the rest of this article we will refer to
this part of the septic system as a leach field.

Wastewater enters the tank where the solids settle and the scum floats. Anaerobic
digestion occurs on the settled solids, reducing them. Excess liquid drains from
the relatively clear portion of the tank into the leach field where the remaining
impurities naturally decompose. A piping network, often constructed in a stone
filled trench, distributes the wastewater throughout the field with multiple drainage
holes in the network. Wastewater is eliminated through percolation into the soil,
and eventually taken up through the root system of plants or added to the groundwater.

The size of the leach field is proportional to the volume of wastewater and inversely proportional to the porosity of the leach field. The entire septic system normally operates by gravity. However, in some areas where the system would be located higher than the plumbing system, a lift pump is needed.

An Imhoff tank is a two stage septic system. In this system, the sludge is digested
in a separate tank. This avoids mixing sludge, or digested waste with incoming
sewage. Some systems go another step farther by having a second stage where the effluent from the anaerobic first stage is aerated, before draining into the leach
field.

Waste that does not decomposed by anaerobic digestion eventually has to be removed from the septic tank, if not, the septic tank fills up and wastewater discharges directly into the leach field. Not only is this is bad for the environment, but could prove costly as well. If the sludge overflows the septic tank and runs into
the leach field, it may damage the leach field piping requiring expensive repairs.
How often the septic tank has to be pumped out depends on the volume of the tank relative to the input of solids, the amount of indigestible solids, and the ambient temperature (as anaerobic digestion occurs more efficiently at higher temperatures).

Users of septic tank systems must be careful not to put excessive waste (e.g. through a kitchen food disposal unit) or non-biodegradable waste through their sewers. Excessive waste overloads the system design capacity, requiring them to be pumped out more frequently. Likewise, users of septic systems should limit water usage to the maximum extent, to avoid exceeding the capacity of the leach field. This will cause improper dispersing of the water portion of the waste.
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Old Sep 30th 2005, 2:14 pm
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Default Septic tank care

Septic tank care is crucial to maintain a healthy septic system. The septic tank is a passive system. There is nothing electrical or mechanical involved. Although the septic system is actually quite self-sufficient, there are things you can to help the system work efficiently.

Microbes in your septic system will naturally break down the organic material that drains into your septic tank. The broken down material and water will naturally drain out of the septic tank and into the ground underneath it. This is the normal process of the tank.

Some solids cannot drain out of the septic tank. This is normal. Regular septic
tank care requires you to pump out these solids every three to five years. The size of your septic tank, the amount of use, and the kind of products you stick in your drains will determine how often your septic tank will need to be pumped.

To maximize septic tank care and its natural drainage process, you have to watch what you put in your drains. This includes purchasing toilet paper that breaks down easily. Some toilet paper products will indicate if they are good for septic systems. You should also avoid flushing objects that do not properly break down such as feminine hygiene products.


Septic tanks do not have to be nightmares. I know from personal experience. Whenever it rained heavily, which was always around Thanksgiving, the septic tank would no longer properly drain, and overflow. I have spent many a Thanksgiving having to get the septic tank pumped. It's embarrassing to tell your guests that you're having septic tank problems.

When you're dealing with septic tank problems due to drainage issues, you'll need to call your plumber. Indoor odors and overflowing toilets and tubs are plumbing related issues. It could be that pipes need to be replaced or aren't working properly. Unless you're trained in these problems and have the correct tools, it is best you have a trained person to help you.

If you suffer from bad odors outside your house, your problem may not be with the septic tank. The problem may be from gases leaving the vent pipes in your house. These vents are attached to your indoor plumbing to prevent gases from returning through your indoor plumbing units, such as toilets and sinks. The vent pipes carry the gases outside, often to your roof.

You can purchase a special filter for the vent pipes that will eliminate the bad
odors coming from the pipes. These filters can be ordered online. You do have
to make sure that you are ordering the correct size. Additionally, you should install filters on all of the vent pipes, so the odorous gases will not find some other outlet.
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Old Sep 30th 2005, 6:52 pm
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Default Re: Septic tank care

Thankyou Countryboy for an interesting read.....plenty of info and easy to follow.

Do you have any idea of how much it would cost to replace our sepic tank with a more modern one? In the photo my husband is standing on our tank......right next to the vegetable allotment.....
Mary
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Old Oct 1st 2005, 3:53 pm
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Default

Originally Posted by maryg
Thankyou Countryboy for an interesting read.....plenty of info and easy to follow.

Do you have any idea of how much it would cost to replace our sepic tank with a more modern one? In the photo my husband is standing on our tank......right next to the vegetable allotment.....
Mary
Hello Mary,

I have done a lot of research on this septic tank lark, as I have had loads of problems with mine, I have now built my own old style septic tank, acording to my Spanish friends advice and help in this matter.

To get someone in to do the job for you would cost about 1,000 euros.

So my friend and I hired a JCB to dig a square hole of 4 meters by 4 meters and about six meters deep, we then lined the bottom of the pit with reenforced concret, on that base, we started to build with breeze blocks a pattern ont unlike a chess board going up the sides to the top of the pit. (are you with me so far?) when we had finished the breeze block work we then lined an area of the same dimentions square, as the hole with black plastic and laid rebars in a patern of a square and poured concret over that to make a lid for the septic tank with an inspection man hole cover in it. when dry we placed this on top of the septic tank and laid the man hole cover on the top. The whole job from start to finish only took five days.

Result, one perfect septic tank, cost 584:97 Euros total inc the JCB

So it can be done we now have a septic tank with no smells and will last, acording to my Spanish friend, longer than me.
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Old Oct 1st 2005, 7:22 pm
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Default Re: All you need to know about Septic Tanks

Thanks for the info ...

We have an inspection lid on our tank but it's not the best fit. We are going to have a fair bit of work done on our house before we move over so I think I'll just leave in the hands of our builder as various pipes are going to have to be relaid anyway. Who knows, the tank we have may be ok once its in regular use and the bacteria have had chance to do their bit. I do get very paranoid about though.......the smells that get back to the kitchen are aweful!
Thanks again.....I've been following your threads and you are an absolute mine of information! Keep up the contributions.
Mary
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Old Oct 13th 2005, 8:20 pm
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Default Re: All you wanted to know about Septic Tanks

Originally Posted by countryboy
A septic tank is part of a small-scale sewage treatment system often referred to
as a septic system. Septic systems consist of the tank itself and leach field.
Depending upon regional terminology, the leach fields may be referred to as a drain field, or seepage field. Through out the rest of this article we will refer to
this part of the septic system as a leach field.

Wastewater enters the tank where the solids settle and the scum floats. Anaerobic
digestion occurs on the settled solids, reducing them. Excess liquid drains from
the relatively clear portion of the tank into the leach field where the remaining
impurities naturally decompose. A piping network, often constructed in a stone
filled trench, distributes the wastewater throughout the field with multiple drainage
holes in the network. Wastewater is eliminated through percolation into the soil,
and eventually taken up through the root system of plants or added to the groundwater.

The size of the leach field is proportional to the volume of wastewater and inversely proportional to the porosity of the leach field. The entire septic system normally operates by gravity. However, in some areas where the system would be located higher than the plumbing system, a lift pump is needed.

An Imhoff tank is a two stage septic system. In this system, the sludge is digested
in a separate tank. This avoids mixing sludge, or digested waste with incoming
sewage. Some systems go another step farther by having a second stage where the effluent from the anaerobic first stage is aerated, before draining into the leach
field.

Waste that does not decomposed by anaerobic digestion eventually has to be removed from the septic tank, if not, the septic tank fills up and wastewater discharges directly into the leach field. Not only is this is bad for the environment, but could prove costly as well. If the sludge overflows the septic tank and runs into
the leach field, it may damage the leach field piping requiring expensive repairs.
How often the septic tank has to be pumped out depends on the volume of the tank relative to the input of solids, the amount of indigestible solids, and the ambient temperature (as anaerobic digestion occurs more efficiently at higher temperatures).

Users of septic tank systems must be careful not to put excessive waste (e.g. through a kitchen food disposal unit) or non-biodegradable waste through their sewers. Excessive waste overloads the system design capacity, requiring them to be pumped out more frequently. Likewise, users of septic systems should limit water usage to the maximum extent, to avoid exceeding the capacity of the leach field. This will cause improper dispersing of the water portion of the waste.
Hi Countryboy
Wonder if you cna help. Have bought a house in Pago with a fosse septica.Now my only previous experience of a septic tank was an electric one which was in a house owned by friends of mine near Stansted airport. This was electric and churned the solids into a fine dust the water emptying into a ditch that ran by the garden. The house in Pago has no pipe or vent hatch, just an overturend bucket indicating where the tank is...I presume. What concerns me is a small concrete square by the patio which has a large pipe in it seemingly leading to the tank, and another entering the square..it is like a small concrete box with a liftable concrete lid, which empties the contents of toilets, showers sinks into the box, whioch presumably then fills and overlows down the other pipe into the tank. Is this normal...what if human effluent etc lodges there and becomes..well smelly?? should the two pipes be connected, so waste goes directly into the tank, or is there a good reason for the space between them in the concrete box?? My Spanish friend said it may be for ease of connection to the mains when the area is urbanised....any thoughts ?? Thanks.
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Old Oct 14th 2005, 12:51 pm
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Default Re: All you wanted to know about Septic Tanks

Hi,
First and foremost "Fosse Septica" is a brown power that you put down the toilet, to assist in the break down of the solids and aids the workins of the Septic Tank.

You seem by your discription to have two tanks (is that correct?) the first one is to take all the waste from the house and to collect the solids, then the water waste is flowing to the second to disperse through the walls leeching into the ground.

The first tank should be treated with the "Fosse Septica", this is done by flushing the little bag down your toilet, the bag dissolves and the process of breaking down the solids starts.

I add this note, I could be wrong in assuming you have two tanks, but the same treatment applies if you only have one tank. If you need any more advice then contack me any time.

David SR
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Old Oct 14th 2005, 1:06 pm
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Default Re: All you wanted to know about Septic Tanks

Originally Posted by countryboy
Hi,
First and foremost "Fosse Septica" is a brown power that you put down the toilet, to assist in the break down of the solids and aids the workins of the Septic Tank.

You seem by your discription to have two tanks (is that correct?) the first one is to take all the waste from the house and to collect the solids, then the water waste is flowing to the second to disperse through the walls leeching into the ground.

The first tank should be treated with the "Fosse Septica", this is done by flushing the little bag down your toilet, the bag dissolves and the process of breaking down the solids starts.

I add this note, I could be wrong in assuming you have two tanks, but the same treatment applies if you only have one tank. If you need any more advice then contack me any time.

David SR
Thanks for your reply. The actual tank is buried somewhere in the garden with an upturned bucket to mark it's location. On the perimiter of the paved area about 3 ft wide around the house are two grey slabs beneath which are concrete boxes about 2'6". The both have large diameter pipes entering them but not connected..I would say about 6" min. One is for the kitchen waste I presume.. we have no kitchen as yet. The two are connected via these large pipes. The one for kitchen waste has a pipe entering it and one leading off to the second box. This has 3 pipes leading into it. One from the presumed kitchen waste box, one from bathrooms I presume, including solids, and a third leading off to the septic tank. Again these are all presumptions. Water has pooled in this one from flushing loos and sinks, but as we have not used them for solids there is no evidence. My concern is that this one has to fill to then empty down the outlet ipe to the tank, I can see residue remaining, the pipes are not connected in this box, and will it all smell horrendous in the summer ??should we have a trewway fitting in this box so the waste heads straight to the tank, or is there a reason for it pooling in the box before it overflows into the tank?? ease of clearing blockages? perhaps with a sealed manhole fitted it won't make any difference?? At the moment a concrete slab covers it.
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Old Oct 14th 2005, 1:26 pm
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Default Re: All you wanted to know about Septic Tanks

Hi poollounger,

I have found these sites for you to decide what you might be lookinf for check them out and try to find the one that fits your system,

Septic Tank building (1)

Septic Tank building (2)

Septic Tank building (3)

These should give you an idea of how they are constructed,

Hope they bring you some joy lol

David SR
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Old Oct 14th 2005, 1:36 pm
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Default Re: All you wanted to know about Septic Tanks

Originally Posted by countryboy
Hi poollounger,

I have found these sites for you to decide what you might be lookinf for check them out and try to find the one that fits your system,

Septic Tank building (1)

Septic Tank building (2)

Septic Tank building (3)

These should give you an idea of how they are constructed,

Hope they bring you some joy lol

David SR
Thanks David
The photos of the D box on the second site are similar to what I have, but mine are not as refined. Same system but the boxes are on the surface, and no facility for aligning the outlets/inlets. I think an airtight lid iis going to be the answer. At least it should be simple to clear blockages!! Thanks for your help.
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