Guidelines for Septic Tank Care and Maintenance

24 September 2015
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The septic system is an ideal structure for treating domestic waste, particularly in regions without a connection to the main sewage network. The main module in this small-scale treatment plant is the septic tank. Basically, this is a containment that holds the waste disposed from the residential premises. The tank is filled with anaerobic bacteria which decompose the waste materials and the effluent produced is disposed into drain fields. If you are thinking about installing a septic system or you already have one, you should understand proper care and maintenance. This will limit the risk of premature breakdown and general inefficiency. Here are some guidelines to help you preserve the septic tank's performance.

Regular Pumping

When the waste in the septic tank is decomposed and mineralised, the solids settle at the bottom of the containment. The liquid components in the tank are then allowed to flow to a secondary chamber, where further settlement takes place. Finally, the relatively clear fluid which is separated from these solids is drained into the fields. Over time, the solid matter will accumulate in the septic tank. If the system is neglected, this material will start flowing to the drain fields and causing blockages. You should commission periodic pumping of the tank to remove the accumulated solid waste. The frequency will depend on the size of the tank and the rate of usage, so you should engage a specialist, such as those at Able Liquid Waste Pty Ltd, to assess the status periodically.

Dispose Responsibly

The septic system is not designed to handle all types of waste, so you should not throw in any material indiscriminately. In simple terms, the bacteria cannot digest and decompose all types of compounds. If you dispose synthetic materials such as sanitary napkins, cotton swabs, condoms and even cigarette butts, your septic system will experience blockages. These are not biodegradable, so the bacteria cannot cause any kind of breakdown. This does not mean that all biodegradable materials should be tossed into the septic tank either. For example, waste food will take longer to decompose compared to faecal matter. If you use your kitchen garbage disposal too frequently, you will lower the system's efficiency.

Reduce Water Drainage

The environment in the septic tank must be kept relatively stable for effective decomposition of waste. Excessive addition of grey water from laundry, dishes and the bathroom will compromise this. In other terms, the water will increase the waste volume significantly, and the existing bacterial population will not be able to handle the demands effectively. Therefore, you should control the water flow into the tank.