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A septic tank is a sewage treatment plant that can be installed in a backyard. In a typical system, wastewater enters a septic tank where microbes break it down into solid sludge (that settles at the bottom) and liquid effluent (also known as grey water). Grey water flows out of the tank into a distribution box or directly into a series of perforated pipes that run through the septic drain field.
Sludge settles to the bottom of the tank and must be pumped out every two to three years. In Eco-Flow systems where the sewage treatment system relies on moss, water is filtered through the moss mixture then leaches into the soil.
A typical septic tank is illustrated below.
Call us and one of Épursol’s tank trucks will quickly be dispatched to empty your residential or commercial septic tank. Your tank will be completely emptied and septic wastes will be transported to our plant for complete treatment.
Wastewater from the house flows through the inlet pipe, hits the inlet deflector wall and is forced to go under the wall to enter the tank. Septic tanks usually contain two chambers: one for solids, and the other for grey water. The solid chamber is where the inlet pipe comes in (shown on the left in the picture above) and the grey water chamber contains the outlet pipe.
These chambers are separated by a dividing wall, which extends from the tank floor to its roof, and which includes openings to allow water to move from one chamber to the other. The dividing wall prevents solids from entering the grey water chamber. The outlet deflector prevents scum that resides on the surface of the grey water chamber from entering the outlet pipe and clogging the drainage field. Grey water then exits through the outlet pipe and into the drainage field. Simple, eh?
Once wastewater enters the tank, solids fall to the bottom and are slowly dissolved by bacteria. If the deflector (or baffle) is missing, a replacement is necessary to prevent pipes from getting clogged with solid debris. This is done using a 3-way T-junction that allows water to flow while ensuring solids remain in the tank. This is shown in the image on top.
Recommendations to keep your septic tank in good working order:
Limit your water usage: reduce unnecessary flow into the septic tank and system. An overloaded tank pushes solids out before they have a chance to fully break down. Be diligent about fixing drips and leaks.
Stagger baths and wash loads: Do not overload the system at any point during the day. Spread your laundry loads over several hours or even days. One laundry load creates from 30 to 50 gallons of water.
Never use additives to clean the tank. Such additives can be harmful, and could liquefy the sludge, thereby clogging the drainage field. There are septic additives that are very good for your system and that can contribute to the appropriate breakdown of solids. Call us for more information or advice on this matter.
Use one-ply, white toilet paper: Dyes can harm the bacteria needed for decomposition. To inspect your paper, place a few sheets in a jar ¾ full of water and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. If shredded, the paper is suitable for your septic system. Recycled paper is highly recommended.
Avoid inorganic materials: Articles such as feminine hygiene products or contraceptives should not be flushed down the toilet. They obstruct inlet pipes and create bulky debris in the tank.
Do not dispose of garbage such as grease, fat, coffee beans, paper towels, facial tissues and wet wipes.
Do not use garbage disposal units (garburators). Do not use drain cleaners or bleaching products. Such chemicals can kill microbes in the tank. Avoid using bleach especially.
Do not pour paint thinners, pesticides, motor oil or other hazardous materials down the drain. Even when using water-based paints, do not clean your brushes in the sink. Use a bucket and discard the waste in a suitable location. Ask painters to not use your sinks or drains to get rid of liquids used to clean brushes. They must dispose of these products in an appropriate location.
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