Septic Tanks: Everything You Need to Know about them

Septic Tank 101

The septic system is an amazing sewage removal method that is both easy to apply and use. But, it can be temperamental if not used right.

The great thing about the septic system is that it makes it possible to achieve self-sufficiency. It comes with all the bacteria needed to disintegrate and destroy liquids.

It separates all the sludge, scum, fluids and solids into various layers depending on their weight. It then filters water which flows out through a drain field. It’s a super straightforward process that’s easy to use.

But, you must know what you’re doing and the information we’re about to share will help with that.

Read on for more.

Septic Tank Installation

Septic Tank Installation

You have two main options at your disposal when it comes to installing a wastewater treatment system, also known as a septic tank.

You can install it on your own using a DIY septic tank kit. This is the cheapest option available but it requires a solid amount of knowledge, especially when it comes to understanding how drainage works and you must make sure that it coincides with building regulations.

If you’re not used to the nuances of installing a septic tank system, then you should definitely take route 2, which is to hire a professional certified plumber to do it for you.

The second option means that you’ll hire a septic tank installation company to do the whole thing on your behalf. For best results, get two or three quotes beforehand to ensure that you’re getting great value for money and are not overpaying for this service.

You should also do your research to make sure that they have the requisite experience on how to install sewage treatment plans.

Septic Tank Removal

Septic Tank Removal

If you want to refurbish your septic tank for some reason or it needs to be removed, then you should get ready for some fairly physical work.

Roll up your sleeves and follow these steps to get started:

  1. Find the Septic Tank

Find where the septic tank is. A lot of new tanks are designed to have their inspection ports located on the surface for easy access. Older tanks might prove to be more of an issue.

Look at the main drain line from the point where it comes out of the house and imagine a line that goes out from this point to about 15 feet out to the point on top of the tank.

Dig a hole as a test to make sure you have the right location. Once you’ve found the tank, mark the spot with a flag so you know where it is.

  1. Use a Backhoe

Use a backhoe to dig your way to the septic tank. Once you’ve gotten to the top part of the tank, you should see the access hatch from here.

This is where your excavation process should stop because it’s ready to get pumped, preferably by an experienced and licensed professional. That’s because special equipment is needed to do this job properly.

  1. Dig Some Holes

Dig holes on four sides of the tank. You should do fine with a backhoe bucket width.

You just need a hole that’s deep enough to get to the bottommost part of the septic tank. You must be very mindful when digging this hole to avoid damaging the outlet and inlet pipes.

  1. Cut the Pipes

From the septic tank, cut the duo of pipes and cap the lines in order to avoid draining the lines of any of the remaining waste or water in the pipes, as it could end up in the hole.

Get rid of the pipe’s two sections and remove them from the septic tank. Dispose of them safely.

  1. Fill the Log Chains

Using the tank’s inlet hole, fill the log chains and carefully guide the contents to the outlet port. Place the chains on top of the septic tank in order to secure them properly onto a crane or backhoe bucket.

Once you’ve tied the chains, move them aware carefully so that you can lift the tank away from the hole.

  1. Replace the Septic Tank

Replace the septic tank or backfill the hole soon after you’ve removed the tank.

Leaving the hole open is not a good idea but if it happens then you should barricade the hole’s perimeter in order to avoid accidental falls into the hole.

How Long Do Septic Tanks Last

It’s important to pay attention to the materials that your septic tank is made out of as that’ll determine its longevity and durability.

Most septic tanks are constructed from resistant and durable steel. But, this type of tank will most likely rust quickly.

Steel tanks have a lifespan of about 15 to 20 years in most cases, whereas plastic and concrete tanks have a much longer lifespan of about 40 to 50 years or so, especially when properly maintained.

What Size Septic Tank Do I Need

What Size Septic Tank Do I Need?

Your septic system tank size will depend on a number of different variables, including the number of people who will use it and the square footage or size of the house.

Below we have a bullet point list of approximate septic tank sizes accompanied by the home square footage and bedroom size relevant to them:

  • A 750-gallon septic tank is suitable for a 1,500 square-foot home with one or two bedrooms
  • A 1,000-gallon septic tank is suitable for a 2,5000 square-foot home with three bedrooms
  • A 1,250-gallon septic tank is suitable for a 3,5000 square-foot home with four bedrooms

As you can see, these are only estimates and can change depending on your region’s building codes.

Before you buy a septic tank system it’s important to understand all of the options at your disposal and talk to experienced professionals.

What to Do If Septic Tanks is Leaking

If you notice that your septic tank or soakaway has a few boggy patches or murky water collecting in a pool in your garden, then you might have septic tank issues.

Here are some tips on how to deal with this problem if you happen to encounter it:

  1. Empty the Septic Tank

You need to empty your tank once a year, at least. Also, the more people who use it frequently, the more frequently you need to empty it.

The first thing you need to do when you notice any issues with your septic tank is to empty it immediately and see what happens. It’ll usually do the trick.

  1. Check with the Tank Emptying Company

The tank emptying company might notice something while going through the process, you never know.

  1. Inspect the Septic Tank

If the problem still persists after you’ve emptied the tank, then you need to get it checked.

The thing with septic tanks is that you need to constantly empty it every time it fills up because if this is not done then you could experience drainage field problems. This can lead to wastewater filling up quickly in the tank, causing further damage.

A typical septic tank inspection should ideally cause you to check the drainage field’s pipework to see if there is any root damage or fallen pipe. These two issues can lead to an overflow and it won’t be pretty!

  1. Replace the Drainage Field

If you don’t notice any damage to your drainage field or the actual septic tank, then you might be facing a damaged tank or one that has reached its lifespan.

When it comes to soak away and long drainage field lifespans, there’s no single consensus.

That’s because there are numerous variables at work, including emptying frequency, frequency of usage and ground conditions.

How Do You Know If Your Septic Tank is Full?

How Do You Know If Your Septic Tank is Full?

Look out for the following signs to see if you might be dealing with a full septic tank:

  • Bad Odors

A full septic tank often leads to certain odors that come out as a result of collected gases that end up on your drains.

It’s important to understand that in addition to wastewater, the septic tank system also collects the gray water coming from domestic activities like laundry, dishwashing, and showering.

So, if you see a strange smell around your house, then you might be dealing with a full septic system that requires draining.

  • Water Coming to Surface

Once your septic tank has reached maximum capacity then you might notice things coming to the surface.

When you start seeing a collection of water around your septic tank after a rainy day then you could be facing an overflow on your hands. This is a good time to pump the system in order to get it back to normal.

  • Slow Draining

A clog is typically the main cause of water drainage from the septic tank.

But, if the water flow is still slow after you’ve unclogged the tank, then you might be dealing with an overflowing system and that’s a whole other issue with a host of other solutions to it.

  • Sewage Back-Up

Plumber Checks and fixes sewage backup problem

Most people don’t want to hear this but it’s helpful advice.

A sewer backup points to a full tank which means you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and clean it up or call a professional to do it for you if you couldn’t be bothered.

  • Extremely Healthy Lawn

The grass around your septic tank should be the same color and texture as the grass on your lawn.

If it starts looking too green and lush then it could mean that there are liquids leaking from your septic system which will need to get pumped out.