Understanding the Science Behind the Septic Tank System

Most homes and buildings have on-site water management systems also known as septic systems. It is quite easy to forget about these systems since they are buried but they quietly, efficiently and elegantly maintain environmental and human health thus it is important to find out if your building is on a septic tank system. If you want to know more about septic systems, we recommend you to check this site: atlantaseptictankpros.com

Septic tank systems are common in rural as well as urban areas. A properly installed and well-designed septic system can last for many years. However, it can be expensive to dig up and replace a septic tank system that has completely failed hence it is important to maintain a healthy system all the time. This starts with understanding how the system works and how it can fail.

The Science Behind The Septic Tank System

The septic tank is a cafeteria for bacteria since that is what makes the septic system work in the first place. These bacteria help to break down waste leaving clean water that safely percolates into the earth. The system is designed in a way that keeps bacteria healthy and busy at the same time.

These bacteria do most of their work in the drain field but some also live in the tank. Watery waste known as effluent flows to the septic tank where the organic material in this waste is broken down by anaerobic bacteria. A layer of sludge composed of by-products of bacterial digestion and inorganic solids sink to the bottom of the tank. A layer of scum that is primarily composed of oils, fats and greases floats to the top.

The septic tank also acts like a settling pond where oils and greases float to the top while heavier inorganic solids fall to the bottom. Most solids are prevented from entering the outlet pipe by a filter while the waste safely flows to the drain field. In the drain field, the bacteria have a large area conducive for bacteria and is also the area where treated water percolates into the ground.

The drain field pipe has holes that allow effluent to drain into the surrounding gravel. The gravel allows oxygen to reach the bacteria and water to flow into the soil. The soil as well as the anaerobic bacteria in the gravel complete the process of waste decomposition. Clean water then safely seeps into the aquifer and ground water.

Do Not Abuse Your Septic Tank System

A septic system that is well designed and properly installed only needs some occasional pumping to get rid of scum and sludge from the tank. Without knowing the science behind the septic tank system, it is possible to do things that can destroy or harm the system.

For instance, waste that decomposes slowly or does not decompose at all such as coffee grounds, diapers and cigarette butts often finds its way down the drain which eventually causes a lot of problems. Garbage disposers often send too much solid waste into your system if used heavily.

The anaerobic bacteria in the drain field as well as in the tank cannot also break down lint from synthetic fibers that flows from the washing machine. Some household chemicals such as antibacterial soaps and disinfecting cleaners kill bacteria. Most septic systems can only handle these products in small quantities thus the less they are used the better.

Roots from shrubs and trees can also damage and clog a drain field while compacted grave and soil deprives bacteria of oxygen and also blocks the seepage of effluent. This may be caused by cars parking or driving on the drain field. Installing an effluent filter ensures that the drain field pipes do not clog due to solids entering the drain field.

Septic Tank Maintenance Tips

To ensure that your septic tank system works as it should, observe the following:

– Heavy objects should be kept away from the tank

– Do not pour or flush chemicals and non-biodegradables down the drain

– Avoid garbage disposals

– Use only septic-safe products

– Maintain the area around the tank e.g cutting down large trees

Pumping Your Septic Tank

It advisable to hire a pro to regularly pump your septic tank in Atlanta as this removes any buildup of scum and sludge which may slow down bacterial activity in your septic tank. Pumping can be done each year depending on the amount of waste that runs through the system and the size of the tank.

You can ask your inspector in Atlanta to make a recommendation for how often you can pump your tank. The septic system may seem simple, but it requires an expert to evaluate its health. Look for a certified contractor who understands the science of septic tank systems.