You know your septic tank requires cleaning when it starts emitting foul smells. Or the water starts to back flow from the drainage field. That can be very unpleasant for everyone in your home. Make sure that you get your septic tank serviced regularly – about once every 3 to 5 years is recommended depending on the size of your tank. And keep in mind certain things that you can do meanwhile to prevent any malfunctions that can be easily avoided.
How does a septic tank system work?
In the septic tank, the waste water separates into three parts:
- solid sludge that settles at the bottom,
- waste water, and
- the lighter floating solids or ‘scum’.
Bacteria break down these wastes in the absence of oxygen and carry them into the drain field through pipes where they are further decomposed by the bacteria that live in the soil. When the solid waste buildup is faster than the rate at which the bacteria can break them down, you need to get your tank cleaned. Otherwise there will be an overflow.
Signs that you need to call for the services of a plumber:
- There may be an alarm attached to your septic tank that tells you when it is time for the tank to be pumped. If you don’t have one, it is advised that you buy one.
- As mentioned earlier, a bad smell is a sign that you need the services of a plumber.
- If the water in your toilets and sinks flow back, you urgently need the system pumped.
Some things you can do yourself:
- Don’t add non biodegradable substances like cigarette butts and hygiene products into the sewage system. They can clog the vents and cause the tank to overfill.
- Don’t not pour grease or cooking oils down the drain.
- There should be a plant covering over the drain field. Don’t build a non-porous parking lot over it. This will interfere with the normal processes in the system.
- Conserve water. If each person in your family uses at most 50 gallons of water a day, the chances of your septic tank overflowing will be reduced.
- Don’t pour household disinfectants and solvents down the drain. These can kill the bacteria that break down the solid sewage in your system. Toxic substances can also affect the quality of the ground water.
If you think it is time to call for a regular inspection and septic tank service, Cumming has a number of plumbing contractors who can help you get your septic system back in working condition. Don’t delay the maintenance of your sewage system, and you won’t have to face the unpleasant conditions of a smelly septic tank or other malfunctions.