What is a septic tank? A septic tank consists of one or more concrete or plastic tanks of between 700 and 2,000 gallons; one end is connected to an inlet wastewater pipe and the other to a septic drain field. Generally, these pipe connections are made with a T pipe, allowing liquid to enter and exit without disturbing any crust on the surface. Today, the design of the tank usually incorporates two chambers, each equipped with a manhole cover, and separated by a dividing wall with openings located about midway between the floor and roof of the tank. Wastewater enters the first chamber of the tank, allowing solids to settle and scum to float. The solids decompose with time and bacteria and the liquid component flows through the dividing wall into the second chamber, where further settlement takes place. The excess liquid, now in a relatively clear condition, then drains from the outlet into the drain field. The remaining impurities are trapped and eliminated in the soil, with the excess water eliminated through evaporation, and by uptake through the root system of plants and eventual transpiration or entering groundwater or surface water. The entire septic system can operate by gravity alone or, with a lift pump. Certain septic tank designs include siphons (a tube used to convey liquid upwards from the tank and then down to a lower level of its own accord. Once the liquid has been forced into the tube, typically by suction or immersion, flow continues unaided. This helps prevent freezing by surging liquid through every 50g or so, other devices can increase the volume and velocity of outflow to the drainage field as well. These help to fill the drainage pipe more evenly and extend the drainage field life by preventing premature clogging.
A well designed and maintained concrete, fiberglass, or plastic tank should last about 50 years, maintenance should be done every 3 years at minimum. Many people are proactive and do regular cleanouts every summer, this does not hurt your system. Your pump may love you for it.
We recommend the use of biological additives (Septo-Bac) into our customers’ septic fields if getting cleaned out in late fall/winter or if the house owner has worries about not enough bacterial growth. Please discuss maintenance with our driver as he will know what steps you should take for your unique household.
The most common problem is due to electrical difficulties. Perhaps your pump has burnt out or your power may be faulty. Please check wiring before making an appointment.
Never drive over or park on drainage lines to or from septic tank as this will drive frost down lower in winter and may result in broken lines or frozen pipes. Many people have animals both domestic and wild, routinely walking over drainage lines, which also causes frost to be driven deeper. If this happens, please consult our office personnel for quotes on our steam truck.
What is a holding tank? A large, normally underground container ranging from 700-5000 gallons in which septic liquids are temporarily held. When the tank is full, you may call the office for a pump-out (please allow for up to 3 days for scheduling purposes). An alternative that we offer is to put your tank onto a cleanout schedule based on how big these tanks are, and your usage. These schedules are constantly fluctuating due to holidays, family events, leaking appliances and groundwater problems. Keep in mind that while we will work with you on your personalized schedule, the responsibility of the tank is ultimately yours. For a safer measure, please install a camlock and an alarm system, especially if overflow can cause damage to your property. Quotes on alarm systems with camlocks are by appointment only. Call our office for more information. Please keep a clear path to your tank. Our drivers are dragging heavy hoses to your tank. Throwing over fences, under fences, around vehicles and woodpiles or solar lights make the task a hundred times more difficult. It also creates possible damage to your property and a liability issue if our driver is injured because of the condition of your property. For your protection and our drivers’ safety, please keep a clear path.
For weekend residences, please check your tank before you leave in order to schedule a pump out before your next visit.
If your tank is 2000 gallons and we charge for 2200 gallons, it could be that your tank was very full, the extra fluid is coming from the space in your pipes and in the collar of your tank.