SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTORS

A Septic System May Be Very Costly To Replace!


Everything that goes down any of the drains in the house (toilets, showers, sinks, laundry machines) travels first to the septic tank. The septic tank is a large-volume, watertight tank which provides initial treatment of the household wastewater by intercepting solids and settle-able organic matter before disposal of the wastewater (effluent) to the drain field.

While fresh solids are continually added to the scum and sludge layers, anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that live without oxygen) consume the organic material in the solids. The by-products of this decomposition are soluble compounds, which are carried away in the liquid effluent, and various gases, which are vented out of the tank via the inlet pipe that ties into the house plumbing air vent system. Anaerobic decomposition results in a slow reduction of the volume of accumulated solids in the septic tank.

This occurs primarily in the sludge layer but also, to a lesser degree, in the scum layer. The volume of the sludge layer is also reduced by compaction of the older, underlying sludge. While a certain amount of volume reduction occurs over time, sludge and scum layers gradually build up in the tank and eventually must be pumped out.

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"FUNCTION OF THE SEPTIC TANK"

While relatively simple in construction and operation, the septic tank provides a number of important functions through a complex interaction of physical and biological processes.

The essential functions of the septic tank are to: receive all waste-water from the house separate solids from the waste-water flow cause reduction and decomposition of accumulated solids provide storage for the separated solids (sludge and scum) pass the clarified waste-water (effluent) out to the drain field for final treatment and disposal.