A septic tank is part of your on-site waste water system facility. It is common in rural areas, where access to a municipal sewer system (apofraxeis Kallitheas) is not obtainable and also not practical economically. The septic system is hidden from sight and if properly maintained, is odourless and could last you for many years. Also, you need to observe a few simple rules, to make your septic system provide you a trouble-free service. For example, you should not throw solids into the toilet, because it will clog the drain.
Avoid Overloading the Septic System
There are a few things homeowners can do regularly to keep their septic systems efficient and running smoothly. Maintaining a septic system is as simple as checking toilets and faucets regularly for leaks and any necessary repairs. Look in the basement or crawl under your house often to check for any signs of leaks. Fit showers with a flow reducer nozzle and use aerators on faucets to lower the consumption of water and reduce the amount of water used for laundry. Another way to reduce water consumption is to invest in energy-efficient appliances. Try dishwashers that use less water or wait until it is full and then run it. Use a displacer to reduce liters of water used for flushing the toilet. Alternatively, replace an old toilet with a modern model that saves on water consumption.
Have a professional plumber install the septic system to avoid leaks and other plumbing issues down the road. Health officials from the local authority will perform a percolation or soil test after you apply for a building permit to assess whether the ground can support a septic system or not.
Minimize Heavy Duty Cleaners
Solid objects in a septic tank won’t break down when someone overuses heavy-duty cleaners that can kill any beneficial bacteria present in a septic tank. Use them as less often as you can or avoid them at all. Other chemicals that can ruin a septic system include gasoline, motor oils, paint thinners, and varnish. Some of these chemicals can be hazardous to the groundwater. Instead, store them in tightly secured bins and dispose of them per the waste law.
Proper Disposal of Garbage
Never flush things such as cigarette butts, tampons, disposable diapers, paper towels, facial tissues, sanitary napkins, or any other litter down the toilet. Such objects can clog a septic tank faster than it took to flush a disposable diaper down the drain. Grease can also block a drainage system and make it impossible for soil to absorb wastewater. Pouring too much oil down the drain may cause the need for a new drainage system, which can be costly. Improper disposal of garbage can add to the volumes of solids that go down the drain. Instead of using a garbage disposal, consider putting any waste in a plastic bag and drop it in the trash.
Protect the Septic System
Instead of driving over a septic tank, construct a structure on top of the drain field and cover it with either asphalt or concrete. Also, don’t allow pets to walk over the drain field. Planting grass on a drain field can help minimize soil erosion. Consider planting trees far away from the drain area to discourage damages caused by roots. Trees with aggressive roots should even be planted further from the septic tank. A soggy drain field can’t neutralize or absorb wastewater either. As such, plan foundation drains, roof gutters, and landscaping to allow the diversion of excess water from the drain field.
The adage that prevention is worth a cure applies to septic systems maintenance. Always remember to pump solids away from the tank. Experts – Αποφράξεις Καλλιθέας – recommend pumping a septic tank with a 1,000 gallons after every five years. However, you can extend or shorten the period between pumping; thus, don’t follow the calendar. The best time to start pumping a septic tank is when the sludge top is within 12 inches or when the bottom of the drainage system starts collecting within three inches.
How do conventional septic systems work?
Homes and buildings in rural areas often manage to source nearby municipalities’ public water infrastructure, though they sometimes use wells. Well-connected systems need to be treated differently than those that are attached to public water supply networks.
A large septic tank is buried near a home or a building. All toilets, sinks, washing machines are drained directly to this septic tank. After the waste breaks down, it makes its way downhill to a distribution box.
Several long pipes are connected to the distribution box. These pipes contain holes that allow the treated sewage to evenly find its way across a large area known as a drain field.
With well-based septic systems, drain fields must be positioned so that they release sewage downhill from the flow of groundwater that the well uses.
Now that you know the basic infrastructure that most modern septic systems employ, here are six tell-tale signs of septic system failure.
1. Are patches of ground near the septic system damp?
If you notice that one or more patches of the ground roughly above any part of the septic system are significantly wetter than the rest of your property’s lawn, your septic system is likely in need of repair or replacement.
Are these patches located directly above or near the septic tank itself? If so, your tank is likely leaking, as opposed to the remainder of the septic system.
On the other hand, if these patches are found throughout the drain field, you need to develop better drainage conditions for your septic system. Fixing problems in the drain field is generally significantly cheaper than repairing or replacing the septic tank.
2. Notice any patches of grass that are outstandingly tall and green?
If these patches are located above or near your septic tank, its effluent has likely seeped out of the tank and into your yard. The reason why effluent leakage causes such effects is that the elements in effluents often act as solid fertilizers.
These patches mean you’ll probably need to seal up the leaks in your septic tank.
3. Are your home’s or building’s sinks, bathtubs, and washing machines draining more slowly than usual?
First, return to all of the drains, fill them full with water, and see how quickly they drain. If all of a structure’s drains are letting out water more slowly than usual, though all at roughly the same pace as one another, your septic system is likely in trouble.
If – and only if – the above is true, either there’s a blockage between the septic tank and the drain field lines or the septic tank’s exit drain is blocked.
However, if only one of your drains is emptying slowly, that particular drain is most likely clogged (apofraxeis). Administering a drain cleaner or using a drain snake to take out any potential blockages are the two best options for this situation.
4. Has the soil above your septic system’s drain field been compacted since its installation?
One of the best conditions for septic system drain fields is that of soft, loamy, uncompacted soil, which helps treated sewage readily escape from the system.
If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, strong sewage-like odours, or sluggish toilets, your septic system’s drain field might not be draining as well as it’s supposed to. Further, if the soil above the drain field has been compacted by things like a lot of vehicular traffic or the use of heavy equipment, your drain field might need replacement.
5. Does your plumbing gurgle when water exits via drains such as toilets and sinks?
This symptom could mean that debris is stuck in your home’s plumbing. However, in most cases, it means that your septic tank is getting full. Seeking a professional’s help in removing excess waste from your septic tank is often the most appropriate course of action.
6. Notice any new blooms of algae in close-by lakes and ponds?
Algae tend to grow in the presence of animal waste, among a variety of other substances. If your property hosts a body of water or is close to one and you see more algae blooms than usual, your system’s output might be leaking into the ground without fully breaking down.
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