If you have a septic tank, you probably have a love/hate relationship with it. Most of the time it saves you money, because you do not have to pay regularly for water reclamation services. However, when something goes wrong, it can be a costly and messy affair. People with septic tanks need to make sure they are properly maintaining their tanks, and they can do so with these basic tips.
Pump the Tank when Needed
You need to pump your septic tank regularly. The regularity of pumping depends on the size of the tank and the size of the residence. Experts recommend a typical home with a 1,000-gallon tank should be pumped every three to five years. If your tank is smaller, you will need to pump it more often. Pumping the tank removes the solid build up that is an inevitable part of the septic process.
One way to stretch the time you can go between septic tank pumpings is to increase the amount of solid waste that is destroyed by the bacteria in the system. You can do this by installing a Fixed Activated Sludge Treatment (FAST) septic system in your home. FAST systems create the ideal environment for the bacteria that are necessary to decompose much of the solid waste you send into the system. FAST systems house these bacteria in an underground, aerated, self-cleaning reactor chamber that allows for optimal bacteria growth. This unique system leads to a 90-95 percent removal of total suspended solids from the waste water.
Keep Water Flow Even
Too much water and too little water sent through a septic tank can cause problems. To keep the tank running efficiently, keep the water flow as balanced as possible. Too much water, such as what you may send through the system if you are doing extensive laundry, can put more water through the system than it was built to handle. This means that it can flood the system. Also, too much water flow can push some of the solids that have settled into the bottom of the tank into the leaching field, causing clogs and environmental damage. Times of low water usage can lead to the death of the bacteria in the system.
Keeping water flow even is not always possible. There will be times when you need to use more water, and other times, such as when you are out of town, that you will not be using as much water. The unique design of FLASH systems makes them capable of handling a changing water volume.
Avoiding Nitrogen Contamination
The process that occurs inside the septic tank produces nitrogen as a byproduct. Too much nitrogen in groundwater leads to contamination that is when it reaches human drinking water. This means that your septic tank could be a very real environmental hazard.
The bacteria in the septic tank work to neutralize much of this nitrogen. For this reason, you need to make sure that the bacteria are functioning properly. Avoid sending high amounts of household cleaners and other strong chemicals down the drain, as these can kill some of the bacteria in the system, causing more nitrogen to build up and leach into the environment. It is not possible to avoid sending these products down the drain completely, but avoid excessive use. Also, avoid using powdered detergents in a septic system.
If you have a FAST system, you will not need to be as concerned with nitrogen buildup. The FAST system involves multiple processes when treating wastewater, including bio-chemical, physical, and biological processes. As a result, the system greatly reduces nitrogen levels in the water that is sent to the leach field.
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