Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Understand Your Septic System

Many people live in rural areas that are not supplied with municipal water or sewer, and they face a new form of sewage disposal: a septic system. Whether you're a new homeowner or not, understanding your septic system is a must. Here's what you should know:

The septic system consists of three main parts: the septic tank, the septic field, and the soil beneath the septic field. 

The septic tank is a watertight concrete box that temporarily holds household wastes. The tank is connected to the septic field by a buried pipe. The purpose of the septic field is to deliver wastewater to the soil. The soil purifies the wastewater by removing the germs and chemicals before they reach the groundwater or any adjacent surface waters such as rivers, lakes, and estuaries.

Appropriate septic system maintenance is necessary to prevent damage and costly replacement that may run anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000, depending on the system that you have.

These suggestions might help you to prolong your septic tank’s life:

Do not put too much water into the septic system; typical water use is about 50 gallons per day for each person in the family.

Spread your laundry over the week to avoid dumping a lot of water into the tank at once.

Dispose only toilet water and water from bathing, showering, dishwashing, and laundry into the septic system.

Use biodegradable cleaners and soaps, as harsh chemicals will kill the bacteria that aids in breaking down the sludge in your septic system.

Don’t drive or build on the septic field. The majority of water in the field evaporates. Soil compaction prevents oxygen from getting into the soil.

For more information, check out this guide: Septic System Maintenance

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