Septic systems are mostly utilized in suburban and rural areas. One of the major components of a septic system is the septic tank. It is where most of the treatment and processes take place. It is important to be frequently maintained to ensure that the system will be functioning well.
A septic tank is made of plastic tanks or concrete which can hold between 4000 to 7500 liters or 1000 to 2000 gallons. One end of the septic tank is linked to an inlet pipe and the other end is connected to a septic drain field. The pipe connection looks like a T pipe where one pipe allows the entrance of wastewater while the other serves as the exit of the wastewater.
In the present time, the tank typically utilizes two chambers. Each chamber is equipped with a cover and an access opening. It is separated with a dividing wall that has openings placed between the roof and the floor of the septic tank.
Wastewater will come in the tank’s first chamber, which allows the scum to float and the solids to settle down. The settled solids will be anaerobically digested, which reduces the volume of solids. The liquid component will flow to the dividing wall which is connected to the second chamber. The further settlement will take place in the second chamber. The excess liquid will be in a clearer condition. The liquid will be drained from the outlet pipe, straight to the septic drain field. The drain field can also be referred to as the leach field or seepage field. The term used will depend on the locality where the septic system is placed. A percolation test is conducted before the installation to make sure that the soil’s porosity is adequate to become a drain field.
The other impurities will be trapped and eliminated within the soil. The excess water will be dealt with by the percolation of the soil, through evaporation. The water is also eliminated by the uptake of the plants’ root system, as well as the transpiration. The transpiration is the groundwater’s entrance. The septic system has a piping network that is often placed in a trench filled with stone. The piping network distributes the wastewater to the drain field using the drainage holes of the network,
The size of the drain field is proportional to the wastewater’s volume while it is inversely proportional to the drain field’s porosity. The whole septic system functions with the help of gravity. In some systems, topographic considerations might be needed, with the involvement of a lift pump. Some septic tanks include devices or siphons that increases the velocity and volume of the drain field outflow. This design aids in filling the drainage pipe evenly, while extending the drain field’s life through the prevention of premature clogging.
Another type of a septic tank is the Imhoff tank. It is a two-stage septic tank in which the sludge is getting digested through a separate tank. This process avoids the digested sludge to be mixed with the incoming sewage. Some tanks designed to have a second stage in which the effluent coming from the first anaerobic stage is aerated before it is drained to the seepage field.
An appropriately designed and normal septic system has no odor. Aside from the periodic inspection and tank emptying procedure, a septic tank is bound to last for many years to decades with some maintenance. Septic tanks made of fiberglass, concrete, or plastic can last up to 50 years.
A well-maintained and properly located septic tank does not have any dangerous risks to the environment as much as having a centralized municipal sewage treatment. However, some problems may arise if a septic tank is located in an unsuitable location. Septic systems require huge drain fields which makes it unsuitable for areas that are densely-built.