An Introduction To Septic Tanks

Posted on: 2 May 2016

Septic tanks can be extremely useful, but they are also very fragile. If a septic tank is incorrectly maintained, then it can become useless at best and a health hazard at worst. Therefore, it's critical that you understand how septic tanks work if you are thinking about getting a septic tank or if you have one already. To help you out, here are some general tips:

Protect the Bacteria

Septic tanks break down organic material in a way that is both efficient and good for the environment, but they are only able to do that through an extremely important system of helpful bacteria. Though this system is practically impossible to see with the naked eye, it is capable of transforming mountains of waste into forms that are more easily used in the long run.

Therefore, you want to make sure that the helpful bacteria stay alive at all costs. You don't want to flush anything down the drain if it could potentially kill off your bacteria. Obviously, this means that antibiotic solutions are a terrible idea, but it also means that you should think twice before flushing any sort of drain cleaner or bleach. In general, you will want to be very careful about flushing anything that is advertised as killing off bacteria.

That being said, there are some cleaning products that are designed specifically for septic tanks. These solutions do not kill off bacteria indiscriminately, but you do need to make sure to follow the directions on the label anyway. Dumping too much of a safe solution down the drain can overpower your septic tank and potentially damage the bacteria contained therein.

Control the Ratios Between Layers

Aside from the bacteria aspect, your septic tank has a second key feature, which is that it is composed of three separate layers: the sludge, the effluent, and the scum. A careful balance between these three is important, since if the sludge or scum get too big, then your septic tank will clog up and won't actually be able to process waste.

You want to keep the effluent as large as possible since it is mainly just dirty water, but cleaning a septic tank out on a weekly or monthly basis just isn't viable for most homes. Instead, you will want to get inspections every year in order to make sure that neither the sludge nor the scum are getting too big. If they are, then you might need to get a professional cleaning or repair done by a company like Mr Bob.