Thursday, 18 February 2016

Septic System Operation and Maintenance

Septic System Components

A septic system, also called an onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS), is made up of a house sewer drain, septic tank, distribution box and soil absorption (leach) field.
  1. The house sewer drain collects all the discharge from home fixtures, such as toilets, sinks, showers and laundry and connects to the septic tank.
  2. The septic tank collects all the discharges from household plumbing and provides the needed time for wastes to settle or float. The heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank where they are broken down by bacteria to form sludge. The lighter solids, fats and grease, partially decompose and rise to the surface to form a layer of scum. This process allows the partially treated wastewater to be released to the absorption field.
  3. The distribution box evenly distributes wastewater from the septic tank to pipes in the trenches of the absorption field. It is important that each trench receives an equal amount of flow to prevent overloading to one part of the absorption field.
  4. Trenches receive partially treated sewage.
  5. The absorption (leach) field is a system of trenches and distribution pipes where wastewater is biologically treated by the surrounding soil. The system is partially filled with washed gravel, stone or a gravelless product. The absorption field must be properly sized, constructed and maintained to assure satisfactory operation and long life.
  6. The vent permits gases that build up in the plumbing to exit the system.

Septic Tank Maintenance

A septic tank should be pumped out every two to three years. A septage waste transporter (septic tank pumper) that is licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation can inspect, measure tank layers and pump out the tank when necessary.


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