When to Call Upon Septic Tank Repair Teams
All modern houses and buildings are connected to water utilities, and most of them are also connected to public sewage disposal utilities. Meanwhile, more remote and rural properties may have a septic tank system that will eliminate and filter waste water on their own, independently of public utilities. Around 25% of American properties make use of septic systems, and professional septic tank services may be called upon to help repair, clean off, or replace these systems if they need work. Septic tank pumping is routinely done on such a rural property, and septic cleaning may be done in other parts of the system if clogs develop. What is there to know about these self-contained sewage disposal systems, and why might they need to be repaired or cleaned out?
The Layout of a Septic System
Rural properties are often too far away from public sewage utilities to connect to them, so instead, these rural properties have a comprehensive septic system on the premises to filter and eliminate their waste water. All “gray” and “black” waste water will flow from the house’s sewage pipes and gather in the underground septic tank to start this process. Such a tank may be large enough to contain several hundred gallons of waste water at a time, and they are nearly always stored underground for convenience and sanitation. Once inside this tank, the water will be exposed to many helpful bacteria cultures who will break down organic solids inside the water. Fats and oils will float to the top, while solids will be broken down and settle to the tank’s bottom and form a thick sludge there. Relatively clean water will be between these two layers.
That process may take two or three days or so, and after that, the relatively clean water will pass through a screen filter in the tank on its way to the deeper pipes in the system, further cleaning it. Now, this water will flow through a series of pipes just under the ground’s surface, and these pipes have nozzles and holes that allow the water to flow out and pass through loose gravel and dirt. The loose gravel and soil acts as a drainage field, and such materials and naturally occurring bacteria will help further filter out and clean that water, making it safe to return to the natural environment. This completes the septic process. Meanwhile, why might a septic tank service or similar service be called upon, and what can they do?
Septic Cleaning and Repair Work
A septic tank and the rest of the system largely operates autonomously, although the property owner can and should regularly check for any developing problems with the system. An example is the septic tank itself. This tank will continue to fill with thick sludge over time, as this sludge has no means of leaving the tank on its own. A property owner may use a measuring rod, known as a “sludge judge”, to measure the thickness of the sludge in that septic tank. Once the tank is one third to half full of sludge, the time has come to get it pumped out. This means reaching out to septic pumping services, and these professionals will arrive on the scene with a large, truck-mounted pump. The workers will dig up the tank and open it, then attach a large hose that allows the machine to draw out all sludge found inside. This may be done once every few years or so to keep sludge levels under control.
Meanwhile, the pipes found further in the system may become clogged and dirty over time, and to prevent total blockage, the homeowner may hire professionals who can dig up these pipes and subject them to blasts of highly pressurized water. This will quickly scour the pipes clean of any obstructions. What is more, the screen between the septic tank and pipes may become damaged or heavily clogged over time, so the owner may have this filter screen cleaned off or replaced as needed (but it shouldn’t simply be removed and neglected). Lastly, property owners must ensure that vehicles do not drive across the drainage field, because a vehicle’s weight will compress the dirt and gravel and make it too dense for water to flow.