Understanding How A Septic System Works

There is much false information out there about septic systems, including the idea that they are scarce in today’s society. While most Richmond residents assume that these systems are only in the most rural locations across the country, the EPA reports that about 20% of the homes in the United States rely on a septic system rather than a municipal sewer. In addition, these private systems are often in use for 40 years or more without requiring any major renovation or replacement. And with some proper care and understanding of the process, your home’s septic system can be affordable and as trouble-free as any city sewer system.

The Function Of A Healthy Septic System

Most homeowners never want to think about what happens after they flush a toilet. We appreciate that the waste is gone and out of our house and mind. But when you have a septic system, you need to be aware of the process after you flush to ensure that it continues to meet your needs. A sewer system is a robust option that carries everything away in massive pipes to be managed remotely. But your septic system is doing the same job right in your own backyard.

While you might think that the water and waste are distributed around the yard, that is not the case. A great deal of filtration must occur first to allow for a safe waste liquid to be distributed in the yard. And it all begins in the septic tank, where the solids and liquid are separated.

Inside The Tank

In the septic tank, solid waste settles to the bottom to form what is called sludge. Bacteria are used to break down that waste sludge and release the fat, grease, and oil that will eventually float to the surface of the tank. Tank baffles contain that greasy mixture while the liquid remains in the middle of the tank. Also located in the middle of the tank are the pipes that will carry the liquid out to the leach field in your yard. The soil in your yard provides the final step in the filtration process of the dirty water.

Eventually, there is enough sludge in the bottom of the tank that it must be pumped out. But you can typically plan on pumping the tank out only once every few years, thanks to the diligent work of the bacteria in the tank. Those microscopic organisms are essential for the proper function of the septic tank. And that is why you need to be careful about the items that find their way into the septic system.

Proper Septic System Care

As you might imagine, you need to be mindful of what goes into the septic tank. It is not as easy as flushing or washing any chemical or waste down into the city sewer system. Chemicals, paint, and antibacterial cleaners are all very harmful to the good bacteria are needed in a functional septic system. These items should not make their way into the drains or toilets of your home. If the bacteria are harmed or destroyed, your septic system will soon stop functioning, and you will be facing a costly mess.

Signs Of Problems With A Septic System

If you hear gurgling from your drains or notice a sour stench, it is time to call in a professional to investigate. Another common sign of a clog or problem is a flood of dirty water in the leach area or overflow from the septic tank. If you discover any of these issues, call (540) 507-2904 immediately. A septic system expert from Assure Plumbing & Septic will arrive quickly to locate and correct the problem.

Contact us today at (540) 507-2904 for plumbing services in Richmond, VA!