Most houses have sewage systems that connect to the mains system. Whenever the toilet is flushed or the sink or bath emptied, the waste material goes down the drain and into a sewage pipe on your property. This leads to a larger pipe, usually under under the highway, which takes it to a network of other sewage pipes. Ultimately, the waste is taken to a sewage treatment works where it is subjected to a variety of cleaning procedures before it is put back into the country’s rivers. Obviously, it is crucial that the hazardous bacteria that inhabit most types of waste matter are eliminated before returning the treated water to the environment.
Not all houses are able to connect to the mains sewage system in this way, however. Many houses are built in remote locations, often deep into the countryside, and an alternative means of disposing of the waste that is produced has to be used. For most households, the answer is a septic tank. In simple terms, a septic tank is a large container into which household waste drains. The tank, which is normally placed in an underground location a little distance from the house, uses bacteria to complete the task of breaking down the waste sewage matter.
Maintaining Your Septic Tank
Proper maintenance of a septic tank is critical. If the tank is not given the correct maintenance, the bacteria in the system that is essential for its proper performance may be harmed or completely eliminated. When this happens, the biological process that is responsible for breaking down the waste material will no longer operate and the tank will simply hold the waste matter until it is emptied. Worse than this, however, is the risk that there will be a build up of sludge which, over the course of time, will be pushed back into the drain, resulting in a system blockage. This, in turn, will lead to sewage backup, which can be extremely unpleasant and expensive to remedy. This is because, although the septic tank itself can be pumped out, the drain field, which is also known as the soakaway, cannot. In this situation, the only alternative may be the installation of a complete new system.
Because it is so important to ensure that the septic tank is kept in good order, it is wise to arrange for an experienced tradesman to inspect the system every two or three years.
Protecting the Septic System
As well as maintaining the septic tank and system it is important to protect it from materials that are likely to interfere with its operation. This means that care needs to be taken, especially if there are children in the household, over what it flushed into the system. Materials such as heavy paper toweling, feminine hygiene products and disposable nappies should not be flushed into the septic system because they risk causing a blockage and are not capable of being broken down. Materials such as oil, fat and grease should also be disposed of otherwise than in the septic system. This is especially relevant if you have a waste disposal system.
If you rely on a septic tank for the removal and treatment of your household waste you need to take good care of it. Although this naturally involves a certain amount of expense, the impact of this is lessened a little by the fact that you will not be subject to sewage charges by your local authority. In any event, the consequences of not taking proper care of your septic system are so drastic that it really does pay to ensure that it is regularly inspected, serviced and repaired by a qualified septic system professional.
If you need a plumber in Torquay, Newton Abbot, Exeter and South Devon contact us by calling us on 07515 393231 or 07710 621755 or by completing our South Devon Plumbers Contact Form