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Septic system information
What is a septic system? There are many types of septic systems. While all septic systems are individually designed for each site, most septic systems are based on the same principles. Your septic system consists of a septic tank, a distribution box and a drainfield, all connected by pipes, called a leach bed or absorption field. Your septic system treats your household wastewater by temporarily holding it in the septic tank where heavy solids and lighter scum are allowed to separate from the wastewater. The solids stored in the tank are decomposed by bacteria and later removed by a professional septic tank pumper. After the partially treated wastewater leaves the tank, it flows into a distribution box, which separates this flow evenly into a network of drainfield trenches (absorption field). Drainage holes at the bottom of each line allow the wastewater to drain into gravel trenches for temporary storage. This effluent then slowly seeps into the subsurface soil where it is further treated and purified. A properly functioning septic system does not pollute the groundwater.

How it works
A septic tank system contain two major components: a septic tank and the absorption field. The septic tank is usually made of concrete, fiberglass or plastic and buried and watertight. All septic tanks should have baffles at the inlet and outlet to insure proper flow patterns. Most septic tanks are single compartments, but some states require multi-compartment tanks or two tanks in a series. A typical septic tank holds a 1000 gallons. The purpose of the septic tank is to separate the solids from the liquids and to promote partial breakdown of comtaminants by bacteria. The solids form a sludge that collects on the bottom of the tank and scum, floats on top of the water, remain in the tank and are pumped out periodically.
The wastewater is distributed in the absorption field through the perforated pipes. The absorption field treats the wastewater through an aerobic digestion process and removes the remaining impurities (germs and chemicals) before the wastewater returns to the groundwater. The effluent wastewater coming out of the septic tank is cloudy liquid that still contains many diseases causing germs and pollutants. When this water flows into the perforated pipe in the absorption field, the effluent exits through the holes in the pipe and goes through the rock or gravel where it is stored until it is absorbed by the soil. As the effluent flows through the unsaturated soil, many of the bacteria that can cause diseases are filtered out. Some of the other smaller germs, such as viruses, are trapped and held by the soil until they die. The soil can also retain certain nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.

Caring for your septic system
Septic systems are often overlooked, but need a regular checkup to prevent problems and continue functioning properly. The septic tank (which holds the solids) should be checked to determine whether it is time to be pumped out. The baffles should be checked to be sure they are intact and prevent solids from flowing into the absorption field, causing failure of the leach system or absorption field. The absorption system should be checked for sogginess or flooding, which indicate improper drainage. With proper maintenance a septic system should function for many years with no real problem. How often you need to pump the solids from your septic tank is determined by the number of people in the household and the flow of wastewater. The use of a garbage disposal will increase the amount of solids in the holding tank by about 50 percent. You can determine when it is time to pump out the solids by checking the depth of solids and the level of scum buildup on the top of the water in the tank. You should have your system checked by a professional every 2 to 3 years.

Tank Size
(gals.)
Household size
(number fo people)
1
2
3
4
5
6


500
5.8
2.6
1.5
1.0
0.7
0.4
750
9.1
4.2
2.6
1.8
1.3
1.0
900
11.0
5.2
3.3
2.3
1.7
1.3
1000
12.4
5.9
3.7
2.6
2.0
1.5
1250
15.6
7.5
4.8
3.4
2.6
2.0
1500
18.9
9.1
5.9
4.2
3.3
2.6
1750
22.1
10.7
6.9
5.0
3.9
3.1
2000
25.4
12.4
8.0
5.9
4.5
3.1
2250
28.6
14.0
9.1
6.7
5.2
4.2
2500
31.9
15.6
10.2
7.5
5.9
4.8

Tips to avoid trouble
Keep all toxic and hazardous chemical out of your septic tank system. Paints, varnishes, thinners, oil, pesticides and other organic chemicals can destroy the biological digestion taking place in you system.

Plastics, cat litter, cigarette filters, condoms, tampons, paper towel, diapers, and facial tissues should not be disposed of in your septic tank. This causes them to fill your tank more quickly. They can also clog the sewer line.

Don't dump grease, fats or oils from the kitchen into the system. They can also cause blockages. Use boiling water instead of harmful chemicals or a snake to clean drains

Many commercial septic tank additives, septic tanks cleansers, yeast or sugar can actually harm the septic system. Additives are no substitute for proper maintenance.

Conserve water to avoid overloading the septic system. Repair any leaky faucets or toilets.

Keep roof drains, basement sump pump drains and rainwater or surface water drainage systems away from your absorption field. Flooding the field with excessive water will keep the soil from naturally cleansing the wastewater, which can lead to surface water or groundwater pollution.

How to locate your system
1.) Check with your local health department to see if plans are available. If not locate sewer pipe from inside the dwelling.

2.) Now find the sewer pipe coming outside the dwelling. Follow the sewer pipe to the septic tank (usually a few inches to 2-3 feet below surface) by probing area with a metal rod and feeling for resistance. Flag the septic tank.

3.) Begin searching downslope of septic tank to locate the drainfield (if system has a pump, drainfield can be upgrade of septic tank). Probe the ground every couple of feet with an insulated probe until you hear metal rod contact gravel or probe is wet (not during the rainy season) and flag that point. Repeat to locate additional drainfield lines (usually 3-5 feet apart and 50-100 feet in length. Take careful measurements and sketch locations on grid for future reference.

Safety checklist
Never enter a septic tank. Toxic gases are produced by the natural treatment and can kill in minutes. Manholes are for inspections and cleaning and should be covered by something heavy enough to prevent children from opening them. Keep children and spectators away from the system. When trying to locate your system, be careful of overhead and underground utilities. Pathogens present in wastewater are also present in the contents of the septic tank. These organisms are capable of spreading infectious diseases. Use gloves and always wash hands thoroughly before eating, drinking or smoking and change clothes before coming into contact with food and others after being around an onsite system.

Why Have Your Septic Inspected?
Conventional septic tank/soil absorption systems are the most common type of onsite systems serving individual homes. It is in homeowners' best interests to have their septic systems inspected regularly. Inspections not only protect systems, but also the health of family, neighbors, and entire communities. Malfunctioning onsite systems can contaminate nearby wells and public drinking water sources, and they can pollute local rivers and lakes contaminating and killing aquatic life. Homeowners can be held liable for problems and nuisances associates with failing systems. Regular inspections are needed to uncover problems before they threaten public health and environment.
It is not unusual for lending institutions to require that onsite system inspection be performed with a given time of the sale or transfer of property. For their own protection, consumers should insist on a thorough system inspection before purchasing a home, whether or not it is required by the lending institution. Once the home is purchased, they should maintain detailed and up to date recorded for all system inspection and service visits.
Homeowners often need to have they systems inspected to obtain building permits for constructing home additions or adding new building to their property. An inspection determines whether the system will be affected by the new construction and if it will handle any potential changes in the amount of wastewater for extra rooms or occupants.
Inspections also may be required before making system repairs and other changes to property that can affect the system. Changes in use of a property, from seasonal to year round occupancy for from residential to commercial use.

Diagram
The Inspection
After the technician obtains general information from the homeowner about the system, such as location, type of system, any problems with system and pumping schedule, they will check your property for any signs of trouble or system failure. Warning signs include odors or areas where the ground is soggy or mushy. They will them locate the system, if a map isn't available. The inspector will dig the septic tank open to inspect the outlet baffle and water level. There should be a layer of scum on top in the tank. At this time the size of the tank and construction type will be determined. The inspector will then enter the house and flush the toilets and run water to check for backup and to dye test the system.

Is your septic system no longer working properly? Does smelly water seeps up on the lawn when you have company or do the weekly washing. Do you have dark streaks of grass in the yard during the middle of the summer? Sewage might even be backing up in your house. This could be a sign your leach field is exhausted and badly needs to be repaired or rejuvenated.

Terralift TM can provide a solution that is fast, effective and relatively inexpensive. In a few hours years of life can be added to your septic system without disturbing the turf. Terralift is a patented system that represents a technological breakthrough in soil restoration. It solves a number of problems with your septic system, including compaction, saturation and improper drainage almost immediately. It does not use chemicals and will not pollute your property.

Call today to see if your septic system failure could be a candidate for the Terralift tm. We can perform a brief diagnoses over the phone and give estimates on the spot. Terralift is a non-invasive rejuvenation procedure that involves extremely minimal excavation. Imagine it and a failed system, fixed with no digging!

   
Haley De Stefano
Haley's Homes
Ph: 856-241-4343  -  Fax: 856-241-7441
381 Eggharbor Rd Suite 2
Sewell, NJ 08080
www.haleyshomes.com

Haley's Home Team

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