You may not have given it much thought before, but when you do consider the matter, you have to accept that your average septic tank has a lot to deal with during its working life. Pretty much everything that goes into the drains of a property on the sewage mains will go into a septic tank. But unlike the main sewers, a septic tank doesn’t just quickly ferry that waste off to a distant treatment plant and then wait for the next lot.
Every time that you wash or flush something away is when the septic tank’s real work begins, as it has to separate the wastewater from the solids. The solids settle to the bottom, chemicals break down potentially harmful substances and clear water is ejected out safely into the environment.
Given all that, it makes sense to look after it as best you can to make sure you get as long a life out of it as possible. Thankfully, septic tanks are built to last, but here are a few things you can do to make sure yours operates effectively at the same time.
Watch what you put into it
You have to be even more careful with a septic tank than you would when you’re on the mains. That’s because some household chemicals can kill the bacteria that are treating the sewage. You should therefore avoid emptying things like bleach, disinfectants, paint and drain unblocking solutions into the tank. Oil, grease and fat shouldn’t be tipped down sinks anyway, but they can be a particular problem with septic tanks if they block the outlets.
Basically, put as little rubbish down the drain as possible, because apart from anything else you’ll have to have it pumped out more regularly to clear it. Lastly, try to avoid emptying too much water at a time, because it could wash out wastewater before it has been treated.
Make regular inspections
Regular checks of your septic tank will identify issues before they become too much of a problem. Things to look out for include:
- Check what’s being discharged to make sure that it’s clear and doesn’t contain any solids
- Take a look at the water levels in the tank’s system, which shouldn’t be too high or too low
- Ensure there isn’t a strong odour where the water soaks away and that the ground there is not saturated
Make sure the tank is easily accessible
There are two main areas to keep an eye on: the area around the lid to your tank and the soakaway field. In both cases, you should avoid letting the area get overrun with weeds and other vegetation; this applies especially to deep-rooted plants and trees. You should also avoid driving or parking over it.
The tank separates out the solids, and what can’t be broken down settles at the bottom of the tank. Every now and then the system will need to be pumped out, which is also known as desludging. This should be roughly every three to five years, but can be more often depending on how much is going into it. It’s worth getting it checked annually by an expert who can advise you as to how it is performing.
Wildon UK is a company based in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire that specialises in the installation and maintenance of septic tanks and other sewage treatment works across the UK. To find out more about us and our wide range of services, you can either give us a call or fill in our online form and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.
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