A septic tank is an underground sedimentation tank used for the treatment, draining and decomposition of wastewater. Septic tanks are traditionally made of fibreglass, plastic or concrete and also collect excreta. The difference between a septic tank and a septic system is that a septic system is of a grander scale and is usually found in more rural areas that don't have a sewage system already in place. Not unlike a septic tank, a septic system is made up of a septic tank that is connected to a larger piping system underground.
Due to the role they play, you will want to avoid any issues arising with your septic tank. So, let's take a look at how you can maintain the system yourself and the common signs that your septic tank needs emergency pumping.
A septic tank has two pipes: the inlet and the outlet pipe. The inlet pipe brings the wastewater into the septic tank and will then separate it into different parts. The wastewater is separated into three parts: the scum, liquids and solids. The scum floats on top of the wastewater and is usually made up of fats, grease and oil that is immiscible in water, while the liquid makes up the central layer of the wastewater.
The solid particles that make up the lower layer of the wastewater are separated out from the liquid within the septic tank. The clear liquid layer then flows out of the outlet pipe which is connected to a drain field where the wastewater is disposed of.
To maintain your septic tank and ensure its longevity, clean it out at least once every two years. This is important because scum and solid waste which gathers and builds up within your septic tank can result in the system failing. If the system of your septic tank fails, it will lead to a number of serious issues, including a blockage of the outlet pipe or an overflow of scum and solid waste through the outlet pipe.
While regularly cleaning your septic tank will prevent these issues, make sure to inspect the area where the outlet pipe feeds the wastewater as well. If properly maintained, your septic tank will continue functioning for up to five decades.
Pumping is the process of removing sludge from the bottom of your septic tank and should be done before the sludge builds up to a level where it blocks the outlet pipe. The frequency with which this needs to be done depends on several factors, including the size of your household and septic tank, how much wastewater is generated, and the volume of solids in the wastewater. If you don't have your tank pumped regularly, emergency pumping may be necessary.
There are some telltale signs that you can look out for which indicate that your septic tank may need an emergency pumping service. If you notice any of these signs, we strongly recommend that you contact a plumbing professional to resolve the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If your outlet pipe is not flowing as smoothly as usual, or if it appears to be blocked up, your drains may need clearing. Sometimes, you can also identify this issue if the water in your shower or sinks around your home is not draining as quickly as usual. The earlier you detect this problem, the less costly it will be to have your septic tank drainage pipes pumped.
Sometimes an unpleasant odour can emanate from your toilet and the drains within your home if your septic tank is blocked. If you begin to notice an unusual and unpleasant sewage smell around your house, we strongly advise you to arrange an emergency pump.
Sometimes a lack of proper maintenance of your sewage tank can result in the backup of raw sewage in your toilets and drains. This extremely unpleasant occurrence is one of the most urgent signs that your septic tank is experiencing problems and needs to be resolved quickly.
If you suddenly notice an excessive amount of standing water in the area surrounding your septic tank that is not usually there, this is another sign your septic tank is backed up.
If you notice any of the above signs in your septic tank, book an emergency pump as soon as possible. Contact one of the experienced plumbing professionals at Parker Plumbing and we'll resolve this issue for you quickly and efficiently. Based in Western Brisbane but servicing the greater Queensland area, you can learn more about our septic tank services by calling us on 1300 489 897.