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Important Septic System Terms
People often never think about their septic system until sewage spills into their basement. It's important to know and understand the many terms related to septic systems before hiring a professional. These are 10 terms commonly associated with sewage and waste operations.
Cesspool - A covered container for liquid waste or sewage. If filled, it must be drained by a professional waste remover due to potential health risks.
Pump - A device used to move waste liquid from home to the cesspool.
Leach Field - An area above ground where sewer operation runoff is moved when the sewer overflows. A possible health issue due to bacteria.
Aerobic - Organisms that require oxygen to survive and thrive. Homeowners occasionally treat sewage areas for aerobic bacteria.
Black Water - Liquid from the toilet containing human waste. Plumbers move the water out or drain and clean it if it backs up into basements and other areas.
Black Corrugated Pipe- The type of pipe used in septic operations. It can be whole or have small holes to release liquid into the soil for field lines.
Bio-surfactants - Chemicals used to clean and dispose of fats and grease that is blocking or clogging a line. They break down the particles and unclog the drain or piping.
Scum Layer - Undigested items laying on the surface of the tank.
Sludge Layer - Heavier undigested items that sits on the bottom of the tank. Must be occasionally cleaned before it can build up and cause a problem.
Gravity Flow System - The force of gravity moves the liquid instead of using a device such as a pumping apparatus.
A septic tank is a system on a residential or commercial property that is used to dispose of biological waste and water. It collects what is released from washing machines and toilets. The systems have a plastic, concrete or fiberglass holding tank where waste is decomposed and drained into leach fields. The waste is removed from the tank via pipes and a pump. Septic tanks are installed during home construction if plumbing does not access the town's sewer system. Septic tanks replace cesspools for homeowners without access to sewers. This provides a more sanitary way to dispose of waste and maintain a healthy plumbing system.
The size of a septic tank system will depend on the size of the home and the water usage of the homeowners. In many cases, the holding capacity of septic tanks is determined by the number of bedrooms, since this will provide the best estimate of water usage. The right size tank is important to proper home sanitation. Homeowners also need to install, maintain, clean and drain their systems regularly and test and treat problems as soon as they arise to avoid the sanitation problems associated with cesspools and other methods to dispose waste.
Choosing the right septic system for your home is an important part of having a clean, sanitized house. Aerobic systems are efficient for pumping out waste, but they are also more expensive. As demand rises, availability of these systems is expected to increase. The size of the septic tank and the leach field must also be determined based on the size of the home and the absorption of the ground surrounding the structure. An inspection of your home will determine if you have the best septic system for your needs.