The Ins And Outs Of A Septic Tank Overflow

The septic tank is a large underground holding tank connected to the house with the help of pipes. Waste exit the house through a series of pipes coming from the bathroom, kitchen, sink, toilet, etc. and converge to form one single pipe which enters the septic tank.
On entering the septic tank, the waste gets divided into three parts, with the more massive particles settling at the bottom, the floating particle staying on the top, and the middle portion consisting of greywater. This water is released into a drain area situated below the earth’s surface but above the water table where it gets filtered naturally and also helps to fertilize the soil.

Reasons for overflow

There may be several reasons for the overflowing of the septic tank. Pinpointing the cause for the overflowing enables overflow experts to sort out and solve the problem immediately and also ensure that such a problem does not recur. Some of the common reasons for a septic tank overflow are:
Inadequate maintenance: Due to the continuous passage of wastes into the septic tank, along with the non-biodegradable materials, some amount of solid waste also reaches the bottom of the tank. Over some time, the level of this sludge rises, and if the tank is not pumped out regularly, every 3 to 4 years to remove this sludge, the septic tank overflows.
Bacterial deficiency: In the septic tank, it is the naturally present bacteria which help to break down the waste and help it to percolate into the fields nearby. Low bacteria levels tend to hamper this process resulting in a faster build-up of sludge and ultimately cause the septic tank to overflow.
Chemicals such as bleach, detergents, etc. used in the cleaning process ultimately find its way in the septic tank, thereby killing the naturally present bacteria in the tank. This is one of the significant contributors to the reduction in the bacterial levels inside septic tanks, and care should be taken to ensure that these chemicals do not find their way into the septic tanks.

Designing flaws and clogs: The exit of broken-down particles along with water from the septic tank into the nearby drain field can, at times, result in the area becoming soggy and wet. This condition occurs as a direct result of septic tank overflow and outflow of water from broken, damaged or clogged pipes. One of the commonly seen reasons for damaged and cracked pipes is the in-growth of the roots of the trees into the pipes. A strict watch needs to be kept out for such incidents and, if seen to occur, should be dealt with immediately.

Heavy rains: Weather conditions wherein heavy rain persists for a long time can lead to septic tank overflow. This condition becomes even worse if the gutter drains directly over it. A dry spell following the heavy rains generally remedies the problem. However, it should be noted that if these conditions result in an overflow of the septic tank, the sludge should not be pumped out. This makes the mud and other sediments settle at the bottom, thereby clogging the septic tank further. It is only during a dry spell that the septic tank needs to be pumped.

How to deal with a septic tank overflow

There is only one effective way of dealing with a septic tank overflow; to facilitate a septic tank pump out. These professionals who specialize in this sort of work need to be called in for inspection and subsequent pumping out.

To ensure a capable pump out, the person staying in the house should:

Ensure the removal of the sludge in totality by the professionals working on the problem

Ensure that the lid of the septic tank is tightly and properly closed after the work is over.

There are other treatments also available, which are also quite effective in dealing with this problem. For example, biological treatments deal with the introduction of enzymes and other non-pathogenic bacteria into the septic tank in order to enhance the rate of the breakdown of solid waste.
Also, care must be taken to ensure that fats, grease and cooking oils, antibacterial products, etc. do not enter the septic tank. Also, some things like a sanitary napkin, baby wipes, or even diapers, should never be flushed into the toilet. Even though some are said to be flushable, any non-biodegradable solid tends to clog drains and result in an overflow and should thus be rightly avoided.
pumping hose in septic tank

Septic Tank Pumping When You Need Clean

The installation of the septic tank is a great way to dispose of both liquid and solid wastes, especially in places with no sewage network present.
A sewage tank is generally installed underground and is connected to the main plumbing lines of a house with the help of pipes and drains.

These drains bring in the sewage from the house and store them in the septic tank, where they undergo a process of natural decomposition with the help of the bacteria present in the tank.

The liquid and solid parts also get separated with the pre-treated liquid part expelled out into perforated pipes. These pipes placed underground into special soil absorption fields or drain fields wherein the effluent is slowly released into it.

The septic tank is generally made of fiberglass, polyurethane, or concrete and has to store the separated solid wastes which settle at its bottom in the form of sludge. Septic pumping companies like Diamond Septic Pumping will remove the waste, professionally.

Need for inspection and cleaning

Inspecting the tank is a necessity to ensure the longevity of the septic tank system.

Here are some procedures for inspecting the septic system

  • Checking all the pipes and drains are clear,
  • Checking for cracks in the tank and repairing them immediately,
  • Making sure the drainpipes are functioning correctly,
  • There is no gurgling sound coming out,
  • The P-Trap is not dry, and the vent pipes are also clear.

Regular inspection will also enable the house owner to know the exact condition of the septic tank with regards to the accumulation of sludge. Thus he/she can schedule the cleaning and pumping session based on reality rather than on hypothesis.

Generally, a septic tank should not be allowed to fill up more than 30% and a cleaning scheduled the moment this level has been reached.

Cleaning and pumping out of the septic tank is a valuable exercise which needs to be carried out with alacrity since it helps prevent:

  • The emission of foul odor and polluting the environment with its putrid smell,
  • Aiding the spread of disease-causing allergens thereby making the place unhealthy and making the people staying there vulnerable to the skin, airborne and water-borne diseases,
  • Ensuring the groundwater does not get polluted with high concentrations of nitrates thereby rendering it useless,
  • The whole of the septic system from developing problems, thus leading to unnecessary waste of time and money, etc.
  • Frequency of cleaning

There are two critical factors which determine the frequency of septic tank cleaning:

  • Size and capacity of the tank and
  • The number of people using the same.

Both the factors are interdependent since the capacity is defined by the number of people using it and vice versa. It has been generally seen that the septic tank comes in sizes that range from 500 gallons to about 2500 gallons.

The capacity of the septic tank to be installed depends on the number of people residing in a house. Thus for a small family, a septic tank of low capacity will also suffice while a large family will need a bigger tank.

Thus the frequency of cleaning of the septic tank would ideally be based on the following factors:

  • Small family using a small tank would require frequent cleaning with at least one cleaning scheduled in a year,
  • A small family with a large septic tank can use it for longer duration without cleaning; thus pumping it once every 4 or 6 years would be enough to keep it clean,
  • Large family using a relative small septic tank would need a cleaning almost every six months and
  • A large family with a large tank can opt for pumping and cleaning the tank once every 1 or 2 years.

It is always better to opt for professionals to do the actual job of pumping the septic tank since they not only have the required knowledge about the proper procedure, they are also well-equipped to deal with the sludge pumped out and collected in the appropriate way. Thus the waste gets disposed of in an environmentally safe way as described by the state authorities, and there is no pollution of any sort.

Grease Trap Pumping Service San Diego

Grease Trap Pumping Service San Diego

Cleaning And Maintaining The Functionality Of Grease Traps.

Wastewater that comes out of any establishment be it a house, a restaurant, a hotel, school, etc., consists of several different particulate matters.

Some of these are miscible, some immiscible. This immiscible matter generally consists of grease, fats, oils, etc., which, if allowed to get into the water disposal system, might give rise to clogging or blocked drains or even a sluggish flow.

Hence to ensure that these particles are not able to enter the system, traps are used. Such traps are called grease traps.

How do grease traps operate
Grease traps are part of the plumbing system too, but they are generally installed outside the house or the establishment. These traps help to capture grease and other oily particles, preventing their entry into the waste disposal system.

When grease and other oily particles enter into the system, they are broken down very slowly by anaerobic micro-organisms present in the septic tanks. This slow breakdown process leaves behind a foamy scum layer, this foam, when left for a long time, will eventually clog up the whole septic tank system.

When installing a grease trap, the grease trap position must be correct, for passage of grease-free water into the septic disposal system but traps anything which even remotely resembles grease or oils.

A grease trap is not a food disposal unit. Large and small food particles need to be cleaned away and put into the garbage disposal unit. Scientifically, food, if allowed to remain in the grease trap, tends to rot and break down, thereby releasing toxic and potentially harmful gasses like hydrogen sulfide.

This gas further combines with water to form a mild sulphuric acid, which is well known for its corrosive action on concrete, steel, etc., thereby damaging the trap itself.

Why is it necessary to clean a grease trap
The grease that gets collected in the trap is in a contaminated form and cannot be used. It, thus, needs to be pumped out to keep the trap free and clean for it to function well.

Grease trap cleaning
The cleaning of the grease traps can be facilitated with the help of a grease trap pump out. This involves getting in touch with professionals specializing in this and have the necessary equipment like a truck equipped with a liquid holding tank, hoses, etc. – 1-866-592-2115
On reaching the grease trap to be cleaned, the tube is put inside the grease trap, and the accumulated grease is sucked out into the holding tank on the truck.

This function is generally carried out when:

The grease trap starts to stink or

Grease blockages result in the clogging of the traps.

A comprehensive step by step procedure involves a lot of other things, too, in addition to the complete removal of evacuation or removal of the contents of the grease trap.

They are:

Scraping and washing the baffles and walls,

Inspection of the inlet and outlet points to check for any grease accumulation,

Lid replacement after deodorization,

Testing and reporting for any abnormalities in the condition of the trap,

Conducting trap audits so that the service quality can be maintained,

A comprehensive report of waste tracking right from its source to its disposal,

Transportation of the waste or grease collected to a suitable treatment facility

Keeping a check on operational and safety hazards.

Care should be taken; it is best to hire a professional company to do the grease trap pump outs so that the job is done correctly. – 1-866-592-2115

Septic Tank Cleaning Chemicals

A Guide on Protecting Your Septic Tank System from Cleaning Chemicals

If conventional septic tank cleaning chemicals are used they can create problems with the septic system’s mechanisms and the ecosystem. Your septic system cannot protect the ground water from all the chemicals that enter it – whether the chemicals are from cleaning products and household products. Such chemicals can also destroy the bacteria in the tank and render it ineffective in breaking down the waste material. So you should be careful not to let harmful compounds from entering this system.

Choose Septic Friendly Cleaning Products

You should choose to work with a pumping and cleaning service that uses ‘septic friendly’ cleaning products. These products have natural or bio-based ingredients and are free from chemicals-based cleaners. Some of these ingredients can include extracts from plants. 

The right septic system cleaning service like ABC can also guide you about the type of things that can be put down the drain. They can also provide preventative maintenance program to ensure that the system is regularly pumped and treated using safe septic tank cleaning chemicals. Even if a cleaner or additive contains organic compounds, you should be careful that they don’t cause any damage or contaminate the groundwater.

Products to Avoid from Septic Tanks

It is not just the septic tank cleaning chemicals that you should be concerned about. You should also be careful not to allow the following products and compounds from entering your home’s septic system.

  • Water Softeners: When you use water softeners, they can cause harm to the bacteria in the septic tank. They can cause release of higher concentrations of waste into the surroundings.
  • Oil-Based Products: Gasoline, solvents, paint thinners, and insecticides can poison the septic system and affect the water supply too.
  • Bath Oils: You may feel great using bath oils, but they are not good for your home’s septic system. They can cause clogging and create a coating on the waste. This prevents the waste from breaking down, rendering the system ineffective.
  • Grease: Grease from foods like bacon can build-up in the tank. This can result in the pipes getting clogged.
  • Drain Cleaners: Homeowners often use drain cleaners to unclog the drain. However, if you are not using safe materials they can destroy the bacteria in the septic tank. Avoid the use of caustic cleaners. It will be better to stick to boiling water or a sewer snake.

It is also important to prevent kitty litter from entering the septic system. It contains clay, which can clog the pipes and is hard to remove. 

Care with Household Cleaners

The cleaners you use in your home can also affect the septic system. A septic tank contains bacteria that break-down the waste and prevent the tank from getting full fast. When you pour too much household cleaners into the tank, these bacteria get destroyed. If you use only a small amount of cleaners, it is possible for the bacteria to recover and repopulate. Some of these cleaners include:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Cleansing powder

However, the regular use of the cleaners over time can destroy the bacteria to an irrecoverable level. Households cleaners usually come with labels that tell you what level of safety do they offer. 

  • Cleaners with ‘warning’ label are moderately harmful. 
  • You should completely avoid cleaners with ‘poison or ‘danger’ on the label. 
  • Then there are cleaners with ‘caution’ label that means they can be slightly harmful.
  • It is recommended to choose cleaners with labels ‘septic-safe’ or ‘nontoxic’.

Avoid or Reduce Disinfectant Use

Besides the septic tank cleaning chemicals, it is also important to be careful with the disinfectants used in your home. These compounds are meant to destroy bacteria, germs, and viruses, but they can also kill the bacteria in the septic system. So you should reduce or limit their use.

It is recommended to use plants-based cleaners. If you must use the conventional disinfectants, use them on surfaces like countertops and tables. Avoid the use in toilets and sinks. You should avoid the use of disinfectants anywhere they are likely to enter the drainage system.

Limit the Water Poured into the Septic System

Besides taking care with the septic tank cleaning chemicals and all the cleaning products used in your home, it is also recommended to reduce the amount of water poured into the tank. This can prevent the tank from getting filled too often.

ABC provides professional septic system pumping and cleaning services. They use safe septic tank cleaning chemicals that don’t interfere with the bacterial composition of the tank. The eco-friendly compounds don’t contaminate the local soil and water. So make sure to keep the above-mentioned points in mind with regard to maintaining your home’s septic system. Regular professional cleaning can help in keeping the system working properly and in preventing any potential hazards or damages.