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How Septic Tanks Work

BY: emily hines | Category: Others | Submitted: 2010-12-02 01:42:48
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Article Summary: "Septic tanks have become Marion County's latest preoccupation. The basics on septic tanks were shared by the county Chief Sanitarian through an article who wrote which he distributed to the residents of Marion County..."


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Marion County's curious interest on septic tanks has caught the attention of the builders and realtors. An article on The Septic Tank and Its Use was created by the county Chief Sanitarian to educate the residents on what to expect from his septic tank. To further comprehension on the subject of septic tanks was the main purpose of the article. Underdeveloped regions will benefit greatly from septic tanks. A filter bed or a tile disposal field will provide for a means for waste matter disposal.

Fresh septic tank runoff is dark grey in color and is manifested like soapy water. One hundred fifty gallons of effluent is comprised of around one pound of solids. Of the solid portion, fifty percent is filled by minerals while the other half is filled by vegetable and animal matter. After the vegetable and animal matter portion breaks down, a sixty percent non settling solution is produced together with a forty percent settling suspension.

A sewage treatment's greatest crisis lies in the disposal of the portions of the effluent water that settle and don't. A septic tank facilitates a quicker digestion and decomposition of waste matter. At the top of the tank, scum, which is formed from grease and lighter parts of waste, is present while at the bottom, decomposition of solid matter takes place.

Credits for the disintegration and decomposition that occur in septic tanks go to the aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. The solids are reduced to liquids and gases as a result of the decomposing actions of the bacteria. The digestion is almost complete with the exception of a small quantity of material which does not decompose and remains in the bottom of the tank as sludge. The presence of the bacteria is of primary importance to the successful function of the tank. The actions of the bacteria are hindered in the presence of chemicals within the tank. Clogged drains must not be cleaned using solutions with harmful chemicals.

A balanced volume of liquid sewage is always present in the tank because raw sewage pushes an equal amount of liquid out onto the discharge side of the tank. A septic tank is equipped with a baffle at the inlet so that incoming sewage is directed towards the bottom of the tank. Incoming sewage is prevented from being expelled at once and the scum is left undisturbed through this mechanism. This objective is easily attained through the contribution of the baffle present at the outlet of the tank.

The decomposed constituents of the effluent do not take away the offensive smell of the waste matter. Rain pipes should never be connected to septic tanks. A 500 gallon tank is more than acceptable for the common two bedrooms home. In some of the larger homes, a 1,000 gallon tank is recommended. To get good results from the septic tank, it should be cleaned about every three years.

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