Unless it’s regularly pumped, your home’s septic system can overflow. The resulting flood of raw sewage can contaminate the soil and pollute local waterways like creeks, rivers, lakes, and even the groundwater people drink. The septic tank is a sedimentation tank where the settled sludge undergoes anaerobic digestion to decompose dissolved and suspended solids. The resulting biogas can be used to generate electricity.
Reduces Water Pollution
Septic tanks are a standard sanitation option in rural areas where the municipal sewer system connection is impractical and expensive. However, they are also a source of environmental pollution in several ways, particularly if the system leaks into groundwater. The home waste flows through a septic tank, where natural chemicals break down the waste. The waste separates into different layers, with the heavier, more chemically digested material settling on the bottom in a layer known as sludge and lighter, cleaner water rising to the top in a layer called scum. Never flush cigarette butts, feminine hygiene products or wipes, fats, oils, or paint down the drain, as these can clog the tank and damage helpful bacteria. Instead, use low-flow toilets and appliances that conserve water, like faucets with a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute or less and front-loading washers.
Reduces Air Pollution
A septic system is a simple on-site wastewater treatment and disposal system used in urban or rural locations that cannot connect to the sewerage system. The system treats household sewage by separating solids from liquids through steps, including settling, anaerobic digestion, and dispersal in a drainfield. Septic tanks are watertight containers with one or more chambers. The biological action of bacteria compacts heavier solids and liquefies lighter substances such as fats, oils, and waxes (a process known as anaerobic digestion). The clarified effluent is discharged into the soil. A septic company like Foothill Sanitary must pump the tank periodically to ensure the system’s proper functioning. Pumping before the tank is more than one-third full improves sludge and scum removal and reduces septic-tank-related problems such as clogged toilets and slow flushing drains.
Reduces Soil Degradation
A septic tank lets wastewater sit to undergo a separation process. Solid materials sink to the bottom of the tank, forming a sludge layer, while grease and lightweight materials float to the top. Bacteria eat away at the sludge, turning it into liquid waste known as effluent. Effluent exits the septic tank through a pipe into a soil drainfield, a series of perforated pipes buried underground in gravel trenches. The bacteria in the drainfield filter the wastewater through soil and grass, naturally treating it before it enters local water bodies. Proper septic system maintenance by foothillsanitary.com prevents soil contamination around your home. Keep the septic tank covered, and do not plant anything in the area which can compact the soil and cause sewage to seep into groundwater.
Reduces Noise Pollution
Traditionally, waste treatment and disposal facilities for homes with indoor plumbing consisted of buried bottomless containers that allowed sewage solids to enter soil pores and pollute groundwater. Septic tanks reduce pollution by collecting household wastewater and separating the solids from the liquids. As the system works, bacteria digest solids in a sludge layer while grease and other lightweight materials float to the top of a scum layer. Baffles in the tank keep solid material from clogging inlet and outlet pipes. The liquid effluent flows to a drain field for further treatment and disposal. Improper septic tank use and care can lead to various problems, including sewage back-up into the house. A properly-functioning septic system requires periodic pumping and regular inspections. Septic tanks should be pumped before they are one-third filled with sludge and scum, typically every three to five years.
Reduces Human Exposure
Most septic systems treat and disperse wastewater from households in suburban and rural locations not served by a public sewer system. The treatment process typically begins with solids settling within the septic tank and ends with wastewater treatment in soil via the drainfield. The drainfield soil is where most contaminant treatment and removal occurs; it filters and breaks down pathogens, nutrients, and other contaminants in the wastewater. Soil conditions must be optimal for septic system performance, and soil health must be maintained. It’s essential to minimize the amount of solid material that enters a septic system by not flushing unnecessary materials (like paper towels and diapers), using low-flush toilet tissue, inspecting plumbing and appliances for leaks and fixing them when necessary, and having septic tanks pumped regularly. Doing laundry throughout the week and using liquid fabric softeners that don’t produce suds also help.