How do septic tanks work?
Septic tanks in Fairfax, VA, act as private sewage treatment plants for homeowners who aren’t close to a municipal sewer system. It handles the waste from the home plumbing system, filtering it, collecting solids and returning the water safely to the ground.
The tank deals with all types of plumbing waste products that come from the house. When a homeowner does a load of laundry, runs the dishwasher, runs water from a faucet or flushes the toilet, the resulting waste and water goes out of the house, through the pipes and into septic tanks in Fairfax, VA.
The tank is a big container made of concrete or steel, which is buried in the yard close to the house. Most septic tanks in Fairfax, VA, handle 1,000 gallons or more. Wastewater from the house runs from the house into one end of the tank and exits from the other end. Water eventually goes out into the soil in the drain field around the tank.
How does the septic tank deal with waste matter?
The septic tank handles three layers of waste:
- Scum, which is anything that floats
- Sludge, which is matter that is heavier than water and sinks
- Water, which is relatively clear
The septic tank holds the water for an extended period, long enough for solids to settle at the bottom, forming sludge. It has compartments and an outlet in a T-shape that stop the sludge and scum levels from getting out of the tank.
All that leaves the septic tank is the wastewater, which moves safely into the drain field. As this water percolates into the surrounding soil, harmful substances are removed naturally. These can include bacteria, viruses and various nutrients.
What is the best way to protect septic tanks?
To work effectively, septic tanks in Fairfax, VA need to be handled with care. The easiest step is to conserve water. The less water that enters the tank, the more efficient it is.
Install toilets that are labeled high-efficient, add faucet aerators and showerheads that use less water. Use the appropriate load size on the washing machine. Spread out clothes washing over the entire week instead of running the washer multiple times in one day.
Be careful what goes down the sink and toilet. Never flush or put down the drain:
- Grease or oil
- Flushable wipes
- Cat litter
- Cigarette butts
- Household chemicals like antifreeze, solvents or paints
- Paper towels
- Dental floss
Don’t use chemical drain de-cloggers. They kill organisms that help digest waste in the septic tank. Reduce or eliminate the use of the garbage disposal. This cuts back noticeably on how much waste and debris enters the septic tank. Use hair-catchers in the bathroom sink and tub to stop hair and other debris from entering the plumbing system.