Septic Tank FAQ
What is a septic tank? A septic tank is common in areas with no connection to main sewage pipes provided by local governments. It generally consists of a tank connected to an inlet waste water pipe at one end and a drain at the other. Modern design of tanks usually incorporates two chambers (each of which is equipped with a manhole cover), which are separated by means of a dividing wall that has openings located about midway between the floor and roof of the tank. Waste from toilets, sinks and washing machines enter the tank via the inlet pipe. How does a septic tank work?
Household waste enters the septic tank, which is a holding tank generally made of pre-cast concrete or fiberglass and is sized according to the estimated wastewater flow from a given-sized residence. The septic tank separates the wastewater into three general components -- solids or "sludge", floatables or the "scum layer", and a zone of relatively clear water. Anaerobic bacteria (able to live in an oxygen-free environment) perform the first treatment of the wastewater, generating gas that is vented through the vent stack of the building's plumbing, and breaking the solids into a liquid form. The oxygen-free conditions inside the septic tank also deactivate some of the disease germs that are found in sewage. From the septic tank, the liquid portion of the wastewater flows into the drainfield, which provides secondary treatment of the sewage by allowing aerobic (oxygen-using) bacteria to continue deactivating the disease germs that remain in the wastewater. The drainfield also provides filtration of the wastewater as gravity draws the water downwards through the soil layers. In addition, evaporation of water occurs through the layer of soil covering the drainfield. Does my septic tank need to be emptied? Septic tanks are designed to work automatically , however most households use cleaning products and washing powder which kill the bacteria which breaks down the waste solids. It is generally accepted that tanks should be regularly maintained and recently Ireland has introduced new septic tank regulations to ensure your tank meets European rules. It is also recommended that tanks should be emptied every 2 to 3 years. If you have any further questions on septic tank cleaning in Donegal or the North West Contact DS Environmental Services today on 074 9139522