What is a septic system?
A septic system is an on-site sewage treatment and disposal system buried underground. The individual parts of the system are the septic tank, a distribution box, and a leach field. Bacterial action takes place in the septic tank where the end products are mainly water, gases, and undigested material, called sludge that sinks to the bottom of the tank and scum that floats to the top of the tank.
The septic tank contains baffles that prevent any scum that floats to the surface and sludge that settles to the bottom from passing out of the tank. From the septic tank, the segregated and relatively clear liquid flows into a small distribution box where it is then metered out to several perforated pipes. These perforated pipes then deliver the liquid to a large soil surface area, called a leach field, or absorption field, for absorption. The soil also acts as a filter to remove any small amounts of solids that may be carried along with the liquid. There are other kinds of systems for special situations, but the septic tank and leach field is the most widely used system in our area.
Why do you need to pump your tank?
If your tank isn't cleaned regularly, sludge and scum will clog the drainfield and cause the whole system to fail. It is important to remove this solid material before it reaches the level of the discharge outlet and flows into the drainfield. There is a certain amount of material that is not biodegradable and must be removed by pumping. Why you should maintain your septic system A failing septic system isn't like your car when it is low on oil. No red light will go on to warn you.
The U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare Public Health Service states: "A septic tank system will serve a home satisfactorily only if it is properly designed, installed, and adequately maintained. Even a good system which does not have proper care and attention may become a nuisance and a burdensome expense."
How do you maintain your septic system?
1) Conventional septic systems are not entirely carefree. The undigested solids (sludge) in the bottom of the septic tank should be pumped out every two to three years depending on usage and tank size. If the sludge is not removed periodically, it will eventually carry over into the leach field and may cause the field to fail.
2) After pumping your tank use an additive monthly. This will help to keep the enzyme and bacteria level high in your system. Your daily use of home care products may destroy enzymes and bacteria, therefore, they should be replaced.
3) Enzymes and bacteria must be present to keep your tank working efficiently between periodic pumping. Mahopac Septic recommends using "Lenzyme".
4) Do not flush cigarette butts, sanitary napkins or tampons, paper towels, baby wipes or any inorganic materials down the toilet. Only toilet paper and waste matter should be flushed.