Sep­tic tanks need look­ing af­ter

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Many homes, es­pe­cially those in ru­ral ar­eas, are not able to con­nect to a town sewage sys­tem.

Th­ese prop­er­ties have their own on-site dis­posal sys­tems.

The most com­mon form of on­site dis­posal sys­tem is a sep­tic tank.

Wastewater from the kitchen, laun­dry and bath­room dis­charges into a sep­tic tank buried on the prop­erty.

The heav­ier solids set­tle to the bot­tom of the tank, while fats float to the top. The re­main­ing liq­uid flows out of the tank and dis­charges into a soak­age area.

Mod­ern sep­tic sys­tems may have pumps, pres­surised dis­posal with mul­ti­ple cham­bers and fil­ters.

Speak to the man­u­fac­turer of your sys­tem to get an un­der­stand­ing of how your par­tic­u­lar sys­tem works. The in­for­ma­tion given here ap­plies mostly to older-style sys­tems.

Your sep­tic tank con­tains toxic gases that could kill you if you breathe them in. Never en­ter the sep­tic tank your­self and never leave the lid open.

A poorly-main­tained sep­tic tank will be­come a se­ri­ous health hazard, spread­ing dis­ease and con­tam­i­nat­ing wa­ter sources. Sep­tic tanks need reg­u­lar main­te­nance, some of which you can do your­self.

Learn about your par­tic­u­lar sys­tem and keep a main­te­nance record. In­clude draw­ings of the sys­tem, map­ping out its ex­act lo­ca­tion. Your coun­cil may be able to pro­vide you with some de­tails.

Newer sys­tems of­ten in­clude a main­te­nance contract in their price. Con­sider buy­ing a main­te­nance contract for older sys­tems.

Tanks gen­er­ally need pump­ing (clean­ing out) ev­ery three to five years to re­move sludge and sed­i­ment. The fre­quency de­pends on: What goes into the sys­tem. How many peo­ple use it. The ca­pac­ity of the tanks. Whether you re­cy­cle greywater. You’ll need a pro­fes­sional to do the pump­ing. Look un­der Sep­tic Tanks, Wa­ter Treat­ment, or Wa­ter and Wastewater Ser­vices in the Yel­low Pages.

Tanks need to be in­spected reg­u­larly. You’ll need a pro­fes­sional to do this for you.

Look un­der Sep­tic Tanks, Wa­ter Treat­ment, or Wa­ter & Wastewater Ser­vices in the Yel­low Pages.

Pro­tect the soak­age treat­ment area so that the ef­flu­ent leav­ing the tank has best con­di­tions to dis­perse or evap­o­rate. Don’t let ve­hi­cles on to the area, nor any­thing else that might break up the surface (such as an­i­mals or, in win­ter, chil­dren run­ning around).

Don’t over­load your tank with too much wastewater.

Most of your wastewater comes from your wash­ing ma­chine, toi­let and bath­room.

What you put into your sep­tic tank will de­ter­mine how much main­te­nance it needs.

Don’t do mul­ti­ple loads of laun­dry in one day.

Don’t empty large quan­ti­ties of wa­ter into the sys­tem all at once, such as from a spa pool.

Don’t let rain­wa­ter into the sep­tic tank.

Put only sewage and two-ply toi­let pa­per into the sys­tem. Ev­ery­thing else should go in the bin, in­clud­ing nap­pies and tam­pons.

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