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What Every Homeowner Should Know About Septic Tanks

Septic systems are vital in areas where public sewer lines do not reach. Though every homeowner may know where his or her septic tank is located and what it basically does, there are some people who really don’t know—or don’t want to know—what goes on under the lid. Here are some essential things every homeowner should know about their septic tanks, which includes sewage treatment basics and septic tank maintenance near San Francisco.

Septic Tank 101

A home’s septic tank is a major component of its septic system, considering that all of the wastewater that is produced in the home is channeled into that tank. While that wastewater is being contained in the chamber, its solid waste and scum start to separate from the liquid. The waste solids settle at the bottom of the tank where anaerobic bacteria break them down. Some homeowners opt to use additives to expedite this biological process. The scum rises to the top and floats above the liquid, forming a layer. The resulting liquid is then drained through a pipe to an area called the drain field where it eventually percolates into the soil.

Septic Tank Maintenance

Just because a septic system is “off the grid” doesn’t mean it won’t cost you money to operate. Before you commit to a septic tank installation or purchase a home with an existing septic system, you need to be aware of what the costs are to keep that system running smoothly. Septic tank maintenance is key. For example, a professional should be hired to perform a septic tank cleaning and pumping every three to five years, depending on a tank’s size and the volume of wastewater produced. Settled solid waste, sludge, and scum are completely removed when a tank is pumped.

Septic Tank Inspection

If you’re interested in purchasing a home with an existing septic tank, be sure to have that tank professionally inspected before you sign any important paperwork. For your part, you should open up the tank and visually assess its condition. Check for signs of poor maintenance or past flooding. From that point, your service professional can use the specialized equipment of the trade to evaluate the tank’s performance potential and to determine the tank’s structural integrity and viability.

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