Septic Pumping & Cleaning Do’s & Dont’s
Onsite wastewater treatment systems, simply known as septic systems, are a viable and effective means of treating domestic wastewater requiring very little maintenance and cost in comparison to standard sewer connections. Septic systems do not connect to the local sewer system infrastructure, but dispose of the wastewater directly into the ground to help re-fill the Florida aquifer. The solids are contained in the septic tank for future disposal by a licensed septic contractor (like Lapin Services) to be disposed of at a septic processing facility.
This section will help you understand the basics of how a septic system works by following the steps from your house’s drainage system all the way through to the end.
- Pump-out your septic system regularly. The frequency varies depending on what you put down the drain on a regular basis, how many people live in the house, the size of the tank, etc. A minimum of every two years is a good rule.
- Utilize Septicworx bacteria treatment on regular basis. Lapin Services is the exclusive seller of Septicworx for septic system maintenance (also use our Pipeworx for treating your drains).
- Have your system inspected at least every 3 years. This is to ensure that you are not building up to a future problem with your drainfield or other system components.
- Maintain healthy grass over the drainfield. To ensure proper absorption through the upper layer of the system grass should be maintained over the drainfield.
- Conserve water as much as possible. Conserving water is not only good for the current health and environment of Central Florida, but is also extremely helpful in extending the life of your drainfield.
- Install a gray water system. A simple gray water system is similar to your septic system, but is designed for the run off of your laundry washing machine (and a few other appliances) to lessen the impact of this high- water-consuming-device on your septic system. Ask Lapin Services about our gray water system options.
- Overload the system with too much water. Your system was designed to handle a certain volume of water per day, surpassing this may cause system failure.
- Drive anything heavier than a lawnmower over the septic system. Even lightweight cars can crush the drainfield or tank.
- Plant trees or bushes over or near the septic system. The root system no matter how large or small will find its way into the system and clog its regular operations.
- Use household cleaning chemicals in large amounts. Limit the use of chemical cleaners such as bleach to small amounts as these will kill the natural processes taking place in your septic tank.
- Flush non-biodegradable products down the drain. Rags, coffee grounds, paper towels, dental floss, feminine hygiene products, condoms, diapers, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, cat litter, etc. will build up quickly in your septic system potentially causing failure, not to mention these things may also get stuck in your pipes before the septic tank causing a backup.
- Neglect a leaking faucet or toilet. These continuous amounts of water into the system, no matter how small, can have a larger impact on your system than you may realize.
- Allow grease, fats, or oils into your system. These things will cause fatal damage to your system as well as clog up your pipes.
- Wastewater flows by gravity from the drains in your house (toilets, showers, sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.) to a single pipe that exists from your house below ground level. This pipe will flow directly into the septic tank.
- The septic tank is usually about 1,000 gallons in size made of concrete or thick plastic. As the wastewater flows into the tank it impacts against the inlet tee before dispersing with the rest of the wastewater in the tank. The septic tank will always be full(except right after cleaning, of course). The inlet tee prevents the incoming wastewater from stirring up the contents in the tank. As wastewater comes into the tank an equal amount of wastewater will exit the tank from the other side through the outlet tee. From there it will flow through another 4” pipe to the distribution part of the septic system. In between the inlet and outlet of the septic tank is where a lot of the processing of the wastewater takes place through natural bacterial breakdown of the solids and settling. A baffle in the tank helps prevent the settled solids from getting out of the tank. A filter in the outlet tee also prevents floating scum from exiting the tank, as well. Settled solids and floating scum will do fatal damage to the operation of the drainfield portion of a septic system so it is very important to keep this from happening. This can be prevented by regular pumping of the tank and cleaning of the filter.
- Once the wastewater exits the tank through the outlet tee it flows to the distribution area of the septic system called a header system. This consists of a single 4” pipe that splits the distribution of flow equally in two directions. These two pipes flow in opposite directions to additional tee sections that distribute the wastewater evenly into the drainfield at different points. The objective is to dose the drainfield equally and in lesser amounts over a larger area. The larger the drainfield the better it will work and longer it will last.
- As the wastewater flows out of the different pipes of the header system it evenly flows through open chambers underground or perforated pipe bundles(depending on the type of drainfield you have). All drainfields are made of plastic and the plastic sits directly on top of sand or sandy soils. As the wastewater flows over this sand it will seep into the ground. The drainfield is the largest portion of the septic system in square foot area.
- The sand or sandy soils under the drainfield absorb the wastewater by gravity. As the wastewater drains through the sand and soils on its way to the Florida aquifer the wastewater is cleaned up by the earth’s natural means. Additionally, the layer of dirt on top of the drainfield should contain grass. This along with the sun’s natural heat will also help absorb the drainfield’s moisture through the top soils. This is why it is important not cover the drainfield with anything like a concrete pad or deck.