What Does Dry Scum Layer Mean In A Septic Tank? (Solution)

  • As these bacteria die off, they too become a part of the sludge layer. Scum: Scum refers to the set of substances in a septic tank which are lighter than water. It usually consists of oil, fats, and grease.

How do you stop a scum layer on a septic tank?

How to Reduce Sludge in a Septic Tank Without Pumping

  1. Install an aeration system with diffused air in your septic tank.
  2. Break up any compacted sludge.
  3. Add a bio-activator or microbe blend.
  4. Maintain the aeration system.
  5. Add additional Microbes as required.

What is the septic scum layer?

The septic tank is a watertight vault in which the purification process begins. In the tank, density differences automatically separates the sewage into three layers. The topmost layer is called “scum”. Scum is composed of materials that float on water such as grease, oil, and fats.

What happens to scum in septic tank?

The floating scum layer and settled sludge layer accumulate in the septic tank until the tank is pumped / emptied by the septic pumping contractor. In turn, the septic pumping company then hauls the septage to an approved disposal site, most-often to a waste treatment plant.

Should a septic tank have a crust?

It is normal to have a scum or crust on top of the liquid. Sometimes this will be over an inch thick and appear almost solid. The level of the liquid or crust should be below the inlet baffle. If it is above the inlet baffle, there is a problem with the outlet of the tank or leach field.

What are the signs that septic tank is full?

Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:

  • Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
  • Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
  • Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
  • You Hear Gurgling Water.
  • You Have A Sewage Backup.
  • How often should you empty your septic tank?

What does scum in septic look like?

Scum: Substances lighter than water (oil, grease, fats) float to the top, where they form a scum layer. This scum layer floats on top of the water surface in the tank. Aerobic bacteria work at digesting floating solids.

How thick should the scum layer be in a septic tank?

Septic tanks need to be pumped out when the sludge layer exceeds 24 inches in depth or when the bottom of the scum layer is less than 3 inches above the Page 2 lower end of the submerged outlet. If you cannot locate the submerged outlet, clean the tank if the scum layer is more than 12 inches thick.

What is the scum on top of septic tank?

Scum: Substances lighter than water (oil, grease, fats) float to the top, where they form a scum layer. This scum layer floats on top of the water surface in the tank. Aerobic bacteria work at digesting floating solids. It flows through the septic tank outlet into the drainfield.

Why is my septic tank foaming?

Phosphates that pass through the septic system due to improper design can enter surface water, causing very high growth rates of algae. Surfactants typically cause foaming or suds in water.

How do I check the sludge in my septic tank?

To measure the sludge layer:

  1. Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it touches the bottom of the tank.
  2. As the device is slowly pulled out of the water, the check valve closes capturing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water. The thickness of the sludge layer can be measured.

What does sewage sludge and scum mean?

Sewage sludge is solid, semisolid, or liquid residue generated during the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment works. Sewage sludge includes, but is not limited to, domestic septage; scum or solids removed in primary, secondary, or advanced wastewater treatment processes; and material derived from sewage sludge.

How do you break down the sludge in a septic tank?

Here are a few things you can do to help you break down the solid waste in your septic tank:

  1. Active Yeast. Add ¼ to ½ cup of active dry yeast to your toilet bowl and flush it down your toilet.
  2. Rotten Tomatoes.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide.
  4. Inorganic Acids.
  5. Chemicals.
  6. Pumping.

Can you put too much bacteria in a septic tank?

Too much of a good thing can cause problems. A septic system relies on the correct balance of bacteria to do its job. An overpopulation of bacteria can deplete the oxygen in the septic tank and turn the environment septic. A septic, septic system is one in which the ecosystem within the tank is out of balance.

How do you prevent fat build up in a septic tank?

Using a grease trap additive, such as the liquid or powder form of Bio-Secure Grease Trap Concentrate, can help prevent septic tanks, grease tanks, and sewer lines from clogging. It is relatively easy to use. Just mix the power or liquid additive with warm water and rinse it down the drain.

How can I increase bacteria in my septic tank naturally?

Homemade Septic Tank Treatment The ingredients required for this natural solution are the following: Water, Sugar, Cornmeal, and Dry Yeast. To concoct this mixture, first start by boiling roughly a half gallon of water. Add in 2 cups of sugar. The sugar will act as the first food your bacteria will eat!

Why You May Have A Septic Tank Crust

There are a variety of reasons why you may notice a septic tank crust on the surface of your septic tank’s surface. What is a septic tank crust, why you could have one, and what to do if you do have one are all discussed in this article. Taking care of a septic tank Keeping an eye on your sewage disposal system, including your septic tank, is a good idea, even though it’s probably not something you’ll want to get too close to every now and then. As you’d expect, keeping an eye on your septic tank and septic tank crusts is also a good idea, because it will ensure that your sewage disposal system remains efficient and safe.

Yes, it can be a little disgusting, but what exactly does it entail?

Do you know what you can do if you have septic tank crust, and will it indicate that you will need a septic tank pump-out or that you will have to call in the professionals to lend you a helping hand?

What is a Septic Tank Crust or Scum Layer?

On the surface of the septic tank lies a thin layer of material that will ordinarily (and should) float to the top. This often contains some fats, oils, and greases, and it’s a clear greenish, greyish, or even brown bubbling liquid that’s normally transparent. Lighter stuff will naturally climb to the top of the pile, just as solids will tend to sink to the bottom, according to fundamental science. Septic tanks are made up of multiple levels, which differ depending on what is put into them. The presence of this layer floating on top of your tank is not uncommon, and it is certainly not uncommon to see a few loose particles, like as feces and paper, that have drifted to the surface along the way.

  • Isn’t it true that a septic tank should include sludge all the way down?
  • The top layer is almost always likely to include some type of scum, however this is not always the case.
  • At the very bottom of your tank should be a layer of thick septic sludge, which, as you would guess, contains the majority of the natural waste that has been released into the system from your home over time.
  • Consider the following: why there could be a crust in the first place, and what you should do if there is any crust at all to address the situation.

Should Your Septic Tank Have a Crust?

As previously stated, the top layer of your septic tank should typically include some type of scum or scum-like substance. This is fairly common, and it has a tendency to be a little frothy and thin in appearance. If your septic tank is in good working order, it is usual to notice a scum layer on the surface of the water with a few bits and pieces floating to the surface. If you look closely, you may notice fragments of toilet paper and perhaps a few floating particles, despite the fact that it is really unpleasant.

Make no distinction between being a scruncher or a wadder; don’t think about it too much.

On the whole, while it’s disgusting to look at, you should be able to notice a greenish-brown color to the top scum on the surface.

If this sounds like the top layer of your septic tank, you generally don’t need to worry about anything at this point.

On rare occasions, though, this scum layer might harden and form a crust on the surface of the water. This is something that may generate a great deal of stress for septic tank owners, so it is important to understand what to expect in the long run. Is it even an issue in the first place?

What Causes the Surface Crust in a Septic Tank?

The surface crust on the surface of your septic tank is almost certainly going to contain a mixture of different oils and fats. As a matter of fact, there’s a word for it: FOG. FOG is an abbreviation for Fats, Oils, and Greases. They will never sink into the lower levels of the tank, therefore the only place they will ever be is at the top of the tank’s water column. Furthermore, because of the nature of these fatty liquids, they might have a tendency to solidify. Septic tank surface – there are no visible fats, oils, or grease.

  1. However, if you leave your tank unattended for a period of several weeks or months, it is much than probable that this will occur.
  2. If you leave it for an extended period of time, it might result in a crust.
  3. To summarize, anything that is even somewhat heavy will sink to the bottom layer of the tank.
  4. So while you may see a few floaters and the occasional piece of paper wadding floating upward into the scum layer, the most of what you see is likely to be FOGs (foul-smelling algae).

Lack of Septic Tank Activity

A lack of activity, such as a complete absence of use, contributes to the growth of septic tank crust. Because there is less fluid flowing about, FOG not only floats to the top of the layer and lingers there, but it also crusts over on the surface. This is as a result of the drying out of the FOG. It begins to harden, which means that your effluent and solid layers underneath it may become trapped and locked off. By doing so, you are preventing air from entering the effluent via the surface, depriving microorganisms of essential oxygen.

When it comes to dealing with the crust on a septic tank, you should only do it if you have a very strong stomach.

Consequently, you may want assistance in order to break through it and restore your tank’s full functionality.

Do I need to Improve My Septic Crust?

It’s easy to believe that a septic tank crust isn’t something to be concerned about in the first place. Leaving it to its own devices, on the other hand, will hinder the bacteria in the tank from getting down to business and breaking down organic matter. Bacteria, like all living organisms, require oxygen in order to thrive and reproduce. By allowing a septic tank crust to accumulate on the top layer of your septic tank, you are essentially preventing air from reaching the bacteria in your tank.

The crust that forms on the surface of a septic tank effectively closes off the effluent and solid layers, causing the bacteria to become anaerobic, become considerably less active, and emit unpleasant gases as a result of the lack of oxygen in the tank.

It is at this point that they begin to physically stink, thereby bringing your tank to a near-standstill in its operation.

3 Tips to Prevent Your Septic Tank From Crusting Over?

This trio of suggestions will keep your septic tank from being further crusted over while also reactivating the bacteria to a very efficient aerobic state?

1. Break Up the Scum Layer

First and foremost, you must disassemble the situation immediately. Simply breaking up the surface with a pole, rake, or hoe is all that is required. Increasing the amount of oxygen in your tank will help the bacteria in the tank to become more active, allowing them to really break down both the waste on the surface and that found in the bottom layers.

2. Use a Biological Septic Tank Deep Cleaning Solution

Deep cleaning your septic tank with a biological solution is recommended. This should aid in the digestion of any FOG present in the top layer, as well as the elimination of the crust over a period of a few weeks.

3. Reduce Your FOG Discharge

Reduce the quantity of FOG that is released from the kitchen sink by putting all used fats, oils, and greases in the kitchen trash bin as soon as they are finished cooking. A biological waste trap and drain cleaner that does not include “chemicals” can help to decrease FOG build-up in your tank and will guarantee that your drains run freely without the chance of becoming clogged with debris.

In Conclusion

Overall, dealing with a septic tank crust problem isn’t a particularly pleasurable experience. Crusts, on the other hand, should be avoided at all costs since they can cause serious difficulties for you in the long term. Draining and repairing septic tank problems later in the process is never enjoyable and will result in needless expenditure and inconvenience. We at Muck Munchers recognize that septic tanks are important infrastructure that people rely on on a daily basis. It’s really simple to let these tanks fall into chaos if you don’t pay attention.

A septic tank crust can cause issues, and in order to solve the problem, the crust must be broken in order for air to be allowed to flow in.

Learn more about what we can do to assist you by browsing our selection of septic tank goods online.

Sludge 101

Inquiry:I am new to the field of pumping and am intrigued by the biological activities that take place in each specific sewage treatment system. Despite the fact that I have a slew of questions, I will only submit one: I’d want to know exactly what sludge is. According to one online source, sludge is comprised of sewage particles that swiftly sink through the surface scum. According to another source, sludge is a waste product produced by enzymes when they are performing their decomposition function on waste material.

  • If so, is this a contributing factor to drainfield glazing?
  • Sludge is a term that can be applied to any substance that has settled as a result of bacterial or yeast activity, without qualification.
  • In a municipal sewage treatment system, the majority of the bacterial activity is aerobic in nature.
  • This sludge has a composition that is similar to that of soil.
  • As a result, the “sludge” consisted primarily of organic debris with a small amount of nitrogen added.
  • Consequently, I’ll go over septic tank sludge with you.
  • Anaerobic bacteria steadily breakdown the solids, resulting in a reduction in their volume over time.
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Due to the rise in the sludge layer, there is a reduction in the amount of liquid in the septic tank, and some particles may pass through the tank and into the soil absorption system.

You must inform your consumers about the current circumstances in this regard.

When bones and coffee grounds are thrown into the garbage disposal, they contribute to the sludge layer since they do not decompose due to bacterial action.

Home sewerage is likely to contain soap or detergent residues in addition to the sewage.

Cooking oils and fats float as well, becoming part of the scum layer as a result.

In addition, the scum layer takes up a portion of the liquid volume in the septic tank.

Before this can occur, the septic tank must be thoroughly cleansed and emptied out of the ground.

A settling tank is often installed in the sewage line before to the aerobic tank, according to the design.

The aerobic activity in the second tank is more effective in decomposing organic solids, but a residue in the aerobic tank must be removed on a regular basis.

Unless any of the sludges I’ve described are allowed to dry out, it will be impossible to separate and check any small particles, in my view.

Organic matter and nutrients are added by the sludge, which is then recycled to help plants develop.

Ideally, there should be little, if any, sludge or scum pouring out into the soil absorption area if the septic tank is properly maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.

The biomat is formed as a result of the presence of suspended organic particles in the effluent from the septic tank.

On the trench side, the biomat is anaerobic, whereas on the soil side, it is aerobic.

The biomat is designed to enable fluids to pass through it.

A biomat will always form in a soil absorption system because of the nature of the soil.

The pace of decomposition is determined by the texture of the soil.

Onsite sewage treatment maintenance is critical to the proper running of an onsite sewage treatment system in order for it to remain operational. This is the message you need to communicate to your consumers in the strongest possible terms.

Septic Tank Pumping

Septic tanks are used in the vast majority of on-lot sewage systems nowadays. The subject of how frequently a septic tank should be pumped has been a source of contention for several decades. For example, there are some homeowners who say they have never drained their septic tank and that it “appears” to be in fine working condition. While trying to establish a standard pumping strategy, authorities have taken a more conservative approach and have declared that all septic tanks should be pump out every two to three years.

How a Septic Tank Works

Box 1.Can you tell me how much solid trash you generate? The average adult consumes around one quart of food every day. The body removes just a very little percentage of this meal and utilizes it to provide energy for the body’s functions. The remaining portion is discharged into the waste water system. This translates into around 90 gallons of solid waste being discharged into the septic tank per adult each year. Based on the assumption that the anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank reduce the waste volume by around 60%, this indicates that each adult contributes approximately 60 gallons of solids to their septic tank each year.

  1. Consequently, it will take around 5 years for one adult to completely fill a 1,000-gallon septic tank with sludge and scum, which is approximately 300 gallons.
  2. It is simple to infer that a septic tank should be pumped every two to three years after accounting for adults who work outside the home for a third of the time and children who attend school after making these modifications to the study.
  3. Single chamber septic tanks were the most common type of septic tank until recently.
  4. Septic tanks are designed to aid the removal of particles that are heavier than water by encouraging these heavy particles to settle to the tank bottom, resulting in the formation of the sludge layer.
  5. It is also designed to keep particles that are lighter than water by encouraging these lighter particles to float to the surface and be maintained in the tank, resulting in a layer of scum on the surface of the tank.

In part, this is due to the fact that the temperature of the septic tank is equal to that of the soil surrounding it, and the anaerobic bacteria require higher temperatures in order to effectively decompose organic material in wastewater and thus reduce the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the wastewater.

  • Holding on to the heavy (settleable) and lighter (floatable) particles allows the septic tank to gently fill with solids from the bottom up as well as from the top down.
  • Septic tanks with an exit filter will catch and decrease the flow of solids into the absorption area when the tank is properly designed and installed.
  • As a result, it is critical that every septic tank be pumped on a regular basis to eliminate the organic particles that have been collected and partially digested.
  • Small amounts of the particles kept in the tank degrade, but the vast majority of the solids stay and build up in the tank.
  • Under no circumstances should you enter a septic tank.
  • With continued usage of the on-lot wastewater disposal system, an accumulation of sludge and scum builds up in the septic tank.
  • As the amount of sludge and scum in the tank fills up, wastewater is maintained in the tank for a shorter period of time, and the solids removal process becomes less efficient as a result.

It is necessary to pump the tank on a regular basis in order to avoid this. Asseptage is the term used to describe the substance injected. Cross-sectional view of a two-chamber septic tank (Figure 1).

Number of bedrooms in the home Estimated daily flow (gallons/day) Minimum septic tank size (gallons)
3 400 900
4 500 1,250
5 600 1,400
6 700 1,550

How Frequent should a Septic Tank be Pumped?

Pumping frequency is determined by a number of parameters, including:

  • The capacity of the septic tank
  • The amount of wastewater that is put to the septic tank each day (see Table 1)
  • The amount of solids in a wastewater stream is measured. In this regard, it should be noted that there are various different types of particles that are regularly dumped into a septic system. This group of solids includes (1) biodegradable “organic” solids such as feces (see Box 1), (2) slowly biodegradable “organic” solids such as toilet paper and cellulosic compounds, which take a long time to biodegrade in the septic tank, and (3) non-biodegradable solids such as kitty litter, plastics, and other non-biodegradable materials, which do not biodegrade and quickly fill the septic tank It is possible to significantly reduce the quantity of slowly biodegradable organics and non-biodegradable trash that is introduced to your septic tank by reducing the amount of organic waste that is added to the tank.

Another factor that influences how soon a septic tank will fill with solids is one’s way of living. In terms of septic tank function, the two most essential aspects of one’s lifestyle are as follows: Homes with expanding families, having children ranging in age from tiny children to adolescents, often consume more water and deposit more sediments into the septic tank than other types of households. Empty nesters, and especially the elderly, on the other hand, have a tendency to consume significantly less water and to deposit significantly less solid waste in septic tanks.

  • The particles in a septic tank tend to be taken away from the tank to the soil absorption region, as previously indicated.
  • As additional materials collect in the absorption region, these sediments begin to choke the soil, preventing wastewater from being able to fully absorb.
  • In most cases, the removal of these biomats is both expensive and time-consuming.
  • Pumping the wastewater that has accumulated in the soil absorption area is required for the removal of the biomat.
  • The biomat normally decomposes within a few days after the absorption area has been completely dewatered and has been aerated.

Is It Time To Pump Your Septic Tank?

So, how does one go about determining how frequently a septic tank needs be cleaned? We are aware that residences who dispose of huge volumes of non-biodegradable and slowly biodegradable organic waste into their septic tank require more frequent pumping. It is also known that prior to the time at which the collected solids have accumulated to the point that they are being taken with the tank effluent to the absorption region, the septic tank should be pump out. When it comes to determining when (and how frequently) to pump your septic tank, there are two generally safe ways to use.

The alternative method is to open the access port to the first chamber (as shown in Figure 1) once a year and insert a long pole to the bottom of the tank and then pull it out of the tank.

If the sludge has accumulated to more than one-third of the tank’s total depth, it is time to have it drained out completely. The majority of households will benefit from having their tanks drained every two or three years instead.

The Pumping Process

Contractors who specialize in septic tank pumping and hauling may pump your septic tank. It is a good idea to be present to check that everything is completed correctly. For the material to be extracted from the tank, it is necessary to break up the scum layer, and the sludge layer must be combined with the liquid section of the tank. In most cases, this is accomplished by alternately pumping liquid out of the tank and re-injecting it into the bottom of the tank. Not the little intake or outlet inspection openings situated above each baffle, but the two huge central access ports (manholes) are required for pumping the septic tank.

  • It is not suggested to use additives in septic tanks to minimize the volume of sludge or as a substitute for pumping in order to achieve these goals.
  • When you have your septic tank pumped, you should consider taking an additional step to ensure that your septic system continues to perform correctly for a long time.
  • This inspector can tell you whether or not your septic tank needs to be repaired, as well as whether or not other components of your sewage system require upkeep.
  • Mark the position of the tank as well, so that it may be found simply in the future for pumping.

Schedule Septic Tank Pumping

Homeowners should develop the practice of getting their septic tanks drained on a regular basis. As long as you are able and willing to schedule regular septic tank pumping (every two or three years, for example), it may be feasible to improve the overall performance of your complete on-lot wastewater disposal system. According to research conducted at Penn State, your soil absorption system will benefit from frequent resting periods (a period during which no wastewater is added to the absorption area).

In other words, the whole system, particularly the soil absorption region, will have the opportunity to dry up, and any organic waste (biomat) that may have formed in the soil absorption area will degrade swiftly in the absence of water.


A septic tank is simply one component of a complete on-site wastewater treatment system. Its purpose is to remove solids from the effluent prior to it reaching the soil absorption region, to allow for the digestion of a part of those solids, and to store the remainder of the solids in a holding tank. It is not necessary to use biological or chemical additions to enhance or speed the breakdown process.

Grinders contribute to the solids load on the system by reducing the size of garbage. Solids must be removed on a regular basis in order to prevent them from accessing the soil absorption zone. Every two to three years, you should have your septic tank drained and examined by a professional.

For additional assistance contact

Your local Sewage Enforcement Officer or Extension Educator can help you with these issues. A contact for the Pennsylvania Association of Sewage Enforcement Officers (PASEO) is as follows:4902 Carlisle Pike,268Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 Phone: 717-761-8648 Email: [email protected] Philadelphia, PA 18016 717-763-7762 [email protected] Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA)P.O. Box 144 Bethlehem, PA 18016 717-763-7762

The Differences Between A Dry Well And A Septic Tank

Unless you live in an urban region, the chances are good that you are reading this because you live in a rural area or in an area that receives significant rainfall throughout the year. Assuming that you responded yes to any of those questions, you’re undoubtedly already aware with the concepts of dry well and septic tank. A dry well and a septic tank are two separate things, and there is considerable misunderstanding regarding the differences. However, while certain operations may overlap because they are both technically disposal systems, they are not interchangeable, despite the fact that some processes may overlap.

In this post, we will discuss the fundamental distinctions between dry wells and septic tanks, as well as the types of maintenance and care that are required for each system, as well as the specifics of how each system operates.

Please contact Alpha Environmental if you have any servicing requirements.

What is a Dry Well?

A Drywell, also known as an Underground Injection Control (UIC) well, is a man-made device that is used to release water from the surface of the earth to the subsurface. Drought-resistant drywells are designed to collect only stormwater runoff and enable the water to seep into the underlying soils through the perforated sidewalls of the drywell. Modern drywells are frequently constructed of perforated concrete or polyethylene. A vast number of dry wells are utilized in the Pacific Northwest to deal with heavy and persistent precipitation.

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Gutter systems attached to downspouts that transport rainwater straight into a home’s yard are common on residential properties, as is the use of rain barrels.

How Does a Dry Well Work?

If you think of a classic water well (brick walled, hollowed out with no cover, protruding out of the ground), imagine it is buried beneath the ground instead of being apparent to the naked eye. Surface water from rooftops and parking lots is channeled into the dry well by pipe and is temporarily stored in the dry well until it is needed again. Afterwards, water seeps through the perforated walls of the dry well and slowly percolates into the surrounding soils, where it is stored.

Some dry wells are equipped with a catch basin. An ordinary catch basin is nothing more than a temporary sediment trap that serves as a prefilter for water before it enters a dry well.

Residential Dry Well Installation

It is extremely advised that you get your dry well installed by a competent company. If your system is implemented poorly, you will almost certainly wind up spending more money on costly repairs (as well as possible fines) than you spent on the initial installation. An experienced staff will know where the optimum placement in the yard is for the dry well, as well as for any catch basins that may be required. In addition to checking for soil conditions (such as soil absorption levels), a professional knows how to ensure that your dry well is large enough to prevent water from backing up after the first major rain.

In addition, hiring a professional to install your dry well ensures that you are in compliance with all of the requirements set out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Dry Well Maintenance, Repairs, and Concerns

When it comes to dry wells, whether you already have one on your property or are interested in having one placed on your land, there are a few things to consider.

  1. Drywell registration is required. As previously discussed, non-roof drain dry wells must be registered with the DEQ
  2. Drywell sampling is also required. For yearly compliance, it is common practice to sample the soil on the exterior of the dry well or the silt and water from the interior of the dry well. The usage of a dry well is mandatory if the well is located in a facility that also handles chemicals or petroleum products. Some properties may be forbidden from having dry wells, depending on the site’s intended purpose
  3. Drywell upkeep and maintenance. When using dry wells, there is a risk of polluting groundwater or the land beneath the well. This is especially true when it comes to business premises that deal with potentially dangerous materials such as asbestos. However, even in residential settings, dry well maintenance is needed in order to ensure that your well lasts as long as it possibly can.

Drywell Decommissioning

There are several instances where dry wells are no longer required. While this occurs, procedures must be followed when decommissioning the well in order to ensure that the well meets the standards for clean closure. Alpha Environmental is in charge of all of these requirements, as well as the appropriate notice prior to starting the procedure itself. It is required to provide this information because the decommissioning work must be undertaken under the supervision of a qualified geologist, engineering geologist, or engineer.

Drywell Registration Assistance

All individuals who possess an existing drywell or who want to construct a drywell are obliged to register the drywell with the Department of Environmental Quality. Prior to decommissioning, drywells must also be registered with the local government. Alpha is on hand to assist drywell owners with the documentation and to shorten the registration process as much as possible.

What is a Septic Tank?

Aseptic tanks are a type of onsite sewage system that is commonly found in rural regions (or in sites that are not linked to a centralized sewage system). They serve as a waste disposal mechanism that eliminates toxins from wastewater. Despite the fact that a septic tank is a wastewater treatment system, it is not correct to argue that it performs all of the functions of a centralized sewage system. For places without access to a bigger and more complicated sewage system, a septic tank is more of a “decent alternative” than anything else.

How Does a Septic Tank Work?

Inlet and outflow pipes are installed in septic tanks.

Pipes leading into the tank absorb waste from the home and run it through the tank’s breakdown process (which we will describe in detail below), after which decontaminated water is sent out the outlet pipe. Detailed below is the procedure down to the smallest detail:

  1. Waste enters the septic tank through input pipes and flows to the septic tank. In contrast to the dry wells we discussed previously, a septic tank is capable of handling more than just rainfall and greywater. It also handles and is specifically designed to manage wastewater and any other water that comes from plumbing fixtures, among other things. As a matter of fact, “effluent,” or watery waste, should completely fill the septic tank (if it does not, there will be difficulties, which we shall discuss below)
  2. Anaerobic microorganisms decompose organic items that have been introduced into the aquarium. As the name implies, anaerobic bacteria are bacteria that do not require oxygen to survive, making them ideal for use in subterranean storage tanks. The sludge settles to the bottom of the vessel. In this breakdown process, inorganic particles and other wastes, collectively referred to as sludge, settle to the bottom of the tank. A healthy tank will have a thin layer of sludge at the bottom, with scum rising to the surface of the water at the top. While the sludge sinks to the bottom of the container, the scum rises to the top. Scum is made up of fats, greases, and oils, and any leftover particles are captured by a filter at the end of the process. Solids are kept away from the septic tank’s outflow pipe by this filter
  3. Effluent is sent to the septic drain field by this filter. Following that, the watery waste is channeled into a drain field, which is also known as a leach field. Waste is channeled through perforated pipes in this location (pipes with little holes on the side). The water leaches out into the surrounding soil, where the bacteria in the soil begin to digest the remainder of the wastewater and the process is repeated. Previously, your waste was being handled by anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that do not require oxygen), but now it is being treated by aerobic bacteria (bacteria that do require oxygen)
  4. Clean water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer
  5. And

Dry wells handle rainfall and (perhaps) greywater, whereas septic tanks handle wastewater and, in the process, break down particles. This is the primary distinction between dry wells and septic tanks.

Septic Tank Maintenance, Repairs, and Concerns

  • Get your septic tank drained by a professional as soon as possible. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year
  • But, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Obtain a preliminary advice from your inspector regarding how frequently your tank should be pumped
  • And Don’t flush the incorrect stuff down the toilet or down the drain. Just a few of the items that have created problems with a homeowner’s septic tank include the following: Colored and clear paint and paint thinner, feminine hygiene goods, baby wipes and diapers, cigarette butts, cat litter, paper towels, cooking oils and fats, and other household items are prohibited. Putting these things (and other similar objects) down your drain pipes might cause clogs and necessitate the need for a service call. Maintaining your septic tank on a regular basis is essential. Maintenance on your septic system on a regular basis will assist to reduce the risk of an emergency scenario occurring, such as a septage blockage. By emptying your septic system on a regular basis, you may lessen the likelihood of septic system failure.

Leach Field vs. Seepage Pit

Don’t forget that a septic tank is responsible for disposing of human waste (and other potential hard-to-dispose of materials, depending on the location). The proper disposal of human waste must be carried out with care. We discussed septic drain fields (also known as leaching fields) above, but seepage pits are also used in some regions. Seepage pits are holes in the ground that are meant to absorb septic wastewater, such as the effluent from a septic tank, and to discharge it into the environment.

A seepage pit is a vertical depression in the ground (opposite to the horizontal leach field).

In order to be vertical, the seepage pit must be dug deeper in the dirt than is necessary, which implies that the effluent waste will only receive anaerobic bacterial treatment rather than aerobic bacterial treatment.

Septic Tank vs. DryWell vs. Cesspool

Let’s have a look at the highlights. Despite the fact that they perform similar activities (handling water) and are located in the same area (in your yard), a septic tank and a dry well serve distinct roles. Another issue we frequently receive is concerning cesspools, therefore we decided to combine the two topics into one blog article in order to “kill three birds with one stone.” A septic tank is a component of a septic waste system, which aims to replace the functions performed by a centralized sewage system in a home or business.

A dry well is a drainage system that is exclusively used for the collection and disposal of rainfall and greywater.

A dry well may be used in the construction of a catch basin in order to better capture sediments and keep the catch basin from becoming blocked when runoff water travels into the surrounding soil.

The difference between the two is that a septic tank is part of a septic waste management system, whereas a cesspool is just a hole intended to collect wastewater.

Please bear in mind that we provide services for both dry wells and septic tanks, from aiding with registration to providing maintenance and upkeep to decommissioning. Please contact Alpha Environmental if you have any servicing requirements.

Everything You Need To Know About Your Septic System

Florida people rely on roughly 2.6 million septic systems to dispose of waste and wastewater on a daily basis, accounting for 30% of the state’s population. Homes and businesses in rural regions rely on these systems to dispose of garbage in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner.

What Are Septic Tanks Made From?

Septic tanks are a waterproof box composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene material that is used to dispose of sewage. In other words, there will be no debris, dirt, or water from the surrounding ground that may get into the tank. Septic tanks made of concrete and/or fiberglass are the most common types.

Common Styles Of Septic Tanks

ATUs treat and filter waste by separating it into three compartments: a garbage compartment, an aeration chamber, and a clarification compartment. An aerobic, or thoroughly oxygenated, environment is created in the effluent by forcing compressed air through it. Because the bacteria thrive in this environment, waste decomposes more quickly than it would in a conventional septic tank. This helps to limit the quantity of organic material that enters the soil and groundwater around the house.

Double Compartment

Most tanks built since 1976 feature two compartments for filtering effluent, sediments, and wastewater that enters the tank during the construction process. The first compartment, which is placed adjacent to the intake pipe, is often bigger than the second compartment, which is located further away. It is possible to see the liquid flowing from the first container into the second compartment. Before the effluent is discharged into the outflow pipe, any remaining sludge and scum separate from the liquid.

Pump Tank

A pump tank controls the amount of effluent flowing from the septic tank. As effluent collects in the pump tank, the level rises until it reaches the control float. When the float activates, the pump sends a predetermined volume of effluent into the drain field.

Holding Tank

In lieu of septic tanks, holding tanks can be used to collect and store waste. They are either above or below ground and require constant pumping to remove the contents of their holding tanks. The majority of holding tanks are equipped with an alarm that sounds when the tank is full.

Single Compartment

A single compartment tank was utilized in the majority of septic systems constructed before to 1976. These tanks could hold up to 1,000 gallons of liquid at a time. After entering the tank and separating into three levels, liquid waste is discharged into the septic drain field via the outflow line.

What Is FOG?

Fats, oils, and grease (also known as FOG) are frequent cooking byproducts that occur naturally in a wide variety of foods and other items. While FOG is viscous when it first enters the septic tank, it cools swiftly as it comes into contact with the wastewater in the tank. However, because of its viscosity, FOG coats and covers every surface it comes into contact with when it solidifies.

How A Septic Tank Works

Solids sink to the bottom of the tank’s intake pipe, while FOG rises to the surface of the wastewater and collects at the top of the tank’s intake pipe. In most cases, the tank is large enough to keep wastewater for an extended period of time, allowing effulent separation to take place. There are three levels within the tank as a result of this separation: a sludge layer on the bottom, a wastewater layer in the middle, and a scum layer on top. bacteria, enzymes, and other microorganisms often present in human waste begin to break down the sludge layer and break down the sludge layer further.

Upon entry into the septic tank and drain field, two baffles direct and filter the water. The intake baffle prevents the scum layer from obstructing the inflow pipe, while the outflow baffle keeps scum and particles in the tank until they are removed by the drain.

What Are Septic Tank Solids?

The majority of solids contained in a septic tank may be divided into three categories:

  • Non-biodegradable organic solids include pet litter, plastics, and other items that do not decompose over time
  • Biodegradable organic solids include vegetable scraps and other cellulosic compounds, as well as toilet paper
  • And biodegradable organic solids include solid human feces.
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Septic System Drain Fields

After leaving the septic tank, effluent goes into a drain field, which is a network of underground pipes and dirt that collects the waste. Other phrases that are commonly used include absorption field, leach field, and trench. The size of the space required is determined by the following factors:

  • Soil type
  • Seasonal variations in groundwater level
  • Amount of water absorbed each day
  • And soil percolation rate are all factors to consider.

The soil percolation rate is defined as the amount of water that the soil can absorb in one minute per inch of soil thickness. A significant consideration in determining the site of a septic drain field in Florida is the percolation rate, which is crucial because the state has a high water table.

How A Drain Field Works

An underground network of perforated pipes may be found in this location, which can be found in either several trenches or a gravel-lined soil bed. Drainage from the pipes filters through the gravel and dirt before entering the sewer system. Compaction of the soil has a significant impact on its function, which is why it is critical not to construct structures on it or drive or park vehicles of any size over it.

Why Is A Drain Field Important?

Natural filtration is provided for effluent, which is recycled back into the groundwater source. It is possible that biological and chemical pollutants may infiltrate the water and create health problems for anybody who consumed or came into touch with the water without this filtering system in place.

How To Find Your Septic TankSeptic Drain Field

The location of the septic system will be shown on the majority of property plans and surveys. Septic tanks are often built along the sewage line that leads away from the house or business. These may have been handed to you during the sale of your home or company, but they are also maintained on file at the county government office as well as at the city or town hall. When this line is many inches in diameter, it means that it is located at the lowest level of your home, such as a basement or crawl space.

The majority of septic tanks are located between 10 and 25 feet away from a residence or business.

This area begins at the far border of the tank and may stretch up to 100 feet from the tank.

The Septic Tank Pumping Process

In order to prepare for extraction, the floating scum layer is first broken up by alternately sucking out liquid from the tank and pumping it back in to break up the bottom solid layer. Pumping is accomplished through the two access ports, which are referred to as manholes. The tank should never be pumped through the inspection apertures on the baffle wall.

This can not only cause damage to the baffles, but it can also result in insufficient waste removal from the tank. Until the septic tank is completely depleted, industrial vacuums are used to remove waste from the tank and into our tanker truck.

How Often A Septic Tank Should Be Pumped?

In most cases, every three to five years is sufficient. However, depending on the size of your septic tank and the amount of sediments and wastewater you produce on a daily basis, you may need to contact a septic tank pumping firm such as Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service sooner rather than later.

What To Expect During A Septic Tank Pumping

Before starting the pumping process, it is necessary to measure the thickness of the scum and sludge. This information is important in determining the pace at which waste accumulates and in determining when the next pumping should be scheduled. The pumping process is monitored closely by our personnel, who are actively monitoring for any possible system problems, such as backflow from the outflow pipe. Backflow that is significant typically indicates a backup in the drainfield, whereas slight backflow indicates a weaker outflow line in most cases.

Septic Tank Cleaning

Septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping are not the same thing, despite the fact that many people use the phrases interchangeably. Pumping just removes liquid and uncompressed materials; cleaning, on the other hand, eliminates any leftover solids before washing the interior of the tank with soap and water. Following the removal of the liquid layer from the tank, our professionals employ pressured jets of water to break up any residual particles in the tank. Solids are removed from the tank with the use of an industrial-grade vacuum and a connected hose before the inside of the tank is washed.

This can result in the formation of sinkholes or the breakdown of the entire system.

How Often Should A Septic Tank Be Cleaned?

With every septic tank pump out, there is a new beginning. Keep in mind that the frequency with which the tank is pumped is determined by the number of people who are using the system and the volume of wastewater created on a daily basis. You may work with an aseptic tank pumping firm, such as Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service, to establish a regular pumping and cleaning program for your tank.

How To Keep A Septic Tank In Good Condition Between Cleanings

The most effective strategy to ensure that your septic tank remains in good working order for many years is to be informed of what can and cannot be put into the system.

Don’t DisposeFlush Items At-Will

In order to degrade materials that enter the tank, a septic system relies on bacteria that are found in nature. Although it is a mutually beneficial connection, it is susceptible to being pushed out of balance depending on the materials that are disposed of. Fat, oil, and grease (FOG); chemicals, paints, fuels, and/or motor oils; disposable diapers, sanitary, and personal hygiene products; coffee grounds; egg and nut shells; and disposable diapers, sanitary, and personal hygiene products are all common household items that should never be flushed down the toilet.

Schedule Annual Inspections

Home and business owners may do an outside inspection of their septic system on their own. However, only a professional and skilled septic tank firm, such as Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service, should check the tank and its interior components. Because of the formation of toxic vapors and gases within the sewage treatment plant, it is dangerous to work near one without the proper safety equipment and training. Look for areas of unusually tall grass, sewage odors or smells, and unexplained standing water as you walk around the area where the septic tank is situated.

PumpClean The Tank As Necessary

Skipping regular septic tank services is a surefire way to end yourself in a situation that might have been avoided. Performing routine pumping and cleaning allows our personnel to check the overall health of the system and correct any issues that may arise before they become a major concern.

Keep Records Of Septic LocationService

It is essential to understand the location of the entire system in order to properly maintain it. Parking or driving cars over any portion of the septic system should be avoided at all costs. The weight of vehicles can cause the system to collapse. When this occurs, the only option for repair is a complete replacement. It is also recommended by Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service that you preserve records of when the system was examined, pumped, and cleaned for your own records and in case you decide to sell your home in the future.

Conserve Water

The volume of water entering a septic system has a greater influence on the health of the system than the amount of solids created by the system. The greater the volume of water that flows through the drain field, the shorter the functional lifespan of the drain field and the overall system. An excessive amount of water flow impairs effective separation of particles inside the tank, increasing the likelihood of clogged intake and outflow pipes, which can result in sewage backups in the tank.

Septic Tank Repair In Gainesville, FL

Too much water in the septic tank increases the likelihood of sediments being transferred into the pipes, which might result in a clogged system.

Aggressive Tree Roots

Tree roots are well-known for generating problems with septic tanks and systems. Many species of tree roots are stronger than septic tanks, and they can cause leaks and other structural damage by cracking the pipes and tank.

Common Septic Tank Repairs

There are a variety of reasons why the pipes might fail, including compacted and/or moving soil. Once the pipes burst, they must be fixed as soon as possible to avoid significant drainage problems. When it comes to reaching and repairing the pipes, excavation of the area is frequently necessary.

Broken Baffles

The baffles of a septic tank are responsible for keeping sediments contained within the tank. Rust or contact with sulfuric acid are the most common causes of damage. It is quite beneficial to have an annual septic check performed in order to see if there are any difficulties with the baffles before a problem occurs.

How To Prevent A Septic Tank Failure

The fact is that septic systems are not foolproof and that they benefit immensely from routine maintenance and upkeep.

The majority of failures may be avoided by paying attention to what goes into the plumbing and septic lines.

Only Flush Toilet Paper

As a rule, toilet paper degrades and disintegrates more quickly than other types of paper goods. Particularly problematic are paper towels and wet wipes, which are two of the most prevalent causes of septic tank clogging and premature tank cleanouts.

Never Pour FOG Down The Drain

FOG is extremely harmful to all plumbing systems, including the septic system. FOG, when it is in liquid form, readily flows into the septic tank and collects in the top scum layer of the tank. This may not appear to be a problem, but the mixture has the potential to run into the drain field, where it might cause contamination concerns with groundwater and the surrounding soil if allowed to do so.

Regular Drain Cleaning

The numerous commercial drain cleaners available may temporarily unclog a clogged drain and associated plumbing, but they do so at the expense of the septic system’s ability to function properly. They include chemicals that swiftly eliminate the bacteria that are important for the decomposition of particles within the septic tank once they are applied. The layer of solids accumulates quickly — and needlessly — on the surface of the water. As an alternative, call a plumber to do expert drain cleaning.

How To Tell When You Need A New Septic System

A septic system may last anywhere from 20 to 40 years if it is maintained properly and repaired when needed on time. However, if you detect any of these frequent indicators of a failing septic system, it’s time to call Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service to have a new septic system installed in your home or commercial property. The following are common indicators that the present system should be replaced:

  • Sinks and toilets that take a long time to drain
  • Plumbing that is always backed up
  • Sewage odors in the company, house, or yard
  • Patchy mushy, swampy, or damp areas of the yard Gray water that has accumulated
  • And grass that has grown more swiftly and is a darker shade of green

What To Know Before A Septic Tank Is Installed

In order to prevent the contamination of water sources and the creation of public health hazards that can result from incorrectly designed septic systems, the state of Florida and local municipalities have established rules and regulations to guide new septic system installations.

Required Applications, FeesPermits

The Environmental Health Service of the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in Alachua County is responsible for issuing the necessary applications and permits. Before a permit may be issued, the house or business owner must submit a completed application, as well as a site plan, a building floor plan, and any applicable application costs to the local building department. A site evaluation is also necessary, which analyzes the overall condition of the land, as well as the soil type. Total fees are determined on the kind of septic system installed as well as the services provided by the county health division.

Minimum Tank Size

A minimum 900-gallon capacity is required for all septic tanks in Florida; however, this capacity requirement rises based on the size of the occupancy and whether the system is intended for residential or commercial usage. The specialists at Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service can assist you in determining the right tank size that complies with local and state specifications.

Landscaping Changes

Because septic systems are installed underground, it is probable that the existing landscaping will need to be removed and replaced. Our professionals, on the other hand, may propose that the new system be installed in a different place in order to minimize interference with plant and tree roots.

The Florida Department of Health mandates that the following distances be respected in order to prevent groundwater pollution from septic systems:

  • If the property is located more than 75 feet from the annual flood line of a permanent, non-tidal surface water body or from the high water line of a tidal body of water, the following restrictions apply: 15 feet from a dry drainage ditch or stormwater retention area
  • 10 feet from stormwater pipelines
  • At least 200 feet away from public drinkable wells that are already in use for non-residential or residential structures with a total daily sewage discharge of more than 2,000 gallons
  • And At least 11 feet away from any water storage tanks that come into touch with potable or groundwater
  • A minimum of 15 feet away from a groundwater interceptor drain is required
  • Minimum distances between bays, lakes and surface water
  • Minimum distances between multi-family wells and/or private potable water wells
  • And minimum distances between other wells.

New Home ConstructionSeptic Systems

Construction of new dwellings in rural locations or in any area that is not served by a municipal sewer system necessitates the installation of septic systems. Any system installed as part of a new house building project will have to take into consideration the elements and laws outlined above. In addition to establishing septic systems for countless new houses, Jones PlumbingSeptic Tank Service is happy to assist you through the application and permitting process, in addition to properly installing the system.

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