What Is The Typical Lay Out For Septic Tank? (Question)

  • A typical residential septic tank is usually about 4.5 feet wide x 8.0 feet long x 6 feet tall. Your septic tank may be a different size however. Best practice is to find and measure your septic tank for accurate calculations. Tanks are typically buried 4 inches to 4 feet deep depending on local site conditions, shape, slope, and other factors.

What is the normal shape of septic tank?

The shape of the tank is circular. Explanation: The shape of the septic tank can be rectangular or cylindrical. Septic tanks are used for wastewater with a high content of settleable solids, typically for effluent from domestic sources.

How many feet should a septic tank be from the house?

Septic tanks are required to be at least 5 feet from the house, although most are between 10 and 25 feet away.

How are septic tanks design?

A septic tank must be designed with acid-resistant inlet and outlet baffles or tees, inspection pipes at least 6 inches in diameter over both inlet and outlet, and an access manhole at least 12 inches in diameter. A single tank is used most often, but multiple tanks can be hooked up in series.

How do I determine the size of my septic tank?

Septic Tank Size Calculation based Per User Consumption

  1. Cooking – 5 Liters.
  2. Bathing & Toilet – 85 Liters/Person, So for 5 person – 425 liters/Day.
  3. Washing cloths & Utensils – 30 Liters.
  4. Cleaning House – 10 Liters.
  5. Other – 5 Litres.

How many Infiltrator chambers do I need?

As a general rule, trenches ‘fingers’ should be no longer than fifty feet ( 12 or 13 Infiltrators long ) for best function and most even effluent distribution. Unless you are installing as a “bed” system (where the chambers are right next to each other), leave at least six feet of undisturbed soil between fingers.

What is the size of septic tank for 25 users?

Septic tank size for 25 users:- For 25 users, minimum/ standard size of septic tank could be 3.6m × 1.4m × 1.3m (12ft × 4.5ft × 4.25ft) in respect to their Length, breadth and depth.

What should be the length and width of septic tank?

The code recommended that a septic tank serving 10 people should have a dimension of 2.032m (length), 0.457m (width) and 1.22m (depth) giving a total volume of 1.13m3. This implies that the tank will need desludging about every two years.

Can you build a deck over a septic tank?

You should never build a deck over a septic field; doing so will prevent the natural draining and dissipation of the effluent. This can ruin the septic system, not to mention releasing foul smells into the air all around your deck. The dissipating effluent can also rot the deck from underneath.

How far should drain field be from septic tank?

Common guidelines require at least 50′ clearance distance between a well and a septic system tank or 150′ between a well and a septic drainfield or leaching bed but you will see that different authorities may recommend different distances. Local soil and rock conditions can make these “rules of thumb” unreliable.

How far can you pump septic?

Sewage ejector pumps are designed to pump raw sewage from your home into a septic tank or gravity flow sewer main. For this reason, they can only pump to distances under 750 feet. However, a benefit of sewage ejector pumps is that they are built to move up to 200 gallons per minute of raw sewage.

How do I calculate the size of my septic drain field?

Drainfield Size

  1. The size of the drainfield is based on the number of bedrooms and soil characteristics, and is given as square feet.
  2. For example, the minimum required for a three bedroom house with a mid range percolation rate of 25 minutes per inch is 750 square feet.

What are the 3 types of septic systems?

Types of Septic Systems

  • Septic Tank.
  • Conventional System.
  • Chamber System.
  • Drip Distribution System.
  • Aerobic Treatment Unit.
  • Mound Systems.
  • Recirculating Sand Filter System.
  • Evapotranspiration System.

Septic Drainage Field Shape or Soakaway Bed Layout Specifications

  • Post a QUESTION or COMMENT about the layout and shape of your septic system’s drainfield and soakaway bed.

InspectAPedia does not allow any form of conflict of interest. The sponsors, goods, and services described on this website are not affiliated with us in any way. Guidelines for septic soakaway bed and drainfield form and layout: It is discussed in this septic system design article how to determine the form or layout of a standard drainfield. For this topic, we also have anARTICLE INDEX available, or you may check the top or bottom of the page. Use the SEARCH BOX to discover the information you’re looking for quickly.

How to Determine Septic Absorption Field Shape or Layout

Drainfields, also known as leach fields, absorption beds, soil absorption systems, and leaching beds, are used in onsite wastewater treatment systems, which are commonly referred to as “septic systems,” to accomplish the duties of septic effluent treatment and disposal. A variety of typical soil absorption methods are discussed in this paper, including absorption fields such as standard trenches, deep trenches, shallow trenches, cut-and-fill systems, and gravelless septic systems, among others.

Septic Field Shape or Layout Specifications:Septic Leach Field or Septic Absorption Field Design

When designing a septic system drainfield or leaching bed, the following aspects should be taken into account:

  • A description of the size and shape of the available land on which septic components can be installed
  • The incline of the ground in the location where the septic components will be installed will be considered. For example, septic drainfield trenches are typically laid parallel to the slope of a hill (as shown in the illustration at the top of this page), rather than “up and down” the hill (as shown in the illustration at the top of this page)
  • If drainfield lines were laid straight down hill, all of the effluent would rush to the end of the trench and leak out of the end of the trench. The soil properties (for example, the soil percolation rate, which is the rate at which septic effluent may be absorbed by the soil)
  • And The estimated average and maximum daily wastewater flow (i.e., how much effluent will need to be disposed of)
  • The anticipated average and maximum daily wastewater flow Because different effluent handling systems necessitate different total effluent disposal areas and varied total linear feet, for example, comparing a typical drainfield trench with an unlined gravel-less system, the kind of septic system should be considered. In addition, the exact positions of all surrounding wells, streams, lakes, roadways, buildings, or any other site elements that necessitate a minimum separation distance between the septic system components and that site feature are required to be documented. A reserve space on the site that will allow for future septic system expansion, repair, or replacement is required by the local building regulations, which may define particular septic component lengths, set-backs, and capacities as well as the necessity for such a reserve area. Obstacles in the immediate vicinity: boulders, etc. Make sure that septic fields and trees or other sources of invasive roots are kept widely apart from one another. Observe the presence of trees or shrubs above the septic field or tank.

The septic system installer will excavate to prepare the drainfield in a pattern or shape that divides the length of the drainfield into sub-lengths of parallel (or other) trenches or pits or whatever, and the location, routing, and other aspects of these will be determined by the lot size and shape so that the necessary septic system can be constructed. Once we know the total area of effluent disposal system required, such as the length in feet of gravel-filled perorated pipe trench Because we already know the thorough answers to the septic system drainfield design factors stated above, we won’t be able to specify the exact form and proportions for a specific property, soil conditions, and septic system type in this section.

Reader CommentsQ A

Thank! But what if the mound is constructed with sand first, followed by gravel? Does it matter whether the sand has been tamped before or after this? If so, what is the proper way to go about it? Is it sufficient to just saturate sand with water or press it down with an excavator bucket? Is it feasible to dispense with the need of a junction box if there are three pipe lines each measuring 20 feet in length? What will it take for it to be correct? Sasha It is possible to experience subsidence if the excavator digs the trench too deeply or unevenly, and if the soil is not compacted afterward, as you describe.

  • The trench bottom should be on virgin soil or compacted dirt or fill, and it should be put on and surrounded by gravel if done properly (except in a “no-rock” system) What can be done to prevent the pipe from drooping (deflection) as a result of soil subsidence?
  • I’m concerned that the pipes will droop and that the field will collect gray water in an uneven manner.
  • For a distance of that length – 280 feet – I would have expected the contractor to have installed some cleanouts along the way, which would have been excellent locations to observe what occurs when particles are flushed down the toilet.
  • Wisconsin The leech field was constructed on a sloping terrain.
  • (It’s supposed to be for runoff prevention, but it’s not.) I’m not aware of any specific figure.
  • After all, your effluent must drain by gravity, therefore the slope will normally be a quarter of an inch or an eighth of an inch per foot, depending on the situation.
  • See DISTANCES FOR SEPTIC CLEARANCE What is the maximum distance a septic drain field may be from a person’s home?

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  • Recordings to LOCATE the DRAINFIELD
  • SEPTIC DRAINFIELD SHAPE The presence or absence of a tank, D-box, and fields at a location is depicted in SEPTIC VIDEOS.

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Types of Septic Systems

Septic system design and size can differ significantly from one neighborhood to the next, as well as throughout the country, due to a variety of variables. Household size, soil type, slope of the site, lot size, closeness to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, and even municipal ordinances are all considerations to take into consideration. The following are 10 of the most often encountered septic system configurations. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list; there are several additional types of septic systems.

  • A variety of factors can cause septic system design and size to differ significantly from one location to another, both within and outside of your neighborhood. Household size, soil type, slope of the site, lot size, proximity to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, and even municipal ordinances are all aspects to consider when making a home purchase. Septic systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the following are the 10 most popular. There are a variety of additional types of septic systems not included in this list.

Septic Tank

This tank is underground and waterproof, and it was designed and built specifically for receiving and partially treating raw home sanitary wastewater. Generally speaking, heavy materials settle at or near the bottom of the tank, whereas greases and lighter solids float to the surface. The sediments are retained in the tank, while the wastewater is sent to the drainfield for further treatment and dispersion once it has been treated.

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Conventional System

Septic tanks and trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common type of system. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of water drainage. The name is derived from the process of constructing the drainfield. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration, which is commonly used.

Effluent filters through the stone and is further cleaned by microorganisms once it reaches the soil below the gravel/stone trench, which is located below the trench.

In terms of total footprint, gravel and stone systems are very substantial, and therefore may not be appropriate for all residential sites or situations.

Chamber System

Septic tanks and subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems that can be used (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of removing water. ‘Drainfield’ is an abbreviation for the drainfield that was built. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration.

When wastewater passes through the stone, it is further cleaned by bacteria until it reaches the soil under the gravel/stone trench.

Drip Distribution System

An effluent dispersal system such as the drip distribution system may be employed in a variety of drainfield configurations and is very versatile. In comparison to other distribution systems, the drip distribution system does not require a vast mound of dirt because the drip laterals are only placed into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. In addition to requiring a big dosage tank after the sewage treatment plant to handle scheduled dose delivery of wastewater to drip absorption areas, the drip distribution system has one major disadvantage: it is more expensive.

Aerobic Treatment Unit

Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) are small-scale wastewater treatment facilities that employ many of the same procedures as a municipal sewage plant. An aerobic system adds oxygen to the treatment tank using a pump. When there is an increase in oxygen in the system, there is an increase in natural bacterial activity, which then offers extra treatment for nutrients in the effluent. It is possible that certain aerobic systems may additionally include a pretreatment tank as well as a final treatment tank that will include disinfection in order to further lower pathogen levels.

ATUs should be maintained on a regular basis during their service life.

Mound Systems

Using mound systems in regions with short soil depth, high groundwater levels, or shallow bedrock might be a good alternative. A drainfield trench has been dug through the sand mound that was erected. The effluent from the septic tank runs into a pump chamber, where it is pumped to the mound in the amounts recommended.

As the wastewater flows into the trench, it filters through the sand and then disperses into the native soil, treatment takes place. While mound systems can be a useful option for some soil types, they demand a significant amount of space and require regular maintenance.

Recirculating Sand Filter System

Sand filter systems can be built either above or below ground, depending on the use. The effluent is discharged from the septic tank into a pump compartment. Afterwards, it is pushed into the sand filter. The sand filter is often made of PVC or a concrete box that is filled with a sand-like substance. The effluent is pushed through the pipes at the top of the filter under low pressure to the drain. As the effluent exits the pipelines, it is treated as it passes through the sand filtering system.

However, sand filters are more costly than a standard septic system because they provide a higher level of nutrient treatment and are thus better suited for areas with high water tables or that are adjacent to bodies of water.

Evapotranspiration System

Evaporative cooling systems feature drainfields that are one-of-a-kind. It is necessary to line the drainfield at the base of the evapotranspiration system with a waterproof material. Following the entry of the effluent into the drainfield, it evaporates into the atmosphere. At the same time, the sewage never filters into the soil and never enters groundwater, unlike other septic system designs. It is only in particular climatic circumstances that evapotranspiration systems are effective. The environment must be desert, with plenty of heat and sunshine, and no precipitation.

Constructed Wetland System

Construction of a manufactured wetland is intended to simulate the treatment processes that occur in natural wetland areas. Wastewater goes from the septic tank and into the wetland cell, where it is treated. Afterwards, the wastewater goes into the media, where it is cleaned by microorganisms, plants, and other media that eliminate pathogens and nutrients. An impermeable liner, gravel and sand fill, and the proper wetland plants, all of which must be able to thrive in a permanently saturated environment, make up the basic components of a wetland cell.

As wastewater travels through the wetland, it may escape the wetland and flow onto a drainfield, where it will undergo more wastewater treatment before being absorbed into the soil by bacteria.

Cluster / Community System

In certain cases, a decentralized wastewater treatment system is owned by a group of people and is responsible for collecting wastewater from two or more residences or buildings and transporting it to a treatment and dispersal system placed on a suitable location near the dwellings or buildings. Cluster systems are widespread in settings like rural subdivisions, where they may be found in large numbers.

How Your Septic System Works

Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.

Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.

Prior to discharging wastewater into the environment, several alternative systems are designed to evaporate or disinfect the effluent.

Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:

  1. All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, ultimately discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.

Do you have a septic system?

It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:

  • You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system

How to find your septic system

You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:

  • Taking a look at the “as built” drawing of your house
  • Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
  • Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it

Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!

A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:

  • Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
  • It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
  • A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield

A Beginner’s Guide to Septic Systems

  • Septic systems are used to dispose of waste from homes and buildings. Identifying the location of the septic tank and drainfield
  • How a Septic System Works
  • Keeping a Septic System in Good Condition
  • Signs that a septic system is failing include:

Septic systems, also known as on-site wastewater management systems, are installed in a large number of buildings and houses. It is easy to lose sight of septic systems, which operate quietly, gracefully, and efficiently to protect human and environmental health due to their burying location. Septic systems are the norm in rural regions, but they may also be found in a lot of metropolitan places, especially in older buildings. It is critical to understand whether or not your building is on a septic system.

Is Your Home or Building on a Septic System?

It is possible that the solution to this question will not be evident. If a structure looks to be connected to a sewage system, it may instead be connected to a septic system. It is fairly unusual for tenants to be unaware of the final destination of the wastewater generated by their residence. Some of the hints or signs listed below will assist in determining whether the facility is served by a septic system or whether it is supplied by a sewer system:

  • Sewer service will be provided at a cost by the city or municipality. Pay close attention to the water bill to see whether there is a cost labeled “sewer” or “sewer charge” on it. If there is a fee for this service, it is most likely because the facility is connected to a sewage system. Look up and down the street for sewage access ports or manholes, which can be found in any location. If a sewage system runs in front of a property, it is probable that the house is connected to it in some way. Inquire with your neighbors to see if they are connected to a sewer or septic system. The likelihood that your home is on a sewer system is increased if the properties on each side of you are on one as well. Keep in mind, however, that even if a sewage line runs in front of the structure and the nearby residences are connected to a sewer system, your home or building may not be connected to one. If the structure is older than the sewer system, it is possible that it is still on the original septic system. Consult with your local health agency for further information. This agency conducts final inspections of septic systems to ensure that they comply with applicable laws and regulations. There is a possibility that they have an archived record and/or a map of the system and will supply this information upon request

All property owners should be aware of whether or not their property is equipped with an on-site wastewater treatment system. Georgia law mandates that the property owner is responsible for the correct operation of a septic system, as well as any necessary maintenance and repairs.

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Locating the Septic Tank and Drainfield

Finding a septic system may be a difficult process. They can be buried anywhere in the yard, including the front, back, and side yards. After a few years, the soil may begin to resemble the surrounding soil, making it impossible to distinguish the system from the surrounding soil. It is possible that in dry weather, the grass will be dryer in the shallow soil over the tank and greener over the drainfield, where the cleansed water will be released, but this is not always the case, especially in hot weather.

  1. The contractor who built the house should have presented the initial owner with a map showing the tank and drainfield locations, according to the building code.
  2. The installation of the system, as well as any modifications made to it, would have been examined by your local health authority.
  3. Unfortunately, if the system is very old, any records related with it may be insufficient or nonexistent, depending on the situation.
  4. Look for the point at where the wastewater pipes join together if the building is on a crawlspace or has an unfinished basement.
  5. The sewer line that runs through the structure is referred to as the building sewer.
  6. To “feel” for the tank, use a piece of re-bar or a similar metal probe.
  7. If you use this free service, you may avoid accidentally putting a rod through your gas or water line.

Try to locate the tank after a rainstorm, when the metal probe will be more easily maneuvered through moist dirt.

This should be done with care; extreme caution should be exercised to avoid puncturing the building sewer.

A tank is normally 5 by 8 feet in size, however the dimensions might vary.

Be aware that there may be rocks, pipes, and other debris in the area that “feels” like the tank but is not in fact part of the tank.

However, it is possible to have the lid or access port positioned on a riser in addition to being on the same level as the top of the tank in some cases.

Once the tank has been identified, make a rough drawing of its placement in relation to the house so that it will not be misplaced again!

It may be easier to discover the drainage lines now that the tank has been identified, particularly if the area has been subjected to prolonged periods of drought.

How a Septic System Works

Typical sewage treatment system (figure 1). It is composed of three components (Figure 1): the tank, the drain lines or discharge lines, and the soil treatment area (also known as the soil treatment area) (sometimes called a drainfield or leach field). The size of the tank varies according to the size of the structure. The normal home (three bedrooms, two bathrooms) will often include a 1,000-gallon water storage tank on the premises. Older tanks may only have one chamber, however newer tanks must have two chambers.

  • The tank functions by settling waste and allowing it to be digested by microbes.
  • These layers include the bottom sludge layer, the top scum layer, and a “clear” zone in the center.
  • A typical septic tank is depicted in Figure 2.
  • It is fortunate that many of the bacteria involved are found in high concentrations in the human gastrointestinal tract.
  • Although the bacteria may break down some of the stuff in the sludge, they are unable to break down all of it, which is why septic tanks must be cleaned out every three to seven years.
  • In addition, when new water is introduced into the septic tank, an equal volume of water is pushed out the discharge lines and onto the drainfield.
  • The water trickles out of the perforated drain pipes, down through a layer of gravel, and into the soil below the surface (Figure 3).
  • A typical drainfield may be found here.
  • Plants, bacteria, fungus, protozoa, and other microorganisms, as well as bigger critters such as mites, earthworms, and insects, flourish in soil.
  • Mineralogical and metallic elements attach to soil particles, allowing them to be removed from the waste water.

Maintaining a Septic System

The most typical reason for a septic system to fail is a lack of proper maintenance. Septic systems that are failing are expensive to repair or replace, and the expense of repairs rests on the shoulders of the property owner (Figure 4). Fortunately, keeping your septic system in good working order and avoiding costly repairs is rather simple. Figure 4. Septic system failure is frequently caused by a lack of proper maintenance. It is in your best interests to be aware of the location of the system, how it operates, and how to maintain it.

  1. You should pump the tank if you aren’t sure when the last time it was pumped.
  2. It is not permissible to drive or park over the tank or drainage field.
  3. No rubbish should be disposed of in the sink or the toilet.
  4. It’s important to remember that garbage disposals enhance the requirement for regular pumping.
  5. When designing a landscape, keep the septic system in mind.
  6. It is also not recommended to consume veggies that have been cultivated above drainfield lines (see Dorn, S.
  7. Ornamental Plantings on Septic Drainfields.

C 1030).

Any water that enters your home through a drain or toilet eventually ends up in your septic system.

Don’t put too much strain on the system by consuming a large amount of water in a short period of time.

Additives should not be used.

Various types of additives are available for purchase as treatment options, cleaners, restorers, rejuvenator and enhancers, among other things.

To break up oil and grease and unclog drains, chemical additives are available for purchase.

Pumping out the septic tank is not eliminated or reduced by using one of these systems.

They remain floating in the water and travel into the drainfield, where they may block the pipes. Acids have the potential to damage concrete storage tanks and distribution boxes.

Signs a Septic System is Failing

A failed system manifests itself in the following ways:

  • Sinks and toilets drain at a snail’s pace
  • Plumbing that is backed up
  • The sound of gurgling emanating from the plumbing system House or yard aromas that smell like sewage
  • In the yard, there is wet or squishy dirt
  • Water that is gray in hue that has accumulated
  • An region of the yard where the grass is growing more quickly and is becoming greener
  • Water contaminated by bacteria from a well

If you notice any of these indicators, you should notify your local health department immediately. An environmentalist from the health department can assist in identifying potential problems. There are also listings of state-certified contractors available from the local health department, who may do repairs. Repairs or alterations to the system must be approved by the health department and examined by an inspector. Keep an eye out for any meetings that may take place between a health department inspector and a contractor to discuss repairs to your system.

  1. Household garbage that has not been properly handled is released into the environment when systems fail.
  2. It has the potential to pollute surrounding wells, groundwater, streams, and other sources of potable water, among other things.
  3. The foul odor emanating from a malfunctioning system can cause property values to plummet.
  4. Briefly stated, broken systems can have an impact on your family, neighbors, community, and the environment.
  5. Septic systems are an effective, attractive, and reasonably priced method of treating and disposing of wastewater.

Figures 2 and 3 reprinted with permission from: CIDWT. 2009. Installation of Wastewater Treatment Systems. Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment. Iowa State University, Midwest Plan Service. Ames, IA.

History of the current status and revisions Published on the 15th of August, 2013. Published on March 28th, 2017 with a full review.

How a Septic System Works – and Common Problems

This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.

One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.


The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.

  1. In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
  2. Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
  3. Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
  4. Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.

A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.

Leach Field

When used properly, a leach field (also known as a “drain field”) is a series of perforated pipes that are typically buried in gravel trenches 18 to 36 inches below grade — deep enough to avoid freezing, but close enough to the surface that air can reach the bacteria that further purify the effluent (see illustration below). As little as 6 inches might separate you from the ground surface, depending on your soil type and municipal regulations. It is customary to cover the perforated pipes with approximately two inches of gravel and a layer of topsoil that is 18 to 24 inches in depth.

  • Grass is often sown above the ground.
  • The leach field is comprised of rows of perforated pipes in gravel trenches that are used to spread wastewater over a vast area in order to further purify it.
  • A bacteria-rich slime mat forms where the gravel meets the soil, and it is responsible for the majority of the water purification work.
  • Despite the fact that wastewater freezes at a far lower temperature than pure water, freezing is still a hazard in cold areas.
  • The leftover pathogens are converted into essential plant nutrients by these organisms, while sand, gravel, and soil filter out any solids that remain.
  • If the system is operating effectively, the filtered wastewater will return to the aquifer as naturally clean water that is suitable for human consumption at this stage.
  • Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
  • Special systems may also be necessary in regions where there are flood plains, bodies of water, or other ecologically sensitive areas to protect against flooding.


Using perforated pipes put in gravel-filled trenches, the drain field is sized to accommodate the number of beds in the house. In order for the system to function successfully, the leach field must be appropriately sized for the soil type and amount of wastewater, which is normally determined by the number of bedrooms in the house. In order for the liquid to seep into the soil, it must be permeable enough to do so. As a result, the denser the soil, the larger the leach field that is necessary.

  1. Better to have surplus capacity in your system than to have it cut too close to the bone.
  2. Septic tank backup into your house, pooling on the surface of the earth, or polluting local groundwater are all possibilities if the ground is incapable of absorbing the liquid.
  3. Dense clay soils will not absorb the liquid at a sufficient rate, resulting in a backlog.
  4. If the soil is mostly composed of coarse sand and gravel, it might drain at such a rapid rate that untreated sewage can poison the aquifer or damage surrounding bodies of water.
  5. Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.

These systems sometimes cost twice or three times as much as a regular system and require significantly more upkeep. Near flood plains, bodies of water, and other ecologically sensitive places, special systems may also be necessary to protect people and property.


If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!

  1. Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
  2. Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
  3. In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
  4. To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
  • Distribute your washing loads and other high-water-use activities across the week
  • And In the kitchen and bathroom, use low-flow appliances, faucets, and fixtures. Toilets, in general, are the source of the greatest amount of water use. Water should be diverted away from the leach field from the yard, gutters, and basement sump pumps.
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Also, refrain from flushing solids, harsh chemicals, and just about anything else down the toilet or sink other than biological waste and white toilet paper. Also, refrain from using garbage disposals in the kitchen. If you really must have one, keep it for small non-meat bits only. Avoid flushing chemicals or paints down the toilet since many chemicals can kill beneficial microorganisms or cause water pollution in the surrounding area.Avoid flushing the following down the toilet:

  • Grease, fats, and animal scraps
  • Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
  • And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.

It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:

  • Heavy machinery should not be driven, parked, or stored on top of the leach field (or septic tank). Placement of a deck, patio, pool, or any other sort of construction over the leach field is prohibited. Remove any large trees or other plants with deep roots from the leach field. Grass is the most effective groundcover.

Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.

A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that. After a few tears, the initial field will naturally heal and may be used once again when the situation calls for it to be. More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.


Poor original design, abuse, or physical damage, such as driving heavy trucks over the leach field, are the root causes of the majority of septic system issues. The following are examples of common situations that might cause a septic system to operate poorly: Plumbing in the home. obstructed or insufficient plumbing vents, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or an insufficient pitch in the sewer line leading from the house are all possible causes. Sewage tank to leach field connection Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged line leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage caused by sediments that overflowed from the tank Piping in the leach field.

  1. Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
  2. Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
  3. A seasonal high water table can flood the soil around the trenches reducing the soil’s capacity to absorb wastewater.
  4. This may frequently be remedied by adding subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the immediate area around the drainage system.
  5. Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
  6. Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?
  7. Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test?
  8. Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page

Septic Tank – Components and Design of Septic Tank Based on Population

Poor original design, abuse, or physical damage, such as driving heavy trucks over the leach field, are the root causes of the majority of septic system issues. A septic system’s performance may be adversely affected by several factors, the most prevalent of which are as follows: Pneumatics in the home A blocked or insufficient plumbing vent system, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or a low pitch in the sewer line leading away from the house are all examples of problems. Leach field from septic tank Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged pipe leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage produced by particles that overflowed from the tank.

  1. Generally speaking, tree roots do not penetrate through the gravel substrate and into the perforated pipes of the irrigation system.
  2. Using flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures to reduce the amount of water that is used may be beneficial in this situation.
  3. Especially on very flat construction sites with inadequate surface drainage, this can be a problem.
  4. The EPA’s Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems has further information.
  5. For Perc Test, who should I hire?
  6. Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last for a Long Time?

For a septic line, how steep of a slope do you need to be? A Septic System Is Inspected Time of Year to Take a Perc Test? Existing Septic System: Can a Sand Filter Help? Checking for Septic System IssuesView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the beginning of the page

What is Septic tank?

In terms of classification, a septic tank is a main sedimentation tank with a long detention duration (12 to 36hrs against a period of 2hrs in an ordinary sedimentation tank). Septic tanks are an excellent option for disposing of night soil in rural and urban locations that are not serviced by sewers. However, there should be enough water accessible since water is essential for the movement of the night soil from the latrine to the septic tank as well as for the effective operation of the septic tank.

The size of the septic tank is such that the sewage is A soak pit is often used to dispose of septic tank waste when there is no municipal drainage system in the region.

In the event that a municipal drainage system is in the vicinity, the effluent is released to the drain.

Fig: Working of Septic Tank

Design of Septic Tank

The capacity of a septic tank is determined by the number of users and the frequency with which sludge is removed. Normal sludge removal should take place every two years. The liquid volume of the tank is estimated to be between 130 and 70 liters per head. For a limited number of users, 130 liters per person is required. A septic tank is often surrounded by a brick wall that is thick with cement mortar, and the foundation floor is made of cement concrete 1:2:4 in proportion. Both the inner and exterior faces of the wall, as well as the top of the floor, are plastered with a minimum thickness of 12mm (one-half inch) thick cementmortar 1:3 mix, with a maximum thickness of 24mm (one-half inch).

Water proofing agents, such as Impermo, Cem-seal, or Accoproof, among others, are added to the mortar at a rate of 2 percent of the cement weight, according to the manufacturer.

The floor of the septic tank is sloped from 1:10 to 120 degrees towards the input side in order to provide adequate ease in the collection and evacuation of sludge.

Dimensions of Septic Tank Components

The width is 750mm (min) Length = 2 to 4 times the width width Min below water level is between 1000 and 1300mm, and the free board is between 300 and 450mm.

The maximum depth is 1800mm plus 450mm of freeboard. Capacity = 1 cubic meter (10 cubic feet) at the very least.

ii)Detention period

Septic tank design takes into account a detention time of 24 hours (for the most part). The rate of flow of effluent must be the same as the rate of flow of influent to be considered equal.

iii)Inlet and outlet pipes

To a depth of 250-600mm below the liquid’s surface level, an elbow or T pipe with a 100mm diameter is submerged. For the exit pipe, a 100mm diameter elbow or T type pipe is submerged to a depth of 200-500mm below the liquid level, depending on the design. Pipes made of stoneware or asbestos are possible.

iv)Baffle Walls of Septic Tank

The use of RCC hanging style scum baffle walls in septic tanks is recommended for smaller tanks. Near the intake, baffle barriers are installed for protection. It is only required near the outlet. It is recommended that the intake baffle wall be installed at a distance of L/5 from the wall, where L is the length of the wall. The baffle wall is often extended 150mm above the scum level and 400-700mm below it, depending on the situation. Because scum is light, it tends to float near the surface of the water in the tank.

v)Roofing Slab of Septic Tank

Septic tanks are covered with an RCC slab that ranges in thickness from 75mm to 100mm, depending on the size of the tank being covered. Inspection and desludging are carried out through circular manholes with a clear diameter of 500mm. Clear size is maintained at 600x450mm in the case of a rectangular aperture.

vi)Ventilation Pipe

In order to protect the top of the septic tank, an RCC slab with a thickness ranging from 75mm to 100mm is installed. Inspection and desludging are accomplished using circular manholes with a clear diameter of 500mm. Clear dimension is maintained at 600x450mm in the case of a rectangular window opening.

Example – Design of Septic Tank for 20 Users

When you have 120 liters per person, 0.12 x 20 is 2.4 cum Assume that the liquid depth is 1.3 meters. As a result, the floor area of the tank is equal to 24/1.3 = 1.85m 2.Taking the duration of the breath as 2.5 times the breath L X B=1.85 2.5B X B = 1.85 B = Sqrt(1.85/2.5) = 0.86, or 0.9m This results in a tank with a 22.5″ by 9″ overall size.

Suitable Sizes of Septic Tank Based on Number of Persons

The following chart lists the appropriate sizes of septic tanks for households with 5, 10, 15, 20, and 50 people.

No of users Length L in m Breath B in m Liquid Depth in m Liquid Capacity to be provided in m 3 Free Board in m Sludge to be removed(m 3) Interval Cleaning
5 1.5 0.75 1.0 1.05 1.12 1.18 0.3 0.3 0.36 0.72 1 year 2 year
10 2.0 0.9 1.0 1.4 1.8 2.0 0.3 0.3 0.72 1.44 1 year 2 year
15 2.0 0.9 1.3 2.0 2.3 3.6 0.3 0.3 1.08 2.16 1 year 2 year
20 2.3 1.1 1.3 1.8 3.3 4.6 0.3 0.3 1.44 2.88 1 year 2 year
50 4.0 1.4 1.3 2.0 7.3 11.2 0.3 0.3 3.60 7.20 1 year 2 year

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