Sewage and effluent (wastewater) from homes contain parasites and microorganisms that cause diseases and environmental damage. The safe disposal of such effluent should be a priority for shrewd homeowners. Septic tank systems facilitate treatment and disposal of sewage and effluent in homes which are connected to a sewer system. Here are some fundamentals about septic tanks that homeowners must know.
Since a septic tank installation project is sensitive, you must apply to a relevant agency such as your local authority or public health office. Check with your local authority to establish the exact authority in charge of issuing permits for such projects. You are likely to commit an offence if you construct a septic tank without relevant approval. Besides, you might need to schedule for an inspection after building a septic tank. Notably, you will incur some charges to take care of approvals and inspection.
The properties of soil are vital in siting and sizing a septic tank. In poorly drained soils like clay, a bigger septic tank might be necessary to maximise the surface area of soil that absorbs wastewater. On the other hand, well-drained soils such as coarse sand can also be problematic because they allow effluent to pass without filtering out pollutants properly. Therefore, homeowners must strike a balance between the two extreme types of soils by installing a septic tank in loam soil or any other soil type that has fine grains.
Water that goes into a septic tank contains all kinds of pollutants that can be harmful to the environment and human health, especially if the contaminants enter a water system through groundwater. In almost all jurisdictions in Australia, some specific guidelines and regulations inform septic water siting. If your area has well-drained soils, then you can install a septic tank entirely below the ground. However, in case the groundwater level is high, you need to install a septic tank above the ground or partially below the ground. The installation technique allows for groundwater clearance and prevents contamination as required by law.
Ventilation of a septic tank is a crucial yet overlooked aspect. Ventilation helps to equalise the air pressure in a septic tank. Poor ventilation can cause a pressure imbalance, which can stop the flow of wastewater or even cause the sewage to back up the drains. Furthermore, ventilation aids in the egress of septic gases. As bacteria break down the sewer, gases that should be released from the tank are generated as by-products. Increasing the height of a vent pipe ensures that foul gases are released at a higher level without causing a nuisance to the surrounding environment.