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What Are the Different Types of Septic Tank Treatment?

Gravel may be used to line underground trenches to treat waste from a septic tank.
Because septic tanks are vital to a healthy household, septic tank treatment is essential.
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  • Written By: DM Gutierrez
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2014
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Septic systems are used where municipal water waste management is not available. Because septic tanks are vital to a healthy household, septic tank treatment is essential. There are several types of septic tank treatment, but regular pumping by qualified septic tank services may be the most effective. Alternative treatments include biological additives designed to add “good bacteria” into the septic system.

Properly treating a septic tank requires knowing how the process works, where the inspection portal is located, and the condition of the soil in use. Septic systems are made up of the septic tank and the drain fields. Discarded water from toilets–called black water–and sinks, showers, washing machines–called gray water–flow into the septic tank. Solid waste sinks to the bottom of the tank, creating sludge, while the liquid waste flows out into the drain fields. The drain fields are multiple underground trenches lined with gravel that treat the waste organically. Beneficial microorganisms in the soil break down bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens as the waste percolates upward. Treating a septic system means keeping this waste treatment process working properly.

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Proper maintenance often is the best septic tank treatment. Regular inspection of both the septic tank and the drain fields is generally necessary to determine the schedule for pumping out a septic tank. This schedule depends on the size of the septic tank, the number of residents in the home, the amount of water usage per day, and the quantity of solids in the wastewater. The septic system will need to be emptied more frequently as more people discard more solids and use more water each day, especially if the tank is small.

Prevention can be an important part of septic tank treatment. Some prevention techniques include limiting the use of garbage disposals to reduce solids volume, keeping water usage to a minimum and spreading out water usage over several days instead of having a high volume one day and none the next. Other techniques may include using water-saving appliances and high-efficiency toilets, repairing leaks and conserving water by bathing quickly. Some home owners use baking soda or mild detergents to clean sinks and toilets since commercial cleaners can kill beneficial bacteria that actually helps maintain the septic system. Also, it is recommended to never drive or park on septic tank or drain fields.

Many septic tank treatment companies claim that septic system additives will dissolve the solids in a septic tank and make pumping unnecessary, but many environmental experts agree that pumping out a septic tank is necessary. Yearly inspections and pumping every three to five years is typically recommended.

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