In years past, the primary means of disposing of liquid waste was to run a pipe from the house to the nearest body of water and let it flow downhill. However, humans eventually discovered this sort of waste disposal caused major pollution to waterways and led to disease.
Today, septic tanks are one of the more common forms of waste disposal. Rather than running the waste through a pipe to a specific area, the solids in the waste settle in a tank and the liquids get filtered by gravity through the surrounding soil.
So how exactly do these systems work, and how does septic maintenance in Prior Lake, MN differ from one system to the next?
The first component is the tank. These tanks generally have two compartments, and have pipe baffles and outlet filters to make sure all solids stay behind in the tank, even as the liquids flow out. Inside the tank, the effluent pulls apart into different layers and begins to decompose. The bacteria naturally present inside the system start to digest the solids that fall down to the bottom of the tank, transforming most of them into gases and liquids.
Once the liquids rise past the level of the outflow pipe, they flow down into the next part of the treatment system. Final treatment occurs in the soil, as microbes break down the waste created and the “clean” water resulting from the process flows back into the ground, recharging the aquifers in the area.
Types of septic systems
There are many different types of septic systems available on the market. They generally fall into several categories:
- Standard gravity systems (treatment level E)
- Pressure distribution systems (treatment level E, pressure)
- Advanced treatment, below ground systems (treatment level A or B)
- Advanced treatment, above ground systems (treatment level A or B)
The first two types of these systems are the most common. A standard gravity system requires at least three feet of soil underneath the trenches, and standard pressure distribution systems require only two feet of soil.
Advanced treatment systems are a bit more complicated, and treat the created wastewater to a much greater degree before it flows into the soil. This additional treatment allows the systems to be used in environments where there is only a single foot of “good” soil below the bottom of the trench. These types of systems come in many different makes, sizes and models, so you have plenty of choices.
Among the different systems, there are also options for different pumps, control panels, effluent filters and gravelless infiltration chambers. There are also systems that include high-level features like ultraviolet disinfection, textile filters and aerobic digestion.
The type of system you choose depends largely on how much waste you will be processing and the environment in which the system will be installed. The soil environment near your home or business might not allow for some types of systems to be installed.
For more information about how to choose your type of septic system and the differences among them, contact an expert in septic maintenance in Prior Lake, MN.