City dwellers have likely never known the joys of septic tank ownership. Septic tanks are individual wastewater management systems that serve only one home. If you have always lived in an area with a municipal sewage system, then you might not be aware of certain important details concerning septic systems. If you plan to buy a home with a septic tank system, it is important that you have a basic understanding of how these systems work. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Septic Tank System?
The septic tank is a sewer system that services only one home. The system is located underground. Most tanks are made of concrete. Imagine a large concrete box under the ground. The wastewater from toilets and greywater from sinks, showers, dishwashers, and washing machines all run into the tank.
Here the solid waste sinks to the bottom and fluid will flow into a drain field. The drain field is a series of pipes that run in a grid through a set area of the property. The water drains from the pipes through small seepage holes and is naturally filtered by the soil.
Meanwhile, naturally occurring microbial action within the tank is breaking down solids through decay. This creates sludge. This sludge must be occasionally removed by a septic company that provides pumping services.
Pros of Septic Tanks
One of the benefits of having your own septic tank system is that you will not have a monthly recurring sewage bill. On a municipal sewage system, you would share the cost of sewage with everyone.
Most septic tanks are also pretty self-maintaining. This means that if you do not do anything to abuse or damage the system, it will practically take care of itself. It helps if you abide by certain lifestyle choices, such as conserving water, limiting the use of bleach, and being careful of what gets flushed down.
Septic tanks are also considered a safe option for sewage management. Having your own septic system is safer than operating on a municipal sewage system. Even if your septic system backs up into the home during a problem, it is your sewage. It is not shared sewage from an entire city filled with chemicals or contaminants you may not be aware of.
Cons of Septic Tanks
When considering the cons of septic tanks, you have to consider the maintenance aspect. Although, for the most part, septic tanks take care of themselves, there is some maintenance involved. Occasionally, you will need to have the system inspected by a professional septic tank service provider. The sludge should be pumped out every three to five years. During this pump, you should have the tank inspected for damage.
Another downside is that repairs will be your responsibility. Repairs to a septic tank could include field line replacement, tank repairs, and mainline repairs. Signs that the septic tank needs repairs can include slow drains or soggy patches in your yard. These types of repairs can be handled by septic tank only services.