About Septic Tanks

About Septic Tanks

How does a Septic Tank work

In rural locations the household toilet facilities often empty into the properties own dedicated sewage system. In the past this may have been a cess pit or cess tank but nowadays it will almost certainly be a “stand alone” sewage treatment system known as a Septic Tank.

Caravan parks and camp sites may also collect communal waste at an Elsan point and then feed the sewage into a large Septic Tank for treatment on site. The Septic Tank works in a similar way to local authority sewage treatment plants. They allow the waste to be stored for a period of time so that sewage can decompose naturally before the safe bi-products are automatically released.

Your Septic Tank should operate effortlessly and use of Elsan Septic Tank Care Multi-action or Professional will make sure that the natural processes are maintained at optimum efficiency. Elsan Septic Tank Care works by topping up the natural bacteria that decompose sewage and adding additional micro-organisms to attack the fat and grease that would normally remain untreated.

A standard septic tank instillation

Toilet sewage waste water, known as “black water”, cannot be recycled because of the bacteria and pathogens that are found in human waste. Ideally, only the household sewage system should be connected to the Septic Tank in order to minimise the volume of water added to the tank.

Nowadays, kitchen and bath room water, “known as grey water” can be collected and recycled for use flushing toilets or for garden irrigation, however, if you have not installed a recycling system for grey water it is likely that this water will also feed into the Septic Tank. Consequently care should be taken when purchasing household products to avoid adding too many biocides into the Septic Tank. You should avoid feeding exterior rainwater from drains and gutters into the Septic Tank.

If the system is all functioning correctly sewage should flow freely from the toilet into the septic tank where natural decomposition can take place.

How does the Septic Tank work?

Sewage enters the top of the Septic Tank and different forms of waste will either float on the surface or sink to the bottom of the tank. The bacteria that are naturally present in sewage help the solids to decompose into contaminated water (“effluent”) and nonorganic bi-products that are heavier than water and fall to the bottom of the tank Consequently the Septic tank splits sewage into three layers. A thin “crust” or “scum” at the top of the tank, effluent in the middle of the tank and sediment at the bottom of the tank known as “sludge”.

A well-functioning Septic Tank will always create a crust and sludge and it is inevitable that over time the tank will slowly fill up. This means that the Septic Tank needs to be pumped out and many Septic Tank manufacturers recommend a pump out once a year to maintain optimum performance of the system. The main body of the tank, between the crust and sludge, is filled with waste water. As fresh sewage enters the tank it forces treated waste water out through the outflow pipe. Waste water still contains many harmful bacteria and consequently needs to feed away from the house into a designated drain field or reed beds where the bacteria can re-enter the natural environment, away from human contact and without risk.

Potential problems from Septic Tanks

Problems may be noticed due to foul odours from the system, poor water flow or unexpected blockages. Common problems are as follows.

Use of household cleaners and other anti-bacterial products

Household products such as toilet cleaners, bleach, surface cleaners washing up liquid and mouthwash are all biocidal and will kill the friendly bacteria that breakdown solid human waste. If enough strong disinfectants such as bleach enter the septic tank they will prevent decomposition of the waste and it will rapidly increase the amount of untreated sewage in the tank.

Adding Elsan Septic Tank Care refreshes the bacteria inside the Septic Tank. Regular use will help maintain the natural decomposition process. Micro-organisms will multiply in line with the available food source (the sewage) so regularly adding fresh bacteria helps optimise the performance of a Septic Tank.

Too much fat and grease

Fat and grease cling to the inside of pipework and tanks and cause build ups at inlets and outlets restricting the smooth flow of waste water and potentially causing blockages.

Elsan Septic Tank care contains specially chosen micro-organisms, not usually present in sewage. These micro-organisms live by attacking fats and grease and this will help prevent poor performance and blockages. Because they reduce the build-up of fats they will also maximise the capacity of the septic tank leading to greater time intervals between pump outs.

Reduced capacity

Septic Tanks work by breaking down solid sewage into water and inorganic deposits. Consequently it is unavoidable that the bottom of the tank will collect a layer of sediment and this is why the Septic Tank needs to be professionally emptied at periodic intervals. You should also avoid putting materials that do not dissolve into the sewage system (i.e. baby wipes, sanitary products, extra strong kitchen towels, cigarette butts etc.)

Elsan Septic Tank Care helps maintain the performance of your tank by regularly improving the efficiency of the bacteria and by adding new micro-organisms that attack fats. By preventing the build-up of untreated sludge and hard fats it also increases the available tank capacity and will help maximise the time interval between pump outs.

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