1072 Route 9 Suite 1 Fiskill, NY 12524
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The purpose of a septic system is to treat household waste in areas where public sewers are not available. There are a number of variations in septic system design, but all basically work the same. A basic septic system consists of a large concrete or plastic tank, and a distribution box followed by a series of leach fields. Whenever you turn on a faucet, flush the toilet or do a load of laundry, the waste leaves the house through the main sewer line and enters the septic tank through the inlet pipe. While the heavy solids sink to the bottom forming a layer of sludge, the lighter solids float to the top. The bacteria living inside the tank eats the solids and reduces their volumes. Solids are prevented from exiting the tank by devices called baffles, which are located near both the inlet and outlet of the septic tank. The remaining liquids flow through the septic tank and out to the distribution box where they are filtered through leach fields into the soil. See the diagram below to further understand how your septic system works.
For an average family of four, it is recommended that you pump your septic tank every two to three years. Like changing the oil in your car, pumping your septic tank is periodic maintenance, which is necessary even though there are no apparent problems. Just as you would not wait for your car to break down before you change the oil, you should not wait for your septic system to back up before you pump the septic tank. Waiting for a symptom or problem can damage the septic system, clog the fields or cause a backup costing the homeowner time and money. At Herring Sanitation Service, we want to make your routine septic cleaning as hassle free to you as possible. After your first pumping you will receive a reminder notice in the mail letting you know that it is time to pump again.
Finding your septic tank is not difficult. To locate the tank, go into the basement and determine what direction the pipe exits the house. The sewer pipe should be easy to find. It is usually the largest diameter pipe made of plastic or cast iron with a cleanout access. Also, the tank is usually in line with the ventilation pipe sticking out of the roof. The tank is typically located 10 to 15 feet away from the foundation. Poke around using a crowbar or metal rod for the tank which can be located anywhere from several inches to 2 or 3 feet underground. If you still have trouble locating the tank, Herring Sanitation Service has several locating devices we use to pin point the tank location.
In order for your septic tank to stay maintained properly, there must always be bacteria in the tank. After the tank is pumped, a small amount of sludge will remain in the bottom of the tank. This promotes bacteria growth, which is necessary to breakdown solids. Household cleaners, bleach, and antibiotic drugs can kill good bacteria and prevent your septic system from working properly. In this case, enzymes can be added to help break down the waste and help the bacteria to work more efficiently. It is extremely important to properly maintain your septic system in order to prevent problems and to preserve the life of your system.
Concrete Septic Tanks
Concrete septic tanks are common in most septic systems. They are preferred to plastic tanks because of their strong solid structure and because the concrete tank is less prone to floating than plastic tanks. Though the concrete tank is preferred for its strength and durability, they are extremely heavy and require a truck or large piece of heavy machinery to install. In cases where a large piece of equipment is unable to access the point where the tank is to be installed, a polyethylene tank is ideal.
Polyethylene Septic Tanks
Polyethylene tanks are lightweight and can easily be carried by several workmen, making them easy to install. Unfortunately, polyethylene tanks are not as heavy as concrete tanks and measures must be taken to make sure that the tank is secure in the ground. You have the option to reinforce the tank with gravel, which will reduce the risk of floating and settling.
What size tank should you have?
The Board of Health requires that a house with up to three bedrooms have a septic tank that holds 1,000 gallons or more, a four-bedroom house must have a septic tank that holds 1,250 gallons or more, and a five-bedroom house must have a septic tank that holds 1,500 gallons or more. The number of occupants in the house does not determine the size of your septic tank.
In a septic system, the leach fields are used to distribute the wastewater from the septic tank into the soil. Waste water is carried by gravity or pumped from the septic tank out to the distribution box where it is then filtered out to the leach fields. The leach fields consist of a series of perforated piping, 4 inches in diameter, placed in trenches on top of gravel. The gravel promotes drainage and reduces root growth around the piping. As the effluent is absorbed into the ground, the bacteria is removed. Most of the water is filtered downward entering a ground water aquifer while a small portion of the water is removed at the grounds surface. Below is a diagram to help illustrate how leach fields treat wastewater.
A pump station is needed to pump fluids exiting the septic tank out to the leach fields when gravity is unable to do the job. This pump station contains a sewage effluent pump, control floats, and in some cases a high water alarm. The control floats are set so that a specific volume or dose of effluent is sent to the leach fields. When the effluent in the pump tank rises it lifts the float to turn on the pump and lower the level of the effluent. As the effluent level drops, the float is lowered and turns off the pump. Should the position of the float fail to activate the pump, or should the pump itself fail, the level of effluent in the pump tank will continue to rise in the pump chamber. An alarm can be installed that will activate when the effluent level rises and lifts the alarm float. The alarm is set to be activated while there is still emergency storage space available in the pump tank so that the system will not flow over or back up into the house.
Herring Sanitation Service strides to deliver only the best products and services to all of their customers. That is why at Herring Sanitation Service we are proud to say that we are members of the Goulds Professional Dealers Association. With every pump installation or replacement, Herring Sanitation Services uses only the top selling brand of effluent pump, Goulds Pumps.
With every purchase of a Goulds pump, the customer has the option of purchasing the Goulds Pump ProSurance® Five Year Protection Plan. Goulds is confident that their products are capable of resisting corrosion, abrasion and other natural forces capable of destroying pumps. The plan is evidence of the confidence Goulds has in the durability of their pumps. With Goulds Pumps, we believe you own the best quality pump on the market. More Goulds pumps are sold than any other brand. The maximum life of pumps varies, but the Goulds Pumps ProSurance® Five Year Protection Plan assures you of a working pump for five full years after date of installation.
A simple septic system inspection may save the homeowner a great deal of time and money. This service is most commonly used by the homebuyer before purchasing a new home. A properly conducted septic inspection ensures that the system is working properly and reduces the chances of a dangerous and/or costly surprise to the new homeowner.
A visual septic inspection may be able to determine the status of a septic system beyond what the average homeowner may be able to conclude. We ask that the lid of the tank be exposed when we come to inspect the system and that there be running water in the house so we can observe the flow through the tank. The inspection consists of a visual scan of the inside of the tank to make sure that the liquids are flowing into the tank and out to the leach fields properly without restriction. We check to make sure that the baffles are intact, and the sludge level is observed to ensure the tank has been maintained properly in the past. We then walk around the entire property to check for any soft or wet spots that would show the leach fields are not working properly.
Other inspection services include a visual inspection of the distribution box or a dye test, to further evaluate the status of the leach fields.