RTE2FTA Daily Living

The Life of a Septic Tank

A lot of people do their business in the bathroom without thinking twice where all that sewage goes to. For some, it goes straight to the sewer system but for those who aren’t connected to the main sewer system, it goes to their septic tanks. Septic tanks are environmentally friendly wastewater disposal solutions. They are compartments that are made of either concrete, fiberglass, PVC, or plastic according. Septic tanks are more commonly used in the rural areas. Urban areas have no use for septic tanks as waste in these big cities are dealt with through the sewage system.

A septic tank is installed underground and makes use of natural processes to treat the sewage it stores. How long your septic tank will last depend on how you take care of it and also if it is made of concrete or metal.

The Lifespan of a Septic Tank

Septic tanks are both easy and hard to manage. Hard because it is installed underground so you can’t exactly go to it with traditional means of cleaning like washing and bleaching it. It is easy as it goes away with other installation processes such as installing new screws or adding new pipes. There is no hard to follow instruction to clean it. There are a number of issues that can influence the lifespan of a septic tank.

Environmental Factors

Aside from the type of septic tank you have, factors beyond your control like nature can come into play on the lifespan of a septic tank. If you have big trees with aggressive roots growing around your home, it can severely affect your septic tank. Especially if your septic tank is concrete, the tree’s roots can easily crack it open. And whatever your septic tank is made of, the roots of the trees can also clog it. Soil filtration rate and the condition of the groundwater can affect the absorption around your drainage field. This can impact how long certain parts of your septic tank will last. Finally, the occurrence of moisture and water around the septic tank can be very harmful to your septic tank. Flooding or unusually moist soil can cut septic tank lifespans and might cause backups in the short term.

Pump it

A septic tank’s lifespan also depends on whether you pump it or clean it every year or so. A septic tank can get really full very fast and this can lead to it cracking and being clogged. In order to avoid this, you have to pump your septic tank every 5 – 10 years. There are a lot of companies that offer to pump a septic tank. Septic tank pumping Atlanta also gives service. The government also offers their services for free as part of a community aid.

Concrete Septic Tank

A concrete septic tank can last for 40 years and more. As long as the concrete is poured very strong for it to be watertight, there is no reason why the lifespan of a concrete septic tank won’t last for almost a decade.

Metal Septic Tank

A metal septic tank can only last between 15 – 20 years as it is prone to rusting so it will need to be replaced.

The lifespan of a septic tank greatly depends on how you take care of it so have a daily maintenance schedule set up to make sure the septic tank will last well beyond its lifespan.


The Danger in Septic Tanks

Out of sight out of mind. Perhaps home-owners tend to forget maintaining their septic tanks because they’re hidden underground. The typical homeowner “maintains” their septic system by running the pump whenever they notice inefficiency. This is hazardous. Every household should be aware of these septic tank dangers. If you’re from Flowery Branch, better have a flowery branch septic tank service for your safety.

1.  The buildup of explosive gases

Improper ventilation is the culprit behind this. Have you ever wondered how bio-gas systems produce gas? Beneficial bacteria break down decaying organic matter into simpler compounds – with cooking gas (methane) being one of them. The same process occurs in your septic tank (except that you’re not tapping these flammable gases). Though rare, explosions may occur when these gases build up to unsafe levels.

Other gases formed:

–  Nitrogen oxide

–  Sulphur dioxide

–  Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide

2.  Sulphuric acid formation

In addition to methane and ethane, our tanks produce sulphuric acid too. This compound is formed when naturally-occurring hydrogen sulphide gas reacts with water. What’s the danger in this? Sulphuric acid “eats” up metal and concrete – just like all other inorganic acids. It slowly weakens the tanks’ lid making it structurally unstable.

This is a safety hazard as the tank may collapse any time and the sad thing is that these reactions take place underground. No warnings or visible deflections. Stay safe by installing a sturdy lid. You could even go overboard and install one that cannot be easily moved (or removed). This is especially useful when they’re children in the household – you know how curious they get.

3.  Entering the tank

If you’re reading these tips – chances are you want to know how these tanks operate. Stick to the books. Going to the tank is suicidal. In addition to safety training, septic tank service personnel are equipped with breathing equipment. What should you do when someone falls into the tank? Seek emergency services. If possible, blow fresh air into the tank using fans while you wait for help.

4.  Driving or parking over the tank

Though rare, most septic tank collapses can be attributed to this. Heavy loading may compress the ground in return transferring loading to the septic system. They’re never designed to withstand heavy external loads. Make a point of driving traffic away from the tank, whenever possible. You may accidentally break the tank’s pipes and we all know how costly underground plumbing repairs are.

5.  The growth of shrubs/ tall grasses near the tank

Inspect your tank’s surrounding regularly to ensure that there are no fire hazards, physical debris or tall grasses. In addition to being an eyesore, debris may compromise your tank’s structural integrity. Use the same principle when landscaping your lawn. Ensure that you do not plant trees near the system. Roots tend to follow moisture and they may damage your tank in the process. Consult your local plumbing experts on the plants (and vegetation) you can plant near your tank.

6.  Lighting cigarettes/fireworks near the tank

It’s common knowledge that we should keep naked flames away from these tanks. How many of us know that cigarettes, fireworks, and tiki torches fall under this category? Methane is explosive and fire pits should never be set up near septic tanks.