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 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 you 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, creating a problem that can damage the septic system, clogging the fields and costing you, the homeowner, time and money.
At Able Septic 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, Able Septic 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 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 are common in most septic systems.  They are preferred to plastic tanks because of Terri 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 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?
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.

Leach Field Drawing

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