Septic Tanks need emptying?

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    • #278508

      I have a septic tank, the lowest tank was emptied last year. There is toilet paper coming
      through the system into the drainage ditch. Should all three tanks have been emptied? Can you think what
      the problem is?

    • #298655
      John Aldrich1

      Horris, if you are discharging septic tank effluent directly into an open drainage ditch, you are creating a public health threat, and a threat to the environment of yourself, your family, and downstream neighbors! The effluent from the septic tank system should be applied to a soil absorption system (alternating leach fields}, or some other type of advanced treatment system.

      I don’t know in which part of earth you reside, but if you live in the USA, you are violating the water quality laws created under the Clean Water Act, and are probably in violation of the Individual Sewage Disposal System (ISDS) Regulations of the agency responsible for on-site sewage treatment systems in your jurisdiction.

      Suspended solids, and floating solids, such as toilet paper, and raw sewage, laden with disease organisms, will escape a conventionally-baffled septic tank. These solids may flow through even three conventioally- baffled tanks, depending upon the volume of sewage applied, and the flow rate.

      I recommend to my clients that they employ the 1/3 rule when determining the need for sludge removal from a septic tank. If the measured sludge depth is 1/3 the total liquid depth of the tank, then it is time to remove the sludge.

      I recommend that you install a septic tank effluent filter in the outlet tee of the third tank. I also strongly encourage you to treat the septic tank effluent to a much higher quality before returning it to the environment.

      A Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetland Filter system is the technology that is most appropriate for accomplishing very high removal rates of the various pollutants in septic tank effluent.
      A wetland filter is a passive, affordable, natural treatment system that is also a landscaping amenity, additional wildlife habitat, and it provides for the potential of water re-use. If you would like more information regarding this technology, send me an e-mail message. JWA

      John W. Aldrich
      Septic System Consultant

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