Understanding Your Septic System

When living in the city, most people are fortunate enough to have a sewer system built underneath them, working automatically as a way of collecting water and treating it to be safe for redistribution into the environment.

For those who live further away from urban areas, and don’t have access to a communal sewage system, many will opt for the septic system; effectively a personal sewage system.

But how does this work? Is it safe? Finally, how expensive is a septic system?

Well first thing’s first.

How does it work?

A septic system is primarily made of two components:

  • A large steel or concrete tank which holds around 1,000 gallons of water. This collects dirty water and waste from all of your drains (bathtub, sink, toilet).
    Once filled, the tank separates the fluid into three layers;
    – solids settle at the bottom, oil and scum at the top, and clear water in the center.
    – The water in the center is rich with bacteria useful for fertilizing soil, and slowly breaking down the solid layer of waste.
  • A series of three to four drain pipes called a ‘drain field’ or ‘leach field’ which is built into trenches under gravel.These pipes are perforated all over, and allow a moderated drainage into the ground around it, safely and consistently fertilizing the growth of grass and plants.

Is It Safe?

a common septic system horror story is the concept of the drain pipe getting blocked, forcing waste and smelly gases to back up through sinks and toilets. This is much less common than the story suggests it may be, and is completely avoidable with simple maintenance of a septic system.

What about the smelly gases?

The waste in septic systems are constantly breaking down, which naturally creates smelly gases. Septic system owners combat this in two ways;

  • Venting. There is always a vent pipe for houses which have a septic system, to allow for the safe dispersal of gases
  • “P-traps”. These oddly shaped pipes dip to prevent rising gas from being able to get through. It’s very uncommon to not have P-traps installed in your house.

Who’s to say it won’t back-up?

With a simple septic system treatment you can pour down your pipes once a month, and the occasional check-up/flush from your local savannah plumber, septic systems can be fairly predictable.

How much will installation cost?

According to Homeadvisor.com, the average homeowner claims to pay somewhere between 2 to 2.5 thousand dollars for a septic system installation. It may seem like a steep cost now, but in the long run is much better than living without adequate plumbing!

When considering a septic system for your home, it’s best to get a professional’s opinion before making the decision. When looking for a Savannah plumber, shop around for several different quotes, and find which is the right fit for your goals and wallet!


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