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Septic System Use – Inspection – Maintenance How things work and why. Prepared by 2010 Lands End Owners Association Board of Directors 352 Back Nine Drive ~ Baneberry, TN
Whats here Purpose Importance Subdivision Facts Maintenance Questions What Were Your Reasons? Overlooked? Types of Systems Typical Septic Tank How Does One Work? Lands End System Protecting Your System Not Down the Drain! Hazardous Waste Dishwasher Garbage Disposal Water Softeners Additives? Electricity Its About the Water Questions / Discussion System Service Life References Thats All
Purpose To ensure lot owners connected to the subsurface waste removal system: – Know why they are connected to a subsurface waste removal system – Understand how a typical septic system works – Know what should have been installed in their on-lot system – Properly care for the on-lot septic systems, ensuring long- term, uninterrupted service – Comply with State and Association inspection, maintenance and operating requirements
Importance, P age 1 of 3 If your septic system isnt maintained, your may need to replace it, costing thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars A malfunctioning system can contaminate groundwater that may be a source of drinking water If your septic system is NOT in good working order, you may not be permitted to sell it
Importance, Page 2 of 3 An unusable septic system, or one that is in disrepair will lower property value and may pose a legal liability Household wastewater pollutants include nitrogen, phosphorus, disease causing bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens or hazardous elements Properly designed, installed and maintained septic systems effectively reduce or eliminate most human health and environmental threats posed by pollutants in household waste water
Importance, Page 3 of 3 One-fourth of U.S. homes use septic systems More than 4 BILLION gallons of wastewater per day is dispersed below the grounds surface Inadequately treated sewage poses a significant threat to drinking water and to human health causing diseases and infections in both people and animals
Subdivision Facts Lands End subdivision was initially parceled into 65 lots 27 lots would NOT percolate The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Ground Water Protection approved a proposal to use a 10-plus acre parcel to serve as the drain field for these 27 lots The State approved the system as designed to serve a maximum of twenty-seven, 3-bedroom homes
Maintenance Questions Do you periodically: Have your car/truck serviced? Mow or have your yard mowed? Sweep, vacuum, mop and dust? Clean sinks, tubs, showers and toilets? Inspect, repair and replace your HVAC, appliances, electronics, lawns & garden equipment, sporting and hobby gear, etc. WHY?
What Were Your Reasons? Reliability? Dependability? Safety? Sanitation? Cleanliness? Comfort? Protect Investments? Others… ?
Overlooked? How about the septic system? Why is it so easy to forget to inspect and maintain? Because its out of sight!
Types of Systems, Page 1 of 3 Individual (private, on-lot system) Shared system The Lands End system is a shared system.
Types of Systems, Page 2 of 3 Public systems
Types of Systems, Page 3 of 3 Conventional: – Gravity system – Pressure Distribution System Alternative Systems: – Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) – Mound System – Sand Filter System Proprietary Systems There are others … L E O A s i s a p r e s s u r e d i s t r i b u t i o n t y p e
Typical Septic Tank Tank Access In-flow Out-flow Effluent Sludge Scum How One Works
How Does It Work? Page 1 of 6 Black and gray waste water moves through the house plumbing to the inlet side of the septic tank The tank holds the wastewater long enough to allow the solids to settle to the bottom of the septic tank forming a bio-mass referred to as sludge
How Does It Work? Page 2 of 6 Microorganisms (bacteria) in the waste, effluent, and in the air in the tank consume nutrients from the waste Over time the sludge compresses through anaerobic biodegrading and chemical changes during the fermentation processes The fluids in the tank are known as effluent
How Does It Work? Page 3 of 6 Constituents in the effluent and discharged elements from the sludge mass float on the surface of the effluent forming a top layer known as the scum In a conventional gravity system, the effluent passes through a filter then through the septic tanks outlet to a distribution box and beyond into the various legs of the drain field known as laterals
How Does It Work? Page 4 of 6 The effluent seeps through passages in the drain field tiles and into the gravel, sand and soil upon which the drain field was installed The wastewater percolates into the soil which provides final treatment by removing harmful bacteria, viruses and nutrients Microbes in the soil digest or remove most contaminates from wastewater before it eventually reaches groundwater
How Does It Work? Page 5 of 6 In a conventional pumped system, the effluent reaches a high fluid level in the pump chamber (vault) causing a float switch to activate a submersed pump which forces the effluent up to a distribution box and out into the various legs of the drain field known as laterals In the pumped system, a low level float is used to deactivate the pump and assure it does not pump the tank dry and possibly damage the pump
How Does It Work? Page 6 of 6 Over time the mass of the sludge increases upward and the crust or scum layer on the top of the effluent becomes thicker As the two masses accumulate, the tank will eventually reach the point where, if not properly serviced, it fails, typically flooding the lowest level plumbing fixtures with sewage The accumulation process is depicted in the following illustrations
How Does It Work?
How Does It Work? Scum Sludge Blockage!
How Does It Work? Okay! NOT Okay!
Septic System Requirements: 1.Two 1000 gallon capacity septic tanks fabricated per Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Ground Water Protection Standard Concrete shall be mixed with cement conforming to TYPE II cement content of not less than 6 sacks per cubic yard with an aggregate size of ¾ of an inch. Minimum compressive strength of 4,500 psi (28 days) 3.Reinforcing shall be 6 x 6, 10-gauge wire mesh with additional top reinforcing of #3 rebar 4.Sealant shall be 1 x 1 Butyl Rubber Mastic Sealant between lid and tank at the joint line 5.Septic system pump shall be an ORENCO PF10 (10 gal per minute), 07 (3/4 hp), 1 (single phase), 2 (230v); –20 or –30 for a 20- or 30-ft power cord (10-foot is standard). The pump should be installed in an ORENCO Universal Biotube pump vaults with a pump filter. 6.Installation shall ALSO include an Orenco OSI Biotube Effluent filter, FTO Lands End System (typical) Page 1 of 4
Lands End System, Page 2 of 4 Septic systems currently installed (or to be installed on unimproved properties) are traditional, pumped systems However, each system uses two septic tanks rather than one Effluent from outflow of the second tank is pumped through a system of subsurface sewerage mains to a drain field located away from the immediate Lands End subdivision
Lands End System, Page 3 of 4 It is believed each improved lot has: – Two, 1000-gallon, 2-chamber concrete septic tanks – One 230 volt, 60 Hz, ¾ hp effluent pump – The pumps are supposed to be ORENCO PF10, 07, 1, 2 (the present day model #) installed in an ORENCO Universal Biotube pump vaults with a pump filter High- and low-water-level float switch assembly – All pumps, filters, valves and fittings to be ORENCO – Junction box – Pull-out fuse box – NEMA Alarm
Lands End System, Page 4 of 4 Specs: – All pipe to be PVC, SDR-21 – All fittings to be PVC, SCH-40 – All connections to be slip type – Tracer line must be attached to all buried pipe – All lines to be water tested to 125 psi – Flow based on 42 gpm – All septic tanks to be water-tight version built by C.R. Barger & Sons
Protecting Your System, Page 1 of 2 Have your system inspected regularly. Systems with electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical devices should be inspected annually Have your system pumped, cleaned, inspected and tested every 4-years Dont dispose of hazardous wastes in sinks or toilets Use water efficiently! Dont flood the system
Protecting Your System, Page 2 of 2 Dont drive or park vehicles atop any portion of your septic system
NOT down the drain! Page 1 of 4 Cleansers, bleach or disinfectants Drain cleaners / clog removers Medicine Diapers, cotton swabs, wipes, Q-tips Condoms Personal hygiene products Beauty products
NOT down the drain! Page 2 of 4 Caustic or toxic chemicals Paint (including latex) Thinners, solvents, adhesives Automotive fluids (gasoline, oil, brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, antifreeze, etc.) Darkroom chemicals (fixer, developer, and other similar chemicals and related wastewater
NOT down the drain! Page 3 of 4 Lawn care products Pesticides & herbicides Poisons Cat litter, sand, dirt, dust, or hair Cooking fats (grease, lard, rendered animal fat, vegetable oil, seed oil, plan oil, margarine, butter, etc.) Cigarette butts, dental floss, paper, or trash
NOT down the drain! Page 4 of 4 Food, eggshells, coffee grounds Toys and live pets (or any pets for that matter!) Bar soap that is mostly fat TIP: If it wont pass SAFELY through your body, it probably shouldnt be put down the drain!
Hazardous Waste Dispose of hazardous waste in accordance with local regulations Periodic hazardous household waste disposal days are designated by the State and advertised through the radio, newspaper and flyers
Dishwashers Wipe food and grease from dinner, cookware and utensils to the garbage – not the drain! Load properly Full loads only Read labels on dish- washing soap and dryer to ensure they are septic system safe Most newer model residential dishwashers contain a garbage disposal unit! Prepare your dishes so your dishwasher doesnt have food particles to grind and flush into your septic system.
Garbage Disposal SIMPLE – Dont use it!
Water Softener Systems, Page 1 of 2 Possible Negative Outcomes Backwash cycles add excessive water volume to the system Saline discharge harmful to the bacteria (microbes) thereby reducing anaerobic biodegrading of sludge Saline discharge disrupts and displaces sludge layer
Water Softener Systems, Page 2 of 2 Alternatives? 1.Dont use, or 2.Use modern, high efficiency model that discharges on-demand rather than on a timer
Septic System Additives? Nearly 1200 products on the market Probably wont hurt or damage your system or the shared system, but probably doesnt help either Other than the septic additive manufacturers themselves, we could find no scientist, engineer, academic, or government source that recommends the use of septic system additives
Electricity Your system runs on electricity The main drain field runs on electricity, also Dont flush or discharge water to the system during a power failure If your tank is full, or nearly so, and you continue to flood the tank, the effluent and raw sewage may back up into the lowest level plumbing fixtures in your home and overflow! Likewise, overloaded on-lot systems could lead to flooding and over- flow of the main tanks at the drain field.
Its About the Water, Page 1 of 5 Conserve water Use aerators on all sink outlets Use high-efficiency shower heads Fill the bathtub with only as much water as you need Use high efficiency toilets that restrict volume
Its About the Water, Page 2 of 5 Repair faucet and toilet tank leaks Periodically test toilet tanks for flapper valve and overflow leakage A leaking toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons each day
Its About the Water, Page 3 of 5 Energy Star clothes washers use 35% less energy and 50% less water than a standard model Select applicable size laundry load for the job or only run full loads Alternate wash days rather than running multiple loads in a single day
Its About the Water, Page 4 of 5 Dont run water while shaving or brushing your teeth Limit use of large capacity Jacuzzi style tubs Plumb hot tub water to an approved alternative drainage (check with Jefferson County Department of Environmental Health)
Its About the Water, Page 5 of 5 Dripping faucet test. Place measuring cup under drip for 10 minutes Multiply volume of water in measuring cup by 1440 (# of minutes in twenty-four hours) Divide by 10 Equals amount of water lost each day Example: ½ cup in 10 minutes x 1440 / 10 = 72 cups of water / 24-hours 4.5 gallons / day; 135 gallons / month which is approximately 3.4 typical bathtubs full
System Service Life Septic systems and drainage fields are carefully designed based on soil conditions, water tables and the typical number of people living in the house (based on bedroom count). Life spans of 20 years or more are traditionally projected, but with careful planning, proper use, and regular inspection and maintenance, systems can last indefinitely.
References: Page 1 of 2 A Homeowners Guide to Septic Systems, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EPA-832-B , Cincinnati, OH The Septic Systems Owners Manual, Blair Allen and Julie Jones, Shelter Publications, Bolinas, CA, 2007 Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA), 4305 North Sixth Street, Suite A, Harrisburg, PA ~ (717) Department of Soil Science at North Carolina State University, 101 Derieux Street, 2232 Williams Hall, Box 7619, Raleigh, NC Environmental Protection Agency –
References: Page 2 of 2 National Environmental Services Center (NESC) – National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association – Yellow Pages; Specialized Listings – (enter zip code or town and state in the search box) Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act (CWA) – and What Happens After the Flush? Percolation Testing –