Hatfields provides 24 hour emergency septic service and free estimates throughout Maryland including Howard County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County and Baltimore City MD.
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Septic System - Cleaning • Repairs • Maintenance • Installation • Perc Tests
Proper design, installation, and maintenance of your septic system will maximize your system's life. It will prevent failures that can be unsightly, foul-smelling, and threatening to your family's health. Good maintenance reduces the risk of contaminating your well water, and may save you from costly repairs or system replacement. Septic tank inspection may be required by lenders when you sell or refinance your home. The repair of a failing system is usually a cost to the seller. So, ignoring your septic system will not save money in the long term.
How Your Traditional Septic System Works
A septic system has two major components: a septic tank and a drainfield.
Septic Tank: Wastewater sewage flows from the house to the septic tank. The tank is designed to retain waste- water and allow heavy solids to settle to the bottom. These solids are partially decomposed by bacteria to form sludge. Grease and light particles float, forming a layer of scum on top of die wastewater. Baffles are installed at the inlet and outlet of the tank to slow the water movement and prevent the scum and solids from escaping.
Newer septic tanks can have a partial concrete dividing wall in the center, thus making two compartments. This helps ensure the sludge does not get forced out of the baffle into the drainfield. Newer tanks can also have two manhole covers, one above each baffle.
Drainfield (Trench): A solid pipe leads from the septic tank to a distribution box where the wastewater is channeled into one or more perforated pipes set in trenches of gravel. Here die water slowly infiltrates (seeps) into the underlying soil. Dissolved wastes and bacteria in die water are trapped or adsorbed to soil particles or decomposed by microorganisms that occur naturally in the soil. These processes remove disease-causing organisms, organic matter, and most nutrients (except nitrogen and some salts). The purified wastewater then either moves to the groundwater or evaporates from the soil. Trench systems are the most common type of system used in new home construction.
Possible Signs of Septic System Trouble
The septic tank has not been pumped out in the past five years. Even if the system appears to be working well, sludge may have built up to the point where wastewater is released without sufficient time in the tank for treatment and settling of particles. This situation may result in pollution of groundwater or cause eventual clogging of the drainfield.
A wet area or standing water occurs above the drainfield. This situation can develop when sludge particles clog the drainfield, when tree roots or broken pipes keep the wastewater from dispersing through the entire drainfield, or when water use in the house regularly exceeds the design capacity of the system. When these conditions occur, wastewater does not move through the soil as it should, and instead rises to the surface creating a serious health risk and odor problems
Toilets run slowly or back up. In the worst cases, the basement is flooded with sewage. This can be the result of plugged sewer lines to the tank, a plugged inlet or outlet pipe, a full septic tank, or a failed drainfield.
Septic odors occur in the house, above the tank and drainfield, or escape from the vent pipe. If the system is operating properly, there should be no odors. If there are odors, it can be an early warning sign that the system is failing.
Inside - Septic System Maintenance Tips
Do not add "starter enzymes" or "yeast" to your system. Additives do not improve the performance of your system; there are always plenty of natural bacteria available to do the job. In fact, additives can damage your system by breaking up the sludge and scum layers, causing solids to flush out of the tank and clog the drainfield.
Conserve water to extend the life and increase the efficiency of your septic system. Fix leaks and drips. If you replace old fixtures, install new "low flow" types.
Do not overload the system- this is the primary cause of system failures. Early morning and bedtime are peak use times in the bathroom. Run dishwashers and washing machines at other times of the day. Don't do all the family laundry in one day.
Do not use a garbage disposal or dump coffee grounds in the sink. Increasing the load of solids into the tank decreases the capacity and shortens the interval between pumpings.
Do not pour fats and oils down the drain. They can build up and clog the septic tank pipes.
Put paper towels, tissue, cigarette butts, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, and other material in a trash can, not the toilet.
Use normal amounts of detergents, bleaches, drain cleaners, household cleaners, and other products. Avoid dumping solvents like dry cleaning fluid, pesticides, photographic chemicals, paint thinner, or auto products down the drain.
Outside – Septic System Maintanence Tips
Tanks generally need to be pumped every 2 to 5 years, depending on use, the size of the tank, and the number of people in the house. If the tank gets too full, particles of scum or sludge will flush out of the tank. This material will clog the drain tiles and cause the septic system to fail.
Hire a licensed professional to pump the waste out of your tank. The tank should be pumped out through the manhole, not the smaller inspection ports. The tank should be emptied completely, leaving nothing in the tank. Do not clean the tank with any chemical. Make sure the baffles are inspected for any damage and that the tank is checked for cracks and leaks.
Direct down spouts and runoff away from the septic field to avoid saturating the area with excess water.
Dense grass cover and other shallow rooted plants are beneficial over a septic field. However, do not plant trees near a drainfield because large plant roots can clog or break the pipes.
Avoid compacting the soil over the drainfield. Do not drive or park vehicles over the area and don't build a shed or driveway in this area. These activities can also crack pipes or cause the distribution box to settle unevenly, meaning that effluent will only flow into part of the drainfield.
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