Would you believe me if I told you solid waste and urine play a large part in keeping us strong and healthy? I’m not talking about the digestive system, no. This benefit is external and most of us don’t even realize it.
Septic tanks are more beneficial than you realize. They have a secondary and less apparent purpose; being a medium where feces and urine are dissolved is just the primary function of a septic tank.
What is a Septic Tank?
An underwater container or chamber where sewage flows into to be treated. The tank can be small or large but generally tends to be the latter. Regardless of size though, all septic tanks are made of fiberglass or concrete or even plastic.
The design of the tank has two pipes connected to it. One is the inlet where waste is collected from toilets, sinks and baths and deposited in the septic tank. The other pipe is the outlet, which is the channel where the processed wastewater (effluent) is moved out of the tank to be spread in the soil and watercourses like canals or rivers.
What Do Septic Tanks Do?
As I said earlier, it’s a simple process and one that we have all been exposed to: Treatment and recycling of waste (though there is heavier emphasis on the treatment aspect).
You see, septic tanks treat wastewater by way of what we call “biological decomposition”. When wastewater begins accumulating in the tank, it’s broken into three layers: The topmost layer contains oil and has been dubbed scum. The layer in the middle called the effluent primarily consist of waste particles while the heaviest particles accumulate at the bottom; the sludge.
Within the tank, bacteria decompose and break the solid waste, which in turn enables the liquids to separate from the solids and be consequently drained off with more ease. See the diagram below for a more visual elaboration.
I mentioned earlier that wastewater has other uses. That’s true, because the collected sludge can find use by being converted into fertilizer. I need not tell you this is always a boon for agriculture. And sludge can yet be used as biogas too (gas produced by decaying plants and animals that can be used as fuel); or even to generate electricity.
How Are Septic Tanks Constructed?
The most important thing to consider when constructing a septic tank is strength. The design must not be flawed to prevent cracks or leaks, which can pollute groundwater. The simplified steps below show how septic tanks go from being concrete molds to sedimentation tanks.
- Installation of the inlet and outlet pipes should be the first thing to do. They are normally 4 inch in diameter. The inlet pipe should also be installed and positioned higher than the outlet pipe.
- Casting is the second step. Concrete is casted in a box-shaped mold, with the walls being at least 4 inches thick too. An important point to note is how the concrete is mixed. This should be done properly, as too much water can nullify its overall strength.
- Manholes should be the last to be installed. Grout (mortar) is normally used to seal the manholes, as this will make them gas-tight. Even more important, these manholes are what permit access to the tank to pump it out. It’s advisable to pump out the septic tank every 5 years.
So septic tanks, despite being hidden from view, serve a very necessary and environmental function. One can say they even serve a green function. Whether in homes or factories, septic tank systems should be given as much consideration as the most important systems.
Septic Tank Norfolk – Consult a professional for your drainage needs.