10 Crucial Facts To Know About Septic Tank Installation


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Septic Tank Installation and The Crucial Facts You Should Know

Septic tank installation is something many have to consider when making the move to more rural pastures. Here are 10 things you need to know about septic tanks!

Septic Tank Installation

There have been tons of plumbing and sewer advancements made over the course of the last century. But despite this, about 15 percent of Canadians still rely on wells and having a septic tank installation at this time for their water and sewer needs. Those who live in certain rural and even suburban areas simply don’t have access to sewers supplied by their local governments and must have septic tank installation done.

If you ever decide to move to a rural area in or around British Columbia, you might be forced to use a septic system when you do it. Before you do, it’s crucial for you to take the time to educate yourself about septic tanks.

Let’s take a closer look at how septic tanks work and what you will need to do to maintain them once you have septic tank installation done. Here are ten crucial facts about septic tanks.

septic tank installation

1. Septic Tank Installation Should Be Left to the Professionals

Designing a septic tank system prior to a septic tank installation is not as simple as it seems. It’s a lot more complicated than simply envisioning where the septic system is going to be located.

Prior to the septic system installation, a trusted septic tank company needs to come out to your home to analyze the topography and soils in which you plan to place your tank and septic field. This is done to make sure the ground is suitable for the type of septic tank that is going to be used and the kind of media that will be implemented in the field.

First, the soil type in the ground needs to be identified. A septic tank company will excavate some of your land with test pits and check out the soil types, look at the different horizons and look for restrictive layers to see how the water will pass through the depths of soil as well as how quickly water will be able to flow through it, this is called hydraulic loading and it allows us to calculate the rates associated with each soil type.  Percolation testing helps us determine how quickly the water is absorbed into the soil.

Next, a septic tank company will see if there are going to be any other limitations in the septic installation process. This includes seeing if any bedrock or layers of soil will prove to be impermeable, looking for waterways, high water table, culverts, riparian areas, easements and more.

Finally, a septic tank company will make sure you have enough space in your yard to do septic tank installation in the first place. There are many different aspects of a septic tank system and they will need to be able to fit in your yard in order for a successful installation to take place.

septic tank installation

2. Septic Systems Can Take Up a Large Portion of Your Yard

As we just mentioned, septic tank systems aren’t exactly small. In most cases, they will take over your entire yard and force you to sacrifice a lot of your land to them. That usually doesn’t present a big problem since they’re often installed in rural areas where land is readily available, but it’s something to keep in mind during septic tank installation.

You should familiarize yourself with the different parts of a typical septic system before you have one installed. The average septic system usually includes:

  • Septic tank
  • Distribution box
  • Drain field
  • Sewer pipe
  • Access Hatch

The wastewater that you use in your home every day will travel through the various parts of your septic system after you’ve had septic tank installation done. Your tank is where most of the action takes place as it contains bacteria designed to separate solids, fats and grease.  The clearer water zone in the septic tank is what then travels towards the next component of the system whether it is a distribution box or pump tank.

3. Septic Tanks Will Affect the Amount of Water You Can Use Every Day

When you live in a home that is connected directly to a city sewer, you can pretty much use as much water as you want to. While it’s obviously not advisable to do it, you could leave a sink running all day long without facing any real consequences, outside of running your water bill up.

That is not the case for those who have had septic tank installation done. Each septic tank is capable of holding a certain amount of water, and you will have to avoid flooding your tank with water which saturates the septic field by limiting the amount of water you use on a daily basis.

You can cut down on your water use by:

  • Installing water-saving toilets
  • Taking shorter showers
  • Running smaller loads of laundry (some washing machines can use up to 45 gallons of water for a single load!)
  • Turning the water off when you brush your teeth
  • Dumping water used for cooking purposes outside rather than down the drain

While smaller families shouldn’t have much trouble limiting their water usage, it can be challenging for those with big families to do it. You will need to take stock of how much water you’re using and adjust accordingly following septic tank installation to avoid running into problems.

4. Septic Tanks Will Force You to Think About What You Put Down Your Drains

Once you have septic tank installation done and start relying on a septic system, you need to be mindful of the things you place down the drain. Remember: Everything you flush down your toilet or put down the kitchen sink is going to end up passing through your septic tank–and it could get stuck there if you aren’t careful.

Here are some of the things you should definitely keep out of your drains so that they don’t end up in your septic system:

  • Food scraps
  • Coffee grinds
  • Grease
  • Oil
  • Paper towels
  • Feminine products
  • Dental floss
  • Wet wipes
  • Cat litter
  • Drain cleaners
  • Bleach
  • Cigarette butts

In general, you should limit what you put down your drains to waste and water. As long as you do that, you shouldn’t encounter any major issues with your septic tank or the rest of your septic system.

5. Septic Tank Systems Need to Be Monitored At All Times

It’s a big responsibility having septic tank installation done. While those who use sewers don’t really spend much time at all thinking about where their wastewater goes, those with septic tanks need to monitor them at almost all times just in case a problem arises.

One way to keep an eye on your septic tank is to walk around on the area where your drain field exists. This area shouldn’t ever be wet or even damp. If it is, it could mean that water isn’t draining properly from your septic system.

You should also keep watch over the area surrounding the septic tank itself. Is there really green grass growing by it, or are puddles forming near it? It could mean you’re either using too much water on a regular basis or it could be a sign of a much larger issue at hand.

6. Septic Tanks Need to Be Pumped Regularly

No matter how careful you are about what you put down the drains in your home, you are going to need to have your septic tank pumped out regularly following septic tank installation.

Septic tanks will, over time, fill up with sludge at the bottom that forms when solids make their way into the tank. That sludge will slowly take up more and more space until it eventually takes a toll on your tank’s ability to move wastewater along.

About once every three to five years, you should have a professional come out and clean your septic tank for you. They will pump out much of the sludge inside of it and make sure it continues doing its job. This can expand the lifespan of a septic tank greatly and improve its overall efficiency.

7. Septic Tank Systems Must Be Ventilated Properly

After you have septic tank installation done and start using your septic system all the time, it will fill up with poisonous gases that form due to the waste that moves through it. There will also be all sorts of unpleasant smells that will be present in the tank as it works to keep wastewater moving through it as the bacteria in the septic tank breaks down solid organic matter.

These gases and smells can become problematic for you if you don’t have the proper ventilation system in place. It’s why ventilation needs to be incorporated into your system during septic tank installation. A septic tank company should be able to ventilate your system up through a vent located on your roof without a problem.

If at any time, you notice foul smells coming from your septic system, it’s an indication that there is an issue. You should call a septic tank professional right away to find out why your septic tank isn’t ventilating properly to avoid health problems that could stem from it.

8. Septic Tanks Can Cause Backups in Your Home If Problems Aren’t Addressed

This is one of the worst scenarios a homeowner can face after having septic tank installation. When a septic tank hasn’t maintained the way it should be, the tank can fill up and actually cause waste and wastewater to come spilling back into the home.

This is obviously something that should be avoided at all costs. If you notice that the wastewater from your home isn’t draining the way it should, calling for help is essential. Otherwise, you may notice your septic tank backing up into your home before long.

Here are a few warning signs that will let you know about the potential for a septic system backup:

  1. Sewage backup located in the toilets and drains of your home
  2. Toilets that flush very slowly and/or won’t drain at all
  3. Wastewater located on the ground directly above your septic tank

Many homeowners don’t realize their septic system is on the verge of backing up until it’s too late. Don’t let it get to that point! Be on the lookout for the warning signs listed above.

9. Septic Tanks Will Need to Be Inspected Before Buying or Selling a Home

When you have a septic system attached to your home, you should take the time to have it inspected at least once every year. If nothing else, this will let you know what kind of condition your septic tank is in so that you can prepare for additional maintenance and repairs accordingly.

You will also need to have a septic tank inspection done whenever you buy or sell a home. As a buyer, you never know how well a septic system has been maintained over the years, and the last thing you want to do is agree to purchase a home that has a septic system that needs to be replaced. It could cost you thousands of dollars and make your new home a nightmare.

As a seller, you want to be able to use your septic system as a positive rather than a negative when selling your home. You should have it inspected so that you can let buyers know what a great job you’ve done pumping your septic tank and maintaining it.

New septic tank installation isn’t something that buyers or sellers will want to think about, so a septic inspection will put everyone’s minds at ease during the selling process.

10. Septic Tanks Will Not Last Forever

No matter how diligent you are about maintaining your septic system, it’s not going to last you forever. Your septic tank, in particular, will need to be replaced at some point.

Generally speaking, a metal septic tank will last somewhere between 15 and 20 years, depending upon how well a homeowner has taken care of it and although metal septic tanks are not a common application anymore, your home may still have one.  A concrete septic tank, on the other hand, can often last for up to 40 years when it’s maintained properly over time.  Poly and Fiberglass septic tanks are also widely used, with many recent advancements in the engineering of these particular septic tanks we don’t have a firm statistic on their lifespan just yet.

There are some steps you can take to increase the lifespan of your septic system. For instance, you can:

  • Follow the industry guidelines pertaining to septic system maintenance
  • Avoid placing items into your septic tank that shouldn’t be there
  • Keep accurate records with regards to when you had pumping and other maintenance done and who completed the job

There is simply no getting around doing new septic tank installation at some point down the line. But you can push it off for as long as possible by making sure you take care of your septic system. It will benefit you both now and well into the future.

Septic tank installations require a few steps, we can help:

Design a septic tank that will work well for your home by contacting us today.

Check out our blog for additional tips on maintaining your septic tank over time and spotting potential problems with it.

Luis Goncalves, ROWP, IN, PL

I fell into this amazing trade quite by accident, I have always loved being around heavy machinery and moving earth and in contrast love working with designing things.  This trade in the septic field has led me down a wonderful path of exploring all of my skills and passions while working hard at achieving success.

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