Buying A Home With A Septic Tank

Do not dread the possibility of buying a property with a septic tank. Having a septic tank that is well maintained and cared for can be an inexpensive and easy way to manage household waste water when you are not able to be connected to a deep sewerage system. A new septic system should last at least 30 years and require emptying every 2-5 years, depending on usage.

A septic system is a highly efficient, self-contained, underground wastewater treatment system. It allows safe disposal of wastewater in areas that have are off the mains city sewage network. They work by disposing of the household wastewater in one big underground tank onsite.

A septic system has a simple design. It is an underground watertight container (mostly rectangular or round) made of fiberglass, plastic or concrete. A septic tank is a living filter that separates scum, solids and pretreats wastewater before it flows out into the drain-field for final purification. It takes 24 to 48 hours for this process.

The septic tank digests organic matter and separates floatable matter (e.g., oils and grease) and solids from the wastewater. Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil.The liquid wastewater (effluent) then exits the tank into the drain field.

The drain field is a shallow, covered, excavation made in unsaturated soil. Pretreated wastewater is discharged through piping onto porous surfaces that allow wastewater to filter through the soil. The soil accepts, treats, and disperses wastewater as it percolates through the soil, ultimately discharging to groundwater.

If the drain field is overloaded with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or create backups in toilets and sinks.

Finally, the wastewater percolates into the soil, naturally removing harmful coliform bacteria, viruses and nutrients. Coliform bacteria is a group of bacteria predominantly inhabiting the intestines of humans or other warm-blooded animals. It is an indicator of human fecal contamination.

Septic System Maintenance Is Fairly Simple.
If you own a septic system, it is important that it be properly maintained. How often you need to pump the solids out of your septic tank depends on three major factors:

1. The number of people in your household;
2. The amount of wastewater generated (based on the number of people in the household and the amount of water used)
3. The volume of solids in the wastewater (using a garbage disposal will increase the amount of solids).

Don’t Flush It
Homeowners wanting to take good care of their septic systems should make note of the following items that should never be flushed down the drain or toilet. These items can overtax or destroy the biological digestion taking place within the system or clog pumps and pipes. Never flush chemicals that could contaminate surface and groundwater, such as: paints, varnishes, thinners, waste oils, photographic solutions, or pesticides.

If you are looking at homes in multiple neighborhoods, you will need to make quite a few decisions and choices in order to make the best decision of where to buy.Check out our other blogs on purchasing homes or visit our search page for listings. Having some basic knowledge of the pros and cons of each type of wastewater system will help in choosing between neighborhoods that are on public utility sewer systems compared to those on septic systems. For more information regarding homes with septic tanks, please reach out to me, Caron Koteles Riha (248) 379-6651

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