Septic Installation and Inspection
A Look Beneath the Surface
Most populated areas are served by municpal sewage disposal systems, and all a contractor has to do is tap into the sewage pipeline. However, in some rural and semi-rural areas municipal sewage service may not be available. In these cases, a private sewage waste disposal system is required. In short, this system is called a septic system.
How Do Septic Systems Work?
A septic system provides a "holding tank" where natural bacterial action decomposes human waste products into environmentally acceptable components. Sewage liquid, known as effluent, is carried from the septic tank to the liquid distribution box where it is equally distributed to all parts of the leaching field system. The undigested solids are left in the bottom of the tank to be pumped out at a later date.
Why Septic Systems Fail
There are several possible causes for septic system failure:
- Poor soil conditions
- Faulty design or installation
- Soil clogging
- High water level
- Roots of trees planted too close to the system
Components of a Septic System
The individual components of the septic sytem are the septic tank, inlet pipe, outlet pipe, inlet baffle, outlet baffle distribution box, and leaching fields. The sewage exits the house through the waste pipe and enters the septic tank. The liquid waste goes from the tank into a seepage pit or leach field where it is absorbed into the ground. The solid waste is held in the tank where it is broken down by bacteria. The byproduct of the bacterial breakdown of the solid waste is sludge. The sludge remains in the tank and must be pumped out periodically depending on usage.
R.C. Harris Look uses two methods to test for potential problems with a septic system: the Septic Dye Test and the On Site Septic Evaluation. The septic dye test involves the placement of a tracer dye into the septic system. If the dye breaks through to the ground surface, it would be a very strong indication that the system has failed. The septic dye test is considered by professionals as the minimum required test. The On Site Septic Evaluation is very thorough and can only be performed by a skilled member of the waste management profession. The inspector will uncover the septic system and identify the type of system and the approximate tank capacity. The inspector will then test all components of the septic system.