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Where does the content of my septic tank go?

Septic Pumping Staatsburg NY

Where does the content of my septic tank go?

As you know, owning a septic tank means that you must pump its contents out every 1 to 3 years, but have you ever wondered where does it all go after your periodical septic pumping session?

When the time comes to pump and clean your septic tank, chances are that you reach out to your trusted septic systems expert. They arrive at your property with a septic pump truck ready to clean the scum, sludge and effluent from your septic tank. And unless your toilets overflow regularly and your bathtubs get clogged often, it is probable that your drains will remain innocuous for the most part.


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Septic systems are rather simple in terms of design. All of the drains in your home converge at some point where all the waste water is combined and processed through a single pipe that leads to the septic tank. Once in the tank, this water starts to separate. Whilst the sludge sinks to the bottom of the tank, a scum layer is formed by the fats, oils and proteins that float in the surface layer of the water inside the tank. The middle layer, on the other hand is called effluent or grey water, which is the only layer discharged into the drain field.

To ensure the correct functionality of the system, it is necessary to regularly monitor your septic system and prevent any problems from developing. In general, by the time the problem is obvious, the solution is less likely to be simple, and it might end up costing you lots of time and money. Appropriate maintenance of your septic system is the key to avoid any severe problems and malfunctions.

An expert should inspect your septic system regularly, and of course, septic tank pumping is something that you must perform periodically because the scum and sludge layers build up over time. During inspection, your tank’s levels of sludge and scum will be measured and the pipes and mechanisms of the system will be examined as well.

It is important that you actively participate of your septic system maintenance by choosing products that are meant to preserve your septic system’s health and prolong the periods of time between pumping.

But where do the residue goes to? Well, every time your septic tank is pumped the residue goes to waste treatment plants and added to the stew piped in from a municipal sewer system or delivered to independent, for-profit companies specializing in the treatment of septage.

In the old days, waste companies simply buried these residues from septic tanks in dump sites. Then, federal laws that restrict septic sludge dumping came into place because these were a health hazard for the community. Although these sites remain, most of them are in the process of clean-up.

The septage that goes to these treatment sites is processed in cesspools, which hold the waste while chemical or biological materials break it down into effluent. However, since septage treatment plants are often remote, another common place where these residues are disposed of is as fertilizer for crops. In fact, those products that do not contain a USDA Organic label, are most likely grown using septic tank sludge as fertilizer.


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