Finding the Best Septic Tank Company in San Luis Obispo, CA
Have you ever thought just how important your septic tank is to your entire home and property in San Luis Obispo, CA? Probably not, but it is extremely important. It treats and disperses all of the wastewater your household produces every day. The only time we actually think about our septic system is when there is a problem with it. We should think about it as we would any other part of the home—a very important piece to a complex puzzle that makes up our homes.
What Does a Septic Tank Do?
A septic tank can be classified as a miniature treatment system within itself. Wastewater from your home or building comes into it on one end, gets held for 24 hours for primary treatment in the septic tank, then is release in an outlet pipe that is connected to a leach field for secondary and final treatment. But what exactly is taking place in the septic tank and what's it made from?
A septic tank can either be small or big, but most range from 1,000 gallons to 2,000 gallons. They can be constructed from concrete or cement, polyethylene or poly, fiberglass, plastic, or steel. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks according to the acidic levels within your ground and can be further discussed with your septic system installation company.
Inside the septic tank, there are 3 levels of waste. The bottom level consists of all the heavy solids that sink down, and is the reason for pump outs as they can't be dissolved any further. The middle level is the wastewater, often called effluent, the part that is allowed to drain out into the leach field. The top level is lighter solids and oils where the bacteria live and breakdown those light solids and oils. Once the bacteria breaks them down, they will slightly sink to the middle level to make their way out to the leach field. The bacteria thrive in low to no air and are found in the waste and in the air, where they appear naturally.
The septic tank is designed in a fashion that only the middle layer of effluent is allowed to leave the tank, trapping the bottom and top levels for further treatment or pump out. This prevents any solids from entering the drain field chambers and potentially clog them. Once the effluent runs out the outlet tube of the septic tank, it's deliver to a distribution junction where it is further fed into drain field chambers, or simply stated, into pipes with holes drilled throughout their length. Once the effluent drains through these drilled holes, it is further treated by a sand and gravel trench where any solids that might have made it's way down the pipe, will be trapped in the sand/gravel mixture. Leaving only liquid wastewater that will eventually be used by the vegetation, absorbed into the groundwater, or make it's way to the surface and evaporated.
Septic Tank Maintenance and Pumping
As with any other portion of your home, having a good maintenance routine for your septic system is cheaper and less of a hassle than ignoring it and allowing it to fail. A failed septic system will result in high cost for repair or replacement and potentially damaging anything around where the fail occurred. Although it's highly recommended to have annual or bi-annual septic inspections to ensure everything is working properly, there are several daily maintenance items you can do to ensure a long lasting septic system. For any septic system that has mechanical parts, it's recommended to have an annual maintenance contract with a qualified septic tank services company. Parts can become expensive, so having a contract may reduce the cost of your parts or it could eliminate the cost all together. By having your septic inspection performed annually or bi-annually and requesting a full inspection, they will cover every aspect of your system, including pumping it out which keeps everything flowing freely. Here are a few smaller daily maintenance steps you can do to ensure you get the most worry-free use from your septic system.
Don't allow harsh or strong chemicals go down your drain
Flush nothing but toilet paper and sewage down your toilets
Never put pesticides, herbicides, lye, or bleach in your septic system
Never use a water softener
Spread out your laundry over the week into smaller loads
Never park, drive, or plant anything over the leach field
Never pour grease or oils down the drain
By following a few simple steps daily, and taking advantage of a skilled septic inspection contractor like San Luis Obispo Septic Tanks, in San Luis Obispo, CA, will add years to your septic tank system. We've listed the estimated lifespan of each material below. Keep in mind however, these lifespans depend on how well the material that your septic tank coexists with the ground around it and whether or not it's made from quality materials. In some instances, one material that would be great for your ground may not do well in another area due to the acidic levels of the soil itself.
Concrete septic tank: 40+ years
Steel septic tank: 20-30 years
Poly or plastic septic tank: 30-40 years
Septic Tank Alternatives
Sand mound systems are much like a conventional system without the traditional leach field design. A sand mound is formed with equipment and a pump delivers the effluent to the top of the mound where it's allowed to be filtered through the sand before it reaches the water table. This is suggested when the water table is too close to the surface for a traditional leach field installation. Electricity is required for the pump that pushes the effluent to the top of the mound. There are other styles of septic tank systems available today. With the advancement of technology and science, we've seen the addition of an aerobic septic system. This works in much the same way as a conventional system, but in a more efficient way. An air bubbler or air compressor forces air into the system that enhances the performance of the bacteria, which results in cleaner effluent being discharged into the leach field. These systems require electricity and have alarms and warning buzzers installed to alert of any malfunctions.
The advanced wastewater treatment system cleans the wastewater far more efficiently and thoroughly than any other septic treatment system. It removes approximately 95% of all solids and all of the nitrogen and phosphorus in the wastewater. Although these can be quite expensive, they either reduce or eliminate the need for a leach field. This system can be a stand-alone system for any location that doesn't have the proper characteristics for a traditional leach field installation in San Luis Obispo, CA.
I have an opportunity to purchase a home that has a septic system installed. It seems like having a septic tank is a lot of worry and work. Should I not buy the home?
No home should be discounted or bypassed because of having a septic tank system. These homes are environmentally friendly and you won't have to worry about a monthly sewer bill. The maintenance required of it is fairly minimal, although you may have to adjust your lifestyle to be more aware of what you pour down the drains. But by no means should you not purchase the home because of a septic tank system.
Should I really hire an expert to do my septic inspection? Can't I perform these myself?
The short answer is “no”. Part of the inspection is pumping out the solids at the bottom of the septic tank, which can't be done unless you own a pumper or vacuum truck. Let the experts in San Luis Obispo, CA take care of the septic inspection. The cost is minimal compared to the skill it takes to notice any problems within the system.
How often should I schedule my inspection? Annually or bi-annually?
The best practice is to have it inspected annually. Even though you can let the pump out of your septic tank go for 3 to 5 years, having at least a visual inspection performed annually would be the best way to jump on any potential problems.