Concrete Septic Tank Guide
Concrete septic tanks are a popular choice for homeowners looking for an alternative to plastic or metal septic systems. They are durable, long-lasting and require little maintenance.
If you are considering installing a concrete septic tank on your property, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know.
What are Concrete Septic Tanks?
A concrete septic tank is a watertight chamber made of concrete instead of steel or plastic. It is used to store sewage from toilets, showers, and sinks that are not connected to a public sewer system.
The tank is typically buried underground and has an inlet and outlet pipe for waste to enter and exit the tank. Concrete septic tanks can be pre-cast at a factory or cast-in-place on your property.
How Do Concrete Septic Tanks Work?
Concrete septic tanks work by using gravity to separate solid waste from liquid waste. The solid waste sinks to the bottom of the tank and is broken down by bacteria.
The liquid waste is then drawn out of the tank and pumped into a leach field, where it is filtered through the soil and eventually released back into the environment.
A Guide to Installing a Concrete Septic Tank
Step One: Contact Your Local Health Department
The first step is to contact your local health department and find out if you are eligible for a concrete septic tank.
Not all properties are suitable for this type of system, so it is important to check with your local health department before you begin any construction.
Step Two: Septic Tank Location
Once you have received approval from your local health department, locate a spot on your property where you can safely install the tank according to local code regulations.
The tank should be buried underground and must be located in an area that is easily accessible for maintenance and repairs.
Step Three: Excavate
Excavate a hole that is large enough to accommodate the size of the septic tank. The hole should be at least six feet deep and four feet wide on a standard household tank. This will give you enough room to work around the tank.
Step Four: Install The Tank
Install the septic tank in the hole you have prepared. Make sure that the inlet and outlet pipes are facing in the correct direction. It’s also a good idea to level the tank using a spirit level. A firm foundation of gravel will help to make the tank level.
Step Five: Connect The Septic Tank
Connect the inlet and outlet pipes from the septic tank to your home. The pipes should be buried underground and must be sealed tightly with a watertight sealant. These pipes should be covered in gravel and magnetic marking tape.
Step Six: Fill Around The Tank
Fill in the hole around the septic tank with gravel and compact it firmly. You may then cover the gravel with topsoil and grass. You may need to hire a professional for this labor intensive step.
Step Seven: Test The Septic Tank
After you have installed your septic tank, it is important to have it tested by a professional. This will ensure that your system is working properly and that there are no leaks.
Pour water into the inlet pipe and check the outlet pipe to see if the water is being discharged correctly.
If you follow these steps, you will be well on your way to having a successful concrete septic tank installation.
What are the Advantages of Concrete Septic Tanks?
There are many advantages to using a concrete septic tank:
How to Maintain a Concrete Septic Tank
To ensure that your concrete septic tank lasts for many years, follow these simple maintenance tips:
Pump Your Tank
Your septic tank should be pumped every three to five years, depending on the size of your tank and the number of people living in your home.
Pumping removes the solid waste from the bottom of the tank, which prevents it from overflowing or becoming backed up..
Inspect Your Tank
You should have your septic tank inspected by a professional every one to two years.
During an inspection, the technician will check for leaks, clogs, and other potential problems such as cracking or corrosion..
Do not put any chemicals down your drains, as they can kill the bacteria in your septic tank that break down the solid waste. To keep your septic tank working properly, use only biodegradable soaps and detergents.
Do Not Drive Over Tank or Leech Field
This may damage or compact the soil around your tank or drain field, which could prevent them from working properly. If you must drive over them, use a board or other item to distribute the weight evenly. Heavy vehicles can also crush pipes in the ground.
Septic is Not a Trashcan
Do not put anything other than toilet paper and human waste down your drains. Grease, oils and food particles can clog your pipes and septic tank. A clogged septic tank can lead to septic backups and other serious problems.
Use Water Wisely
Water is a precious resource and we should use it wisely.
When washing dishes or clothes, try to use the least amount of water possible. Take shorter showers and avoid running the faucet unnecessarily. By following these tips, you can help conserve water and protect your septic tank at the same time.
There are many products on the market that claim to help your septic tank work better but most of these products are unnecessary and can even be harmful.
Additives can upset the natural balance in your septic tank and cause problems. The best thing you can do for your septic tank is regular use and maintenance.
By following these simple tips, you can keep your concrete septic tank in good working order and avoid costly repairs.
Signs You May Need Concrete Septic Tank Repair
Despite your best efforts, there may come a time when you need to repair or replace your concrete septic tank.
Here are some signs that you should call a professional:
Lifespan and Replacement of Concrete Septic Tanks
The lifespan of a concrete septic tank is typically 20-30 years. However, this can vary depending on the quality of the tank and how well it is maintained.
If your septic tank needs to be replaced, it is advisable to hire a professional to do the job. Replacing a concrete septic tank is a big job and it is not something that you should attempt to do without proper knowledge and tools.
Why Should I Maintain My Concrete Septic Tank?
Maintaining your concrete septic tank is important for several reasons:
Different Types of Concrete Septic Tanks
There are two main types of concrete septic tanks:
These tanks are the most common type and are made from a single layer of concrete. They are less expensive but also less durable than other types of tanks.
These tanks have two layers of concrete and are more durable than single-wall tanks. However, they are also more expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Plastic Septic Tanks Last as Long?
Concrete septic tanks are more durable than plastic tanks but both types of tanks will last for many years if they are properly maintained. Plastic tanks may be less expensive but they are also more likely to crack or break if they are not installed or maintained correctly.
Are Fiberglass and Plastic Better for the Environment?
Concrete septic tanks can potentially leach harmful chemicals into the ground but fiberglass and plastic tanks often will not. This makes them a safer choice for the environment.
How Many Lids Does a Septic Tank Have?
Most concrete septic tanks have two lids – the main lid and an access lid. The main lid is the one that you open to pump out the wastewater, while the access lid is used for inspections and repairs.