A Primer on What’s Up Down Below in Your Septic System

A Primer on What’s Up Down Below in Your Septic System

Every time you flush the toilet, or you wash something down the sink, you are creating sewage or wastewater.  Since many log homes are built in rural areas, septic systems are necessary to treat the wastewater.  Homeowners often ask if they can release wastewater onto the ground, but this is bad for the environment and is a health hazard. Here are three good reasons why you should not release sewage into the environment:

1. It Has a Bad Odor

If you release wastewater outside of your home, plan on the environment surrounding your home to get smelly, fast.

2. It Contains Harmful Bacteria

Once the environment contains harmful bacteria, such as E.coli, it becomes infected, which results in a health hazard that causes diseases.

3. Wastewater Contains Suspended Solids and Chemicals that Adversely Affect the Environment

This may include:

  • Nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers that encourage the growth of algae. Excessive algae will block the sun and soil the water.
  • Organic material contained in the bacteria will begin to decompose and consume oxygen in the water, killing off the fish.
  • Suspended solids that are released by the wastewater will cause the water to look murky, and make it difficult for fish to breathe and see.
  • Excessive algae will destroy the ability of the stream to support wildlife, such as fish, frogs, and other life forms, with the resultant reduced oxygen levels and murkiness in the water.

A septic system should be designed to have wastewater flow from the house to a septic tank with airtight construction.  The tank should also allow the wastewater to be retained, as well as allow the capacity of heavy solids to settle at the bottom.  The heavy solids will form sludge as it decomposes, while grease and light particles will form scum at the top of the wastewater in the tank. Baffles installed at the inlet and outlet of the septic tank will help with the flow of the water as it moves through the tank and will keep scum from being released from the tank. To maintain the septic tank and ensure proper functioning, the septic tank should be pumped out every three to five years.

Gastineau Log Homes has over 40 years of experience, helping people realize their dream of building and maintaining a log home.  Contact us today, and let’s explore your dreams together.