Talk:Septic tank

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problem with the name of this page[edit]

Can we rename this article Septic Systems because Septic systems include septic tanks and septic drain fields. Septic Systems is a much broader and appropriate term. It looks like that was the original name. SoilMan2007 (talk)

I just now saw the note at the top of this page. Sorry in the future I'll go to Wikipedia:Requested moves. I'm new at this. If this is inappropriate to keep here, then feel free to delete. Regards, SoilMan2007 (talk)

"Potential Problems"[edit]

In no. 2, it would help to explain what is meant by "non-biodegradable hygiene products."

How long do septic tanks (systems) last? We are in the process of buying a 20 year old home with the existing septic tank, what questions or concerns should I have?

I shall take this question to Wikipedia:Reference desk. Dunc| 19:40, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Specifically Wikipedia:Reference desk#From talk:Septic tank. hydnjo talk 20:39, 20 August 2005 (UTC)


An conceptual image of how a septic tank separates effluent from sludge and scum would be very useful. I found many different digrams that all seem to be similar to the one at this link: http://www.dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/branches/wastewater/maintain-septic-tank.htm The copyright link on that page is broken, though, so I'm unsure if we can directly use that image. This site shows a simpler one-stage tank, but their copyright is expressly reserved: http://www.watershedcommittee.org/publications/fact_sheets/fact_sheet_4.htm I need to get me a decent drawing program so I can quit complaining about images and start making some. :( --Mdwyer 05:29, 21 December 2005 (UTC)


What does this paragraph add to the article? It seems like a promotion of the author's work, without need for it in the article.

Erma Bombeck's book The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank (ISBN 0070064504) and the common expression that is the same as the title is technically incorrect; the grass is greener over the leach field which is better watered and has more nutrients than the surrounding land. However, it is not unusual to find better growth over the septic tank itself as well, particularly the end nearest the leach field.

TRL 02:39, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

The phrase has 19,000 hits+ in Google and 3 references within Wikipedia. In the list of books article it is wikilinked suggesting that the book merits a Wikipedia article. If you want to remove the book reference, fine, but please leave the explanation that the phrase itself is wrong. Samw 04:03, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm really not sure that this is a "common expression" except in relation to the book. "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" is a common expression and a metaphor, but it seems to me that the septic tank reference is just a humorous adaptation of that. Even if it is generally regarded as true, how is it an "expression"? People don't use that phrase to "express" anything other than the literal meaning of the phrase. --Universe Man (talk) 15:42, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Environmental Issues[edit]

This section contains several incorrect statements, for example, nitrates as the main culprit in septic systems. Nitrates can only form under aerobic conditions, in a rather slow microbiological process. Septic systems as anaerobic systems produce mainly ammonia as the main nitrogen species. I have edited this section to reflect the main issues: uncontrolled release of greenhouse gases, pollution of groundwater with ammonia and phosphate, leaching of potentially pathogenic micro-organisms into the groundwater. I also took out the ridiculous argument that the cost of wastewater treatment is detrimental to community development. PeterH (2006-07-10)

Don't septic systems have a critical aerobic polishing treatment stage referred to as a leach field. Isn't the discharge to the environment of anaerobic effluent considered evidence of leachfield failure? -- Paleorthid 04:16, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Planning controls[edit]

The statement that In most parts of Europe including the UK, planning permission is almost never granted for new septic tanks due to pollution concerns; instead, the only generally accepted off-mains domestic sewerage system is a cesspit, a fully enclosed system which must usually be emptied monthly at much higher expense

is not borne out by the facts. Even today many rural developments are served by approved septic tanks (even in Shropshire) and most planning authorities will strongly reist developments on cesspits. Exactly the opposite of what is stated here. Evidence is required if this statement is to be retained. Velela 19:18, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. The phrase "in most parts of Europe" is certainly correct. Just as a reminder: septic systems were common in communist countries, and after German re-unification, they disappeared in the former German Democratic Republic within a few years, because of environmental concerns. At the time of this writing, other countries in Eastern Europe have largely followed suit. It is too bad that apparently some regional authorities in the UK still permit septic systems. PeterH (2006-07-10)
From my own experience, which I agree is limited and doesn't extend to eastern Europe, but I have seen plenty of septic tanks in rural Ireland, Spain, France and Italy. I have also seen septic tanks in builders merchant yards in Greece. Velela 06:22, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
The term “septic tank” is used erroneously to refer to an informal cesspit. (see footnote, page 36 of this). Cesspits in lower latitudes (Hawaii, Bahamas, Florida Keys) were constructed with open bottoms and are associated with coral reef loss. Are we all on the same page here? These open bottomed pits are not septic tanks. Agreed? In Florida, cesspits are illegal, and have been associated with loss of coral reefs due to impaired water quality. In my visit to Hawaii in 1994, I picked up a brochure from a Health District office explaining that cesspits were being eliminated in the state due to US-EPA regulatory enforcement action to be replaced by properly designed and maintained septic systems. The article needs to be consistent with these current situations. -- Paleorthid 16:12, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
When PeterH wrote "septic systems were common in communist countries, and after German re-unification, they disappeared..." Does this rather mean "septic systems open bottom cess pits were common..."? If so, this would explain the disconnect in this discussion. -- Paleorthid 20:03, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

That would also make sense of the reported pollution status of lakes in North America- but it still says nothing about the survival or otherwise of pathogens in real septic tanks ! Velela 09:35, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Merge of septic tank and septic system[edit]

I concur the contents as they stand now are very similar. I'm not an expert in the field to know whether there's a subtle distinction between the two. Google shows many more hits for "septic tank" than "septic system" thus I'm inclined to keep "septic tank" and make "septic system" a redirect. Samw 14:06, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I also concur with what you say above. The "septic tank" article should be retained with current content and the "septic system" content merged or added initially. I think the distinction is that "septic system" when used by those "in the know" includes all the components that result in a functional system, ie Septic tank and french drain.., as opposed to other systems such as a municipal connection. Gregorydavid 16:10, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I too support the use of Septic tank as the main article into which information from Septic system should be merged. In other places the phrase Septic system has been used to describe a variety of anaerobic processes whereas septic tank is specifically a system from treating and disposing of human sewage. Velela 08:40, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the system begins with a flush toilet, the middle is the septic tank and it ends with a french drain. Gregorydavid 09:18, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Has been done during June 2006. septic system added to this article septic system changed to redirect --209.244.43.113 (talk) 00:11, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Shouldn't this be called Septic System rather than septic tank. Septic systems include the tanks and drain fields. SoilMan2007 02:10, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

The components other than the tank have their own articles. --209.244.43.113 (talk) 00:11, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

comparison to aerobic sewage treatment was misleading[edit]

I replaced the statement referring to dominance aerobic processes in waste treatment on a plant scale. It was misleading to the reader. Certainly most secondary treatment in these municiple wastewater treatment plants is aerobic, but most solids reduction processes is anaerobic digestion. These treatment plants require both water treatment and solids reduction. To be fair, a septic system also does both water treatment and solids reduction. Further it has both an anaerobic treatment stage and is intented to be matched with an aerobic stage in the septic drain field. -- Paleorthid 00:25, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Survival of pathogenic bacteria in Septic tanks[edit]

I have marked the following paragraph as requiring a reference since I have no evidence that this is true. I have also copied below an exchange of views that I and Paleorthid have had.

Many pathogenic bacteria can survive in septic tanks for a very long time, owing to the anaerobic conditions. Depending on soil conditions, pathogenic bacteria can leach into groundwater and surface waters. In North America, this is the case with many lakeshore communities.

Can anyone justify this sentence. If not it will go. Velela 08:37, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I wrote this line. Who do you expect to confirm this, other than the too few scientists like myself who are working in this field? I am not aware of any mandatory testing - so again, who do you think can comment? PeterH 2006-0713
some reference to published evidence such as scientific papers would help. If the problem is acute as the line suggests I cannot believe many lakeshore communities would tolerate such a position without insisting on some investigation. Without such an investigation who can say whether there is an causative link between disease (is there any ?) and septic tank effluent? And even is that were demonstrated it would need more research to demonstrate that pathogens were surviving because of anaerobic conditions. Velela 06:28, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
A further observation is that I am aware of many examples of pollution from septic tanks mostly from people using Cesspits as if they were septic tanks, septic tanks left unemptied for years with influent short-circuiting directly to the discharge point, over-loaded soakways, "soakways" laid on bare impermeable rocks, soakaways in boggy ground and even direct discharges by-passing septic tanks straight into lakes etc. etc. In any of these cases pathogenicity may certainly arise but these examples shouldn't condemn well maintained system and nor does it demonstrate that pathogens survive in well maintained systems. Velela 07:02, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
You added a parenthetical ((fact)) to a statement when I think you intended to tag it {{fact}}. Hopefully, anyway because I think it deserves such a tag. The last sentence (3rd) in particular seems like it should be referenced or removed. The 2nd sentence need to be qualified as misleading - the danger of pathogen movement is related to a combination of short-circuiting in the septic tank and anaerobic failure in the leach field and needs to be so specified. I have been looking for a reference to address this and the 1st sentence "Many pathogenic bacteria can survive in septic tanks for a very long time, owing to the anaerobic conditions." I believe this 1st sentence is highly inaccurate as to normal operation. It is an error based on a simplistic undertanding of the range of reducing environments that are covered by the term anaerobic. My understanding is that the deep anaerobic (methane producing) conditions in a properly working septic tank are toxic to facultative anaerobes. This is a more extreme reducing environment than occurs in the body tissue where disease organisms operate. Those species which do survive extreme reducing chemistry are those particularly vulnerable to the aerobic conditions in the leachfield. My understanding was that this 2-stage redox shift disinfection was by design. That is, we do not depend on just oxidative conditions to protect human health as it relates to groundwater. So far, I am still looking for the reference to corroboarate this. You have a background in the little critters, perhaps you can comment here. Please encourage/discourage me as needed. - Paleorthid 19:58, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
I am wholly in agreement (and apologies for the incorrect mark-up - it was done hurriedly and I was called away). Practical work that I did some 40 years ago and showed clear evidence of very substantial drops in pathogenicity as measured by survival rates of some chosen indicator species . Not always a good test but it is reasonable to believe that by using well selected indicator species others will follow the same pattern. The (unpublished ) conclusions was that a major force was active bacterial competition, with saprobic bacteria actively predating on bacteria of faecal origin. This would certainly be aided by the reductive and oxidative environments. What I don't know about is how encysting species such as Cryptosporidium might behave. Velela 21:50, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

POV[edit]

As somebody saw fit to revert my comments on environmental issues, I've had to put a WP:POV tag on this section. As it stands, it provides a very one sided argument and ignores many of the positive aspects. For a reference, my edits are here: [1] 130.95.128.51 06:27, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Alternatives to Septic Systems[edit]

It would be useful to describe alternatives to conventional septic systems. Biocycle is marketed as a greener alternative (see for example [2]). I am not an expert, but I gather that the combination of aerobic and anaerobic reactions improves the quality of the waste water. Can someone say whether these types of systems are genuine alternatives or just marketing hype? --RDS 14:47, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no consensus to move the page, per the discussion below. Dekimasuよ! 03:10, 11 December 2007 (UTC)


Septic tankSeptic system — Septic systems include the tanks and drain fields —Paleorthid (talk) 16:29, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support: The proposed move better represents article content. The current name is a source of confusion, and discourages editing on the larger topic. -- Paleorthid (talk) 16:42, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Revised assessment: with Velela's comment, my proposed move becomes controversial, and this is the wrong process for anything controversial. A workable alternative is to move sections (per Andrewa comment). However, to address the controversy, the article needs to first heed the disconnect in understanding of the terms involved.--Paleorthid (talk) 17:20, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Support: The page should either be called septic systems or there should be a separate septic system (no redirect). There is no place to put information about septic system drain fields because septic system has a redirect. December 5, 2007. SoilMan2007 (talk)
  • Oppose. There is no need for a move if there are to be separate articles, which seems the sensible thing. The difference between cultures is not one of terminology but of focus: Some tend to focus on the tank itself, and some on the whole system. There's plenty of material for three articles, so there's no problem. Andrewa (talk) 04:42, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Any additional comments:

Ultimately, I think there's plenty of material for least three articles: septic system, septic tank and septic drain field. Andrewa (talk) 16:30, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Velela left me the following comment in opposition to the move: --Paleorthid (talk) 17:20, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

There was a debate about the name change in May 2006 when the consensus was for Septic tank (also reflected by a much greater number of Google hits for S. Tank rather than S system whatever significance that may have). They are known throughout the commonwealth English speaking world as Septic tanks. The position was exacerbated by a unilateral move to Septic system (the record of this appears to be missing so it may have been an Admin roll-back) since when it has remained at Septic tank. Personally I know them as Septic tanks and would vote for the name to be retained. Velela (talk) 21:00, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Minimal disruption[edit]

If the septic tank is required by law to be replaced every 'x' years, why not do the following: construct a pit with concrete floor and walls (and appropriate drains etc so it cannot fill with water, install the plastic tank in the pit, and the seepage beds adjacent to it.

When all is installed and operational build a deck or other easily removable covering over the tank/pit.

Future changeovers can then be achieved with minimum disruption.

There is no such law. The actual tank is the least likely component to fail. The soil component is the most likely treatment component of the septic tank system to fail. --Paleorthid (talk) 05:46, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

lift pump alarm system?[edit]

pardon me if this is the wrong place to ask this, but I've lived in two residences now, with septic tanks, an older house, which was built in the 60s, and our new house, built in 05-06...but I dont _think_ either of these houses had a septic tank lift pump alarm system. Or is it just something I missed? Lol. What's the purpose of it, where would/should it be located, etc...? --67.34.188.252 (talk) 23:58, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

See: http://forum.doityourself.com/wells-sump-pumps-septic-sewage-systems/162996-septic-lift-pump-alarm.html
Essentially a pump failure alarm triggered by rising fluid levels. Samw (talk) 01:23, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

They're only used when you have to have a pump tank to move the effluent uphill from the septic tank to the drain field. The alarm sounds when/if the pump in the pump tank fails. 173.22.123.35 (talk) 00:17, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Numbered List[edit]

Order does not matter, so don't use numbers.174.3.111.148 (talk) 13:08, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Garbage Disposal Units & Septic Tanks[edit]

"The use of garbage disposers for disposal of waste food can cause a rapid overload of the system and early failure". Well, that seems perfectly logical to me. However, compare this opinion from "Country Plumbing" by Gerry Hartigan, pp 71-72 (Alan C. Hood & Company Inc, Chambersburg PA, 1984, ISBN 0-911469-02-8):

Every day I hear people say they have a garbage disposal unit, but don't use it. The excuses are endless. Rather than attempt to list them all, let me say there is no evidence to substantiate any reason for not using a garbage disposal. I have had the opportunity, over twenty-five years, to monitor many tanks, both with and without a grinder in use, and I can honestly say I think those tanks work better with the addition of ground garbage. This, of course, doesn't include the silverware my wife manages to feed ours. My advice is: if you have a kitchen pig, use it. If you don't have one, get one.

Hartigan discloses no interest in the makers of garburators; I have no connection with Hartigan but have found his book most helpful (septic tanks are poorly understood here in the UK). Moletrouser (talk) 17:27, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

The reason why garbage grinders should be treated cautiously when connected to a septic tank is that they simply increase the load on the system. Just as having many people living in a house increases the load so does adding extra putrescible material. It won't lead to early failure but it will cause the tank to fill more quickly and need emptying more often. However, if a small tank is in use and it is very rapidly loaded by the use of a grinder, pouring oil down the drain or having many visitors to stay over Christmas, failure can result because the rate of decomposition is not equal to the rate of loading. I have no references for this - only personal and practical experience as a past regulator of septic tank installations  Velella  Velella Talk   18:46, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Periodic Pumping - there IS a rule of thumb.[edit]

The statement that there is no "rule of thumb" for how often you should remove the sludge from the tank is misleading if not factually incorrect. Most building codes specify minimum tank and drainage bed size based upon the designed occupancy of the structures served by the system. The specifications are based on average use and include a specification for sludge removal frequency for systems in year-round operation - usually two years. It would be more helpful to include this information than pretend that no such guidelines exist. Every system has a designed capacity, and part of that design is the pump-out frequency in typical use. The rule of thumb is to follow the designed capacity guidelines - which for modern systems properly permitted, installed and inspected can be obtained from the local permitting body, or simply inferred from the building code on the assumption that the system has not been intentionally oversized. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.49.142.83 (talk) 04:38, 17 June 2011 (UTC) --- Also, the single most common problem with septic tank users is not even mentioned: household laundry. Excessive use of washing machines can quickly exceed the hydraulic capacity of the tile or filter bed causing saturation of the soil and subsequent break-outs or surface pooling which indicate bed failure and, in raised-bed systems, permanent damage. It can also result in premature flushing of blackwater, which drainage/filter beds are not designed to handle. Finally, the fibres and other components in laundry effluent can quickly and permanently clog drainage pipes and media, resulting in system failure. Again, the rule of thumb is to find the designed hydraulic capacity of the system, and abide by this constraint. --- The next most common source of problems is under-use. An established system which lies idle for a period of months or years or is simply never exposed to the average volumes for which it was designed will be incapable of suddenly handling wastewater at its designed capacity. Here the rule of thumb is "use it or lose it."


Removal of Direct Advert Link[edit]

I removed a string which referred users to a page: www.septictank.org in reference to "Biomat Failure" Not only did the linked site not contain information about Biomat failure, it was just a link to the site rather than a link to a page containing the information. It contained septic tank information, but did not contain the description or even term "Biomat Failure". In addition no citations were found and it added no true value to the article. It seemed to be a page to generate Ad Revenue. MediaRocker (talk) 01:59, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

How to Rejuvenate Your Septic Tank System[edit]

I have been successful in the water and waste water treatment business for over twenty years.

I can tell you it is possible to extend the life of your existing septic tank treatment system, period.

Basically you only have two ways you can do it.

1. Reduce the loading to the septic tank system.

2. Improve the treatment capability of the septic tank treatment system.

Here are some ways of doing both safely and with very little work or cost on your part.

1. This one step alone can double the remaining life of your treatment system. Filter the discharge water from your washing machine. Use at least a 300 micron filter capable of capturing most of the non-biodegradable clothing fibers.(usually enough to carpet the living room of a three bedroom home each year). Avoid wasted rinse water cycles. After you have filtered it, not before or you will have a living room carpet, every year, wherever you put it. If you can get the wash or rinse water out of the septic system, then get it out. You can't drink it but its safe to use as toilet water, lawn watering, car washing, etc., and it doesn't stink and can easily be treated by small gravel or sand mound systems easily.

2. Stop drinking tap water. Running tap water for several seconds before drinking or using it can double the flow to be treated by your septic tank system everyday.

3. Reduce bathing water useage, not time bathing, please stay clean. Always use showers for bathing. Install a bypass valve or wand in your shower so you can turn it on and adjust only while you are actually in the stall. Use bathtubs sparingly and at half levels when necessary.

4. Adding air to the water as it comes in or goes out of system will increase biological activity and treatment up to 20 times, period. The trick is to not to disturb settling solids so they end up floating out of the tank and into the drain field. So only aerate minimally and at the very begining or very end after the water has left the septic tank. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rodmom (talkcontribs) 23:31, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Organic pollution reduction capability[edit]

The function of a septic tank is to retain and accumulate the organic material contained in sewage waters. Is there an estimate as to what percentage of the organic pollutant can be extracted and removed from the sewer by the use and periodic cleanout of a properly maintained septic tank?WFPM (talk) 00:08, 14 December 2011 (UTC) For example, if the sewage water production of a person is 100 gallons per day and 0.17 pounds per day of organic material, what will be the output of organic material periodic per day after the sewer water passes through the septic tank?

I have never seen any reliable figures for this. I do know from practical experience that the carbonaceous BOD in septic tank effluent often exceeds 600 mg/l as soluble organic matter and fine particulates. Much of this will probably be removed by soil and sub-soil micro-organisms. In the tank itself bacteria, protozoa and some higher organisms will convert much of the organic material to methane, carbon dioxide, water and a multitude of lower molecular weight soluble and micro particulate organic entities. Over extended time, the sludge in a septic tank becomes richer in minerals and in synthetic fibres from modern clothing with most of the organic material having decomposed and been washed out in the effluent stream or vented as gas.  Velella  Velella Talk   13:52, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

But if you systematically clean out the sludge from a septic tank, the rest of the system, like a pond or whatever has a lesser job of cleanup to carry out. And I'm trying to quantify the expected quality of the effluent water for further treatment purposes. We use a wastewater quality value of 200-300 mg/l for ordinary sewer water, and I suspect that a cleaned out septic tank system would have a lesser quality loading value for that, due to its inability to support the growth of bacteria.WFPM (talk) 01:41, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Maintenance[edit]

A sentences in the article used to read as

Periodic preventive maintenance is required to remove the irreducible solids that settle and gradually fill the tank, reducing its efficiency. In most jurisdictions this maintenance is required by law, yet often not enforced. Those who ignore the requirement will eventually be faced with extremely costly repairs when solids escape the tank and destroy the clarified liquid effluent disposal means. A properly maintained system, on the other hand, can last for decades or possibly even a lifetime.{{cn|date=February 2012}

I changed this to:

Periodic preventive maintenance is required to remove the irreducible solids that settle and gradually fill the tank, reducing its efficiency. Eventually solids will completely fill the tank and enter the field drains and destroy their effectiveness leading to costly repairs.

The reason for the change is that there is no evidence provided 'most jurisdictions require [this] maintenance by law, yet often not enforced. I personally know of no such jurisdictions or requirements in countries such as UK, France, Greece or New Zealand.

The statement that :

A well maintained system can last for decades or possibly even a lifetime is unreferenced and untrue. No matter how effective the system, septic tanks receive a wide range of materials that do not decompose or only do so very slowly including soil, synthetic fibres from clothes washing and food residues. The reality is that septic tanks do fill with solids and become less and less effective in time frames of a few years (or a few months if badly treated).  Velella  Velella Talk   17:12, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Actually the statement was true. I am a professional engineer and designer of onsite wastewater treatment systems with over 40 years of experience in the field. The statement about well maintained systems lasting decades or even a lifetime is accurate. My personal home system is over 30 years old and in nearly as good condition as the day it was installed ( I do periodic inspections of the system myself). The non-decomposing materials are removed with periodic pumping of the septic tank. By pumping the tank, solids intrusion into the seepage field is kept to a minimum. I have never seen a system which was compromised in weeks and frankly dont understand how it could even be possible that quick. It takes at least a year, probably several years for solids to build up in a tank to the point where they would exit the tank and enter a seepage field. greybeard (talk) 21:34, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

New diagram needed[edit]

The problem with the current diagram is that it shows a cesspool, not a septic tank. The major difference between the two is that a septic tank has an outflow pipe (which typically goes to a drain field), whereas a cesspool relies on water seeping out through the walls. Any ambitious volunteers with MS Paint skills out there? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.169.157.197 (talk) 06:07, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Septic_Tank_Typical_Arrangement.jpg
Penciljockey (talk) 06:09, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
I found the same problem and have replaced it with a better diagram now.EvM-Susana (talk) 21:01, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Regulation section needs updating[edit]

The regulation section is reads like it's 18 months ago, and suggestions of things that should've been implemented by January 2013.

Could someone who is actually familiar with the subject matter drag that up to date? Thanks! Reedy (talk) 16:04, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

I added information about the current regulations in Ireland including a link to the actual code of practise. Jknappe (talk), 22 May 2015 — Preceding undated comment added 11:28, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Basic information about France added. Jknappe (talk) 19:11, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Removing the "See also" Link list[edit]

I am planning to remove the "see also" link list at the bottom because this doesn't conform with Wikipedia article style. Such hyperlinks should rather be included in the article itself. EvM-Susana (talk) 14:11, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Done - I have removed the see also links now. If someone wants to ensure all words are mentioned and hyperlinked in the text (if relevant), this is what they were:

EvM-Susana (talk) 18:53, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Text that was with the "External links" section[edit]

I moved the text that was visible in the external links section to here: "Note: this could use some improvement. The following links are general agency/department sites covering a whole gamut of related topics. They may very well prove to contain content related specifically to septic tanks, but which would take considerable additional effort to locate. Thus the reader is not provided with relevant information but with an additional searching task. A general internet search would probably be more useful."

And I agree the external links list needs improvement. EvM-Susana (talk) 20:21, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Septic tank[edit]

How important is the inlet wastewater pipe? Can the tank operate without it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.90.44.54 (talk) 14:00, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Vital and no. Where would the sewage come from if it didn't come through the inlet pipe?  Velella  Velella Talk   16:35, 8 April 2016 (UTC)