If you have a septic tank you probably already know that you must have a professional septic tank service pump your tank out on a regular basis. You probably also know that’s it’s a critical service that keeps your septic tank system operating normally. But do you know the main reason why?
You might guess that it’s to keep the tank fluid levels lower. It’s not.
What is Sludge?
To understand what sludge is and why tank pumping and sludge hauling are important, you need to also understand a bit more about how your tank functions. You probably don’t think much about it. More than likely you flush your toilet, drain your dishwasher and take a shower and don’t much think about where the sewage and water goes. Hopefully you don’t have a garbage disposal or if you do, you know to use it sparingly. Garbage disposals are bad for septic tank systems, and in a moment the reason for that will be discussed.
The inside of your septic tank has three basic layers: the top, or scum, layer, which is mostly floating soap and detergent particles and also some grease. The middle layer is the liquid, or effluent, which will eventually flow out to the drainfield. If you were to peer into your tank, it’s these two layers that you would see. The bottom layer is the sludge layer. This consists of solid particles which have fallen to the bottom of the tank because they are heavier than water. It’s a biomass, a byproduct of a healthy, functioning septic tank system. But this sludge contains bacteria, some of which may cause disease. It may also contain viruses, fungi and parasites. If this sludge layer isn’t removed by regular pumping, it may rise too high, edging out the fluid layer and allowing sludge particles to be transported to the drainfield, where they don’t belong. Municipal sludge is produced during the processing of sewage and industrial wastes in a public wastewater treatment plant. That sludge must also be pumped out and transported to safe disposal areas by sludge hauling professionals.
Garbage Disposals, Grease and Oils
Garbage disposal materials such as raw vegetables, egg shells, coffee grounds and bones cannot be broken down by the bacterial environment in the septic tank. This causes the sludge layer to build up even faster. That’s why garbage disposals and septic tank systems don’t mix. It’s really best to use your trash for garbage if you have a septic tank system.
You also want to minimize the amount of oils and grease you allow down your drains. Because these items are lighter than water, they float on top of it, forming the scum layer already described. But you don’t want this layer to get too thick, because then it too can flow out of the tank to the drainfield. It’s just one more reason why annual tank inspections are necessary. Sludge and scum levels will both be measured and any necessary pumping done before any damage happens.
Never neglect to pump your tank on a regular schedule as recommended by your septic tank service professional.
Let an Expert Judge Your Sludge
Only an expert in septic tank maintenance can tell you if your sludge levels are too high. Only professionals experienced in sludge hauling can safely remove and sludge and dispose of it in environmentally sound ways. https://www.earthcare.
At EarthCare, we are septic tank care system experts. It’s all we do. Contact us for prompt, professional service for all your septic tank needs.