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Septic Tanks

What is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a key component of the septic system, a small-scale sewage treatment system common in areas that lack connection to main sewage pipes provided by local governments or private corporations.The term septic refers to the anaerobic bacterial environment that develops in the tank which decomposes or mineralizes the waste discharged into the tank.

What is a Cesspit or Cesspool?

A cesspit or cesspool is an underground holding tank (sealed at the bottom) or a soak pit (not sealed at the bottom) that is used for the reception and temporary storage of sewage.

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Septic Tank Soakaway

What is a Septic Tank Soakaway?

Every septic tank has a soakaway pipe system attached to it. The soakaway drainage system is a pipe or trench which the waste water drains into. From there the waste water slowly drains out into the soil. Once the waste water has entered the soil, a natural organic ‘aerobic’ process then takes place in the soil.

Septic Tank Problems

One of the most common Septic Tank problems is with the brick and fibreglass ones. This is because 99% of cases show that it is a blocked soakaway drain causing problems, not an actual blockage in the septic tank itself. Eventually all soakaways become blocked at the silt with sludge, grease and fat.

How quickly your septic tank and soakaway encounters a problem depends on several factors which include how well the septic tank has been maintained, the nature of the soil, the height of the winter water table, heavy rain periods and the deterioration of the septic tank itself.

Reasons for septic tank problems and soakaway failure

  • Poor septic tank care and maintenance
  • Depth of the septic tanks and soakaway
  • Nature of the soil and its effect on the soakaway performance
  • Winter water table and its effect on the septic tank soakaway
  • Deterioration of the septic tank
  • Sodium binding in the soil
  • High number people using the septic tank system
  • Heavy rain and other adverse weather conditions

Failed Septic Tank Soakaway Signs

There are various signs of a failed septic tank soakaway that are more noticable than others. A few of the things that we recommend to look out for are;

  • Septic Tank effluent surfacing on your land
  • Bad odours coming from the septic tank or soakaway drainage system
  • Toilet overflowing and gurgling in the drains
  • Overflows at washing machine and into the shower or bath when the sink is discharged etc.
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