Septic Tanks, do we still use them? The answer is yes. In Adelaide we still have many septic tanks in use, some are old and there are also new septic tank installations being performed around the state. In the northern suburbs of Adelaide particularly in the Council area of Tea Tree Gully many houses in the suburbs of Fair View Park, Redwood Park and Banksia Park still have the original septic tank installed in the ground from when the house were first built back in the mid to late 90's. Other Council Districts such as Gawler and the Adelaide Hills are also good examples of where septic tanks are still being installed in new house builds today.
So why are these properties still getting septic tanks installed and why did the suburbs in the Tea Tree Gully Council District have septic tanks installed? It is because at the time of construction of the suburbs didn't have mains sewerage piping infrastructure in place and this is also the same with the Gawler and Adelaide Hills council districts to name a few in the local metro of Adelaide.
The discharge from the septic tank either goes to an on site soak-age system where the remaining liquids are trapped and eliminated in the soils allowing vegetation to soak up this water and the excess water evaporated, the design and exact set up of the soak-age system is determined prior to installation with soil samples and testing performed to get the best result for the location. In the more established communities where there is infrastructure in place to take this waste away a drain called a Common Effluent Drain (CED) is in place, this a drainage system where the liquid from the septic tank run off is distributed to. The method in which this liquid is distributed is either by gravity or through a series of pumps, it is then taken away for further treatment and distribution.
What does the word septic mean? Septic refers to anaerobic bacterial environment that develops in the septic tank which then decomposes the waste discharged into the tank. In essence a septic tank is a mini on site waste treatment plant (OSWTP) for your own house or office building.
What is a septic tank made of? and what is the life expectancy of a septic tank?
A septic tank is generally constructed from concrete and can also be made from plastic, the sizes of these tanks varies depending on the demand of the septic tank and they can range from 4000 to 7500 litres in capacity.
The life expectancy of a septic tank is approx 50 years, but this can vary quite a bit due to factors such as ground conditions and environmental impacts ie: earth movement and poor installation practices.
A septic tank once installed by a licensed plumber and set up properly then used to the manufacturers instructions is a maintenance free, odour less sewer treatment plant. In the city of Tea Tree Gully Council, the council pump the residents septic tank once every four years and this is all the maintenance that is required, there is no real action required by the home or office occupier.
Although Septic tanks may be frowned upon, in some circumstance there are no alternatives but once set up they are as good as any type of sewerage system. One advantage I have found from a home owners point of view is that the drainage line to the septic tank is not very long (approx 20 metres) so in the event of a blocked drain getting this problem resolved is often quite quick, which means it is a lot cheaper than having to go through a drain line which is connected to mains sewer which can be a minimum of 40 metres in length.
As we get closer to Christmas everyone is starting to think about the holiday break, I will be bringing you weekly blog posts throughout the Christmas and New Year in 2015. I hope you have enjoyed another installment from me this week all about plumbing in South Australia, until next week next stay cool, Aaron.
CALL NOW: 0429 361 819
Aaron Stewart owns and works in the business of Mayfair Plumbing & Gas Fitting from there offices now based in Adelaide, South Australia. Aaron and his team of licensed plumbers and design consultants are passionate about there work. In this blog they will bring you plumbing and gas tips gathered from around the globe over 20 plus years of experiences in the many different fields of plumbing. If you are looking for a plumbing firm who can do everything from design, construct, project management and scheduled on site maintenance contact the Mayfair Plumbing Group.