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Don't be Skeptic of the Septic

Sewage is created every time you flush the toilet, or wash something down the sink.  In suburban areas, septic is the most common type of sewer because homes are spaced too far apart causing sewer systems to be too expensive. Therefore, households must have their own sewage system called septic.

Septic is a type of sewer system which is comprised of three components; a septic tank, the septic drain field and the associated piping. Septic is a passive system powered by gravity. The septic tank is either concrete or steel and is buried somewhere on the property. Wastewater flows into one end of the tank from the sewer pipes, and exits on the other. The tank has several layers. The top layer called the "scum layer" houses anything that rises to the top.  The layer below is comprised of fairly clean water which contains bacteria and chemicals such as phosphorous and or nitrogen, which serve as fertilizers. The next layer below the water is referred to as the "sludge layer" which holds anything heavier than water.  As new water penetrates the tank, the water that is currently in the tank is displaced into the septic fields. Next, the water is absorbed slowly in the septic fields.  The actual size of the septic field is determined by how well the ground absorbs water.

If wanting to add an extension or make renovations to your home, you must make sure that your septic tank is large enough and that the changes being made will not interfere with your septic field location.  The number of bedrooms a home has or can potentially have is based on the size of the septic tank. According to Joe Mantovi Jr of Mahopac Septic, municipalities in our area require 300 gallons of septic per bedroom. As new tanks are being installed, the minimum size tank is 1,000 as required by The Board of Health. It is also recommended to have your septic cleaned or pumped once every two to three years.  If you fail to have it pumped, the effluent retention time is greatly reduced, and it can get very costly. Putnam County Board of Health has a data form which requires your tank to be pumped at least every five years. Upon pumping, the septic company gives owners a copy, keeps a copy for their record and must send one in to the town, as well as county.  Westchester County has the same form, however, it is not mandatory as of yet for pumping time. Each municipality has different laws, so if you have any questions, please contact your town or village. The purpose of cleaning or pumping is to prevent back up.  The outlet baffle protects the fields keeping solids in the tank and allows water to travel to the fields.  Cleaning also helps lenghten the life span. 

Septic systems also require daily maintenance.  The following tips are helpful for everyday maintenance of your septic:

·     Do not put too much water into the septic system; typical water use is about 50 gallons per day for each person in the family.

·     Do not add or flush materials (chemicals, sanitary napkins, applicators, and so on) other than domestic wastewater.

·     Restrict the use of your garbage disposal.

·     Do not pour grease or cooking oils down the sink drain.

·     Make a diagram showing the location of your tank Septic Fields and repair area.

·     Install a watertight concrete riser over the septic tank to simplify access.

·     Maintain adequate vegetative cover over the Septic Fields.

·     Keep surface waters away from the tank and Septic Fields.

·     Keep automobiles and heavy equipment off the system.

Many are skeptical of septic, but if properly cared for you will have no issues. Make sure to have a fully licensed company complete your maintenance, and always check with them if you have any questions. 

Information and advice provided by Alicia Albano, Licensed Salesperson with Houlihan Lawrence Yorktown Office also serving Mahopac.  Contact me with any questions at 914.447.6569 or please visit my website for helpful information www.AliciaAlbano.com or www.MahopacLakeFront.com 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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