Water Conservation and Septic Systems

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Water Conservation and Septic Systems

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1. Water Conservation and Septic Systems

2. GET PUMPED! A septic system has two main components: the septic tank – a buried watertight container made of materials such as concrete fiberglass, or plastic. the drainfield – also referred to as a leachfield, drainfield, or soil absorption system, consists of perforated pipes or chambers within a series of trenches or mounds lned with gravel and buried one to three feet below the surface. Waste enters the tank from household plumbing and enters the septic tank. The tank holds the waste long enough to allow solids and liquids to separate and form three layers: Scum layer – solids lighter than water, such as greases or oils, float to the top Liquid layer – partially clarified wastewater Sludge – solids heavier than water settle at the bottom of the tank Treatment of the wastewater begins in the septic tank as naturally-occurring bacteria in the sewage work to break down the organic matter in the tank. Sludge and scum that cannot be broken down remain in the tank until it is pumped. The partially clarified liquid layer then flows through an effluent filter out of the tank and into the drainfield for final treatment. The wastewater (effluent) entering the drainfield may contain many potentially harmful microorganisms and pollutants, many of which can be effectively removed through soil treatment. Water flows through the perforated pipes or chambers and slowly trickles through the gravel and into the surrounding soil, where the natural processes in the soil complete the sewage treatment process.A septic system has two main components: the septic tank – a buried watertight container made of materials such as concrete fiberglass, or plastic. the drainfield – also referred to as a leachfield, drainfield, or soil absorption system, consists of perforated pipes or chambers within a series of trenches or mounds lned with gravel and buried one to three feet below the surface. Waste enters the tank from household plumbing and enters the septic tank. The tank holds the waste long enough to allow solids and liquids to separate and form three layers: Scum layer – solids lighter than water, such as greases or oils, float to the top Liquid layer – partially clarified wastewater Sludge – solids heavier than water settle at the bottom of the tank Treatment of the wastewater begins in the septic tank as naturally-occurring bacteria in the sewage work to break down the organic matter in the tank. Sludge and scum that cannot be broken down remain in the tank until it is pumped. The partially clarified liquid layer then flows through an effluent filter out of the tank and into the drainfield for final treatment. The wastewater (effluent) entering the drainfield may contain many potentially harmful microorganisms and pollutants, many of which can be effectively removed through soil treatment. Water flows through the perforated pipes or chambers and slowly trickles through the gravel and into the surrounding soil, where the natural processes in the soil complete the sewage treatment process.

3. GET PUMPED! Overview Conservation and efficient water use are important aspects of septic system ownership. Too much water entering the tank/drainfield at once can cause inadequate treatment. Average water use in a single-family home is around 70 gallons/person/day. (U.S. EPA) Using and conserving water efficiently and effectively are important aspects of septic system ownership. Excessive water use can put unnecessary strain on the system. Too much water entering the tank at once doesn’t allow adequate time for sludge and scum to separate out and can allow them to pass into the drainfield. A leaky faucet in your home can add up to 20 gallons of extra water to your septic system each day. The more water a household conserves, the less water enters the system, helping improve the septic system’s operation and reducing the risk of failure. We use a lot of water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average water use in a typical single-family home is approximately 70 gallons per person, per day. However, the way in which water and appliances are used can affect how much is generated. Using and conserving water efficiently and effectively are important aspects of septic system ownership. Excessive water use can put unnecessary strain on the system. Too much water entering the tank at once doesn’t allow adequate time for sludge and scum to separate out and can allow them to pass into the drainfield. A leaky faucet in your home can add up to 20 gallons of extra water to your septic system each day. The more water a household conserves, the less water enters the system, helping improve the septic system’s operation and reducing the risk of failure. We use a lot of water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average water use in a typical single-family home is approximately 70 gallons per person, per day. However, the way in which water and appliances are used can affect how much is generated.

4. GET PUMPED! Typical ranges of water used in everyday activities (in gallons) Typical ranges of water used in everyday activities (in gallons)

5. GET PUMPED! Typical ranges of water used in everyday activities (in gallons) Typical ranges of water used in everyday activities (in gallons)

6. GET PUMPED! Did You Know? Leaky toilets can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day. Early morning and bedtime are peak water use times. Runoff from roofs, driveways, and roads onto the drainfield can overload the system. Leaky toilets can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day, greatly increasing the amount of wastewater entering the septic tank. Early morning and bedtime are peak water use times. Running your water-using appliances at other times will help even out the amount of wastewater entering the system. Runoff from roofs, driveways, and roads onto the drainfield can overload the system, causing the soil to become saturated and impairing its ability to naturally remove contaminants. Runoff should be directed away from the drainfield.Leaky toilets can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day, greatly increasing the amount of wastewater entering the septic tank. Early morning and bedtime are peak water use times. Running your water-using appliances at other times will help even out the amount of wastewater entering the system. Runoff from roofs, driveways, and roads onto the drainfield can overload the system, causing the soil to become saturated and impairing its ability to naturally remove contaminants. Runoff should be directed away from the drainfield.

7. GET PUMPED! What NOT to Do: DON’T allow leaky faucets and toilets to go unrepaired. DON’T flush unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medications down the toilet. DON’T allow chlorine-treated water from swimming pools and hot tubs to enter the drainfield. DON’T let faucets run when not in use. DON’T allow leaky faucets and toilets to go unrepaired, which add extra water to the system. DON’T flush unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medications down the toilet. These compounds can interrupt the treatment process. DON’T allow chlorine-treated water from swimming pools and hot tubs to enter the drainfield. Chlorine will kill the naturally-ocurring bacteria that is vital to the treatment process. DON’T let faucets run when not in use. The extra water can cause the system to overload and inadequately treat wastewater.DON’T allow leaky faucets and toilets to go unrepaired, which add extra water to the system. DON’T flush unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medications down the toilet. These compounds can interrupt the treatment process. DON’T allow chlorine-treated water from swimming pools and hot tubs to enter the drainfield. Chlorine will kill the naturally-ocurring bacteria that is vital to the treatment process. DON’T let faucets run when not in use. The extra water can cause the system to overload and inadequately treat wastewater.

8. GET PUMPED! What TO do: DO consider installing high-efficiency water fixtures. DO run full loads in the dish and clothes washers. DO distribute wash loads evenly throughout the week. DO install aerators on all household faucets. DO consider installing high-efficiency water fixtures, such as low-flow showerheads and toilets and front-loading clothes washers. DO run full loads in the dish and clothes washers to help maximize the amounts of water used. DO distribute wash loads evenly throughout the week to avoid overloading the system. DO install aerators on all household faucets.DO consider installing high-efficiency water fixtures, such as low-flow showerheads and toilets and front-loading clothes washers. DO run full loads in the dish and clothes washers to help maximize the amounts of water used. DO distribute wash loads evenly throughout the week to avoid overloading the system. DO install aerators on all household faucets.

9. GET PUMPED! Contacts Insert local contact information The Groundwater Foundation P.O. Box 22558 Lincoln, NE 68542-2558 402-434-2740 www.groundwater.org Insert your local contact information.Insert your local contact information.

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