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400R Taunton Ave., Seekonk, MA
51 Maple Lane, Rehoboth, MA
 
 

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Learn about Sewage Treatment Systems

Components of Sewage Treatment Systems

A typical household sewage treatment system consists of a cesspool or septic tank, distribution box and absorption/leach field or seepage pit.
 
House main line - The pipeline connecting the house and the septic tank.
Septic Tank - Untreated liquid household wastes (sewage) will quickly clog your absorption field if not properly treated. The septic tank provides this needed treatment. When sewage enters the septic tank, the heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank; the light solids, fats and greases partially decompose and rise to the surface and form a layer of scum. The solids that have settled to the bottom are attacked by bacteria. Some are solubilized; some form sludge. Septic tanks do not remove bacteria or viruses and, therefore, what is discharged cannot be considered safe.
Distribution Box - Serves to distribute the flow from the septic tank evenly to the absorption field or seepage pits. It is important that each trench or pit receive an equal amount of flow. This prevents overloading of one part of the system.
Absorption/Leach Field - A system of narrow trenches partially filled with a bed of washed gravel or crushed stone into which perforated or open joint pipe is placed. The discharge from the septic tank is distributed through these pipes into trenches and surrounding soil. In the process the water is further purified biologically and bacteria are filtered out providing clean water to the aquifer. The subsurface absorption field must be properly sized and constructed according to local board of health codes.
Cesspools - Work in a similar manner to septic systems. Sewage water usually seeps through the open bottom and portholes in the sides of the walls. These can also clog up with overuse and the introduction of detergents and other material which slow down the bacterial action.

When the sewage backup occurs, homeowners usually have the system pumped out. Pumping out will only relieve the system temporarily. The clogged pores in the ground remain and eventually the system will have to be pumped again and again.
Since solids will continue to build up at the bottom of the tank, it is imperative that the SEPTIC SYSTEM BE CLEANED REGULARLY. Remember, the inorganic fraction of the sludge is not biodegradable, if it's not pumped out, sludge will accumulate until it overflows where it can cause problems in the absorption field.
 
Septic Tank - Town Sanitation in Seekonk, MA
 
The frequency of pumping out will depend primarily on the amount of wastewater and solids that go through the system each day. The frequency also depends on how careful you are about not introducing excess fats, soaps, hygiene items, and other similar garbage down the drains. The more solid waste thrown in the system, the quicker the tank will fill up. If a garbage disposal is used, pumping more often is advised to remove the solids. Heavy flows of water also tend to make the tank fill up more quickly and why water should not be left running indiscriminately in sinks and toilets.
 
It is important to get the septic tank cleaned before the sludge level gets high enough so that any of the solid material at the bottom or the semi-solid scum at the top can flow out into the drainage field. This will quickly clog the drainage pipes and the soil into which they drain. If this happens the only cure would be to dig up and replace the entire drainage field.