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Our Location
324 Feldman Road
Timmins, Ontario . (705) 268-0768 carmen@roztek.com www.roztek..com



Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)

Q. What are the parts of a septic tank system?
A. A conventional septic system has a tank (typically 750 to 2000 gallons) and a leach field (perforated pipe buried shallow in an extended area).

Q. What are septic tanks made of?
A. Septic tanks may be made of concrete, fiberglass or a plastic.

Q. Are septic tanks better or worse for the environment than regular central sewers?
A. Experts disagree. A properly maintained septic system discharges treated effluent directly into the ground, where its close contact with soil results in additional purification. A central sewerage system discharges very large volumes of treated effluent into a body of water at one location.

Q. Who regulates septic tanks?
A. In the United States, local jurisdictions typically regulate onsite wastewater treatment systems.

Q. What is a mound system?
A. For situations where the ground permiability is not suitable for a traditional leach field a mound system may be needed.

Q. What is an ET (evapo-transpiration) system?
A. In other situations where ground permiability is not suitable an ET system may be required. In such a system, all the effluent is contained to a small area and it either evaporates into the air or is used by plants and transpires out through their leaves.

Q. What causes septic system failure?
A. When the pores of undisturbed soil surrounding the leach field clog, the effluent cannot seep into the ground.  

Q. What are the symptoms of septic tank failure?
A. A stinky area of wet, soggy soil, sometimes with visible water, may appear. Sewage may back up into the house and toilets may not flush properly.

Q. How long does a septic system last?
A. Some last for several decades. Most do not.



Glossary of Commonly Used Septic Tank Terms

  • Absorption System Failure -- reason for most calls to septic tank pumping companies
  • Aerobic -- with oxygen, aerated
  • Anaerobic -- without oxygen
  • ATU -- Aerobic Treatment Unit, a type of onsite wastewater treatment system
  • Bio-film -- thin film formed by bacteria
  • Bio-mat, bio-matt, bio-film -- thick film formed by bacteria in absorption field that blocks flow out and causes Absorption Field Failure
  • Bio-remediation --
  • Bio-surfactants -- aid in emulsification of fats and grease
  • Biological oxidation --
  • Cell synthesis --
  • Cellulose -- chemical in wood and paper, difficult for bacteria to digest
  • Chemical cleaning compounds, drain cleaners, sanitizers -- chemicals which can degrade septic system performance by slowing down bacteria metabolism
  • Coliform bacteria
  • Detergents --
  • Digestion -- action by bacteria to break down organic material into water, methane and ammonia
  • Drain field, absorption field, leech field, leach field -- -- area where septic tank outflow is dispersed into the ground
  • Effluent filter -- water leaving the septic tank
  • Emulsify -- mix to create an emulsion
  • Enzymatic breakdown of waste organic matter --
  • Extracellular enzymes --
  • Intracellular enzymes --
  • Kinetic rate -- rate at which bacteria are digesting organic material
  • Leach field -- see Drain Field
  • Lignin -- material found in tissue paper, difficult for bacteria to metabolize
  • Medicines -- some adversely affect the action of bacteria in septic tank
  • Microbial attachment --
  • Organic loading --
  • Reversing biomat formation -- special enzymes may be useful in correcting drain field problems
  • Scum layer -- layer of undigested material floating on surface of septic tank
  • Sludge Judge -- clear tube for determining the health of a septic tank
  • Sludge layer -- layer of undigested material at bottom of septic tank, should be black
  • Soil permeability -- how quickly water can move through soil at a site
  • Tissue -- toilet paper, difficult for bacteria to digest
  • Water softeners -- add lots of salt to wastewater, which can clog pores in clay-ey soils