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What do I need to know before buying a septic tank?

Date Friday, 24 July 2015 11:38 AM

Which septic tank is right for you?

It might not be the most glamorous aspect of building your new home, but choosing the right septic system is nonetheless an important part of the design process.

Given Australia's immense size, it's not easy for the government to have the infrastructure in place to reach every region in the country. If you can't connect your property to a reticulated sewerage system, you may need to invest in a septic tank.

The composition of your land dictates the type of septic system you'll need.

Things to think about when selecting a septic system

The layout and composition of your land largely dictates the type of septic system you'll need. Soil type, rainfall, salt content and water table depth are just some of the geographical elements to take into consideration. In addition to these natural variables, you also have to think about how many people will be living in the new home and their water consumption habits. A septic systems expert will be able to guide you in the right direction.

1. Sand filter

After taking these things into account, you're now in the position to actually select the septic system. Tanks are by far the most common form of septic systems in Australia. Typically comprised of two tanks connected by a pipe, they're simple in design but very effective at treating wasting. Their versatility also means that you can supplement the tank with a range of additional features that enhance the system's efficacy:

A sand filter further treats the effluent by capturing suspended solids, creating an environment that encourages the growth of waste-digesting bacteria. After being processed through the filter, the outflow is collected for disposal and may be discharged in purpose-built wetland areas or used as sub-surface irrigation.

2. Evapotranspiration beds

In this system, effluent flows through pipes into a turf-covered gravel area, where it evaporates or is absorbed by the grass. Evapotranspiration beds are usually used in areas where soil composition is unsuitable for absorption trenches and evaporation and transpiration rates are higher than rainfall.

3. Wetland treatment

Another system that relies on the power of nature, wetland treatment systems feature water-loving plants growing in shallow bed sealed off with a waterproof covering. The friendly bacteria growing in the roots of the plants treat the effluent, after which the waste flows to a regular absorption pit.

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