Septic tanks are an essential component of a septic system, which is a self-contained wastewater treatment system commonly used in areas without access to a municipal sewage treatment plant. These systems are designed to treat and dispose of household wastewater in an environmentally responsible manner.
The design of septic tanks has evolved over time, and the design used in 1975 was widely popular at the time. In this article, we will take a closer look at the 1975 septic tank design, its advantages and disadvantages, and the necessary maintenance and upkeep required to keep it functioning properly.
The Septic Tank Design in 1975
The septic tank design used in 1975 typically consisted of two compartments, separated by a dividing wall known as a baffle. The first compartment was used to allow solids to settle to the bottom and scum to float to the top, while the second compartment was used to further clarify the effluent before it was discharged into the leach field.
The size and position of the baffle were important factors in the effectiveness of the septic tank in separating solids and liquids. The septic tank also had an inlet and outlet pipe to allow for the flow of wastewater into and out of the tank.
The inlet pipe was usually located near the bottom of the tank to allow for the settling of solids, while the outlet pipe was located higher up to prevent solids from exiting the tank. In 1975, septic tanks were typically made of concrete, although other materials such as fiberglass and plastic were also used.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the 1975 Septic Tank Design
The septic tank design used in 1975 had several advantages and disadvantages.
Simple and Inexpensive
It was relatively simple and inexpensive to install and maintain. The two-compartment design was effective at separating solids and liquids, and the use of concrete as a construction material made the tanks durable and long-lasting.
Did Not Require Any Moving Parts
Additionally, the 1975 septic tank design did not require any moving parts or electricity, which made it low-maintenance and reliable.
However, there were also several disadvantages to the 1975 septic tank design.
Required Regular Pumping
It required regular pumping to remove the accumulated solids from the first compartment. If the tank was not pumped out regularly, the solids could build up and potentially enter the second compartment, clogging the leach field and causing issues with the overall function of the septic system.
Another disadvantage was that the design did not provide any treatment of the wastewater beyond the initial separation of solids and liquids. This meant that the effluent discharged into the leach field still contained high levels of nutrients and bacteria, which could potentially contaminate the soil and groundwater.
Overall, the septic tank design used in 1975 was effective at separating solids and liquids, but it had some limitations in terms of its ability to fully treat the wastewater before it was discharged into the environment.
Maintenance and Upkeep of 1975 Septic Tanks
Proper maintenance and upkeep are essential to ensure that a septic tank of the design used in 1975 is functioning properly. Some important tasks to consider include:
Pumping Out the Tank
It is important to have the septic tank pumped out regularly to remove the accumulated solids from the first compartment. How often the tank needs to be pumped depends on the size of the tank and the amount of wastewater it handles, but a general rule of thumb is to have it pumped out every 3-5 years.
Inspecting the Tank and Pipes
It is a good idea to have the septic tank inspected by a professional every few years to ensure that it is in good condition and functioning properly. This can include checking the inlet and outlet pipes for any blockages or damage, and looking for any cracks or leaks in the tank itself.
Maintaining the Leach Field
The leach field is an important part of the septic system, and it is important to keep it in good condition to ensure the proper functioning of the overall system. This includes avoiding placing heavy loads or driving over the area, and planting grass or other vegetation to help absorb the effluent.
Reducing the amount of water used in the household can help reduce the strain on the septic system and extend the time between pump-outs. This can be achieved by fixing any leaks, taking shorter showers, and only running full loads of laundry and dishes.
By following these maintenance and upkeep tips, you can help ensure that your 1975 septic tank is functioning properly and efficiently.
Tips for Maintaining and Caring for a 1975 Septic Tank
Here are some additional tips for maintaining and caring for a 1975 septic tank:
Avoid Using Chemicals
Using chemicals such as bleach and drain cleaners can harm the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank that help break down waste. Instead, use natural alternatives or bacterial septic tank treatments to help maintain a healthy balance in the tank.
Protect the Tank From Damage
Be careful not to drive over or place heavy loads on top of the septic tank or leach field. This can cause damage and compromise the function of the system.
Avoid Flushing Non-biodegradable Items
Do not flush non-biodegradable items such as wipes, feminine hygiene products, or paper towels down the toilet. These items can cause blockages in the pipes and tank and can be difficult to break down.
Keep a Record of Pump-outs
It is a good idea to keep a record of when the septic tank was last pumped out and any issues or maintenance that was done. This can help you keep track of the maintenance schedule and identify any potential problems early on.
Educate Household Members
Make sure all household members are aware of how the septic system works and what can and cannot be flushed down the toilet. This can help prevent issues with the system and extend the time between pump-outs.
Is the 1975 Septic Tank Design Good?
The purpose of the first compartment is to allow solids to settle to the bottom and scum to float to the top, while the second compartment is used to further clarify the effluent before it is discharged into the leach field.
The square hole that you mentioned is typically used as a dividing wall between the two compartments and is known as a baffle. It is designed to allow liquid to pass through while preventing solids from flowing into the second compartment.
It is important to maintain the septic tank and have it pumped out regularly to remove the accumulated solids and prevent them from entering the second compartment and potentially clogging the leach field.
If the second compartment is filled with sludge and grease, as depicted in the first image you provided, it may indicate a problem with the septic system and it is recommended to have it inspected and possibly cleaned out.
The septic tank design used in 1975 was a widely popular and effective way to treat and dispose of household wastewater. While it had some advantages, such as simplicity and durability, it also had some limitations, including a lack of full wastewater treatment and the need for regular pump-outs.
Proper maintenance and upkeep are essential to ensure that a septic tank of this design is functioning properly and efficiently. It is important to understand the design and proper care of your septic system, regardless of its age, to ensure that it is working effectively and protecting the environment.
If you have any concerns about the functioning of your septic system, it is always a good idea to seek the help of a professional.