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HOW DO SEPTIC SYSTEMS WORK?


System Description
A septic system uses natural processes to treat and dispose of the wastewater generated in your home.  It typically consists of a septic tank and a drainfield, or soil absorption field.  The septic tank provides the first step in treatment.  As wastewater flows into the tank, the heavier solids settle to the bottom to form a sludge layer, and the lighter solids, greases, and oils float to the top to form a scum layer.  The liquid wastewater (effluent) from the tank flows into gravel-filled trenches in a typical drainfield where it is distributed via perforated pipes and then treated by the natural soil system.  The diagram below shows the components of a typical septic system.


System Operation
The septic tank provides some biological treatment of the sludge and scum layers that accumulate there.  The majority of treatment occurs in the drainfield where the effluent enters the soil and is treated as it percolates to the groundwater.  The soil acts as a biological and physical filter to remove harmful substances, including disease-causing bacteria and viruses, toxic organics and other undesirable wastewater constituents remaining in the effluent.

Outlet filters or baffles are located in the tank and are designed to prevent the sludge and scum from flowing into the drainfield.  If the tank is not pumped regularly to remove the accumulated solids, the tank will fill with sludge and the solids will be washed out into the drainfield, or clog the outlet filter.  If solids reach the drainfield or clog the outlet filter, they will quickly clog the soil and eventually lead to system failure.

Services

Smith Septic Tanks of Homestead, Inc. is a full service septic tank company specializing in septic tank and drainfield installations.  When you call for drainfield repair prices be sure to have the following information available:  1) Year the house was built, 2) If you are on city/public water (receive a water bill) or well water, and 3) The number of bedrooms in the house.  With this information we can provide you with a base price.  Keep in mind that this price is contingent upon the ease of accessibility to the drainfield work area.

Installations
Septic tank only; septic tank and drainfields (new installations & repairs); drainfield repairs*; aerobic systems and gray water systems for washing machines (Health Dept. and Municipality/City Permit required) and  grease traps (Miami-Dade County Permit only required).

*Drainfield repairs are called "Repairs" by the Miami-Dade County Health Department and refers to an existing drainfield that has failed and needs to be fixed.  A new drainfield will be installed in its place.  The term "repair" distinguishes it from a New Installation where additional construction will be done, such as adding on an addition to the house or constructing a house from scratch.


Inspections
Existing system Health Departmental inspections when building on to your house or making some external changes that could affect your septic system; if not building over your existing tank.  You must first provide a survey or Elevation Certificate that gives us a benchmark elevation to shoot off of.

Real estate inspections are also provided.  It's important for the new buyer to be aware of any potential problems with the septic system.  You must know the location of the tank, as we don't have the equipment to locate them, and the tank must be accessible (only grass and dirt covering, as we don't remove pavers or crawl under decks).


Septic Tank Cleanings (Pumpouts)
Septic tank and grease trap pumpouts.  Septic tanks should be cleaned every 3 - 5 years as preventative maintenance.  Pumpouts are priced according to tank size.  We will ask you the number of bedrooms in the house.  This helps us determine the tank size.

Site Evaluations & Soil Surveys
If you are in need of a New Septic System when building a house or an addition on to your existing house, the site work can ONLY be done by a licensed engineer or Master Septic Tank contractor.  We will need a sealed copy of the site and floor plan and original survey in order to fill out the necessary forms.
 
Septic Tank Abandonments
We cannot help you to tie into the sewer.  A licensed plumber has to do that, but we can abandon the septic tank for you (Health Department and Municipality/City Permit required).
 
Smith Septic Tanks of Homestead, Inc.
Office (305) 245-7720  |   Fax (305) 245-4323
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