Historical Version s - view previous versions of standard. Work Item s - proposed revisions of this standard. More C This specification covers monolithicor sectional precast concrete septic tanks.

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And now your dream has come true. This means that septic tanks are critical issues — they can be buried but should never be forgotten. Well-built and well-maintained septic tanks systems are remarkable engineering designs. In fact, efficient, properly managed on-site wastewater treatment systems that include a septic tank system built to industry standards are a healthy, natural and environmentally responsible way for a homeowner to process wastewater from toilets, showers, washing machines and sinks.

How could this have possibly happened? This is just inside your home — more bad news awaits outside. ASTM C because now you want only a quality septic tank Now that you understand why human waste must be treated properly and why you never want your family to experience a septic system failure, how can you make sure that your tank meets the highest industry standards?

An oversimplification? Actually, no. Septic tank failures can result in dangerous situations, from a cave-in to contact with untreated human waste.

In some states and localities, this standard may be adopted by reference into the state and local codes. Some state and local ordinances define their own standards and require septic tank producers to comply with regional specifications to be certified.

To make matters worse, even where ASTM C or comparable regional standards exist, septic tank inspectors and regulators do not always enforce the standard.

In fact, many regulatory jurisdictions pay lip service to standards that clearly describe how septic tanks are to be designed and constructed to be structurally sound. Enforcement and economics: the dark side While some inspectors may specify on paper that tanks within their jurisdiction must be structurally sound and watertight, these regulators do not enforce in practice the requirement.

As a result, thin-walled tanks with little or no steel reinforcing are installed every day; there might even be one in your own backyard. Installers of poor-quality tanks know that they are relying on the subsoil for structural support.

Without the soils that surround it and hold it together, a poor-quality tank will collapse when filled with water. On the other hand, a quality precast concrete septic tank built to standard is structurally sound before and after installation.

So what incentive drives some producers to market tanks that are not watertight or structurally sound? For too long, septic tanks have been treated as a commodity rather than as an engineered product that requires skill and care in manufacturing.

With all the regulatory programs around, why are there so many septic tank problems? In the real world, many poor-quality septic tanks are installed every day and yes, these are the tanks that are likely to fail structurally and create health and environmental risks. Here is the inside track to help you understand the current dilemma:.

If you simply forget the tank and pay no attention to it, one of these days you will be standing in your mucky, stinky yard while some burly guy with a backhoe digs holes in your lawn as dollar signs flash in front of your eyes. Septic tanks require inspection and maintenance if they are to function properly over their expected service life of 50 years.

Conclusion and responsibilities Many players are involved in providing you with a quality septic tank system:. Michael Hines, M. Quality precast concrete septic tanks, while structurally strong and watertight, must be maintained and serviced for long-term, trouble-free operation. In addition, your drain field or drip area should be walked to check for any wet or soggy spots that would indicate pending or actual system failure. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to receive emails from NPCA. By Michael Hines, M. Seven typical causes of septic system failure: The septic tank is not designed or constructed according to standard to be watertight and structurally sound.

The septic tank is too small for the number of people and the wastewater flow served by the tank. The septic tank is not properly maintained; tank solids have built up and discharged to the drain field causing clogging failure of the field. Excess flows are discharged into the tank, often from nondomestic sources. Toxic chemicals, large volume of solids, or other materials besides sewage are discharged into the septic tank.

The drain field is too small for the intended use, or drain field soils are inadequate to treat and move flows away from the site. The drain field is poorly designed or installed and does not allow equal distribution of the applied flow across the field. Homeowners often choose the lowest-cost system available.

Many regulators are poorly trained in the science of wastewater treatment, septic tank design or tank maintenance requirements. Many jurisdictions in the United States operate on standards and regulations that have been essentially unchanged for 20 to 40 years. Modern advancements in treatment or disposal technologies go unrecognized until mandated by changes in political perceptions. Not all septic tanks are made of steel-reinforced precast concrete or fiberglass-reinforced plastic and therefore are not structurally sound and watertight.

The manufacturer must adhere to the engineered design, use quality materials and exercise quality control throughout the manufacturing process. The installer must be competent and install the tank in such a manner to ensure the integrity of the tank and watertightness of the connected system.

The regulatory inspector must enforce diligently to ensure that all tanks within his or her jurisdiction are constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with competent regulatory requirements. The homeowner must provide attentive not passive care and maintenance of the septic tank system for as long as he or she uses the residence. Sidebar 1: 9 Steps to Properly Maintain Your Septic System Quality precast concrete septic tanks, while structurally strong and watertight, must be maintained and serviced for long-term, trouble-free operation.

Make sure the sizing of the septic tank and the septic system match the features of your home. Septic tanks are sized to allow collection of all the wastewater and allow settling of the solids. Exceeding the designed limits reduces the ability of the septic tank and drain field to function. Make sure that the amount of wastewater entering the system does not exceed the permit design for the operation of the dispersal field. In North Carolina, for example, a three-bedroom design means the dispersal field is sized for gal.

This is gal. Unfortunately, every locality uses different design rates. Regardless of the validity of locally established design rates, they must be followed. First rule of septic tanks: Nothing goes into the septic system that has not first gone through your digestive system or was intended to. A septic system relies on viable bacteria to breakdown human waste. Killing the bacteria means removing the ability of your septic system to function — never a pretty sight. Do NOT use commercial additives in your septic tank.

TV and radio airwaves are full of ads for miracle additives, enzymes and special bacteria to add to your septic tank to make it work better, smell like flowers and look good. These products are, at best, a waste of money and can be harmful to the biological processes in the tank or drain field.

Historically, EPA and other professional organizations have determined that such additives have not been shown to serve any useful purpose. Business development seminars held for the septic tank installers and pumpers encourage the sale of such additives to homeowners as a high-profit revenue source for the industry. Ignore such sales pitches. Routinely inspect your toilets and make sure they are not leaking.

Leaking toilets are the No. Have your septic tank routinely pumped. The usually recommended clean-out schedule is every three to five years or longer if you have a bigger tank. Have the clean-out done by a professional septage firm, making sure it services and reinstalls the effluent filter if installed and make sure all access devices are secured back into place. Absolutely no down spouts, AC condenser drains or other clear water discharges are to be connected to your tank.

Water softener regeneration backwash should be diverted around the tank to a separate seepage pit. Limit garbage disposal use. Some regulatory jurisdictions try to prevent garbage disposal units in homes with septic tanks. Most homeowners will have a garbage disposal whether it comes with the house or is added later.

The solution is to size the septic system to handle the extra solids produced by these devices. All residential septic tanks should be a minimum of 1,gal. Inspection checklist: Your annual inspection should check: Depth of sludge and scum Condition of scum layer That the inlet tee is clear Proper operation of any installed pump Cleanliness of any effluent filter present In addition, your drain field or drip area should be walked to check for any wet or soggy spots that would indicate pending or actual system failure.

Sidebar 2: Checklist for Quality Your quality septic tank should meet this 8-point checklist: The manufacturer of your tank should be willing to show you certification by a professional engineer that the tank you are purchasing was designed in accordance with appropriate recognized standards and engineering principals.

Your tank should be one piece or a monolithically poured body with a separate lid that is permanently affixed to the body with a watertight seal. The tank should be made of high-strength concrete minimum of 5, psi [35 MPa] and contain sufficient steel reinforcement to ensure the structural integrity of the tank at full design operating conditions.

To ensure watertightness, the inlets and outlets must be equipped with rubber boots integrated into the tank wall inlet and outlet pipes pass through these boots and the boots sealed against the pipes with stainless steel clamps. The inlet inspection plug in the tank lid should be sealed to the tank with high-quality mastic or other sealant that will prevent water leaking into the tank.

The inlet inspection riser must be cast as part of the tank lid and a watertight riser extended to the ground surface and be equipped with a watertight cap. If the tank is not equipped with an effluent pump, an effluent filter should be installed on the outlet. A in. A watertight riser must be permanently sealed to the riser ring, extended to grade and be equipped with a locked or bolted watertight lid. Recommended For You.

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Standard Specification for Precast Concrete Septic Tanks


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