How Grease And Oils Affect Your Septic System

Posted on: 1 March 2019

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Your septic tank needs to be pumped out on a regular basis because it is a holding area for all the solids, water, and oils that leave your house through the drains and toilets. While the solids slowly break down over time, they don't disappear. Instead, they form sludge that has to be removed. Grease and oils also build up inside the tank and have to be removed. Here's a look at how grease affects your septic system.

How The Septic Tank Stores Grease

The purpose of a septic tank is to hold on to all the waste that isn't water. Even though water in the septic tank is contaminated, it is pushed on through the tank and out to the drainfield where it sinks down through the soil and is filtered during the process. Solids and grease are kept in the tank because they will clog the drainfield, and they can't be processed naturally like water. The solids in the tank fall to the bottom because they are heavy. However, grease and oil are lighter than water so they float on top. The water stays in the middle where there is a drain that allows it to move into the drainfield.

Why Having Your Tank Cleaned On Time Is Important

You may go a few years between visits to have your septic tank pumped. During this time, a thick layer of grease floats on top of the water in the tank getting thicker as time goes on. If you don't pump out your tank on schedule, the grease layer gets thicker and the sludge layer gets deeper and there is less room for the water to stay in the tank long enough for solids and grease to settle out. This can result in bits of grease and solids going into the drainfield. If the grease layer is thick enough, it can leak out or clog the drain and even cause damage to the drainfield.

How To Manage Grease In Your Septic System

It's not possible to eliminate grease and oils completely, but you can reduce the amount that builds up in your septic tank by being careful about what goes down your drains, so keep grease and oil out of your kitchen drains. This not only protects the tank, it keeps the drains in your septic system from clogging. Another important step in preventing problems with grease in your septic system is to pump out the tank before it gets too full. If you're not sure when your tank needs to be cleaned out, call a septic tank service to measure the grease and solids layers to let you know if the tank is getting full. Then once it's pumped, establish a schedule to keep your tank cleaned out so it never gets so full that grease clogs up the system.

Contact a septic pump service for more help.