Why Should You Install A Two-Compartment Septic Tank Instead Of A Less Expensive One-Compartment Tank?
If you've been shopping for septic tanks recently, you may have noticed that you can choose between one-compartment tanks and two-compartment tanks. Two-compartment tanks have a dividing wall between the two compartments, with a small gap in the middle. The scum in the tank is lighter than water, and the solids in the tank are heavier, so the placement of the gap is designed to reduce the likelihood that anything but wastewater will flow into the second compartment.
To understand more about why having two compartments in your septic tank is beneficial, read on to learn about why you should always opt for a two-compartment septic tank.
Protects Your Drain Field From Clogs
The best reason to opt for a two-compartment septic tank is that it reduces the likelihood that your septic drain field will clog and fail. Any grease or solid waste that makes its way into the small drain field pipes can clog them, and a clogged drain field will cause waste to come back up the drains inside your home.
A two-compartment septic tank protects your drain field in two ways. First, the gap in the dividing wall between the compartments is underneath the scum level in the tank. Scum is composed of substances like grease that are lighter than water. Since the gap is beneath the scum level, there's very little chance of any scum making its way through the gap into the second compartment, where it would have a chance to flow through the outlet pipe.
Secondly, the gap also helps to prevent solid waste from exiting through the outlet pipe. A small amount of solids will still make it into the second compartment of the tank. If you dump a large amount of water into the tank (such as when a dishwasher or washing machine drains), then it causes turbulence that dredges up some of the solids on the bottom of the tank. Some of the solids can make their way through the gap in the dividing wall.
However, the dividing wall acts as a barrier to the turbulence within the tank. It is very unlikely that the water in the second compartment would become turbulent enough to dredge up any solids, which is the only way that they can exit through the outflow pipe. The water in the second compartment remains calmer due to the dividing wall, regardless of the amount of water entering into the tank. As a result, the chance of any solids entering your drain field and clogging it is greatly lowered with a two-compartment tank.
Allows You to Easily See if Your Tank Needs to Be Pumped More Often
When you install a two-compartment septic tank, you'll notice that it has two lids. This allows each chamber to be accessed individually when it's time to pump out your tank. The septic tank pumping service can measure the amount of solids in the second compartment to determine if you're pumping your tank often enough.
If a significant amount of solids are entering into the second compartment, it typically means that the amount of solids in the first compartment has built up past the level where the gap in the dividing wall is located. When this happens, it's a sign that you aren't pumping your tank often enough.
It's important to pump your tank before solids begin to flow into the second compartment because the second compartment is smaller and will fill up faster than the first. If the level of solids on both sides rises higher than the gap in the dividing wall, then water will no longer be able to flow through the septic tank — you'll have wastewater backing up through the drains in your home.
Overall, the most important reason to upgrade to a two-compartment septic tank is to protect your drain field from clogs. A clogged drain field is very expensive to repair, so it's a good idea to take all the steps you can to prevent it from happening. If you're still using an older one-compartment septic tank, call a septic service in your area and ask about upgrading—plastic two-compartment tanks are inexpensive and can be easily installed.