What Influences System Performance in Septic Tanks?


Numerous diseases result from contact with inadequately treated or poorly treated sewage discharged by households and business facilities. Such diseases include hepatitis, poliomyelitis, cholera and typhoid among others. To add on that, poor management of sewage within neighbourhoods creates an eyesore and even lowers the value of the property. For this reason, you must prioritise the quality of the septic tanks that you build on your property for you to manage sewage effectively. The following things will affect the level of efficiency achieved by your septic tank:

The Soil

Septic tanks are dug up and build in the ground. This means that the soil is their primary foundation and it has a huge effect on the performance of the septic tank. Ideally, the purpose of septic tank is to facilitate the treatment of the sewage to remove pollutants and removing the wastewater from the site. Soil affects the performance of a septic tank in the following ways:

  • Texture- texture refers to the way a certain type of feels in terms of coarseness and smoothness. It is a function of the of silt, clay or sand particles that the soil has. Coarse soils have high amounts of sand with large particles. They have large pores and a large capacity to drain away the wastewater. However, this lowers their ability to retain the wastewater and treat effluent. On the other hand, clayey soil have poor drainage abilities. They are good for treating the effluent but poor at draining the sewage away.
  • Degree and Presence of Structure- the ability of the soil to form aggregates with clear lines of separation is elemental for good drainage. However, a high degree of structural aggregates short circuits the treatment process because sewage moves away too fast.

The Lifestyle of the User

Your lifestyle also has an effect on the effectiveness of the septic tank.  Anytime you let in excess water into the sewage system, you overload your septic tank hydraulically. The first sign of an overloaded septic tank is water overflowing from the top of the tank or the areas immediately surrounding the tank. Other signs to look out for include excessive flushing of the toilet and leakages on the fixtures linking the house and the septic tank.


Temperature plays a huge role in how well the treatment process occurs. Higher temperatures increase the microbial activities of the microorganisms in the process, fastening it. Low temperatures make the treatment slow and time-consuming.


9 March 2017

Converting to composting toilets

We aren't on the main sewer line on our property and it's always been an issue getting the septic tank emptied in winter when the road gets muddy and trucks get bogged. As a result, we decided to switch to composting toilets in the home. It's been a great option to get our toileting waste minimised and to help the environment at the same time. It's a bit of an adjustment period when you move to a composting toilet so I thought I'd start a blog explaining the process. I hope it will be useful for other people who have septic tanks and are contemplating making the switch.