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In rural areas, the most common wastewater treatment system is tank-soil absorption. This is when septic tanks remove floating solids from the waste water. The soil absorption field then filters out other wastes, and treats the remaining wastewater, and distributes it through the soil. Removing solids from the wastewater in septic tanks protects the soil absorption system from getting clogged and from eventual failure.
In septic tank wastewater treatment systems, the first stage removes floating solids by holding the wastewater inside the tanks. This process lets the heavier solids to settle at the bottom, and the lighter solids to form at the top of the tanks. To accomplish this feat, wastewater should be kept in the tanks for at least 24 hours. Almost half of the solids retained in the tanks will decompose on their own during this process.
When using this system to clean wastewater from septic tanks, solids continue to develop at the bottom of the tanks. Most septic tanks have been built to have enough room for up to three years of safe accumulation. To prevent over accumulation, septic tanks generally need to be pumped every three years. But this number will vary taking into consideration different factors such as:
1. Size of the septic tanks
2. Amount of wastewater
3. Amount of solids in wastewater
The most popular method of wastewater treatment in rural areas is septic tanks with tank-soil absorption. These are septic tanks that are designed to remove solids before the wastewater enters the soil absorption field. This will help up to half the solids to dissolve, and have to be stored at the bottom of the septic tanks. Using this process, chemical agents and additives are not necessary to aid or speed up decomposition. Even with this method, accumulated solids must be removed periodically in order to prevent them from eventually entering the soil absorption field, and causing clogs or failure.