Many homeowners and businesses in rural areas of New Jersey rely on a septic system for onsite wastewater treatment and disposal. Septic systems are useful in areas where a municipal sewer main is not readily available. Using both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, septic systems allow liquid waste to eventually be released into a drainfield. Sludge accumulates inside the tank, which needs to be pumped periodically.
Eventually, septic tanks and other septic system components can wear down or corrode, and you’ll need septic tank replacement or pipe replacement. At A1 Sewer & Drain Services, we provide residential and commercial septic, drain, and sewer services in New Jersey. To find out more, or for same-day service, call us any time at 201-645-0888.
Septic Tank Corrosion
Septic tanks are susceptible to biogenic hydrogen sulfide corrosion, a process that occurs in anaerobic environments. Septic tanks are inhabited by bacteria, which break apart and digest waste material. Fresh domestic sewage contains organic sulfur compounds. As bacteria catabolize the organic materials, dissolved oxygen in the wastewater is depleted. In the absence of both nitrates and dissolved oxygen, the bacteria naturally reduce sulfates to hydrogen sulfide gas. Temperature, pH, oxygen concentration, sulfate concentration, and other factors impact this process. As the hydrogen sulfide gas diffuses into the headspace above the sludge and scum, it accumulates in moisture droplets, where sulfur reducing bacteria metabolize it into sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is highly corrosive, and over decades of use, it wears through pipes and septic tanks.
Eventually, septic tanks will succumb to corrosion, and you’ll need septic tank replacement. Fortunately, septic tanks last a long time, usually at least 20 years.
When Will You Need Septic System or Septic Tank Replacement?
Good maintenance and occasional septic tank repair will help ensure that your septic tank reaches its maximum service life. A few of the factors that can affect how soon you’ll need septic tank replacement include:
- How often you pump your septic tank. Some septic tanks need to be pumped annually, while others only need to be pumped once in a decade. The frequency at which you’ll need to pump your septic tank depends on both the size of the tank and the number of occupants in your household.
- How you use your septic system. Conserving water can help you reduce strain on the drainfield, preventing it from failing prematurely. You should avoid flushing any caustic chemicals into your septic system, as well as any materials like feminine products and paper towels that don’t break down easily.
- Local soil conditions. The soil percolation rate and the amount of groundwater can impact your septic system components’ service lives.
- The materials that your septic tank is made from. Septic tanks can be made from several materials, including steel and concrete. Steel tanks can be susceptible to rust at the sides and bottom, which can clog the drainfield. The acidity of the soil will affect how quickly rust will form, and how long you can expect a steel septic tank to last. Concrete and fiberglass tanks generally last longer than steel.
- Nearby trees and shrubs. Like sewer lines, septic tanks and septic system pipes can be damaged by invasive tree roots.
Tips for Maintaining Your Septic System
To avoid the need for premature septic tank replacement, these tips can help you keep your septic system working for as long as possible:
- Have a contractor inspect your septic system every few years. Septic system inspection allows contractors to find minor problems while they can still be fixed with septic tank repair, helping you prevent costly replacement of key components.
- Don’t wash hazardous materials down toilets or drains. Drain cleaners and other caustic household chemicals can speed up the deterioration of your pipes and septic tank.
- Use water efficiently. Water conservation helps avoid overloading and straining the drainfield.
- Plant sewer-friendly foliage above the tank and pipes. Large tree roots can damage your septic system. Grass and small flowering plants are safe.
- Keep vehicles and livestock off of the area. The weight from automobiles and large livestock can damage the septic system.
Local Contractors for Septic Tank Replacement in NJ
At A1 Sewer & Drain Services, we provide septic tank repair and septic tank replacement for homes and businesses throughout north New Jersey. For service today, including 24-hour emergency repairs, call us any time at 201-645-0888.