Providing Septic Services to Families and Communities

in the Atlanta Area Since 1962

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Septic System Service

I just moved into a house with a septic system. How does it work?

The septic tank functions as a container/conditioner of sewage so that the treated liquid will pass through the subsoil without clogging the drainfield. Septic systems perform these functions in three ways:

Separation: First the liquids and solids go into the tank, the septic tank interrupts the flow of waste water so that the denser solids sink to the bottom and the lighter solids, such as grease and oils, rise to the top of the tank. The wastes in the tank are subject to attack by enzymes and bacteria.

Microbial Digestion: When the wastes are broken down and liquefied, the septic tank acts as a reservoir for sludge and scum.

Dispersion: The clarified liquids will flow out into the drainfield where they are absorbed into the surrounding soil.

Note: Unfortunately for the homeowner, this ideal system does not exist. The heavier use of the system plus the use of today’s soaps, detergents and cleaning agents, together create problems in the septic system. In a septic tank that is properly functioning, a compaction layer of sludge will accumulate in the bottom of the tank and a relatively thin layer of scum will remain at the top of the tank. Sludge and scum in a well-functioning system contain minerals and no fermentable organic matter. This accumulation should be removed from the tank before it reaches the level of the discharge outlet and flows into the leach field, thus clogging it. Normally this should be done every three to five years. Visit our services page to learn more about the the types of septic system service we have available.

Why does the water back up in other drains whenever I wash my clothes?

If you are doing many loads of wash in one day, you’re probably exceeding the capacity of your septic system. This can be solved by limiting your washing to one load a day. If you are currently only washing one load a day, then your drainfield may be clogged.

The ground over my drain field is so soggy I’m unable to mow the grass. What would you recommend?

This is the sign of a glazed drainfield. Drainfields do not become clogged overnight. It usually takes many years of gradual build-up of undigested wastes or tree roots growing into the drainfield. In serious cases of exceeding design capacity of septic tanks/drainfields, as well as not being pumped out on a regular basis, the solids and grease can begin to flow out of the septic tank and into the drainfield itself to clog the soil. Our septic system service can take care of this inconvenient and smelly problem. Contact us to find out more about our drain field repair services.

My septic tank needs frequent pumping. What has happened?

We never had our septic tank pumped out until last year. About 10 months later it needed pumping again, now it has been 5 or 6 months and I am having problems. The last time it was pumped, it was mostly water. What has happened?

It is highly likely that your Drainfield is clogged. You should immediately begin to conserve water – perhaps even taking your laundry to the Laundromat and call Bishop-Thiem Septic Service for more information.

What is considered Regular Maintenance?

Recommended “Regular Maintenance or septic system service” is a once every three to five year pump out of the septic tank, inspection of the inlet and outlet “T” (baffle and/or filter) to assure that the solids settle in lieu of traveling across the surface and straight out into the drainfield. These “T’s” and filters clog or break down over time and will then allow solids to migrate into the drainfield thus clogging it, you wouldn’t know unless you inspect it at the time of pump out. New rules state that we have to remove the tank lids at both ends or in the case of risers and inspect both ends of your tank to hopefully avoid these problems.

Have a question? Need service?

Call us TODAY at 770-461-6033