Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

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  • BPopov
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Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

Hello everyone! 
My colleagues at one of the monasteries in Ukraine need to clean their  8 cubic meters septic tank from acumulated sludge and scum.  However they found the layers of both are quite hard and it is difficult to break  and remove  with pumping out pipe.   Does anyone has suggestion of how to soften/dissolve a bit these layers and possibly prevent formation of those hard layers in the future?
Best,
Bogdan
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  • Nicolas
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Re: Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

Dear Bogdan,
we had similar problems in SouthAfrica with DEWATS settlers in which lots of scum accumulated in very short time.
Problem there was that connected households flushed a lot of animal fat down their drain and that the grease traps at household level were either not existing or not sufficiently effective, to remove that scum we had to dig with shovels...
Greetings, Nico
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  • AjitSeshadri
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  • Marine Chief Engineer by profession (1971- present) and at present Senior Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, Chennai, India. Also proficient in giving Environmental solutions, Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Environment Consultant located at Chennai, India
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Re: Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

Dear Nicholas.

Prior to taking effluent to the Anaerobic Settlr, pre process is needed ie floating scum ( float trap chambers on twin basis given) and for removal of solid partcles ( mesh filter on twin basis given) are done.

Users are made aware that both floating matter viz. fat Etc.. and grit solid particles are removed individually from each feeder ww line.

Thse matters as are bio are composted as manures..

Well wishes.
Prof Ajit seshadri
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Re: Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

Dear Nicolas and Ajit!

Thanks for your replies!   
It looks like big enough grease trap prior to septic tank is a good solution in this case. Correct?
Best wishes,
Bogdan
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  • Nicolas
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Re: Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

Hi Bogdan, ideally the grease trap is located before the grey (kitchen) water and blackwater mix, putting it close to the kitchen/house usually increases the chances of timely cleaning because of the smell that develops otherwise
Greetings, Nico
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  • AjitSeshadri
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Re: Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

Adding a few notings Re Grease trap.

It is best to have 2 Nos. chambers identical, one in use and one under clean up.
However, if thre is  space or costs constraint,one can have one in use always with an add-on chamber for use during clean up and other times, ie prior clean up, small chamber is put to use, once the clean up work is over, the ssm is normalised. 

As the scum matter is light and it would be floating, easily pulled out upon opening the top lid and scooping the floatng scum. 
As the float- scum is oily matter, used for Community stoves in kitchen as fuel.

Well wishes.
Prof Ajit Seshadri
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Senior Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Environment Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others) Chennai, India
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  • paresh
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Re: Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

Dear Bogdan,
Grease traps will be needed only if greywater is let into the septic tanks. 

For hard sludge, there is no choice but either let the septic tank work with reduced capacity (after whatever can be emptied) or break the layers manually (if permitted by law). In either case, it should be emptied periodically to avoid such a situation in the future. Standards vary, but codes suggest emptying once between 2-5 years.

If you are interested to know more, please see this paper (posted here ) by my former colleagues; they argue that regular emptying is necessary to achieve safely managed sanitation.

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paresh
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  • BPopov
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Re: Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

paresh wrote: Dear Bogdan,
Grease traps will be needed only if greywater is let into the septic tanks. 

For hard sludge, there is no choice but either let the septic tank work with reduced capacity (after whatever can be emptied) or break the layers manually (if permitted by law). In either case, it should be emptied periodically to avoid such a situation in the future. Standards vary, but codes suggest emptying once between 2-5 years.

If you are interested to know more, please see this paper (posted here ) by my former colleagues; they argue that regular emptying is necessary to achieve safely managed sanitation.

Regards
paresh



Dear Paresh!  
Thank you very much for the advice! 
Best,
Bogdan
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  • BPopov
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Re: Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

Nicolas wrote: Hi Bogdan, ideally the grease trap is located before the grey (kitchen) water and blackwater mix, putting it close to the kitchen/house usually increases the chances of timely cleaning because of the smell that develops otherwise
Greetings, Nico

Dear Nico!

Thank you very much!

Best,
Bogdan
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  • goeco
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Re: Removing hard scum and sludge from septic tank

Hi Bogdan,
Grease traps are hideous things, cleaning them out is an experience one never forgets.

I also wonder about how well the soakage fields are working, people assume septic tanks are "flush and forget" but they aren't. Septic tanks do need occasional cleaning (removal of sludge) and soakage fields don't last forever.

My suggestion is to set up a vermidigester between the wastewater source (blackwater + greywater) and the septic tank to catch and digest all the solids. Then use the septic tank as a sump for a secondary treatment recirculating vermifilter, then discharge to the soil surface. No more sludge problems.

cheers
Dean
Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
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