What is a Septic tank baffle?
At first glance, your septic tank appears to be a simple system; it separates liquids and solids, then holds the solids in a tank until they can be pumped out and then sends the liquid to a distribution field. However, these procedures can be a little more complicated than they appear.
Even if you have the most basic, standard tank, parts like the inlet and outlet baffles and the baffle filter may need to be replaced from time to time (also called effluent filter).
Here are the fundamentals of septic baffles and how they work!
Functions of the septic baffle
Septic baffles are installed at the points where pipes enter and exit the tank. The one at the inlet pipe is referred to as the inlet baffle, while the one at the outlet is referred to as the outlet baffle.
The outlet baffle is frequently regarded as the most important baffle because it prevents solids from exiting the tank and entering the leach field, where they could clog up and effectively destroy the leach field system. This is very serious because replacing the leach field is very expensive. Unfortunately, this is also the first baffle to crumble.
The inlet baffle is located at the intersection of the septic tank and the main sewer line that runs from the house. Its purpose is to ensure that wastewater flows smoothly into the tank without disturbing the scum layer. It also directs wastewater in a longer path across the septic tank (down, across, up) so that it has more time to separate.
Materials for septic baffle
Some septic baffles are made of concrete, while others, particularly newer models, are made of plastics. Plastic lasts longer than concrete, especially at the outlet side, so if you're replacing a baffle, your contractor may advise you to go with a plastic one.
An effluent filter is often placed inside the outlet baffle to make it even more effective at keeping solids out of the leach field. If yours does not have an effluent filter, you could have one installed by a septic contractor. The effluent filter will then need to be replaced on a regular basis, but this is a small price to pay for not having to replace your leach field.
Malfunctions of the septic baffle
Because of the long exposure to the corrosive gases that accumulate within the tank, concrete baffles, particularly at the outlet baffles, tend to crumble after a certain number of years. If your tank has concrete baffles, you should have them inspected for soundness every time it is pumped out. If your baffle collapses a few months after pumping, you'll have to pay for another pumping because the baffle should only be replaced when the tank is completely empty.
Clogged outlet baffles or outlet baffle filters, leaks around the baffle-to-tank join, and inlet baffle blockages are some other baffle issues. These blockages can occur when flushing wipes or solids down the toilet, or if the inlet pipe is installed incorrectly.
Is it possible to repair a septic tank baffle that has been damaged?
Septic tank repairs can be difficult, and baffles are no exception, as they are frequently an integral part of the tank itself. Unfortunately, once the baffle is damaged, the septic tank must often be replaced.
The damage to the soak away is also a problem, and soak away repairs are frequently difficult. This is because when the wrong stuff gets into the soak away because the baffle is no longer doing its job, it plugs up all the holes and perforations and pollutes the sub-soils. When tree roots enter through the inlet pipe or around the baffle, they can cause baffle blockages too.