On many occasions, homeowners are faced with situations like a bad smell in the kitchen sinks, toilets, bathrooms and hand basins, slow water drainage and blockage. When such things happen, we rush to blame the property owners or constructors. Little do we know that as property users, we have a role to play towards the proper functioning of the drainage system. However, this starts with knowing how the system works.
What is Drainage?
When we flush after using urinals and toilets, black water is generated whereas grey water is generated when we bathe/shower, wash utensils, clothes (even with a machine), clean floors and collect storm water. Grey and black water are directed out of the building using separate pipes to the ducts.
Where Does the Water Go?
A duct is a small extension of a building meant to enclose all the drainage and vent pipes. Both types of water are channelled into separate manholes. Black water is either carried to the septic tank or the bio-digester. A septic tank is a chamber dug under the ground and constructed into three watertight compartments. Black water goes through all the three compartments and settlement of the solid particles takes place, forming sludge while the remaining water is discharged to the soak pit. A soak pit is a medium-sized pit that is also dug under the ground and filled with stone, starting with the biggest and ending with the smallest on top. The pit is then covered with a polythene paper and backfilled with soil. When clear water comes from the septic tank, it percolates through the stones and gets absorbed by the soil.
A bio digester can be purchased or constructed on site and micro-organisms are introduced into it. These micro-organisms break down the faecal matter from the toilet through anaerobic digestion process, leaving water that is then channelled to the soak pit.
Grey water on the other hand is directed to a separate soak pit through a grease trap. The grease trap is purposely made to trap the fog inform of oils, fats, other solid particles that come from the kitchen sinks and showers. Water in the soak pit is also absorbed by soil and this marks the final stage of the drainage system.
What Can You Do To Ensure Proper Drainage?
To avoid unnecessary cost, penalties, drainage system blockage, tedious cleaning and foul smell in our homes, the following should be adhered to for proper functioning of the drainage system.
- Never flush things which cannot easily decompose like pampers, plastic bags, clothes, bottles, sanitary towels, and plastics as these will cause blockage in the drainage system
- Do not use hard paper in a toilet, but rather use toilet paper only. Once a roll of a toilet paper is used up, do not flush its cardboard role since it can potentially cause blockage.
- With bio digester usage, never flush food leftovers in toilets as the oils and spices used in cooking can kill the micro-organisms, affecting the functionality of the bio digester.
- Never remove the sieves that come with the sinks to enable them to trap the solid particles and allow only plain water to be drained down.
- Always inspect, clean and maintain the grease trap to avoid blockage in the drainage system.
- Avoid cleaning with plain water, but rather purchase the cleaning chemicals available in the market and use them in cleaning.
- Remember to buy more micro-organisms and add into the bio-digester for better functioning, usually every six months, depending on its usage.
- Empty the sludge from the septic tank on an average of every 2-3 years depending on its usage.