A Pressure Differential Is Created When Fluid Flow Is Septic Tanks and Cistern Tanks – What’s The Difference?

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Septic Tanks and Cistern Tanks – What’s The Difference?

Are you confused about what a below ground septic and cistern tank is? Let’s help explain what the two are and some frequently asked questions about them.

Cistern tanks These tanks are designed to store underground potable (drinking) water. The resins used are FDA approved for contact with products intended for human consumption, not septic tanks. They are even heavier duty than septic tanks, meaning they can be filled and emptied regularly without concern for sidewall integrity. Tanks can also catch and store rainwater.

Underground septic tanks These tanks are designed for human waste, black water and gray water. Typically, a bio-additive is added to the tank which consumes the waste and the by-product is inactive. French drains (pipes with holes in them) are connected to the tank and the clear heavy liquid is released over a large surface and absorbed by the soil. The nutrients in the discharge are actually beneficial to the plant life in the area. They are available as one and two-compartment models. Peabody Engineering recommends that you check with your individual state regulations to see which model works for your area. Typically 750 gallons or larger, these tanks are usually pre-plumbed.

Key Differences Between Septic and Cistern Septic tanks are designed to remain full at all times. Cistern tanks can be used as septic tanks, but septic tanks should not be used as tanks.

Can I use my septic or cistern above ground? No. Below ground tanks are designed for direct burial only. Other tank options are available if you need an above ground tank, including holding tanks designed to slide under mobile office trailers.

How deep can these tanks be buried? Peabody Engineering recommends that you bury them no deeper than 24″. Common manhole extensions are between 15″ and 24″ long to allow access to your tank without digging a hole in the ground to get them through.

Do I need to fill the tank with water during burial? With standard duty septic tanks (yellow), the answer is yes. This helps stabilize the tank and prevent it from moving during backfill and equalizes the pressure inside and outside the tank so it doesn’t distort during installation. Backfilling with a bruiser (overweight septic tank) or filling the tank with water is recommended but not required.

How big of a septic or cistern tank do I need for my home? The proper size of a septic or septic tank depends on several factors. For septic tanks, the average wastewater flow is the most important consideration. Most states require a minimum septic capacity of 1000 gallons. For tank sizing, you need to determine your household water usage. A good website to research which size is best for you can be found at http://www.inspect-ny.com/septbook.htm. For tank sizing, consider the Household Water Use Calculator at http://apps.auroragov.org/WaterConservationCalculator/Default.aspx

Which septic and cistern tanks are legal in my state/province? Tanks are recognized from coast to coast and even in some international locations.

    Ideal for:

    • Rural locations Vacation homes
    • Campgrounds
    • Resorts
    • construction sites.

    The tanks are FDA approved for safe drinking water storage and will not add taste or odor to your water storage. They comply with FDA regulation 21CFR 177.150(c) 3.1 and 3.2. Septic tanks are IAPMO and CSA approved. If you need help finding which tank is approved for your state, Peabody Engineering has a list of these tank model numbers, and we’ll be happy to assist you with that information.

    We have more information on above ground septic and cistern tanks below if you need more help.

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