How Septic Tank Baseline Samples Were Obtained
There are two ways to obtain a sample from the septic tank. The preferred method is to use a Sludge Judge. This unique device obtains a liquid sample as it is immersed. There is a check valve at the end of the sampler that holds the sample when the probe is raised. The sample is released by depressing the check valve button into the bottom of a suitable sample container. We found the easiest and most desired location for obtaining a septic tank liquid sample is to insert the sampler tube down through the tank outlet and clean-out the inspection pipe.
On septic tanks that are newer systems, the inspection pipe is seen as a 4″ PVC cap at grade level. If there are two caps, it would be the cap furthermost from the house. The sample that is obtained through the inspection pipe is very indicative of the effluent leaving the tank. Alternately, without an inspection pipe, the septic manway must be opened to obtain a sample. In using the Sludge Judge, care was taken that the sample did not contain scum or cap and that the sampled is taken about 10 inches from the top of the liquid level.
This improved the chances of obtaining a clarified sample. The tank sample was taken only when wastewater was not being discharged into the tank – less disturbance resulted in less Total Suspended Solids (TSS).