How is the Topop septic tank serviced in winter

Nikolay Fedorenko
Checked by a specialist: Nikolay Fedorenko
Author: Elena Pykhteeva
Last update: September 2019

Winter is an unpredictable and sometimes merciless time for communications, in particular, for autonomous sewage. Even before the onset of cold weather, it is necessary to study the features of the equipment in such conditions.

As an illustrative example, we can consider the maintenance of the Topas septic tank in the winter, as well as the procedure for its conservation and de-preservation, if housing is used only in the summer.

Features of winter operation of septic tanks

Septic tank - a power-independent treatment facility for autonomous sewage. It allows you to reliably and safely dispose of a significant part of the waste of human life. Devices of this type are usually divided into three to four sections, each of which performs certain functions.

Sewage flows into the septic tank, if necessary, is saturated with oxygen, processed by microorganisms and decomposed into relatively clean water and neutral sludge.

The sludge settles down, the water is discharged into the soil or into the reservoir, from where it is then taken to meet the technical needs of the site, most often for irrigation.

For servicing systems of this type, separate mechanisms and elements are installed in the tank. These are airlifts, pumps for moving wastewater between separate sections of a septic tank, a pump for pumping accumulated sludge, sensors for filling the tanks, filters, etc.

The main “employees” of the device are aerobic and / or anaerobic bacteria. The former can work without problems in the absence of oxygen, the latter free access to oxygen is extremely necessary.

Although leaflets claim that servicing septic tanks is not expensive, in practice you should not leave such a system without regular supervision and maintenance. Attentive attitude to the condition of the cleaning point many times reduces the number of equipment breakdowns and extends its life.

The main factor influencing the operation of the septic tank in the winter is low air temperature and freezing of the soil surrounding the tank.

It should immediately be noted that if the septic tank is correctly selected and correctly installedthen the cold will not adversely affect his work. In some cases, experts still recommend insulating the outer cover of the septic tank to protect the drains from possible freezing.

Septic Tapas in winter
Septic tank “Topop” is a type of autonomous sewage system designed for operation both in summer and in winter. Depending on the conditions, special preparation for winter may be required.

As you know, water turning into ice tends to expand. Freezing drains can lead to deformation of the equipment or serious damage to it.

In the process of warming, it is necessary to take care of the conditions for the existence of bacteria that work inside the septic tank. It should be possible to ventilate those septic tanks in which aerobic microorganisms are used to process waste.

The active activity of bacteria inside the septic tank serves as additional protection against freezing of the device. In the process, microorganisms produce a certain amount of heat, so the contents of a septic tank usually have a temperature well above zero.

If the normal maintenance of the autonomous sewage system is performed correctly, in the winter it will most likely not cause problems.

Specificity of the device of septic tanks “Tokas”

Most often, septic tanks of the “Topas-5” or “Topas-8” type are used to service a private house. The performance of these devices is designed to regularly service the needs of a family of five or eight people, respectively.

Beyond Performance Septic tank "Topas" may vary by modification. However, maintenance of an autonomous sewage system of this type does not have big differences, and their device is largely similar.

The device of the septic tank Topas
The scheme presents in detail the device of autonomous sewage Topas and its components and mechanisms that need regular maintenance are indicated

Septic tank Topas have four working chambers. The first chamber is a receiver in which primary treatment of effluents by anaerobic bacteria is carried out. The incoming masses are filtered to remove inclusions not suitable for bacterial processing.

In the second compartment, the drains are saturated with air using an aerator.This makes the environment more favorable for the life of aerobic microorganisms.

Aeration also helps to separate solid contaminants from the bulk of the waste, which must be removed immediately. Saturated with air and already partially treated effluents with the help of airlift are moved to the third chamber. This chamber usually has a pyramidal shape and acts as a settler.

In the secondary settling chamber, the waste masses are separated, as a result of which the activated sludge is separated from the liquid component of the treated sewer masses.

The device of the septic tank Topop in terms of
The Septic with the Topas logo consists of four interconnected compartments: a receiving chamber, an aeration tank, a secondary settling tank and an activated sludge stabilizer. After multi-stage cleaning in each chamber, the liquid component of the effluent can be discharged into the soil aftertreatment system, into the gutter, or used to irrigate green spaces (+)

Then the waste is transferred to the fourth compartment of the septic tank, where the fermentation process continues, although not so intensively. Here, the sludge settles to the bottom, and the water after settling is transferred to the reservoir. Sometimes the chamber of the secondary sump also has the form of a pyramid to create favorable conditions for the precipitation of neutral sludge.

From this last chamber, water enters the soil tertiary treatment device. At this stage, the effluent passes through the filtering meter layer in the absorption well or through the system perforated drainage pipes with geotextile sheath.

If the geological section of the site is represented by water-repellent rocks, no additional treatment is carried out, and the effluents are discharged into the gutter or into the centralized sewage network.

Saturation of the waste mass with oxygen oxidizing it is provided by two compressors that are installed inside the device. There are also airlifts, filters, etc. Installations with forced waste pumping are equipped with one or more pumps to stimulate the movement of the processed mass.

Technical devices require power, and mechanical devices need regular maintenance. For example, nozzles and airlifts should be periodically cleaned or replaced, and compressors and pumps repaired.

Information about the device of the “Topas” septic tank is needed not only for the proper operation and maintenance of the cleaning point. It is necessary to know the design features in case of system failure in order to quickly produce affordable repairif it is impossible to quickly deliver the staff of the service company.

How to service "Topas" in the winter?

In winter, “Topas” septic tanks work with approximately the same efficiency as in summer. However, in regions with an average thermometer reading below - 20º in the winter months, the structure should be insulated to the depth of seasonal freezing in the region. It is necessary to equip the insulation with a cover in any case.

If the thermometer does not show below - 20º, and at least 20% of water with household pollution comes to the station for processing, measures to warm the skeptic for the winter can be omitted.

The most sensitive to low temperature devices inside the device are compressors and a pump, if used. Noticeable cooling of the air surrounding them can cause overloading of the devices and even their breakdown.

If winter operation is expected, then with a thermometer below - 15º, do not open the cover of the device without urgent need.

Serving Septic Tank Topas
Even before the onset of cold weather, it is recommended to perform a full range of maintenance of the Topas septic tank: pump out sludge, clean filters, flush the device, etc.

If the average temperature in the winter months varies in the range - 5º (-10º), there is no need for a thermal insulation of the case.

The container is made of durable polypropylene, and this material has a reduced ability to transfer heat.This allows you to keep the temperature inside the septic tank almost unchanged even when small frosts occur.

Warming septic tank Topas
Additional external insulation of the lid of the septic tank “Topas” can be done using modern heat-insulating materials or a large amount of rags, but be sure to take care of the ventilation of the sewer

Inside the septic tank itself has its own source of thermal energy. These are aerobic bacteria that actively generate heat during waste processing, as mentioned earlier.

In addition, the septic tank lid is additionally insulated extruded polystyrene foam - reliable and modern insulating material. Therefore, “Topas” usually does not require special preparation for winter, and its maintenance is performed in the same way as in the warmer months.

Neutral silt in the septic tank Topas
At the bottom of the “Topas” septic tank, so-called neutral sludge accumulates, which is recommended to be pumped out every three months. This procedure must also be performed before preserving the device and when preparing for winter

However, in areas with a harsh climate, or if there is a possibility of septic tank freezing due to special operating conditions, it is still worth taking some additional measures to protect the device from frost. The selection of thermal insulation material is made in accordance with the real climatic conditions in a particular region.

Cover septic tank Topop
The cover of the “Topop” septic tank is protected from the cold by a layer of insulation, but additional external thermal insulation will not hinder during severe frosts

An important condition is good ventilation of the septic tank. The access of fresh air to the device must be constant, otherwise the aerobic bacteria inside will simply die. This situation is simply unacceptable, because if the fermentation process stops, an unpleasant smell will come from the device, serious pollution will have to be eliminated.

Another significant point in the winter is septic tank overflow. This should not be allowed, as this can cause damage to the mechanisms of the device. This situation is also dangerous in the summer, but it is much easier to repair a septic tank in the warm season than when it is frosty.

Flushing septic tank Topas
Regular washing of the septic tank “Topop” allows you to improve its performance. It is necessary when preparing the device for cold weather or before its conservation

In the first year of operation, the septic tank should be especially closely monitored for its operation. During the onset of severe cold weather, flaws made during installation and not previously detected may occur. Such damage should be repaired immediately so that the septic tank does not completely fail.

A lot of problems can arise as a result of the influence of external factors, for example, due to improper installation of the sewer pipe or in the absence of quality insulation. If the sewerage on the basis of the Topop septic tank is not being maintained, then it must be serviced at least every three months.

With details and septic tank service rules, operated in the winter, will familiarize you with the following article, which we recommend reading.

The nuances of conservation and de-preservation

If the septic tank "Topas" is supposed to be used seasonally, for example, from spring to autumn, then in winter the device should preserve properly. But if the sewage system is used in the winter at least once a month, it does not make sense to preserve it, standard measures for preparing for the winter are enough.

Preservation of septic tank Topas
If the “Topop” septic tank is cleaned and washed correctly before preservation, the water pumped into it will be much lighter than a regular mixture of water and neutral sludge

Perform preservation of the septic tank "Topas" as follows:

  1. Pump out the contents from each compartment of the septic tank.
  2. Wash the septic tank in accordance with the instructions.
  3. Flush pumps, airlifts, nozzles, and other equipment.
  4. Clear all filters.
  5. Fill the tank with water for approximately 80% of the total volume.
  6. Turn off the power supply.
  7. Compressors are dismantled and cleaned in a warm place.
  8. Close the lid of the septic tank and additionally insulate it.

Work on pumping out the contents of the septic tank is carried out in several stages. Each of the compartments of the septic tank is separately emptied and filled with clean water by 40% of its volume. Pumping with filling is carried out several times until clean water is pumped out of the chamber. In this way, each compartment is washed sequentially.

It is forbidden to empty two compartments at the same time, especially since this should not be done with all cameras. Pumping with washing should be started from the sump, then proceed to the aeration tank, then to the receiving chamber.

Do not completely drain the water from the septic tank if it is installed on a site with a high groundwater mirror. In the fall, it can come up. In winter, an empty casing will be squeezed out by freezing soils. Therefore, it is not left empty for the winter, but is filled with water about 1.8 m from the bottom of the septic tank.

Some inexperienced summer residents when preserving a septic tank simply drain all the liquid from it, acting by analogy with the preservation of the heating system. This is a completely wrong approach. A mixture of water and silt is the habitat of bacteria. The lack of water in the tank will lead to their death.

Pops septic tank Topas
Before the cold weather, the “Topas” septic tank should be filled with water for 70-80% of the working volume of the liquid. If this is not done, frozen soil can squeeze a light septic tank to the surface.

Before preserving, they rinse the air lifts with nozzles, turn off the power, remove the technical equipment and close the insulated cover for the winter. In this form, the structure must stand until the moment of re-conservation.

When re-preservation of the septic tank in the spring, this problem will manifest itself, you will have to carry out additional cleaning of the device, as well as re-populate it with microorganisms. It is not recommended to drain all the liquid from the septic tank because the pressure on the walls of an empty device is externally enough.

With the onset of spring, the septic tank "Topas" must be properly mothballed. If the device has wintered normally, then it will be quite simple to restore its functionality. First, remove the insulation layer from the lid and open it. Immediately you can inspect the internal elements of the device and evaluate their condition.

Compressors septic tank Topas
Inside the septic tank Topas there are two compressors. When mothballed, these devices are removed, and when mothballed, they are reinstalled

Then the removed compressors are installed in place, and the septic tank is supplied with power. Now you need to make sure that the fluid level corresponds to the condition recommended by the manufacturer. If necessary, the required amount of water is simply added to the device.

Now you can turn on the compressors and start the operation of the septic tank to make sure that all the nodes and mechanisms are working in normal mode. If necessary, flush immediately and replace the filters. The first few days after de-preservation, it is worthwhile to carefully monitor the operation of the septic tank, evaluate the smell of the obtained sludge and the purity of the outlet water.

If these indicators are not normal, you may need to adjust the composition of microorganisms. But if all the operations for preservation and re-preservation are performed correctly, then such a need does not arise, since the composition of bacteria for septic tanks resumes spontaneously.

General recommendations for use

Proper operation and regular maintenance of the Topas septic tank is the best way to avoid breakdowns and malfunctions of the device. To begin with, you should monitor the nature of the drains that enter the sewer system of the house.

For example, some cleaning agents, which contain aggressive components, can cause the death of microorganisms inside the septic tank.This also applies to substances such as gasoline, alkalis, acids, etc. These beneficial bacteria combine with fungal cultures just as badly.

Therefore, for disposal of moldy products, it is better to choose a different method. All non-degradable waste, such as pieces of plastic, plastic bags, cling film, should also not be sent to an autonomous bacterial cleaning station.

These agents will not harm microorganisms, but they can cause serious blockage of mechanisms and even their breakdown. To protect the septic tank from such contaminants, it is recommended to put special protective nets on all drains in the house. At least once a week, the level of wastewater in the septic tank should be checked to make sure that the device is not overfilled.

Such a check can be performed more often, especially after the re-preservation of the septic tank. Particularly noteworthy are situations when there is no power supply for some reason. In such cases, the number of effluents entering the sewer should be limited, since the probability of overflowing the tank is very high.

If the power supply is often absent or is turned off for a long period, it makes sense to take care of an alternative source of electrical energy. Checking the status of the coarse filters must be done monthly. If the filter is damaged or excessively dirty, it must be replaced to protect the system from clogging.

The septic tank is cleaned quarterly, i.e. every three months. This is a simple operation, you just need to pump out the sludge accumulated at the bottom of the septic tank. This mass can be used on the site as fertilizer. It is recommended to dispose of the waste bin that is not susceptible to bacteriological treatment every six months or more often.

Compressors have a membrane that wears out over time. Do not wait until the compressor breaks down. Two years after the septic tank is put into operation, it is recommended to replace the membranes with new elements. Such scheduled compressor repairs will have to be done every two years.

Replacements may also require aerators, which are equipped with a septic tank. The estimated service life of these elements varies from 12 to 15 years. The more often and thoroughly the maintenance of the Topas septic tank is carried out, the more stable its operation will be. If the situation has changed and the load on the sewer has increased, this is a good reason for an unscheduled check of the condition of the septic tank and its cleaning.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

General information about the preparation of autonomous sewer systems for the winter, as well as the procedure for their conservation, is contained in the following video:

The process of preservation of the septic tank “Topop” is shown in detail here:

This video focuses on common mistakes related to septic tank preservation:

Septic tanks “Tapas” are relatively easy to maintain both in summer and in winter. Regular maintenance, proper operation and additional insulation will allow this reliable and convenient autonomous sewage system to successfully endure the most severe colds.

Please write comments in the block below. We are interested in your experience in installing cleaning points for independent sewer systems and your opinion on the material presented. Ask questions, share useful information, post a photo on the topic of the article.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Michael

    I also have a septic tank in the country, we’ve been using it for two and a half years. Two winters have already passed, and every time my pump breaks. After the first winter, he insulated the lid, after the second, the pump again flew. Here it is correctly written - the pipe must also be insulated. This year he insulated the pipe, I hope that in the spring there will be no unpleasant surprises. No more global problems with the septic tank after the winter I had.

    • Alexander

      It is best to lay a heating cable in the pipe. It will also be useful to clean the septic tank before winter to avoid siltation.