How to Build a Septic Tank Baffle

PVC pipe
PVC pipe (Image: te en PVC 45° image by Marie-Thérèse GUIHAL from Fotolia.com)

A baffle is a vital part of your septic tank, preventing solid waste from entering the field lines and also from backing up into the house drain. If the baffle has been damaged, knocked off or has rusted out, it must be replaced or repaired. A plumber can knock off a baffle by using a drain router to unclog a pipe. The router strikes the baffle and it falls into the septic tank without anyone knowing it until a problem develops.

Things You'll Need

  • PVC pipe cleaner
  • PVC pipe cement
  • PVC tee joint
  • PVC pipe (6 feet)
  • PVC grate insert
  • Hacksaw
  • Tape measure
  • PVC pipe coupler (2)

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Cut a section of PVC pipe approximately 24 inches long. The pipe will normally need to be 4 inches in diameter but should match the drain line coming from your home (usually 4 inches). This section of pipe will connect to the drain line and then extend into the septic tank. (This is on the inlet side of the tank.) Clean one end of the pipe with the pipe cleaner and then apply glue and secure the pipe coupler to the pipe.

Clean the other end of the pipe as well as the center hole on the tee fitting. Apply ample glue to the pipe and insert it into the tee fitting. As the pipe slides into the fitting, twist it slightly to help evenly spread the glue. Hole the pipe in place for several seconds to allow the glue to dry slightly.

Cut another section of PVC pipe. This section will extend down from the tee fitting into the septic tank and must be long enough to pass through the surface sludge in the tank, which is generally no more than 6 inches thick. The pipe needs to extend down approximately 12 inches past the sludge. For safety, cut this section 24 inches in length. By extending below the sludge the baffle prevents the sludge from entering either the field lines or backing up into the house drain. This will help prolong the life of your system and reduce costly maintenance.

Clean one end of the pipe and apply the PC cement. Slide the pipe into one of the two openings on the tee fitting. Once again twist the pipe slightly and hold it in place until the glue has had time to set up slightly.

Cut a final piece of PVC pipe approximately 6 inches in length. Clean both ends of the pipe with the pipe cleaner and then apply pipe cement to one end only. Slide this end into the final opening in the tee fitting. Twist it slightly and hold it in place for a few seconds.

Clean the second pipe coupler and then apply cement to the end of the short pipe you just installed. Slide the coupler onto the pipe and hold it in place for a few seconds. Apply additional glue to the inside of the coupler and then push the grate insert into the coupler. Allow all fittings to dry completely before installing.

References

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