Septic tanks are a common type of wastewater management system that is found in millions of homes across the world. They are a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and efficient way to manage domestic waste. The system is simple yet effective. As a homeowner, knowing how a septic tank works, its unique components, and potential problems is essential to its care and maintenance. Explore how septic tanks work and the various elements of the system, and offer tips on how to maintain your system to ensure that it keeps running efficiently.

What Is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is an underground wastewater treatment facility that collects, treats, and disposes of household wastewater and solids. This wastewater comes from your toilets, showers, sinks, and laundry. It essentially separates the wastewater into three layers. The top layer is known as scum, the middle layer is treated water, and the bottom layer contains sludge, which requires regular cleaning.

How Does a Septic Tank Work?

Septic tanks are quite simple. Wastewater from your home is directed via pipes to the tank. As the wastewater enters the tank, it separates into three different layers. The lighter solids, such as oil and grease, float to the surface and form the scum layer. The heavier solids, mainly organic waste, such as food particles and human waste, sink to the bottom of the tank. In between, there is the effluent layer, which is the treated water that is pumped into the drainage field. The bacteria in your septic tank work to break down the solids and convert them into natural gas and liquids. It’s this treated effluent layer that enters the drainage field.

Components of a Septic Tank System

There are various components of a septic tank system: the septic tank itself, the drainage field, and connecting pipes. Septic tanks come in varying sizes and shapes, ranging from traditional concrete to plastic polyethylene. The drainage field is essentially a system of pipes and trenches that spread the treated effluent over a large area with permeable soil. Connecting pipes move wastewater to and from the septic tank and the drainage field. These pipes should be buried a few feet underground to prevent freezing.

Septic Tank Maintenance

Maintaining your septic tank is crucial to its continued efficiency and longevity. The tank requires regular maintenance and pumping to ensure that the solid buildup at the bottom does not overflow into the drainage field. Regular pumping and maintenance are the best way to prevent costly repairs or replacements, which, if neglected, can be extremely expensive. Pump intervals vary depending on the tank size, the number of people in the household, and the volume of water utilized.

For more information about installation a septic system for your home, reach out to a local service.