Septic System Basics

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Does your property have a septic tank system and or drain field? If it does, it is very important that you understand your septic system and know how to maintain the system and to solve a problem if one should occur. Let’s just say that your whole system needs to be restored or replaced and the drain field appears to be shot and just worn out, that could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs! Obviously, you can see how vital it is to keep your septic tank system in tip top shape. This article will go over and cover some of the components of a septic tank system and how to take care of it.

A typical septic tank system is comprised of four notable components. The first is the pipe that starts in your home and extends to the septic tank. This is the exit flow pipe or tube from the house to the septic tank. The septic tank is a key component where the decomposition and digestion takes place. The septic tank typically is comprises of a circular tank with a lid and a top with access covers. The tank will usually be partitioned into two sections. The first section of the tank is the solids section and the second section of the tank is the effluent side of the tank. Effluent liquid is waste that has been processed and ready to be sent out to the drain field for absorption into the ground or the lateral drain field lines. Next, you have the drain field which can be a messy place if there is a bio mat buildup where the drain field clogs and flooding will occurs. Then there is the soil surrounding your home and the drain field. Many people get nervous that the soil around their septic system and drinking water could be polluted due to waste water leaching into the system seeping into the fresh water well. Good bacteria present in the soil will aid in the digestion of waste water so it does not contaminate the soil or drinking water.

The PVC or black perforated pipe that begins in your home will transfers all the waste water produced in your home down to the septic tank system. Septic tanks are made from different substances, one such material is fiberglass and another may be concrete. Water cannot penetrate a solid septic tank and they are located below the ground. Some of the more modern septic systems have manhole covers that allow you or a professional to check and pump your tank with ease. Some of the older styles had to be modified.

Essentially, septic tanks provide an ideal environment for solid wastes to separate from waste water or effluent. Some of the newer styles are equipped with a screen or filter affixed to the septic tank exit line. These things do not allow solids to pass through the system into the drain field. To maintain an efficient septic system you should have it pumped on a regular basis. This can be once a year, or every three years, it depends on the use of your septic tank system.

What is the drain field? Is comprised of lateral perforated drain lines that carry the effluent or treated waste water out to the drain fields where the leaching takes place and the treated water drains into the ground. Typically a drain field system will make up approximately 200- 500 feet of lateral line. Some systems are more complex and are equipped with lift stations that carry the treated effluent up to higher levels were the drain fields are located.

Why is soil a vital component in a septic system? It is so important because the soil is the component that kills off harmful disease spreading pathogens. The good bacteria found in the soil digests all the bad bacteria, including those which cause odor. This is why your water supply will not be polluted.

Taking care of your septic tank system really isn’t all that hard. Be mindful of what you put into your septic system and have it pumped on a regular basis. Also, adding natural bacteria producing supplements into your septic system will help foster a healthy septic environment rendering you years with a maintenance free septic system.

By: Bradley Skierkowski