Septic systems treat and disperse wastewater from homes and commercial buildings.
A typical septic tank system has four main components: a pipe from the home, a septic tank, a drain field, and the soil. Microbes in the soil digest and remove most contaminants from wastewater before it eventually reaches groundwater. The septic tank is a buried, watertight container typically made of concrete. It holds the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle out (forming sludge), and oil and grease to float to the surface (as scum). It also allows partial decomposition of the solid materials. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet in the septic tank prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drain field area. The wastewater exits the septic tank and is discharged into the drain field for further treatment by the soil. Micro-organisms in the soil provide final treatment by removing harmful bacteria, viruses and nutrients.
How do I maintain my septic system?
- Inspect it at least every three years by a professional
- Flush responsibly
- Have your tank pumped as necessary (generally every three to five years)
- Plant only grass over and near your septic system
- Don’t drive or park vehicles on any part of your septic system
- Flooding the drain field with excessive water slows down or stops treatment processes and can cause plumbing fixtures to back up
Having your septic system inspected (at least every three years) is a bargain when you consider the cost of replacing the entire system.