Septic Tank Terms Homeowners Should Know


Septic Tank Terms Homeowners Should Know

If you think there’s a problem with your septic tank, don’t fear calling the plumber for help just because you’re a novice. Learn the septic tank terms that will help you naturally converse with the plumber, explain the problems you’re noticing, and reach a solution.

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Septic tanks are pretty straightforward systems, consisting of a large holding tank and a drainfield. Within these two basic components, however, are several intricate parts that help the septic tank operate well. Here are some of the septic tank terms you need to know:

  • Baffles. Inside the septic tank, there are baffles or partitions that help lower the amount of turbulence incoming wastewater creates at the inlet. The partitions also help prevent scum from flowing over the outlet pipe.
  • Aeration chambers. Some septic tanks employ concrete or plastic chambers in lieu of a crushed stone. With chambers forming the foundation of the leach field or drainfield, it’s possible to drive over the fields without damaging them.
  • Leach bed. A system for leaching wastewater back into the ground, the leach bed normally employs crushed stone and uses perforated pipes to release the effluent over the entire area as evenly as possible.
  • Cleanout. A plug that can be removed in a sewer line, this is an area where the plumbing can insert a snake to get to a blockage.
  • Effluent. Once large solid pieces of waste have been separated from the wastewater, effluent is the leftover liquid that’s released from the septic tank.
  • Distribution box. This box rests underneath the leach field to release effluent throughout the field.
  • Pump. This component is separate from the tank and holds the effluent that’s released from the septic tank. Gravity carries the effluent into the pump, which then forces the liquid into the leaching field.
  • Alternating leach field. Some systems may have one or two (or possibly more) fields that are used as drainfields. With the ability to divert effluent to an alternate field, you can give the primary field a rest. Most of these systems use a manual diverter valve that allows you to choose which field to use. The valve is located near the septic tank.

With basic knowledge of the septic system, you can use these septic tank terms the next time you suspect something has gone wrong. Some of the components, like the pump, have alarms that help the plumber know when a component has failed or tank levels get too high. Don’t ignore septic problems. Better yet, ensure annual maintenance for your system. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

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