The Skinny on Septic Tank Systems. Here’s Everything You Wanted to Know


The Skinny on Septic Tank Systems. Here’s Everything You Wanted to Know

Owners of septic tank systems are responsible for their care and overall health. Even though the system is out of sight, out of mind, paying attention to its condition, scheduling regular maintenance, and knowing problems signs to look for can help extend its life span and ensure your septic tank works reliably and safely. Find out how septic tanks work by learning about their primary components and processes.

The Parts

Every septic system consists of four general parts:

  1. A pipe extending from the home that shuttles waste.
  2. A tank.
  3. A drainfield.
  4. The soil.

Each component plays a vital role in effectively digesting and removing wastewater contaminants from the discharge, so that the harmful substances never contaminate groundwater.

The Process

Let’s take a closer look at how septic tank systems effectively deal with waste.

  • The waste from your home’s toilets, dishwasher, clothes washer, showers, and sinks run into a central pipe that’s connected to the septic tank.
  • The wastewater from the home is deposited into the septic tank, buried deep underground in a tank that’s sealed tightly, where the solid masses settle. As they settle, they begin the decomposition process. The sludge (solids that settle) and the scum rises to the top both remain in the tank, prevented from reaching the drainfield. In the middle lies the wastewater, which exits via the tank’s outlet pipe.
  • As the wastewater exits the tank, it moves toward the drainfield, where it’s discharged. The soil plays an important role at this point in further digesting contaminants. Before the wastewater settles deeper into the ground, and mixes with groundwater, the drainfield allows for proper decomposition of the bacteria in the wastewater.

This tried-and-true process works for dealing with wastewater, as long as the septic system is in good condition. Regular maintenance is required to keep it working well, and without fail. Regular maintenance should be done every three to five years depending on your amount of water usage. Some of the tasks a septic tank professional will perform during maintenance include:

  • Pumping the tank to remove sludge and scum.
  • Checking the system for leaks.
  • Inspecting the system’s mechanical parts.
  • Checking the condition of the drainfield.

Homeowners can keep their septic systems in good condition by:

  • Using water conscientiously. Overloading the tank with water can disrupt the delicate balance required to effectively treat wastewater.
  • Never flushing inappropriate items down the toilet that will clog the septic tank.
  • Installing high-efficiency appliances when possible to limit water usage.

Septic tank systems are complex but simple devices designed to safely and efficiently deal with waste. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

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