How Does a Septic Tank Work?

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If you own a septic tank system or install it in your home, it is advisable to learn more about its elements and how it works.

The septic system consists of three components: septic tank, drain field, and soil. The first stop of the wastewater is the septic tank which is crucial for wastewater treatment. That is why in this article, we will talk about what the septic tank is and how it works.

What is a septic tank?

The septic tank is used as primary treatment in isolated households, rural areas, or sites where the soil is unsuitable for installing sewers. It is built where a constant water supply is available as the primary purpose is to treat domestic wastewater and digest settled sludge partially.

The septic tank is a chamber located underground. It is made of fiberglass, concrete, or plastic. Its design is relatively simple, having compartments and a T-shaped outlet, thanks to which it prevents the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drain field area.

The underground septic tank allows the safe disposal of wastewater in places with no sewers. It is essential to know that different types of septic tank systems are used in many regions of the United States.

How does а septic tank work?

When we talk about how the septic tank works, we need to tell it is connected with inlet and outlet pipes. 

When water wastes leave your home, they are transported through the inlet pipe into the septic tank. At this point, the water waste treatment begins with the help of beneficial bacteria that play a crucial role during the entire process.

In the septic tank, the water waste is separated into three main layers:

  • scum
  • effluent
  • sludge

The scum is the top and thinnest layer in the septic tank. It is formed from fats and oils. The effluent is the next middle layer, which is also the thickest. It contains wastewater along with waste particles. 

And the third and bottom layer is the sludge. This layer contains particles that are heavier than water.

The bacteria that we mentioned break down the solid waste to allow the liquid to separate and drain away easily. 

When all the processes in the septic tank are finished, the effluent is directed to the drainage field through the outlet pipe, where water treatment and purification of harmful coliform bacteria continue.

The sludge remains at the bottom of the septic tank, so you must remove it periodically. Proper operation of the septic tank is essential. 

If it is not working properly and you do not provide the necessary maintenance, the whole system will not cope with all the processes. And this inevitably leads to adverse effects on your health and the environment.

What Happens to Waste In a Tank?

As we described above, all solids settle to the bottom of the septic tank. Over time this sludge becomes thicker and thicker, so it must be removed regularly. On the other hand, the liquid wastewater exits the septic tank and is directed to an unsaturated soil known as a drain field.

The soil accepts and treats the wastewater as it percolates through the soil, discharging to groundwater. The soil naturally removes all harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients.

Every part of the process is essential for proper water treatment. When the system, particularly the septic tank, is not working properly, this whole process cannot occur, leading to contamination of rivers, lakes, groundwater, etc.

Septic Tank Pumping

As it is clear, the wastewater contains hazardous bacteria and viruses that are very dangerous to your health. Along with this, they also adversely affect the environment and can lead to global pollution. 

It is essential to inspect and pump the septic tank regularly. As a homeowner, you’re responsible for pumping, maintaining, and repairing your septic tank.

Septic Tank Pumping is one of the primary and most essential processes in septic tank maintenance. During the procedure, the liquid and some solids are removed. 

The septic tank pumping is a key process, and therefore it should be done by highly qualified professionals who have the necessary equipment. In this regard, it is essential to pay special attention to the company you choose.

Septic Tank Maintenance

Maintenance is one of the most important things for the septic tank and the entire system. The overall care includes several main processes: inspection, pumping, cleaning, and repair. 

The first step to proper maintenance is inspection. A professional company should inspect the septic tank and assess the condition of the septic system. In this regard, the professionals can find a problem that you didn’t even know about.

On the other hand, septic tank pumping and cleaning are integral parts of system maintenance. Every septic system owner is responsible for regular pumping and cleaning the septic tank. It is how can ensure proper system operation.

Since installing and replacing a septic system is an expensive service, proper maintenance is a key step to keeping your system healthy. 

The more regular you maintain your septic system, the longer it will last. In addition, it will save you a lot of expense. The primary purpose of maintenance is to remove solids and prevent groundwater contamination.

Why is regular maintenance crucial? 

Below we share a few important reasons:

  • Environmental care– Irregular pumping, cleaning, and inspection of septic tanks leads to pollution of lakes, rivers, vegetation, and destruction of entire ecosystems. It leads to severe environmental consequences;
  • Take care of your health and the health of other citizens – there are many harmful bacteria and viruses in wastewater that cause various infections. The septic system aims to purify the water by destroying these harmful bacteria and viruses. A malfunctioning septic tank leads to contamination of drinking water and diseases in both humans and animals;
  • Save money – certainly, septic tank maintenance is an investment, but it is the cheapest option instead of replacing the septic system.

In conclusion, we want to say that when you inform yourself about everything related to the septic tank, you will be much more prepared and know how to take care of it so that it functions properly.