A New Homeowner's Introduction To A Septic System


If you are buying or are thinking about buying a home with a septic system, it's important to have some knowledge of the way your septic system works and how you can prevent clogs, backups and septic damage. This FAQ is designed to answer some of your basic questions and give you an idea of what you can expect from your new septic system.

Q: What is a septic tank?

A: Your new septic tank is part of an underground water treatment system that cleans and recycles your home's wastewater.

Q: How does the septic tank work?

A: The toilets and drains in your home all lead to the tank, which is likely buried somewhere in your yard. Inside the tank, the wastewater from your home separates into three layers: sludge, effluent and scum. Sludge is the layer of solids that settles to the bottom of the tank. Scum is the layer of fats and grease near the top of the tank. The remaining liquid in the middle is the effluent. Effluent drains from the tank into the drainfield. Once in the drainfield, water soaks into the ground. As it filters through the soil, bacteria and viruses are filtered from the water. By the time water reaches the ground water below, it is clean.

Q: I'm used to living in a house with a sewer system. Will I notice a difference between the sewer system and the septic system?

A: Although sewer systems and septic systems function somewhat differently, the day-to-day use is similar. For example, you will not be able to tell just by flushing the toilet that the water is going somewhere other than a sewer.

Like with sewer systems, you must protect your septic tank by limiting the solid waste that you flush down your drains. Reducing the amount of grease and fats that move through your pipes will prevent backups and clogs in the drainfield and the septic tank.

Septic tanks are different from sewer systems in that they rely on a delicate balance in order to function. Whenever water enters the septic tank, old water is pushed out into the drainfield. The longer that the water sits inside the tank and settles, the cleaner the water will be when it enters the drainfield. This reduces pressure on the drainfield and keeps the system running smoothly. In other words, you can actually improve your septic system's performance by reducing the water waste produced in your home.

In addition to this difference, septic tanks are also different from sewer lines in that they require regular pumping.

Q: What is septic pumping?

A: Septic pumping is the removal of the solid waste from the septic tank. This is done on a regular basis to ensure that the solids from the tank do not enter the drainfield, thereby causing a clog.

Q: How often is septic pumping required?

A: This really depends on a number of factors, including how many people are in your household, how much water your home uses and how big your septic tank is. Some homes only pump their septic tanks every 2–3 years, while others pump theirs annually. For more information, you can speak to a septic tank pumping service like Lemeta Pumping & Thawing.


16 June 2015

preventing septic tank overflows

Moving into the country was something that I had always dreamed of doing, but when it finally became a reality, I had to learn an important lesson the most difficult way. I found out that the big mound in my yard was a part of the septic system and when a septic system is not properly cared for, it can back up into your home. That was an incident that I never wanted to relive. After the days of cleanup were complete, I began learning everything that I could about maintaining my septic system. Go through my blog to learn what you need to do to ensure you don't have to go through the horrifying mess that I did.