How a Septic System Works:
In urban and suburban areas, there are sewers to carry household waste to municipal wastewater treatment plants. But in rural areas, the functions of sewers and treatment plants are fulfilled by each residence's own septic tank system.
All household drainage waste is disposed of through the septic system. The quantity and composition of waste generated in the home varies according to the number of residents, their personal water usage and the water-using appliances in the home.
Home Waste Percentages
Your septic system is actually a small, on-site sewage treatment and disposal system buried in the ground.
The system comprises two parts: The septic tank and the soil absorption area.
The Septic Tank
The modern septic tank is a watertight box divided into two compartments and usually made of pre-cast concrete, concrete blocks or plastic. When household waste drains into the box, several things take place.
- Organic solid material floats to the surface and forms a layer called the "crust". Bacteria
in the septic tank biologically convert this material to liquid.
- Inorganic or inert solid materials and the by-products of the bacterial digestion sink to
the bottom of the tank and form a layer called "sludge".
- Only fairly clear water should exist between the crust and sludge layers. This clear water -and only this clear water should overflow into the second compartment and then out to the soil absorption area.
Septic Tank Bacteria
Working Septic Tank Bacteria must be present in the septic tank to digest the organic solids.
Normal household waste provides enough bacteria to keep the digestive process working properly. A faulty system is the result of solid material overflowing into the second compartment.
It is the solids overflow that clogs soil pores and causes septic systems to fail. Two main factors cause solid material to build up to the point of overflow:
- Bacterial Deficiency
- Lack of Pumping
Septic System Soil Absorption Area
Septic field beds generally consist of a network of perforated pipes running through layers of sand and crushed stone. They may be constructed above or below ground. If solids are allowed to clog the pipe perforations or the sand, drainage will begin to slow and eventually stop.
Don't neglect your septic. Maintain your system.