How Does A Septic Tank Work?

How Does A Septic Tank Work

If you’ve never had a home with a septic tank before, you may not fully understand how it works. Even if every house you’ve lived in has had one, it may still not be clear. Unfortunately, if you don’t know how your septic tank works, it can be difficult to tell when it’s not working. That may mean you don’t do a search for “septic service near me” when you need to, and your home may become flooded with sewage. Let’s take a look at the basics of a septic tank and how it works.

Waste Exits Your Home

Before your septic tank can do its job, the waste from your home has to get to it. All of the drainpipes from your kitchen, bathrooms, and other places where you have drains connect to a central pipe. This pipe then connects to the septic tank. In some cases, there’s a pump that helps move the waste through the pipe to the septic tank. In other cases, the pipe is angled so that gravity does the work.

The Septic Tank Breaks Down Waste

When waste reaches the septic tank, it will be broken down. First, the solid waste settles on the bottom. This waste forms a sludge. Certain bacteria then begin to break this sludge down so it can be removed. Above this sludge is a layer made up of oil, grease, and other heavy liquids. Both this scum and the sludge beneath it cannot exit the septic tank. Over time, despite the work of the bacteria, the sludge and scum will build up. When that occurs, you will need to have the tank professionally pumped to remove it.

Wastewater Exits the Tank

However, there is a top layer in the septic tank: the wastewater or effluent. This includes the water you used when showering, flushing the toilet, and cooking. It’s not as contaminated as other waste and can be used to hydrate the soil. This wastewater can exit the tank through a series of drainage pipes. These pipes lead out into a drainage field. The soil in this field removes the bacteria from the water through a natural filtration process. The water then nourishes any plants growing in the soil. Over time, this purified water will be discharged to the groundwater.

The Drainage Field Can Tell You a lot About Your Septic Tank

Some people are concerned that the drainage field will always be damp or that sewage will rise up to the surface. This will not happen as long as your septic tank is functioning correctly. If the tank is too full, the drainage pipes can get blocked, which usually results in a backup in the house. It’s also possible for the drainage field to be overloaded with water if you suddenly increase your water usage by a very large amount. When that occurs, the field can flood. When you notice damp ground that was not caused by rain or other factors, it could be a sign that your septic tank needs repairs.

Another sign that can indicate your septic tank is malfunctioning is the grass in the drainage field. If you see grass that is green but has a spongy feel to it when you walk, it’s a sign that the tank isn’t functioning as it should. This is especially true if you see this type of grass during dry periods when most of the other grass and plants are wilted. It may be time to call on septic tank services for maintenance service of your septic system.

Call in the Professionals

If you’ve seen signs that may indicate your septic tank needs repairs, it’s time to call in the professionals. Septic Masters, LLC, is here to solve all of your septic tank problems. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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