Septic Systems 101: How Septic Tanks Work

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You may have heard of septic systems before, but do you know what they are or what they do? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Many people rely on their city’s sewage system for their waste disposal, but not everyone has that luxury. You might be among those who need to treat their own waste and maintain their own system, and while you don’t need to be a septic expert, you should at least know how your septic system works, starting with one of the most important elements: the septic tank.

Septic Systems 101: How Septic Tanks Work

A septic tank is buried under the ground on a property. There, it receives waste from your home or building’s main drainage pipe and holds it there long enough to treat it. As the waste settles in the septic tank, the solids and liquids begin to separate, with the solids sinking to the bottom as sludge and oil or grease floating to the top as scum. The liquid wastewater (effluent) that remains then flows into the drain field and filters into the soil. Because septic tanks prevent sludge and scum from exiting, a tank needs to be pumped periodically to remove the waste and prevent sewage backups.

Generally, all septic tanks work much in the same way but with a few minor differences. For example, while conventional septic tanks use anaerobic bacteria to break down waste, aerobic systems pump and circulate air into the septic tank so that aerobic bacteria can break down waste more efficiently and produce cleaner effluent.

Now that you know the basics of septic tanks, you can feel a bit more at ease with installing one on your property and maintaining it properly. Contact us at Lee Kirk & Sons Septic to request a free estimate on a service.