Typical Septic System

In the system below, waste water flows down into the septic tank. The waste components separate, with the heavier elements (sludge) falling to the bottom, and the grease and fatty solids (scum) floating on the top. Bacteria are present in the system that partially decompose and liquefy the solids in the tank. The liquid portion (effluent) flows through the outlet to the distribution box and into the drain field (sometimes called a leachfield). The drain field is usually a series of parallel trenches with perforated pipes surrounded by gravel. The effluent seeps through holes in the pipes, down into the gravel, then into the soil. The soil filters out the last of the solids and pathogens, letting the dissolved substances slowly move through the soil to the groundwater.


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Systems must be regularly maintained or they will fail. Sludge that overflows through the outlet pipe will clog up the system and cause the drain fields to fail. Sludge in the inlet pipes will clog up the piping from the house, and the system can back up into the house’s plumbing. Toilets, sinks, and bathtubs can have backups. Regular pumping of the septic tank is recommended to prevent clogs and system failure. Septic Service Pros can service your septic system by pumping out the tank, and assess if there are potential problems with the system that need repair