How Do Septic Systems Work and How to Ensure Proper Functioning?

A septic system is a type of on-site wastewater treatment system that is commonly used in rural areas where a centralized sewage system is not available. The system consists of three main components: a septic tank, a drainfield, and a distribution system.

The septic tank is a large underground container that holds the wastewater from the home or building. Inside the tank, bacteria break down the solid waste and separate it from the liquid waste. The solid waste, also known as sludge, sinks to the bottom of the tank, while the liquid waste, also known as effluent, flows out of the tank and into the drainfield. The sludge stays in the tank until it is pumped out by a professional.

The drainfield is a series of underground trenches or beds filled with gravel or other porous material. The liquid waste from the septic tank flows into the drainfield, where it is further treated and filtered by the soil. The soil acts as a natural filter, removing any remaining impurities from the effluent before it is released into the groundwater.

The distribution system is responsible for distributing the liquid waste evenly across the drainfield. This is typically done using a series of pipes and underground trenches. The distribution system helps to ensure that the effluent is spread out evenly across the drainfield, allowing for proper treatment and filtration.

To maintain a septic system, it is important to have the tank inspected and pumped regularly, typically every 3-5 years. This will help to prevent the build-up of solid waste in the tank, which can lead to blockages and other problems. A professional inspector can check the condition of the tank and its components, such as the inlet and outlet pipes, and the distribution system, to ensure that everything is working properly.

It is also important to be mindful of what is flushed or poured down drains and toilets, as certain items such as grease, oil, and certain chemicals can damage the system. Additionally, it is important to avoid overusing water, as this can put unnecessary strain on the system. It's also recommended to avoid planting trees or heavy vegetation over the drainfield and the tank, and avoid parking heavy vehicles over the tank and drainfield, as this can cause damage to the system.

Regularly checking for warning signs of a failing septic system such as slow draining fixtures, bad odors, and standing water around the drainfield, can help to address problems before they become too severe. If any of these signs are noticed, it's essential to contact a professional to inspect and repair the system as soon as possible.

In summary, a septic system is an effective way to treat and dispose of wastewater in rural areas. Regular maintenance, such as pumping the tank and inspecting the system, is crucial to ensuring the longevity and proper functioning of the system. Proper usage and avoiding certain activities can help prevent damage to the system. And being aware of warning signs can help address problems before they become severe.

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The B.L. James & Son team likes to move quick and reply to customer inquiries the same business day. Once we troubleshoot the issue, estimates are provided the same day or by the end of the next day. Our work begins the moment you call, and since we’re open 24 hours a day there’s no reason to wait. Call B.L. James & Son anytime, we’ll be there to help.

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