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What is Septic Tank, and How does it work ?

We never really think about the value and convenience of our home’s waste management system, specifically related to wastewater from our residential homes. Well, the homes within the cities are connected to the city’s sewage lines which conveniently manage all the residents’ waste. Have you ever wondered what type of septic system that is present in rural or more remote less accessible areas? Well these homeowners are not so fortunate as they must install a remote solution, a septic tank system which collects, filters out, processes and disperses waste underground.

Everest Plumbing Mar 02, 2023
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What is a Septic Tank?

• An underground system that is used to treat and dispose of household wastewater
• Used in areas where there is no access to a centralized sewer system like in cities and densely populated areas
• Septic tank is made up of a watertight container that is usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic.
• Tank is buried in the ground and receives wastewater from the home through a network of pipes.

How does a Septic Tank Work?

Now that you have learned what a septic tank is, now let us learn more on the how part. How does it work? Below is a simple point form note that we have listed that describes the gis of things:


visual interpretation septic system

• Receives wastewater from home through a network of pipes.
• Wastewater is separated into three layers: scum, liquid, and sludge.
• Bacteria in the tank break down the solids in the sludge layer, turning them into liquid.
• Liquid flows out of the tank through an outlet pipe to a drainfield or leach field.
• Drainfield is made up of perforated pipes buried in gravel-filled trenches.
• Wastewater is slowly released into the drainfield, where it is further treated by the soil and ultimately absorbed.
• Regular maintenance is required to keep the system functioning properly (pumping out every 3-5 years).
• Non-biodegradable materials should be avoided to prevent blockages and damage to the system.

Septic systems work on the principle of bacterial decomposition, . In a septic system, wastewater from a home or building flows into a tank where solids settle to the bottom and liquids rise to the top. The liquids are then discharged into a drain field where they are further treated by soil and natural bacteria.
The bacteria in a septic system break down the organic matter in the wastewater through a process called anaerobic digestion, which does not require oxygen. This process produces gases such as methane and carbon dioxide, which are released into the atmosphere.

While some advanced septic systems do incorporate aeration to enhance the treatment process, the traditional septic system operates without it. In fact, introducing too much oxygen into a septic tank can disrupt the anaerobic digestion process and lead to system failure.

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Lastly, if you do run into any problems like a smelly backyard where the tank is situated, or backflow sewage, call your professional local plumber near you, immediately as these symptoms may cause serious damage to your home, or the tank. If you ever wonder what kind of waste management system you may have, call your local authority like the city, and you’ll know more about your home.

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