June 9

How Septic Tanks Work

How Septic Tanks Work 

How does a septic tank work?

When pumping a septic tank we remove the sludge and scum from the bottom of the tank to help keep the system in working order. This also allows us to do routine inspections on the tank and system to see if there are any damages. Before you order our services you might be interested in learning how a septic tank works and what are the important details to know about. If a septic system is installed properly it can last for decades.  If it is installed wrong it can fail in a couple years costing a lot of money. The more you know about your septic system the more you can prevent failure from happening. 

It doesn't cost that much to maintain your septic tank. On the other hand, it is very expensive to fix damages as the tank has to be dug up and replaced if it goes into total failure. So let us learn how a septic tank works in order to prevent this from happening to you. Good maintenance on a septic system will start with the understanding of how everything works and what makes the septic system do its job the way it should be done. When we look underground we can get a better idea of what is happening and what is supposed to happen in a properly functioning septic system. Let's keep your septic system in top running shape. 

Your Septic Tank Has Bacteria In It 

Bacteria is the key ingredient to making a septic tank work properly the way it should. The bacteria in the septic tank breaks down the waste that is put in it. On the other side of the tank clean water is exiting into the drain field. This water is clean enough for it to enter back into the earth and be safe for everyone. The system itself has a design to keep the bacteria healthy and busy. Some of the bacteria live inside the septic tank, but most of the bacteria is located and working in the drain field area. 

The process goes like this:

1. All your waste flows down to the septic tank underground.
2. The watery waste, called “effluent,” fills a majority of the tank. Anaerobic bacteria start to break down the organic sewage material in the effluent.
3. There is a layer of sludge that falls to the bottom of the tank. Sludge consists of inorganic solids and has the byproducts of bacterial digestion which is cool.
4. There is a layer of what we call scum that floats to the top of the tank. You might be interested that the scum is primarily composed of fats, greases and oils mixed together.

The septic tank is basically a settling pond underground. Greases and oils are floating up and hanging out on the top of the water. The heavier solids end up sinking to the bottom of the tank.
5. There is a filter which prevents most of the solids from entering the outlet pipe on the tank. We are thankful for this filter being there because it keeps the process safe.
6. Then the liquid called the effluent flows down to the drain field underground.

The septic drain field is a large spread out area where the bacteria we already mentioned thrives and the treated water inside the pipes can seep into the ground around it.
7. There are some holes in the septic drain field pipes that allow the effluent to seep out into the surrounding gravel packed around the pipes from our installation process.

The gravel we mentioned that is around the pipes will. allow the waste water to flow into the soil and then allows oxygen to reach the bacteria to complete the final stage of the process.
8. The aerobic bacteria located in the gravel and all the soil will complete the decomposition of the waste process.
9. The clean water now seeps down into all the ground and the process is complete. 

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