A Septic System is an underground private sewage disposal system. It is the best method of disposal in areas where community sewage disposal facilities (Sanitary Sewers) are not available and where soil drainage is acceptable.
A Septic System usually consists of two parts:
- Septic Tank – a water tight (concrete) container that receives untreated household waste. Solids are retained here.
- Tile Field – a series of perforated pipes which distribute the liquid from the septic tank to the surrounding ground below soil.
How Does a Septic System Work?
Waste material from the house enters the septic tank slowly so that solids and greases can:
- Settle to the bottom and form a sludge layer.
- Raise to the top and form a scum layer.
In between the slugde and scum layers is a layer of liquid waste, known as effluent.
When waste enters the tank, bacteria being to break down the solid materials. This process is called decomposition. As a result of decomposition, solids are reduced, leaving a residue behind in the tank. As time passes, the remaining residue builds up and must be removed via pumping to prevent it from entering the tile field and clogging the system.
The center liquid layer flows slowly from the tank into the tiled field. Pipes in the tile field are perforated. This allows the liquid to be distributed equally in specially prepared gravel filled trenches. Once the liquid reaches the trenches, it soaks into the soil. The soil then acts as the final filter in the treatment of liquid waste received by the septic system.