How Does A Septic System Work?

A septic system is a necessary tool to handle wastewater that is produced by a house or business that isn't on a sewer line. If you have just moved into a house that has a septic system, you may not be sure how it works, which can be a problem. If you aren't sure how the tank works, then you might not know how to tell if there is a problem that needs to be repaired. 

Septic System

While you may hear a septic system called a septic tank, there's more to it than just a tank. The system is truly a full system. It is made up of a septic tank and a drainfield. The goal of the septic system is to collect the wastewater produced in your house and filter it out so that it can be released by the drainfield. 


The tank itself is generally made out of PVC or something similar. The tank needs to be watertight. It is made up of two chambers and has a series of baffles that the wastewater and filtered water must go through in order to come into and leave the tank. Another part of the septic tank is the anaerobic bacteria that can be found in the chambers. The way that the tank works is that the wastewater comes into the first chamber. The solids sink to the bottom, where the bacteria start to munch on them. That frees up greases and oils. Those things float to the top of the tank and become scum. There is a baffle that will allow water from the first tank to move into the second tank. The baffle would be set so that it isn't blocked by the scum or the sludge. In the second chamber, the same process would continue to happen. Then, the water will move out of the tank into the drainfield. 


The drainfield (sometimes called the leach field) is made up of series of pipes with small holes in them. The pipes are generally laid in gravel and then covered up. As the effluent, or water, from the septic tank moves out from the second chamber and into the drainfield, it will seep out of the pipes and into the ground. That will allow the water to be safely and slowly filtered. 

If you have bought a house with a septic system, you may want to have a septic repair company come in and check it out for you to make sure that everything is working correctly. That way you know that it is going to last for a while. 

For more information, contact a local business that provides septic services.