Many people don’t know a lot about septic systems and how they work—most people know that their septic system takes care of the sewage and water waste from the home and that is enough for them. As a homeowner, it is in your best interest to learn more than the bare minimum about your septic system. Why? So you can understand the “how” and “why” behind its functionality to prevent problems and keep it running smoothly. We are going to give you a crash course to teach you the different parts of your septic system with tips to keep them healthy. Consider this your “Septic Systems 101” class. Let’s begin!
The key components of most septic systems include:
- Pipeline: The pipeline connects your home to the septic tank. It is how all the waste that enters your drains ends up at the tank. Pipelines can become clogged with grease or fat just like an artery can become clogged in your body. This can cause a backup to occur, possibly causing wastewater to come back out of your sinks, toilets, etc. Keep your pipelines healthy by not pouring grease, fats, etc. down the drain. Don’t flush objects such as wipes, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, etc.
- Septic Tank: Your wastewater separates in your septic tank. Sludge (solids) sink to the bottom. Effluent is the liquid middle layer that continues to the drain field to be filtered. Scum is the top layer of soap, fat, and grease that remains in the tank. To keep your septic tank healthy, be sure to schedule regular pumping to remove the sludge and scum layers. If ignored, the solids will begin to leave the tank into the drain field or even cause a backup and re-enter the home through the main pipeline.
- Leach field or Drain field: The water from your septic tank drains into a carefully positioned drain field. It then seeps into the surrounding soil to be filtered naturally and cleaned by microbes that are in the soil. To keep your drain field healthy and protect it so it can continue doing its job, never drive on top of it. Leave it undisturbed as much as possible.