Septic Snooper

Your Septic System

In your septic system, engineered components work in a delicate balance with nature to treat your wastewater while preserving the environment. It is a balance that is easily thrown off if you're not aware of what negatively affects your system.

To the right is a diagram of how your septic system works, with the keys below.

(1) When water spirals down your sink drains, toilets, bathtubs, dishwasher or washing machine, it becomes "wastewater" and needs to be disposed of properly.

(2) Wastewater from your house flows into your septic tank. The primary purpose of the septic tank is to retain solids in the wastewater so they don't clog up other system components.

(3) Once wastewater enters the septic tank, anything lighter than the water floats to the top of the tank, creating a layer of scum. The heavier solids sink to the bottom, leaving a layer of sludge.

(4) Anaerobic microorganisms in the tank digest some of the scum and sludge, reducing the volume of solids and releasing gases, which are safely vented away.

(5) Between the scum and sludge is the "clear zone" layer. From here, the wastewater is directed throughout the septic tank outlet to the distribution box.

(6) The distribution box (or D-box) is designed to evenly distribute wastewater to the array of underground drainage pipes that make up the leach field.

(7) Perforations in each drain field pipe allow the wastewater to percolate down through processed stone in the leach field to a natural bio-mat filter.

(8) The wastewater seeps through the bio-mat into the natural soils beneath the leach field, which purifies the wastewater before it reaches the underground water table.