Your Guide to Septic Tank Function

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Your Guide to Septic Tank Function

If you live in a property that is not connected to a centralized sewer system, you’ll have to rely on a septic system for wastewater and sewage management. A septic system consists of four main components:

  • Septic tank
  • Drainfield (leachfield)
  • Inlet and outlet pipes
  • Soil

A septic tank is a large underground container made of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic. It is responsible for holding and treating wastewater from a property. However, not all people with septic systems understand how a septic tank works. Knowing how a septic tank works allows you to implement proper maintenance practices. Read on to learn more about how a septic tank works and how to keep your septic tank in tip-top shape.

How Does a Septic Tank Work?

All the wastewater from toilets, sinks, showers, and other drains in the property flows into the septic tank through an inlet pipe. Once the wastewater is collected inside the tank, it undergoes a separation process. The waste is separated into three layers—sludge, scum, and effluent.

  • Sludge is the heavy organic and inorganic material that settles to the bottom of the tank.
  • Scum comprises lighter substances like oil, grease, soaps, and toilet paper that float to the top.
  • The middle layer, known as effluent, comprises water, other liquids, and suspended solids.

The septic tank provides an oxygen-deprived environment, ideal for anaerobic bacteria to thrive. These bacteria naturally occur in the wastewater and begin the process of anaerobic digestion. They break down the organic solids in the sludge and scum layers into simpler compounds through chemical reactions, reducing their volume over time.

As new wastewater enters the tank, an equal amount of treated effluent flows out of the tank through an outlet pipe. The effluent is relatively clear and contains fewer solids compared to the original wastewater. The effluent exits the septic tank and flows into a drainfield or leachfield, where further treatment occurs. In the drainfield, the effluent percolates through perforated pipes and into the surrounding soil. The soil acts as a natural filter, removing remaining impurities and harmful bacteria.

Your Guide to Septic Tank Maintenance

  • Be Mindful Of Water Usage: Limit water usage to avoid overloading your septic tank with excessive water in a short period.
  • Watch What Goes Down Your Drains: Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items, chemicals, liquid cleaners, grease, and large food particles down the drain. These substances can clog the septic tank and inhibit proper waste breakdown.
  • Regular Pumping: Schedule regular septic tank pumping every 3 to 5 years, depending on the size of the tank, household size, and usage. Septic tank pumping removes accumulated sludge and scum, preventing blockages and ensuring the tank operates efficiently.
  • Regular Inspection: Schedule regular septic tank inspection with a trusted septic company and address any issues promptly to prevent costly repairs and replacements. Here at Septic Blue of Raleigh, we are always ready to help you with all of your septic system needs, including septic inspections, septic tank repair, septic tank installation, and more.
  • Use Septic-Safe Products: Choose septic-safe cleaning products and detergents labeled as biodegradable and low in phosphates. Harsh chemicals can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in the tank.

Contact Septic Blue of Raleigh for All of Your Septic Tank Needs

Septic Blue of Raleigh is your go-to septic company for all of your septic tank needs. We are a well-known name for all septic-related matters, including septic tank installation, septic tank repair, septic cleaning, and more. Call us today or contact us online to schedule septic service.