How Your Septic System Works | How to Find Your Septic System | Concrete Septic Tank Advantages and Disadvantages

How Your Septic System Works?

Definition of Septic Systems

Septic Systems Definition

These cleanse wastewater from residential plumbing, such as bathrooms, kitchen drains, as well as laundry, with a blend of nature with established technology.

A septic system typically includes a septic tank as well as a drain field, often known as a soil absorption field. Organic matter is digested in the septic tank, and floatable stuff (such as oils and fats) and particles are separated from the wastewater.

The effluent (liquid) from the septic tank is discharged into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special devices designed to slowly release the wastewater into the soil.

Septic tank effluent is pumped or gravity-fed through sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), artificial wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralise pollutants such as disease-causing pathogens, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other impurities. Before wastewater is discharged to the land, some alternative systems are designed to evaporate or disinfect it.

What Is a Septic Tank?

What Is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a tank that stores wastewater from a house or structure. Where there is no adequate drainage system, a septic tank is erected. Septic tanks are created and designed in order to hold waste or sewage for 10-30 days.

This tank is typically built between 1.5 and 1.8 meters above ground level. The wastewater from the house’s sewage pipes is sent to the septic tank.

As indicated in the diagram, wastewater enters the tank from one end and exits from the other. With the aid of a suck-out outlet, the septic tank is drained. The waste from the septic tank is sucked out by the municipal department.

The tank was built without a bottom slab beneath it in the early 1990s. The wastewater gets mixed with the freshwater sump due to seepage from the septic tank. The septic tank is covered with the bottom slab to prevent this.

The tank collects all wastewater from the bath, toilet, and kitchen. Heavy solids in wastewater settle to the tank’s bottom. Heavy solids are converted to sludge and gases due to the presence of anaerobic bacteria in wastewater.

In general, particles with a density greater than the water settle to the bottom of the tank, whereas solids with a density less than the water float. Sludge refers to settled materials, whereas scum refers to floating particles.

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What Does a Septic Tank Do?

What Does a Septic Tank Do?

The primary function of the tank is to contain wastewater while allowing solid trash to separate. These solids eventually drop to the tank’s bottom and turn into sludge.

The sludge is trapped in the tank, unable to exit due to a specially built T-shaped outlet. Meanwhile, liquid wastewater is free to flow into a subsurface drain field through an outlet. Wastewater is drained into the surrounding soil through a network of perforated pipes in the drain field.

Wastewater is gradually treated by percolating through the soil, filtering away dangerous viruses and bacteria before rejoining groundwater. To aid mixing and sanitation, a gravel bed around the drain field pipes is commonly employed.

What Are Septic Tanks Made of?

What Are Septic Tanks Made of?

A watertight septic tank is required. Because the wastewater hasn’t been properly cleansed, it needs to be confined and kept from polluting the environment. Concrete, concrete blocks, fibre-reinforced plastic, high-density polyethene, and fibreglass are all options for septic tanks.

Metal tanks were once permitted, but they are now prohibited due to their proclivity for rusting. If the system is in operation or will be used, replace metal tanks as soon as possible.

Also Read:How to Care for Your Septic System | Inspect and Pump Frequently | Use Water Efficiently | Properly Dispose of Waste | Maintain Your Drainfield

How Your Septic System Works?

Septic tank, drain field, and soil are the three primary components of a traditional septic system.

1. Septic Tank

Septic Tank

A septic tank is a huge, waterproof tank separated into two compartments with inspection and servicing access holes at the top. The tank’s size is determined by the size of the home, the number of bedrooms, and the number of people that live there.

The objective of your septic tank is to remove solids, fats, oil, and grease from wastewater in order to avoid these items from clogging and failing your drain field.

Older tanks generally have only one compartment and are smaller than contemporary tanks, making it even more vital for owners to save water and examine the tank annually to see whether it needs to be pumped out.

2. Drain Field

Drain Field

The settled wastewater is transferred to the drain field through a conduit from the septic tank. The drain field is generally made up of a grid of perforated pipes that spread the wastewater across a broad area before it penetrates the soil.

Either gravity or pumps can be used to transport wastewater. If you have a gravity system, the wastewater first goes via a distribution box, which evenly distributes the flow into the pipes.

A pumped or pressured drain field system guarantees more consistent distribution, reducing the risk of overflowing or clogging the drain field or any individual drainpipe section. Gravel is commonly used to surround drainpipes.

The gravel’s function is to offer liquid storage, improve soil surface area for absorption, and keep dirt out of the distribution pipes’ perforations.

3. Soil


The soil underneath the drain field’s role is to absorb, treat, and transport wastewater away from the drain field, down to the groundwater, and finally to a river or lake.

The soil must be sufficiently granular to allow wastewater to be absorbed and oxygen to be accessible. The dirt works as a filter for the wastewater, eliminating particulates.

The wastewater is digested and treated by aerobic bacteria adhering to the soil. A minimum of 3 to 4 feet of unsaturated soil underneath the property is required for this soil-based treatment method to function.

Sand may well be introduced to the location to improve the soil depth for treatment as well as dispersal where there has been insufficient soil depth or even the groundwater (saturated soil) is also too near to the drain field pipe.

Also Read:Eco Friendly Septic Systems | What Is Eco-Friendly Septic Systems | Component of Effective Eco-Friendly Septic System | Steps to an Environmentally Friendly Septic System

How Does a Typical Conventional Septic System work?

Specifically, This Is How a Typical Conventional Septic System Works.

  1. In a septic tank, all water drains from your home.
  2. An underground septic tank is usually composed of concrete, fibreglass, or polyethene and is designed to keep water out of it.
  3. As a result of this, the particles settle down and create sludge, while the oil and grease rise to the top and produce scum.
  4. There are compartments in the tank and a T-shaped outlet that prevent the waste from exiting the tank and entering the drain field.
  5. In the drain field, liquid wastewater (effluent) is discharged.
  6. It is an excavation made in unsaturated soil that is shallow, covered, and uncovered. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater into the soil.
  7. On its way to the groundwater, wastewater percolates through the soil. The soil absorbs the wastewater, purifies and distributes it.
  8. Toxic overload can cause flooding in drain fields and sewage backup in toilets and sinks when the drain field is overwhelmed.
  9. Lastly, the wastewater percolates into the soil, removing dangerous coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients naturally through percolation.
  10. Humans and other warm-blooded animals’ intestines are home to coloniform bacteria. Human faeces contamination is indicated by the presence of this substance.

Do You Have a Septic System?

It’s likely you’re previously aware of your septic system. If you’re not sure, here are some indicators because you most likely are:

  1. Well, water is used.
  2. There is no meter on the waterline that enters your house.
  3. On your water bill or property tax bill, it says “Sewer Amount Charged.”
  4. Septic tanks are used by your neighbors.

How to Find Your Septic System?

Once you’ve verified whether or not you have a septic system, look for it on your home’s “as constructed” drawing. Keep an eye out for lids and manhole covers in your yard.

Get in touch with a septic system service company to assist you in finding it.

Septic System Failure Symptoms: Mind the Signs!

A bad odor isn’t usually the first symptom of a septic system that isn’t working properly. If you detect any of the following, consult a septic expert:

  1. Household drains are backed up with wastewater.
  2. Especially during dry weather, bright green, spongy grass on the drain field.
  3. Water pooling near your septic system or muddy soil in your basement.
  4. The septic tank and drain field emit a pungent stench.

Also Read:What Is a Community Septic System | Community Septic System Cost | Advantages & Disadvantages of Community Septic System

Concrete Septic Tank Advantages and Disadvantages

Septic Tank Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Concrete Septic Tank

Here, the pros of concrete septic tanks are as follows.

  1. Septic tanks made of cement are more durable than those made of plastic and can survive for a long time if properly maintained. A cement septic tank can survive up to 40 years if properly maintained and drained on a regular basis.
  2. Septic tanks made of cement are resistant to environmental changes like tree roots and shifting soil conditions.
  3. The weight above the concrete tanks has no influence on them.
  4. In comparison to plastic septic tanks, cement septic tanks are more durable and require less maintenance.
  5. Concrete tanks are incredibly heavy and have a high effluent level, thus they are not susceptible to “floating.”
  6. All states in the United States have permitted the usage of cement tanks.

Disadvantages of Concrete Septic Tank

Here, the cons of concrete septic tanks are as follows.

  1. Due to their weight, concrete septic tanks are much more expensive to purchase and construct than plastic septic tanks.
  2. Since concrete tanks are bulkier and heavier than plastic tanks, these are much more difficult to transport and construct. As a result, the installation of a cement septic tank necessitates heavy machinery and takes a long time.
  3. Repairing and installing cement tanks is considerably more difficult. In comparison to plastic tanks, it is more difficult to repair a broken cement tank efficiently.
  4. Since cement septic tanks fracture or corrode as they age, especially if they are not maintained properly, they are much more susceptible to corrosion than plastic tanks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What Is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is an underground chamber made of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic through which domestic wastewater flows for basic treatment. Settling and anaerobic processes reduce solids and organics, but the treatment efficiency is only moderate. Septic tank systems are a type of simple onsite sewage facility.

How Do Septic Tank Systems Work?

Septic tanks, whether they are single or multi-chambered, utilise the simple process of gravity to separate the liquid waste from the solid waste that flows into it from your property. The lighter solids in the waste, along with oil and grease, float to the surface and form a “scum” layer.

How Does a Septic Drain Field Work?

The drainfield is a shallow, covered, excavation made in unsaturated soil. Pretreated wastewater is discharged through piping onto porous surfaces that allow wastewater to filter though the soil. The soil accepts, treats, and disperses wastewater as it percolates through the soil, ultimately discharging to groundwater.

How Do I Find Out Where My Septic Tank Is Located?

Look for a pipe that’s roughly four inches in diameter that leads away from your house. Remember the location of the sewer pipe and where the pipe leaves your home so you can find it outside. The sewer pipes will lead to where your septic tank is located.

Can a Metal Detector Find a Septic Tank?

Yes, you can locate your septic tank with a metal detector. Remember, most concrete septic tanks have reinforcement bars. Metal detectors can pick signals from the metals. That means you won’t find your tank position if it’s entirely made of concrete.

Do I Have to Change My Septic Tank?

Under the new rules, if you have a specific septic tank that discharges to surface water (river, stream, ditch, etc.) you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.

What Happens When Septic Tank Is Full?

Septic tanks gradually fill with solid waste. The grey water is allowed to pass through the tank and out into the underground drain field lines in your yard. Once the tank is full of solid waste, you may experience sewage backups in the toilets or slow drains in tubs and sinks.

Why Are Septic Tanks Bad?

One of the biggest disadvantages of septic systems are the hassles that comes with sewage backup, which is generally a sign of clogging in the tank or drain field pipes. When backups occur, the problem is more serious than a simple household drain clog because the obstruction won’t be found just inches down the drain.

How Your Septic System Works?

Septic tanks work by allowing waste to separate into three layers: solids, effluent and scum (see illustration above). The solids settle to the bottom, where microorganisms decompose them. The scum, composed of waste that’s lighter than water, floats on top.

How Does My Septic System Work?

The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drainfield area. The liquid wastewater (effluent) then exits the tank into the drainfield.

What Does a Septic Tank Do?

The primary purpose of the septic tank is to separate the solids from the liquids and to promote partial breakdown of contaminants by microorganisms naturally present in the wastewater. The solids, known as sludge, collect on the bottom of the tank, while the scum floats on the top of the liquid.

What Are Septic Tanks Made Of?

The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its job is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down to the bottom forming sludge, while the oil and grease floats to the top as scum.

Do Septic Tanks Need to Be Emptied?

While most homeowners should have their septic tanks cleaned every 3 to 5 years, depending on your septic tank size and how big your household is, you may need Septic Tank Cleaning Services as frequently as every 1-3 years.

How Do I Know If I Have a Septic Tank?

One way to determine whether or not your home has a septic system or is served by the public sewer system is to look at your water bill. If you are using a septic system for wastewater management, then you’re likely to see a charge of $0 for wastewater or sewer services from the utility company.

How Do You Know If You Have a Septic Tank?

Walk around your yard to look for a large bump in the grass on one side of the house. A sign that you have a septic system is a domed area under the grass. The size of the bump will vary depending on your house and the number of toilets you have, but it may be noticeable.

How to Know If You Have a Septic Tank?

Walk around your yard to look for a large bump in the grass on one side of the house. A sign that you have a septic system is a domed area under the grass. The size of the bump will vary depending on your house and the number of toilets you have, but it may be noticeable.

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