If you live in an area that is outside of a city’s municipal sewer system, you’ll need to have a septic system. Through the use of a septic tank and drainfield, your wastewater is safely transported out of your home and held until your next pumping service. If you’re not familiar with the inner workings of a septic system, we’ll discuss them below to help you get a better understanding of how they work.

What Is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a water-tight container that is buried underneath the surface of the ground. It’s typically constructed of fiberglass, polyethylene, or even concrete. Your septic tank is responsible for separating floatable matter from solids and digesting organic matter.

What Is a Drainfield?

A septic system drainfield is a very shallow area covered by unsaturated soil. It’s comprised of a series of perforated pipes that slowly release the effluent from your septic tank. The idea is to release the liquid in a slow manner that allows the natural soil to filter it before it reaches the groundwater supply.

How Does a Septic System Work?

The wastewater in your home runs out through your sewer pipe. This pipe is directly connected to your septic tank. As the wastewater enters your tank, it will eventually separate over time. The heavier solids will settle down to the bottom of your tank, forming a solution known as sludge. The grease and oily parts of your wastewater will float to the top and are known as scum. The leftover liquid inside of your tank is referred to as effluent.

Inside your septic tank are compartments that have T-shape outlets, which are designed to specifically allow the affluent to escape while preventing the sludge and scum from doing so. As the affluent enters the drainfield, this pre-treated wastewater will seep into the surrounding soil area. The soil will naturally treat and disperse the wastewater as it makes its way down to the groundwater supply. This is technically referred to as percolation, where harmful bacteria and viruses are removed.

Septic Tank Maintenance

Just like any other part of your home, your septic system will need regular maintenance to stay in good working condition. It’s recommended that the average household septic system undergo pumping and inspection service every three to five years. How often your tank needs to be pumped will depend on various factors, including your household size, the amount of water you use, your tank’s size, and local ordinances.

When you have a septic tank pumping professional come out to your home, they will arrive in a tanker-style truck. Once they remove the access lids for your septic tank, they’ll use a high-powered hose connected to their vacuum truck to suck out the liquids and solids in your tank.

In most cases, your plumber will use water to help clean out the interior of your tank so that they can inspect it for leaks or other issues. It isn’t uncommon for a tank to deteriorate over time and for roots to intrude into it. If your tank passes inspection, your septic pumping expert will put the access panels back on so that you can get back to using your septic system.

Tips for Keeping Your Septic System in a Good Working Order

As a homeowner, there are a few things that you’ll want to do regularly to help keep your septic system in good condition and extend its longevity as much as possible. First and foremost, you want to ensure that you’re getting your tank pumped on a regular basis. If your tank ends up getting too full, it can allow unhealthy wastewater to seep into your soil and end up contaminating your groundwater supply.

You want to avoid using any sort of chemical drain cleaners as they can be damaging to the inside of your tank and your drainfield piping. You should always avoid pouring any sort of cooking oil or grease down your drains, as well as oil-based solvents, paints, and other toxic cleaners. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid parking on your drainfield and planning trees anywhere close to your drainfield or tank to prevent root intrusion.

Reliable Septic Service

Salina Septic Service offers reliable septic service for the whole Salina, KS community. We can also assist with all of your portable restrooms, handwashing stations, and septic tank cleaning needs. Simply call our office today to schedule your next service appointment.

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