What is a Septic System?

Septic Systems 1A septic system is a highly efficient self-contained underground wastewater treatment system. They treat and dispose of household wastewater onsite. Septic systems are generally used in rural areas where hook ups to sewer systems are unavailable.

Septic System Basics

A septic system has three main parts:

Septic Systems 2The Septic Tank – This is a tank buried in the ground made out of either concrete, fiberglass or polyethylene. Its purpose is to separate the solids from the wastewater, store and partially decompose as much solid material as possible, while allowing the liquid to go to the leach field either by gravity or pressure depending on your system.

Septic Systems 3The Leach field – Once the solids settle in the tank, the liquid drains off to the leach field which is a network of perforated pipes laid in gravel filled trenches on top of a soil bed. The wastewater is filtered as it flows down through the gravel and it is further treated as it flows down through the microbes in the soil before it eventually gets back to the groundwater.

Septic Systems 4The Soil – The soil provides the final treatment and disposal of the wastewater. The type of soil impacts the effectiveness of the leach field, a sandy soil is best to allow the microbes and organisms to treat the wastewater best so that it is clear as it heads back into the ground water.

Septic Systems 5

Signs of a Failing Septic System

  • Sewage back-up into your home
  • Smell of sewage outside of your home
  • “Spongy” or wet areas on and/or around your septic tank and/or bed

Why Septic Systems Fail

  • Poor soil conditions
  • Clogged soil from sludge build-up
  • High water table
  • Roots and other growing organic matter clogging pipes
  • Physical damage caused by heavy vehicles driving over the system


*These are just some possible scenarios, if you think you have problem its best to have a professional to inspect your system.

*Remember that regular maintenance and having someone pump your tank out regularly will help to keep your system running smoothly.