Many homes in rural areas are not connected to public sewer pipes and thus, utilize a septic system to treat and dispose of waste. Because septic systems can be expensive to repair or replace, they often carry the misconception of being “bad news” or inferior to a town connection. However, with some basic knowledge and regular maintenance, any septic rookie can disarm the “big, bad monster” lurking beneath the lawn.

Septic System Components

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s “A Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems,” four components comprise a septic: a pipe from the home, a septic tank, a drain field, and the soil.

The Septic System Process

The general process begins when liquid and solid waste from plumbing fixtures inside the home (i.e., sinks, toilets and dishwashers) drain through the main pipe to the septic tank. The watertight tank then holds the waste long enough for solids to settle out (creating sludge) and oil and grease to rise to the surface (forming scum).

Each time new waste enters the septic, a T-shaped outlet allows wastewater to be pushed to the drain field while sludge and scum are held inside the tank. The wastewater then percolates into the soil surrounding the drain field. If the ground is suitable, it will break down chemicals and bacteria before the wastewater enters the water supply. However, it is essential to note that not all soil is “suitable.”

Septic Maintenance

Maintaining one’s septic system is essential to protect the environment and preserve your property value and safeguard against costly repairs or replacement. To properly maintain a septic, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends a general guideline of professional inspection at least every three years and a pumping frequency suggested by the inspector.

Daily care must be exercised by efficient water use by utilizing low-flow toilets and efficient showerheads and repairing any “minor” household leaks or drips.

Furthermore, withholding harmful chemicals and paper products from drains (i.e., disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products and cigarette butts) can help prevent clogging or damage to the system.

A Safe Way To Dispose of Wastes

Armed with this knowledge, a septic system can be a safe and efficient way to dispose of waste. A septic system can also last for many years with proper use and regular maintenance. And if you are considering buying a home with a septic system, be sure to have it inspected by a licensed professional to ensure it is in good working condition.

Learn More and Get Additional Help

Do not hesitate to reach out to All A’s Plumbing if you require plumbing help and have questions and concerns regarding the plumbing lines going to the septic tank from your toilets, sinks, and showers. First, we can set you up with the proper fixtures that are safe for septics within your home. Second, we can make sure that the flow to the septic tank is working and will continue to work correctly.

Contact All A’s Plumbing and Heating here as we will be glad to assist you.