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How Does A Septic Tank Work?

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What is a septic tank?

A septic tank is an underground water storage container or wastewater treatment system. It is an artificial container that holds the wastewater from your house and converts it into solids, liquids, and gases. The decomposition process can take up to 12 months or more in some cases, but once finished, it produces fertilizer for your lawn or garden! But how do they work? And what are some tips for installing one? Keep reading to learn more!

How Sewage Flows Through A Septic Tank

Septic Tank consists of four basic parts: the inlet pipe, the outlet pipe, a baffle (a slanted concrete wall), and an effluent filter. The inlet pipe brings sewage into the tank from your home's plumbing pipes. Inside the tank, bacteria digest organic matter such as hair and grease to produce harmless gases like carbon dioxide and methane released through the outlet pipe that connects to ground level outside of your house. The effluent filter at the bottom of the tank prevents solid particles, such as fecal matter and toilet paper, from getting out.

Components of a Septic System

A septic system includes the components of a standard sewage treatment plant found in communities and cities. It is composed mainly of two major groups: solids settling tanks exhibiting different levels of complexity (primary or secondary) and a leech field. The septic tank is the first step of wastewater treatment, and it works by holding on to solids such as food particles, hair, or grease for a while. This allows these heavier items to drop through due to their weight while leaving other lighter objects that are more easily dispersed into your water system.

For your system to work correctly, the tank must be large enough for all of the solid waste that you produce, and overflow pipes are installed so any wastewater can escape from overflowing. Septic tanks are typically buried underground because this prevents them from being contaminated with other substances.

how does a septic tank work illustration

The septic leach field is an integral part of a septic system because it is where the wastewater goes after your septic tank has processed it. Septic leach fields have a series of pipes that run underground and are connected to one another to create an even flow distribution for the water and prevent any clogs from forming.

A system may need adjustments on occasion due to changes in family composition or lifestyle. Septic tanks are typically buried underground because they prevent them from being contaminated with other substances and have water flow into them.

How often do septic tanks need to be pumped?

In order to maintain optimal performance, a Septic Tank should be pumped regularly (every one or two years) by a professional septic pumping service in your area. For questions about how best to install your Septic Tank or get a quote for Septic Tank Pumping service in your area.

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Signs that your Septic Tank needs to be Pumped

Septic Water Odor

The smell of your septic tank filling up is no small issue. Not only can it make for a nasty odor, but the gases that are emitted from this process will contribute to an increase in unsightly sewage smells around your house. If you notice any odors coming out of both the toilet and drains inside or outside of your home, then call your service provider immediately so they can take care of the problem before it becomes worse!

Puddles in Your Yard near The Septic Tank

This could sign a collapsed drain field or other issues with the septic tank that needs to be looked into.

Water Coming Up From Your Septic Tank

If you notice any water coming up from your septic tank, then this is a clear sign that something in the system has broken and needs to be addressed as soon as possible before it becomes worse! This can also signify that heavy rains or flooding are occurring, which will only exacerbate the situation.

If Your Septic Tank is overflowing

A clogged or overflowing tank can cause a backup of sewage into your house or onto the surrounding property. This is usually because you have too much wastewater in the septic system, and it needs to be pumped out more often than just once per year.

This is usually the result of an overload of food waste in your system, which can cause it to back up and come out through the leach field line that leads from your home's plumbing into your septic pit.

Septic tanks will need to be pumped out, cleaned, and maintained when they are first installed. This may require periodic pumping every few months or so for the first year of use while the septic fields settle into place. Over time, routine maintenance can generally be done once a year or as needed.

What size of septic tank do I need?

When it comes to a septic tank, there is no such thing as "one size fits all." A lot of factors determine the size of the septic tank you need for your property. Here are factors to consider when deciding on the septic tank size.

There are three different types of septic systems: sanitary, chemical and aerobic. They vary in size based on the number of people that will be using it. A standard home has a system with two bedrooms (sanitary) or more than four bedrooms (chemical). If you plan to put an outdoor swimming pool on your property, you'll need the aerobic type.

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Septic tank size is mainly determined by the number of bedrooms in your home and how many people will be using each bedroom. If you have six people living in a four-bedroom house, for example, they will use up to three gallons per person every day (up to 18 gallons).

If you have a house with more than four bedrooms, it's usually best to get an aerobic septic system. The size of the tank will depend on how many people are using it and for what purpose: 18-30 gallons per person is typical.

You can figure out your daily usage by multiplying the number of people in your household by the number of bedrooms.

How deep are septic tanks buried?

how deep is a septic tank buried

Septic tanks can be buried anywhere from 6 in. to 3 ft. deep, depending on where you live. What's most important is that the top of the septic system should never be below ground level; if it floods with rainwater or snowmelt, there won't be enough space for all the water to drain out and will cause the septic tank to overflow.

The size of the tank, soil type, and groundwater levels all play a factor in determining how deep septic tanks go.

Residents of areas with high clay and sand content should have their tank buried about four feet underground, while those living in states with higher water table levels might need to go as deep as eight feet.

Can a septic tank freeze?

Can a septic tank freeze? It's important to know the answer before winter in case of emergency. Septic tanks are typically buried underground, which means they can be at risk for freezing during cold weather. The general consensus is that yes, a septic tank can freeze, but you can do things to prevent this from happening.

In order to prevent a septic tank from freezing, you should have the ground around your septic tank evaluated for frost depth and then make sure you install an anti-freeze product in it before winter. If this still doesn't work and there are no other options, talk to your property manager about installing another water line to your home. If they say no or there are no other options, you can ask for permission to install a heating cable in the ground around your septic tank that will keep it from freezing and allow it to continue running normally during winter months as well without any problems.

Do I need anything else? This is all that's needed if you want to prevent your septic tank from freezing.

The importance of a septic tank

Septic tanks are very important because they protect communities by preventing pollution and groundwater contamination. Keeping the ground around your septic tank clear will help to prevent freezing, which can cause it to break down and stop working correctly. If you have an anti-freeze product installed in your system or a heating cable around your tank, it will help to keep it from freezing.


Congratulations, you have now learned how a septic tank works! If you want to know more about the various types of septic tanks available or what questions people most often ask us, we recommend contacting our experts. We are always happy to answer any question and provide expert guidance on construction services for your home. Our team is ready to help with all of your plumbing needs today, so please don't hesitate to contact us.

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