How Your Septic System Works

  Learning how to care for your home and your property by properly taking care of your septic system is a process that                                                                                      begins first with understanding how your septic system works.

  1. The main sewer line, which is also called the waste line, connects the home’s indoor plumbing system to the septic tank outside of the home.
  2. The septic tank is usually buried about 10 feet or so from the home’s foundation. This is where all forms of waste (both solid and liquid) are transferred and retained. While the solids settle to the bottom of the tank as sludge, a floating scum and grease layer will form at the top of the tank. Traps called “baffles” prevent solids and floating scum from leaving the tank. Clarified liquid is then allowed to flow out of the tank into a soil absorption system.
  3. The effluent distribution pipe directs the flow of the liquid waste from the septic tank to the leaching system farther out into the yard. Distribution boxes are often present to help evenly distribute the flow throughout the system.
  4. A leaching system, or soil absorption system, is also sometimes called a drain field or leach field. This is a network of perforated pipes that extends into a specific area of the yard. These pipes are usually buried in gravel trenches and the effluent that flows out of them disperses into the surrounding natural soils.