Septic Systems Explained

A story told through definitions.

From Webster's Dictionary...

Septic Tank: “an underground tank in which waste matter is decomposed through bacterial action.”


    If there is too much solid material in your septic tank, the "bacterial action" is not taking place properly. Why? Not enough bacteria.

    Parts of a Septic System

    There are two main parts to the basic septic system: the tank and the drain field. The household wastewater flows into the tank where the average detention time is 30 hours. The tank should have at least 1,000- gallon capacity.

    How It Works

    There are two main parts to the basic septic system: the tank and the drain field. In short, waste flows into your septic tank, is decomposed, and then distributed through the drain field.

    Anything you put down a drain or toilet goes straight into your tank. It will stay there, decomposing through natural bacterial action. Then, the wastewater flows out of the tank and through the drain field.

    Over time, three layers form in a septic tank. A layer of sludge at the bottom, wastewater in the middle, and scum at the top.

    The sludge and scum stay in the tank where bacteria work to break them down. But in time, these layers build up. When they become too large, your tank needs to be pumped. If the tank is not pumped annually, your septic performance will suffer. The solid build-up may be carried into your drain field, clogging it, and causing complete system failure.

    The extreme cost and inconvenience of repairing a failed system can usually be avoided by basic preventative maintenance: regular annual pumping, and the use of the bluewater™ powerpac.