A septic tank parked on the side of a home

Septic Systems Explained

Septic systems are underground wastewater treatment structures that homeowners can use to dispose of wastewater safely. Learn how these systems work.

Septic systems treat wastewater using proven technology and nature. A typical underground wastewater treatment structure contains a septic tank and a drain field. These systems are predominantly used in rural areas to dispose of wastewater safely. Learn more about how septic systems work.


Septic Systems for Homes


The septic system is an underground watertight container made of polyethylene, concrete, or fiberglass and connected with two pipes. While the inlet pipe lets in wastewater to the tank, the outlet pipe moves preprocessed wastewater out of the tank, spreading it in watercourses and the soil. The septic tank holds the sewage long enough to allow grease and oil to float in the form of scum as solids sink to form sludge.


How Do Septic Systems Work?


A drainage pipe drains all the water from the house into the septic tank. Within the container, the wastewater separates into the top, middle, and bottom layers. The top layer contains floating oils and grease, the intermediate layer has waste particles, and the bottom layer forms sludge from more massive particles—bacteria within the tank digest organic matter and help to separate solids and floatable matter from wastewater. Upon separation, the effluent is discharged and released slowly into the drain field, a shallow excavation in unsaturated soil. Soil-based systems connected with perforated pipes direct the effluent out of the septic tanks. Pollutants like phosphorus, nitrogen, and pathogens are removed or neutralized before the pipes discharge the effluent. Constructed wetlands, sand, or organic matter helps to clear the pollutants.


Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Septic System


If you do not clean the septic tank regularly, it may build up sludge and solid waste, leading to septic system failure. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may see wastewater backing up into household drains. Water or muddy soil may also pool in the basement or around the septic system. You'll even notice a strong odor around the drain field and the septic tank. Hiring a professional waste disposal company to clean the septic tank regularly should keep such symptoms at bay.


Darrell Crews Septic Tanks prides itself on quality septic tank service and repair around Jacksonville, FL since 2003. Our reputable team can take care of all your septic pump replacement and maintenance needs while providing 24/7 emergency assistance. Contact us today at 904.923.1241 for more advice on caring for your septic system.

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