How Does My Septic Tank Work?

By Four Seasons Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electric - June 23, 2015
Person putting a pipe into the sewer line

Suburban homeowners and residents of Chicago are very accustomed to the convenience of a direct connection to the sewer line. Their plumbing system has a fast track to waste disposal! Homeowners in more rural areas on the fringes of Chicagoland rely on a septic system to dispose of their waste. Still, many of us do not know how a septic tank actually accomplishes this. The truth is more sophisticated than you may realize.

Major Parts of Your Septic System and How It Works

The best way to walk through the septic process is to start from the beginning and follow the waste through the entire system.

  • Pipeline from the House: First and foremost, the waste needs to exit the home and reach the rest of the septic system. To do that, it requires a pipeline from the house to the tank. Once you flush your toilet, the septic system gets to work and brings the waste down to the tank.
  • Septic Tank: Buried in your yard is the septic tank. It is usually constructed from concrete, fiberglass, or synthetic materials. Its purpose is to gather all of the waste together and filter through it. Solid waste will settle at the bottom to form sludge, and grease and oil will float to the surface and form scum. Here in the septic tank, the scum and sludge can partially break themselves down. Any water mixed in with these other substances will move on to the next area.
  • Leechfield: The leechfield is your water treatment center. Traditionally it consists of multiple trenches of perforated pipes encased in rock or gravel and covered in dirt. Any water dispersed through your leechfield will partially evaporate and the rest will be absorbed by the soil. It is important to place this field away from the driveway and patio and to never drive a car over it.

What Happens to the Sludge and Scum?

The sludge and scum will remain in your tank slowly breaking down yet compounding as more waste is added to the tank. Eventually, this system will need to be pumped to remove the sludge and scum. Otherwise, these byproducts will be pushed into the leechfield as the tank overflows and shorten the lifespan of the trenches and perforated pipes in the field.

Rod Out Your Line, Call Four Seasons!

Whether it is a waste clog or roots blocking your septic line, it is far too important of a system to delay repairs. Without your septic tank, say goodbye to your indoor plumbing. To ensure no family has to go without plumbing in their home, Four Seasons offers 24/7 emergency plumbing support with no extra charge for nights, weekends, or holidays.

Contact Four Seasons Plumbing & Sewer today!

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