The Importance of a Well-Maintained Septic Tank

A septic system is an important component of any home. It helps ensure that wastewater does not drain into drinking water wells or nearby waterways.

Wastewater enters the septic tank through inlet and outlet tees. Heavy solids sink to the bottom and form a layer of sludge. Oils and grease float to the top and are broken down by bacteria. Contact Septic Tank Armadale now!

When you move to a rural area, you have dreams of quiet starry nights and lots of space to stretch out. You don’t expect to be dealing with a septic system, however. If you buy a home with a septic tank, it is essential to ensure that it is well maintained and functioning properly. It could cost tens of thousands to replace a failing septic system, so it is worth the effort to understand how this type of wastewater disposal works and what you can do to keep your home safe and healthy.

A septic tank is a buried, watertight container that holds wastewater. It has one end connected to an inlet wastewater pipe and the other end to a septic drain field. The septic tank is usually made from concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It has a dividing wall with openings about midway between the floor and the roof to allow liquid that floats in the top of the tank (oil and grease) to pass through to the next chamber, while solid waste sinks to the bottom and forms a layer known as sludge.

Wastewater flows into the septic tank through pipes from the plumbing in your home. As the waste moves through your pipes, bacteria inside the septic tank break it down. The heavier waste particles sink to the bottom of the septic tank and form the sludge layer, while the lighter liquids float to the top of the tank and are called scum.

The wastewater then leaves the septic tank through the outlet pipe, which is attached to a drain field. A septic tank will also have a pump to remove wastewater from the tank when needed. The wastewater is then pumped into the drain field, which consists of a series of septic tank-sized pipes that are buried in a trench.

As the wastewater is absorbed into the soil, microbes in the soil filter and purify it even further. The liquid wastewater that remains is known as effluent. Eventually, the effluent seeps into the groundwater table, where it is treated further by natural processes.


Septic systems must be regularly inspected and pumped to avoid problems such as leaks, overflow and system failure. Having a professional inspect and pump your septic tank will help you avoid these problems and save money in the long run.

Wastewater from toilets (known as black water) and other drains such as showers, bathtubs, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers runs into a main drainage pipe that goes to your septic tank. Solids from these activities sink to the bottom of the septic tank and form sludge. Fats, oils and grease float to the top and form scum. Anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank break down these organic wastewater pollutants. Liquids then travel out of the septic tank into a septic drain field or leach field via perforated pipes. The soil in the absorption field filters and purifies the wastewater even further.

The septic tank also contains a vent that allows gases to escape the tank. An effluent filter, a cylindrical device, is often placed near the septic tank outlet baffle to trap suspended solids that would otherwise clog the drain field. This filter should be cleaned every time the septic tank is pumped.

A septic tank that is not pumped regularly can overflow, resulting in wastewater running into the ground, which causes a foul smell and can seep into a home’s plumbing. The sewage may also enter nearby rivers, lakes and coastal waters, where it can cause contamination and disease in humans.

The septic system drain field is an important part of the system. It is a shallow area of uncovered, grass-covered land that connects to the septic system through pipes. This soil filters the untreated wastewater as it seeps into aquifers underground. It helps keep nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, out of rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

It is important to protect the drain field by not driving on it or planting trees or shrubs with deep roots over or close to it. Also, make sure to use septic-safe toilet paper and household cleaners, as other types can disrupt the helpful bacteria in the soil.


When buying a home in the country, many people dream of escaping from busy urban or suburban living to enjoy peace and quiet. While there are many benefits to moving to a rural area, one of the things that people may not be prepared for is the fact that a septic system will likely need to be installed. While the installation process can seem daunting and costly, there are a few key steps that homeowners should follow to ensure that their septic system is working properly for years to come.

The first step in the septic tank installation process is obtaining proper permits. This can be done by contacting the local authorities and having them mark any underground utilities in the area. After the permit is in hand, the next step is excavating the site. This can be a messy and time-consuming task, so it’s important to hire experienced and professional excavation contractors.

After the septic tank is buried, it needs to be backfilled with soil. This step can be messy, but it is vitally important for the long-term success of your septic system. The backfill should be free of clods, rocks and other large materials that could cause settling over time. Crushed rock or pea gravel 1/2-inch in diameter is a good option for backfilling.

Once the septic tank is in place, it must be tested to ensure that it is watertight. This is done by filling the tank with water and measuring any loss over a 24-hour period. The tank should lose no more than an inch of water during this test. If it does, the septic tank is not watertight and needs to be sealed.

In addition to testing the septic tank, it is also necessary to test the drain field. The septic tank and drain field are linked by a pipe that is buried underground. The drain field is a series of trenches that are typically 18 to 36 inches deep, one to three feet wide and about 100 feet long.

Bacteria in the septic tank generate gases that can build up and block your absorption field. These gases must be vented to the outside air and can also produce odors. These odors are typically released through a vent in the septic tank’s lid that is usually shaped like a mushroom.


A septic tank is a water-tight container made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It is buried underground and connects to the drain field by a pipe. The septic system functions as an efficient wastewater treatment plant in your backyard. It separates solid waste from liquid waste and sends the latter to the septic tank drain field, where it filters through soil and returns to groundwater.

The septic tank needs to be emptied periodically to remove the waste buildup and prevent clogs. Generally, it requires emptying every 3 to 5 years, depending on how many people live in the house. If the septic tank is full, you will notice backed-up or slow-draining drains and unpleasant odors.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, call a professional right away to avoid serious problems and health hazards. They will be able to pump your septic tank, which will alleviate the problem temporarily and give them a chance to determine the main issue with the septic system.

Once the septic system is inspected, they will determine how much wastewater your home generates per day and recommend the right size of tank for your household. Typical home sizes range from 4,000 to 10,000 gallons, but it is important to consult your local plumbing codes for specific requirements.

When it comes time to replace your septic tank, a team will need to plan for the new installation and map out all components of the system. It is important to keep in mind established minimum setbacks from buildings, property lines, wells, and other features of the landform, as these will impact the placement of the septic tank.

Once the planning is complete, excavation will begin. This process takes a few weeks, depending on weather conditions and the complexity of the site. During this phase, it is essential to have a team of experienced professionals on standby to ensure that the project stays on schedule and that all required work can be completed. Having the proper equipment will also help to ensure that the work is done correctly and safely. Choosing the right material for the tank is crucial, too. Concrete tanks are the most common choice for homeowners due to their durability and affordability. However, over time, these tanks can experience cracking.