No one cares about poop! That is until you need to go to the washroom.... whether you are building a new home, buying a new home, or have been in the same home for many years, septics are one of the most important things in your house! If it backs up, you will be stuck in a messy situation.
We do three main things in our septic division. We install new septics, we maintain septics and we educate our customers about septic systems.
How septic systems work
As you know, each time you turn on a faucet, take a shower, flush a toilet, or do a load of laundry, the water and waste travels out of the house and into the Septic Tank. Some of the waste sinks to the bottom and some of it floats. As more water goes into the Septic Tank, an equal amount of fluids gets pushed out to the Leachfield/Drainfield. The plumbing vent allows the gases that are produced in the septic to escape, so that the smell does enter the house.
The Drainfield The purpose of the Drainfield is to distribute the water, leaving the tank, into an area of sand. Due to all the water it usually has very luscious grass growing on top of it!
Since the early 1970s perforated pipe and rock became the materials most used for Drainfields. The wastewater passes through the tank into a distribution pipe called the header. Then travels through the perforated pipes that are called laterals. There is another pipe connecting the ends of the perforated pipe together called the footer. This completes the Drainfield in a closed loop system.
Check out this video. It shows what's really going on in there. There is no audio.
The Tank The tank is made up of two sections that are separated by a wall, but connected with a baffle. One section is for solids and one is for fluids. It has an Inlet T and an Outlet T. It also has at least 2 inspection ports.
As the waste enters the first section of the tank it passes the "Inlet T". The purpose of the inlet T is to stop the scum from floating back into the inlet pipe and building up. This could cause a blockage in the inlet pipe. It also helps prevent the inrush of waste from stirring up sludge by slowing it down.
As the waste drops down into the first chamber, the fluids naturally separate based on their weight. Therefore, the sludge, mainly human waste and toilet paper, go to the bottom because they are the heaviest. Then, the water on top of that, and then scum, mostly hand lotions, soaps, shampoos etc., float on top of the water. We want as much sludge and scum to stay in this chamber as possible. However, we all know the 'ideal' world is not the world we live in, and that is why we have a second chamber!
Connected to the first chamber, via a baffle, is a second chamber. In this chamber we know that we will have sludge, water and scum, just like the first chamber. However, unlike the first chamber, we hope to have very little sludge and scum. It should be mostly water.
Because there is still some scum in the second chamber, we have an Outlet T. This stops the scum from entering the Drainfield and possibly plugging it up. Some Outlet T's even have filters built into them to prevent ANYTHING other than water from entering the Drainfield.
The Inspection ports are lids at the top of your tank, usually at ground level. They allow maintanance to be done on your tank. Sometimes people will put a fake rock, or wishing well over it to hide it.