How Systems Work

1. All the waste water lines, including gray water and sewage, converge into a main sewer line that exits your house and connects to a septic tank (which has multiple access points for inspection and clean-out).

diagram of septic system2. In the tank, solid waste sinks to the bottom while oil and grease float on the surface of the “effluent” in the middle. The effluent will be dispersed through the pipes.  A tank should be pumped completely on a regular basis (generally every 3-5 years) to remove the accumulation of solids from the tank.

3. The effluent leaves the tank and travels through a pipe to a distribution box or tee at the head of the leach field.

4. The effluent flows into perforated pipes, which carry the water to the drain field (often called a “leach field”). Once in the soil, bacteria breaks down the remaining waste in the water.  Some leach fields utilize plastic tubes, chambers or other proprietary devices rather than perforated pipe and stone.

5.  The area on top of a leach field should be kept mowed and free from outbuildings, heavy traffic and gardens etc.