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How Does a Septic Tank Work?

Septic tanks aren’t exactly something people like to think about, let alone take the time to understand. Nevertheless, septic tanks are a vital component of many homes and understanding them can mean the difference between disaster and smooth sailing.

What exactly is a septic tank?

As its name suggests, a septic tank is a tank that collects and decomposes sewage. Tanks are most often made of:

  • Concrete
  • Fiberglass
  • Polyethylene

Septic tanks are most commonly used in rural neighborhoods where there isn’t a central sewer system. Rural, less densely populated areas also work best because septic tanks need a fair amount of open soil to function properly. All the water from your house ends up in a primary drainage pipe leading to the septic tank, and that's where the treatment process begins!

What does as septic tank do?

The tank's main purpose is to hold wastewater and give solid refuse time to separate out. These solids eventually settle at the bottom of the tank and become sludge. There the sludge remains, unable to escape the tank due to a specially designed, T-shaped outlet. Meanwhile, liquid wastewater is free to empty through an outlet into a subterranean drain field.

What happens to wastewater?

Wastewater is channeled through the drain field’s network of perforated pipes and strained into the surrounding soil. By percolating within the soil, wastewater is gradually cleaned, filtering out harmful viruses and bacteria, before eventually rejoining groundwater. A bed of gravel around the drain field pipes is often used to facilitate mixing and sanitation.

What about the sludge?

Leftover solid waste in the tank will eventually need to be pumped out by a professional plumbing company. If left unemptied for too long it can create clogs throughout your house or even start to flood the yard. Thankfully, Mr. Rooter is more than capable of handling all your septic system needs!

Call Mr. Rooter of Central PA today!

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