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Understanding Your Septic Tank

Septic tanks are often misunderstood. People have false and downright negative beliefs about what they are and how they work. In many homes, wastewater flows out into the public sewer system. People in certain areas, especially rural sections of Pomona Valley, don’t have direct access to sewer lines and require a different system. This is where septic tanks come in.

What Is a Septic Tank?

Septic tanks are simply alternative wastewater systems. Instead of flowing to a municipal sewage area, wastewater moves to a nearby tank, where it is stored. This fact is often the root cause of septic tank misunderstandings. People imagine disease-infested barrels that keep collecting filthy water until they are full. This is simply untrue. The tank is designed to break down the organic matter contained within. Solids, oils, and grease are separated from the water, and the water then flows through various filtration methods, becoming safe to humans. Some septic systems even use various pumps to further clean the water, removing pollutants and harmful bacteria.

How a Septic Tank Works

All wastewater in the home, from the sink to the toilet, flows out to the septic tank. The tank then holds it, allowing it to settle naturally. Solids fall to the bottom, becoming sludge. Grease and oil rise to the top, becoming scum. The leftover water is called “effluent.”

Septic tanks are typically made of fiberglass, polyethylene, or concrete. These sturdy materials keep water, sludge, and scum trapped inside, preventing exposure to outside soil.

Effluent eventually flows out of the tank, making room for more water. Depending on the septic system, effluent can glide out naturally or be pumped out. 


A drainfield is a chunk of land specifically designated for receiving a septic tank’s effluence. Once free of the septic tank, water spreads across the drainfield. The effluent water is now cleaner than it was in the tank, but it requires further filtration. This is where nature takes over. As water percolates through the soil, pollutants and bacteria are naturally removed. Eventually, the cleaned, filtered water reaches all the way down, becoming part of the groundwater. Groundwater is the water source we use in our homes. It is pulled from aquifers, filtered, and consumed by people, pets, and plants.

Some septic systems send water through a treatment system first, further cleaning it before introducing it to the drainfield.

Leftover Waste

Both the scum and sludge of a septic system continue to build inside the tank. This should not affect the effluent, but if neglected, this waste can accumulate until it begins escaping through the exit pipes. Therefore, septic tanks must be cleaned periodically. Every three years or so, professional plumbers pump waste from the tank, preventing it from becoming a problem. You can trust the pros at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Pomona Valley to handle this task for you.

Call the Septic Tank Pros

At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Pomona Valley, we stand by the cleanliness and benefits of septic tanks. Septic tanks often receive a bad reputation, but that is simply unjustified. Properly managed, septic tanks deliver perfectly acceptable water back into the ground supply, and they pose no greater risk than a sewage system.

Our team is here to help meet all your septic tank needs. With years of experience, we can install a new system, replace your aging tank, repair damaged systems, or provide routine maintenance. We are familiar with all systems, whether they be old, new, traditional, or advanced.

There is no job too big for us to handle. If you need help with your septic system, schedule an appointment with us online, or call us today at (909) 303-6251.

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