What does the septic tank do?

A typical septic tank holds 1,000 gallons of liquid and solids, and is usually made of concrete, but can be made of fiberglass, metal or plastic. The tank has internal slabs at the inlet and outlet that controls flow patterns.

The primary purpose of the tank is to separate the solids from the liquid waste. The septic tank contains anaerobic bacteria, e.g. bacteria which thrive without oxygen. These bacteria partially digest the solids. The solids in the form of sludge settle on the bottom of the tank. Grease, scum, and hair float to the top.

These undigested solids left on the bottom of the septic tank must be pumped out on a regular basis. This pumping prevents solids from being carried into the drain field and preserves the effective capacity of the tank.

What are the parts of a septic tank system?

A conventional septic system has a tank (typically 750 to 2000 gallons) and a leach field (perforated pipe buried shallow in an extended area).

Monday, March 29th, 2010 • Septic Tanks

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