How Septic Systems Work

There are many misconceptions about septic systems, from being costly to own and maintain to being less than reliable. But that is not the case. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, these systems serve about 20% of the country's homes and last for up to 40 years. And just like the other plumbing components in your home, with proper care and maintenance from the team at Paul Bunyan Plumbing & Drain, they are reliable. And require little in the way of costly repairs or service.

The True Purpose of a Septic System

The simple answer that most homeowners expect is that a septic system replaces a sewer system's service. And in very basic terms, that is correct. But it is crucial to understand how a septic system safely disposes of the waste generated in your home. It is not a pipe that merely distributes dirty water and human waste across your property. There is a filtration process and separation of solids and liquid before anything is flowing into your yard.

It Starts in The Septic Tank

All of the water and solid waste from sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets flows into an underground septic tank. Inside the tank, all the solid waste settles to the bottom to form what is called sludge. Anaerobic bacteria then break down the sludge to release the oil, grease, and fat. These byproducts float on the liquid in the tank and are often separated by baffles. This leaves the liquid in the middle of the tank, where it flows into the pipes that lead to the leach field. The soil acts as the final filtration for the water dispersed into the leach field.

Care of A Septic System

It is essential to monitor what is going into a septic system. Avoid paint, chemicals, kitty litter, coffee grounds, and all paper products except for septic system-safe toilet paper. All of these no-flush items will clog a septic system. It is also important to note that anaerobic bacteria are essential to the function of a septic tank. Chemicals or excessive amounts of cleaning products washed down the drain and into the tank can be harmful to the bacteria and result in a failure of the entire system. The average tank should be pumped out once every two or three years.

It is also essential to avoid driving over or parking in the leach area as the added weight can crush the pipes. And trees or other large plants with vigorous root growth should not be planted in the leach area. The roots will grow into the leach pipes and create some costly clog issues.

Recognizing A Problem

Slow clearing drains are a sign of trouble for a septic system. In addition, a gurgling sound from your home's drains or a foul odor in the leach area are signs of serious trouble. At the first indication of a problem with your septic system, call 612-340-1444 to schedule an appointment with the pros from Paul Bunyan Plumbing & Drain.


Paul Bunyan Plumbing & Drains

5720 International Parkway
New Hope, MN 55428