Septic 101 With Bonanza!
How does my Septic System Work?
Septic System Components:
A typical septic system has four main components: a pipe from the home, a septic tank, a drain-field, and the soil. Plus some homes have a clean-out pipe connected to the pipe from the home. Microbes in the soil digest or remove most contaminants from wastewater before it eventually reaches groundwater.
Pipe from the home: All of your household wastewater exits your home through a pipe to the septic tank.
Clean Out Pipe: Clean out pipes are typically 4" in diameter made of black ABS or white PVC pipe and have a cap placed over the top made of similar material. These pipes are placed where grease and other non-biodegradable materials gather and can be removed before moving onto your Septic System. Sometimes backflow into the home can be remedied by removing foreign material build-up from your cleanout pipe. This is not a point of access for performing Waste Water Removal Services, however, they serve as an access point to insert electronic equipment when attempting to locate your tank.
Septic tank: The septic tank is a buried, watertight container typically made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It holds the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle out (forming sludge) and oil and grease to float to the surface (as scum). It also allows partial decomposition of the solid materials. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet in the septic tank prevents the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drain field area. Screens are also recommended to keep solids from entering the drain-field. Newer tanks generally have risers with lids at the ground surface to allow easy location, inspection, and pumping of the tank.
Drain-field: The wastewater exits the septic tank and is discharged into the drain-field for further treatment by the soil. The partially treated wastewater is pushed along into the drain-field for further treatment every time new wastewater enters the tank. If the drain-field is overloaded with too much liquid, it will flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or create backups in plumbing fixtures and prevent the treatment of all wastewater. A reserve drain-field, required by many states, is an area on your property suitable for a new drain-field system if your current drain-field fails. Treat this area with the same care as your septic system.
Soil: Septic tank wastewater flows to the drain field, where it percolates into the soil, which provides final treatment by removing harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Suitable soil is necessary for successful wastewater treatment.
What does proper maintenance include?
It is recommended to have your Septic System serviced every three years. Septic System Services include removing the contents of both the liquid and solid side of your tank. Inspections can also be included to make sure that the leach field is in working order.
More information on the EPA's recommendations to homeowners with septic systems can be found here:
Where Is My Septic Tank?
Unsure of where your septic tank is located? The first step is to contact your city or county's Building Permit Department and request the map supplied by the installation company. In some areas, the EPA or Health and Human Services departments keep septic system information. Should no documentation be found, or you would like to confirm that the records on hand are accurate, Bonanza Septic has the equipment to map and confirm current available maps.*
* Some restrictions apply