How Your Septic System Works: A Basic Explanation

Have you ever wondered how your septic system works? Most of us don’t — but septic is an integral part of your home or property, so we should all have a basic understanding of how it functions. 

You don’t have to be a professional septic installer to understand what’s going on underground on your property. Here’s a quick explanation, in layman’s terms, of how a standard septic system works. 

1. Septic Tank

When you flush a toilet in your home, wastewater rushes through buried pipes into your septic tank. 

The septic tank is underground on your property. Waste is stored, separated, and broken down there. Believe it or not, this process doesn’t use any power or electricity — unless you install an alternative septic tank. 

Heavy waste sinks to the bottom of the septic tank, where it is naturally broken down by bacteria. As it breaks down, liquid effluent (light waste) rises to the top of the tank. From there, the effluent flows out of the septic tank and into the leach field. 

2. Leach Field

A leach field is a large plot of land where effluent is dispersed and filtered naturally. Again, this takes no power — it’s all gravity and time. 

The effluent trickles through layers of soil, sand, and gravel until it is totally clear of pollutants. Then the clean water seeps into the ground around your property and naturally rejoins the water cycle.

As long as everything is working, this tank and leach field system is efficient, safe, and harmless to the environment. Pretty cool, right?

3. Maintenance And Repair

California septic systems are built to last for generations. But that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible — you have to keep up with routine repairs and maintenance to keep your septic in good shape. 

Get in touch with a local septic repair company to learn more. You should have your septic tank pumped and cleaned every few years, and keep an eye out for signs of damage. On top of that, be careful not to flush anything except for waste and toilet paper to avoid clogs and backups. 

A well-maintained septic system will last for as long as you own your home. Now that you know the basics, you’re ready to maintain the system in your home!