Understanding the Residential Septic System: A Primer for First-Time Homeowners
Once the feelings of pride and accomplishment have faded a bit, first-time homeowners often find themselves dealing with anxiety about the responsibilities they may face as the owners and caretakers of a house. Now, instead of dialing the landlord's or property manager's number to report a repair or maintenance issue, they are faced with figuring out what the necessary remedy is and then making sure it gets done.
If the home is located in an area that is not yet incorporated and served by a public sewer system, the new homeowner may find themselves wondering about the workings of their residential septic system and any maintenance needs it will have. If you have recently purchased your first home and have found yourself in this situation, the following septic system primer can help get you up to speed.
An Anatomy Lesson
The first thing a homeowner must know about caring for their on-site septic system is the location of all components and the job each one performs. Most home septic systems are relatively simple in design. A waste pipe carries both liquids and solids from the home to the septic tank or tanks, usually located in the back or side yard.
Once the waste materials arrive at the tank, some of the liquid, called effluent, is channeled out of the tank through a serious of vents and pipes. The solids remain in the tank to be broken down by bacteria colonies, while the effluent makes it way on to the drain field. Once it arrives at the drain field, it is channeled into long, perforated pipes that allow it to seep harmlessly into the soil where natural microbial action will cleanse it before it enters the groundwater system.
Variations in the system
Since homes are not always built on level ground, there are often instances in which the septic tank is on a different level than the drain field. Since this can impact the ability of the effluent to reach the drain field, a sewage pumping or lift station is used to help alleviate this problem. Sewage pumping or lift stations typically require electrical power to operate and use an alarm system with a light or warning sound to notify homeowners if a problem develops.
To learn more about your septic system, sewage system pump, or lift station, first-time homeowners should contact a licensed septic system installer, such as Sound Septic Pumping and Services, Inc. These contractors can help homeowners better understand the workings of their septic systems and help them design a maintenance schedule to keep them running efficiently.