Septic Systems Website Copyright of VME 2017, all Rights Reserved.               A properly functioning septic system is your home’s most valuable appliance, yet many homeowners have a lot of questions and          misunderstandings about how their system works and how it should be cared for.  This page is intended to provide homeowners with the     proper information about how a typical system works and how it should be cared for. (Click on the above do’s & dont’s tab for more information.)                                                    A typical system’s function: “I get the flushing part, now what?” Wastewater from a home (bathrooms,kitchens, shower, and laundry) is “treated” by your septic system.  The septic tank receives this wastewater which is where the first stage of treatment takes place.  The effluent from this waste is then disposed of in a drain field where the bacteria (or microbes) begin their “work”, along with drainage and evaporation, to finish the process.  You basically have a mini wastewater recycling plant in your backyard!                                         The Septic Tank:  Eww, what’s in there and do I really want to know?                                   The septic tank is a buried, watertight container typically made of pre-cast concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene.                   Once the septic tank receives the wastewater, several things start to occur.  The wastewater begins to form it’s 3 main layers. The top layer, or “scum”, is made up of solid organic material.  Bacteria within the tank will then begin to “go to work” to convert this material to liquids. The middle layer is made up of a cloudy liquid.  This is the only material that should overflow to the soil absorption area or “drain field.”  This material            will then percolate down through the drain field into the ground. The bottom layer, or “sludge”, is made up of inorganic or inert materials that cannot be biologically converted.  The buildup of this material will result in            sludge buildup in your drain field.  This is the leading cause of drain field failure.  Normally a septic tank should be pumped when the bottom layer of            sludge is within 18 inches of the tank outlet.  Regular pumping and regular service visits to test scum and sludge levels in your tank are a necessary            part of septic system maintenance.  Call me today for more details on this matter. 406-284-3478. The Drain Field or Leach Field:  “It just soaks in the soil?”  Well, yes for the most part, our friends the “microbes” help here too. Septic tank wastewater (also known as effluent) flows to the drain field, where it percolates through the gravel, sand, peat, or plastic media into the soil, which provides final treatment where microorganisms consume more of the contaminants, by removing harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients.  This is the final resting place of all of your household wastewater.  Obviously, this small outline on the basics of how a septic system works is not comprehensive.  If you would like to learn more about how your system works or how to better care for it, please feel free to call me and discuss your options.  Whether you are building a new home, replacing a failing system, or are having concerns about your current system,                                                           call Val today for a free consultation.  406-284-3478