Septic System Anatomy Video
Am I glad you are here today! Guess what I discovered? I found a septic system that is being installed and it hasn’t been covered over with dirt. The inspector is coming tomorrow, so it is a great opportunity for me to show you the basic components of a septic system. The septic system consists of the septic tank, the distribution box and the leach field.
This is the actual septic tank. It is a precast, concrete structure that a crank lowers into place. This particular one is about 750 to 1,000 gallon capacity. The waste water from the house comes directly into this tank. The tank has lids that allow you to inspect the inside of the tank. They also serve a very important service. Every three to four years, you need to have a company come in and pump out all of the solids, that have collected inside the septic tank.
The distribution box takes the waste water from the septic tank and directs it out to the leach field through four different pipes.
The leach field in this system looks a little weird because of all the concrete covering. This leach field will actually be underneath the road leading to the house. The waste water enters the leach field from the distribution box. The leach field consists of a foot thick layer of sand. The waste water filters down through the sand, where it gets cleansed of all the bacteria and pathogens. And then it flows back into the water table.
That is how simple septic systems work.
Author's Note: We've received other questions with similar problems or questions. Here's one from Howard Stein of Oklahoma City, OK, regarding his home septic system.
"We have ten inches of snow and the temperature is near zero Fahrenheit. It will stay like this for several days. Is it safe to use our washing machine (doing regular laundry) in this frigid weather since we have a septic tank and fear that the "arms" cannot properly dispose of large volumes of water into the ground? Many thanks for your help."
Howard, typically in most septic systems, the tank and drainage fields are located well below the frost line.