Your Septic System – What’s This Crap All About, Anyway?

Max Willner Septic Systems

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According to Circle of Blue, over 21 million households across the United States utilize a septic system instead of a public sewer to filter their wastewater. That’s roughly one in five homes across the country that do not rely on a public sewer system.

One of our many happy customers. Want a picture with our pump truck? We won’t stop you.
So, How Does a Septic System Work?

If your home is currently using one or if you’re just curious, it’s good to know how they work.

Wastewater is any water that has been used by toilets, baths, laundry, the dishwasher, home appliances, etc.  Typically, wastewater is 99% liquid. There is a main drainage pipe leading from your house to the septic tank, and everything leaves the house through that pipe.

The tank that the wastewater leads to is usually pretty big – it can hold anywhere from 750 gallons to well over 1,500, depending on the size of your home. Most tanks are made of concrete, polyethylene or fiberglass.

So, the wastewater flows into the tank. Over time, the wastewater settles with scum on the top and sludge on the bottom. Great terms, right? Welcome to the septic business. The septic tank is designed to prevent the scum and sludge from going any further. From this point forward, the now-completely-liquid wastewater (called effluent) continues its quest alone, into the drain field.

The drain field is the final part of the septic process. Liquid wastewater is dispersed through perforated pipes into a shallow, porous field that is effectively filtered and absorbed into the ground. At this point in the process, the septic system is just feeding nutrients and moisture into the earth.

Do You Know Where Your Septic System Is?

If you’ve got a septic system, you probably already know where it is. If not, there are a few ways to find it:

You can find it in your house drawing, or request it from the Health Department.
Some septic systems have an exposed lid / cover. Others are completely buried and will have to be dug up by a technician.
You can contact HEP and we can have a technician come out and locate it for you.
Things to Look Out For With Your Septic System

Obviously, if you’ve got wastewater backing up into your house, you’ve got a pretty big problem. Shoot us a call and we’ll get somebody out there immediately.
If the area around your septic tank or drain field smells strong.
If the ground is wet around your septic system.
If the grass around your septic system is bright green and spongy.
Should you find yourself experiencing any of these issues, give HEP a call immediately and we’ll send a technician and a pump truck to get things sorted for you.

Would You Like to Know More about Septic Systems?

For an awesome way to see how septic systems work, check out the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority’s animated and interactive model.

You Dump, We Pump. If you’re looking for a professional septic system service, look no further.
When was the last time you had your tank pumped? Schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (865) 234-0501 and we’ll have our professional technicians out to your home in no time at all.

Sources / Additional Information: EPA.gov and HowStuffWorks


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