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Septic Tank Systems

septictank-red.jpgWhat is a Septic Tank?

Septic tank systems are individual wastewater treatment systems that collect, treat, and dispose of wastewater. They are reliable, cost-effective, and efficient. Septic tank systems are used where municipal sewers are not available or are impractical.

Your septic tank system consists of four components: the septic tank; the effluent filter; the distribution box or Flow Divider (optional); and the effluent disposal field or drain field.

Your septic tank retains wastewater to separate solids from liquids while some bacterial digestion occurs. The effluent filter installed in your septic tank helps to retain the partially digested solid materials in the tank. Keeping the solid material away from your drain field is crucial to the proper operation of your system.

The distribution box or Flow Divider splits the wastewater evenly and sends it onto the drain field. Your drain field is the last step in treating your waste. Wastewater enters level trenches that contain gravel and pipes. Wastewater moves through these trenches and into the surrounding soil. The soil cleans the wastewater so that it can be recycled into the groundwater below.

Where is Your Septic Tank?

In order to maintain your system, the tank needs to be accessible for pumping and the drain field should be protected. Locating your system is not always an easy task. Property owners or their agents can contact the local health department to request septic tank information. Agents include, but are not limited to, attorneys, real estate agents, septic tank repair companies, or developers. If the requester is not the owner or agent, a request for a copy of a septic tank system permit can be made through the Records Request page. The completed permit (also called The Approval for Use) will have a diagram of the actual system installation and include other information about your system. You can also sketch your septic system layout using your Homeowner’s Guide and Record Folder that is provided by the county health department.

For information on maintaining your septic tank system, visit Septic Tank Maintenance. Also see: Can I Live on This Lot?

Page last updated: April 24, 2024