Typical Septic Systems That Are Buried Underground

Typical Septic Systems That Are Buried Underground

Septic systems are a type of wastewater management systems built underground commonly in urban and rural areas. They help maintain human and environmental health by efficiently managing wastewater under suburban homes and buildings.

To effectively manage a municipality’s wastewater, septic tanks would need three specific components. These would be (1) the tank, (2) the drain lines, and (3) the soil treatment area or drain field. Each component is crucial in wastewater treatment processes that separate solid from liquid waste.

Inside a Septic Tank

Tanks come in different sizes, depending on the building it will cater. Average houses are generally built on 1,000-gallon tanks, while larger buildings require larger capacities. Septic tanks consist of concrete and other materials. Newer models come with one more chamber compared to the ones produced in older years. 

These tanks split wastewater into three layers. The bottom sludge layer consists of heavy solids sinking to the bottom of the tank. Above it is a “clear” zone, followed by a top scum layer containing grease and light solids that float to the surface.

Heavy waste components are then partially decomposed with bacteria and other microbes present in the human intestine. Every time a toilet is flushed, new supplies of microbes, bacteria, and another chunk of waste are delivered to repeat the process.

What happens to the liquid waste?

When new water surges in the septic tank, it releases liquid from the “clear” middle layer to the field lines. This discharge maintains the same amount as the new water arriving in the tank. Often, there are distribution boxes located between the tank and drain lines. These boxes help distribute the wastewater to different lines in the drain field and into the soil.

Bacteria, fungi, and other soil critters utilize the secreted liquid waste by reusing them in the ground, cleaning the water in the process. Metals and minerals bind to the soil particles, and the cleansed water seeps further below as groundwater.

Types of Septic Tanks

Septic systems can classify into two categories; anaerobic and aerobic. Anaerobic septic tank systems rely on bacteria and time to complete the process, while an aerobic septic tank system injects extra air into the water. The air acts as a catalyst to speed up the filtration process. 

Anaerobic septic systems have multiple chambers to treat wastewater. It has more moving part drain fielded to a conventional septic tank. Here are some of the standard septic systems taken from https://septictank.com/.

Conventional Septic System

This type of system is common in household residences. It features an underground tank and drainfield packed with gravel. Due to its size, it is used for small businesses and on home properties. The drain field layout and maintenance of this system prove to be the ideal choice for such buildings. 

Chamber Septic System

A chamber type system is built closely similar to a conventional system. The only difference is that it does not make use of gravel and costs less than a traditional septic system. Chamber septics have easier delivery and installation processes due to their material. Although it is not entirely plastic, it does make up some of its components.

Drip Distribution Septic System

Drip distribution septic tanks differ from most systems as it does not require to be deep underground. It uses electricity to process wastewater instead of relying on large pipes containing gravel to release treated water into the soil. Since this system is complex compared to the others, it requires more frequent tank inspections or repairs. 

Mound Septic System

Similar to traditional septic tanks, mound systems lean on timed release of treated water into the ground. Instead of gravel, it uses a mound of sand to complete the treated water’s filtration process before releasing it into the soil. Mound septic tanks require a large space for installation.

Recirculating Sand Filter Septic System

Even though most septic systems need to be underground, some can function in either location. A recirculating sand filter septic tank is one example. Although, in most cases, it is built underground. This kind of system utilizes sand and stones to complete the wastewater filtration process in the drain fields before releasing them into the soil. It uses a pump together with a chamber filled with sand to treat the water. Due to its necessary components, installation for this kind of system is higher than the others.

Evapotranspiration Septic System

True to its name, the evapotranspiration system does not discharge the wastewater into the ground. Instead, it uses an open-air tank to release the treated water into the air. This septic system can only function in hot, dry conditions, so its visibility is exclusive to particular areas. 

Constructed Wetland Septic System

This unique system utilizes a chunk of plants, water, gravel, and sand located in an exposed section above the septic for its filtration process. The tank underground contains the wastewater treated in the same facility. Once the separation of solid and liquid wastes occurs, the tank secretes the wastewater into the simulated wetland.  

Community Septic System

Also known as the cluster septic system, this type is known for linking neighboring properties. Its large size and septic layout can serve multiple buildings at the same time. Cluster septic systems work just as well as individual ones and follow similar filtration procedures. 

Its make-up may differ depending on the community. Each building may have individual tanks below them while connected by the same field lines and share a final distribution box. 

Care and Maintenance

Septic tanks help care for the community’s health, making them necessary for every functional municipality. Septic systems require maintenance now and then. The frequency should depend on which type of system your property uses. Pumping out septic tanks every six or seven years is necessary to remain operational for most systems. Failure symptoms are easy enough to detect. Check your wastewater backing up into household drains. Call for a septic professional at any signs of failure, to reduce the cost associated with delaying fixing any issues, or paying for a do-it-yourself solutions gone wrong.