Various Components of a Septic System

January 27th, 2018 | By | Posted in Uncategorized |

At A Pump Away Environmental, we know that it’s incredibly easy to take your septic system for granted. After all, if your septic system is operating properly, you have little reason to worry or even think about. However, the health and maintenance of your septic system is vital. It’s typically recommended that you have your septic system cleaned every three to five years, but there are other things to keep in mind other than just cleaning. For instance, you should never build anything on top of your septic tank. The tank needs to be accessible for cleaning, maintenance, and perhaps even to be replaced at some point in the future. While there’s nothing wrong with having a green thumb, you should never have anything other than grass planted in your drain field. With a little bit of care and attention, your septic system can keep running well for many years to come.

You can learn about the various components of a septic system by reading below. If you have any questions, be sure to contact your local septic system experts.

Septic Tank

This is the most obvious and arguably the most important part of your septic system. Your septic tank receives wastewater from your home via a pipe. The septic tank serves three main purposes. First, it it’s a holding tank, where solids can become separated from liquids. Second, it allows solids to be broken down biochemically thanks to bacteria that are present in the tank. Third, it lets the remaining solids settle in the bottom to later be removed via pumping.

Older septic tanks generally have around 40% of the solids treated within the septic tank, whereas the remaining 60% is treated in the drain field. Some newer septic tanks can treat as much as 90% of the solid waste within the septic tank itself with the other 10% being taken care of by the drain field.

Drain Field

Your drain field is fed by a perforated pipe or pipes. Larger tanks and households will likely have multiple pipes and perhaps a distribution box. A vent pipe allows for gases to escape. The perforated pipes are surrounded by gravel, rock, and dirt. For older systems, the drain field is where the majority of the solid waste is broken down. After partially treated wastewater enters the field, it’s absorbed into the surrounding soil. The remainder is typically evaporated.


It might not be immediately obvious, but the soil of your drain field is vital for a working septic system. The wastewater that flows out of your septic tank enters the drain field, where it percolates in the soil. The soil is where the final treatment actually occurs. Harmful bacteria and viruses are removed, while nutrients are absorbed.

When you understand the components that make up your septic system, you can better appreciate how the various parts work. Only with each element working in concert can the wastewater be properly treated.

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