girl washing hands

How Does Your Septic System Work?

Septic system maintenance is an important and necessary aspect of homeownership. Regular maintenance prevents property damage, heavy expenses, and major headaches. But how does your septic system work? Before you can understand how to maintain your septic system, you must first understand how your septic system works.

septic tank cover

Dissecting Your Septic System

Septic systems consist of two main parts: the septic tank and the drain field. A septic tank is a large box or cylinder and is most often constructed from concrete or fiberglass. This box is buried underneath the ground where pipes run out to the drainfield. Essentially, these components create a path from your septic tank to the sewer.

septic tank

What Does Your Septic Tank Do?


Your septic tank does the following:

  • Breaks down solids.
  • Performs basic treatment of water.
  • Sends treated water through the pipes in the drainfield.

The water that leaves the septic tank, known as the effluent, is not fully treated after leaving the tank. However, the tank breaks down solids and separates grease, fat, and other contaminants so that the water can flow more easily through the pipes, limiting the likelihood of them getting clogged.

Over the course of time, septic tanks naturally begin developing a layer of solids (or “sludge) on their floors and walls. Consequently, they need to be cleaned or pumped every few years to keep them from overflowing into the drainfield and causing clogged pipes. It is important to schedule an annual inspection of your septic tank to ensure that it does not need to be pumped.

landscaping around a septic drain field

What Does Your Drainfield Do?

The second component of your septic system, the drainfield, does the following:

  • Directs water from the tank to the sewer lines.
  • Uses organisms from landscape to treat water a second time.

It is important to keep your drainfield clear. A flooded drainfield is a mess. Flooded drainfields can result in accidents as cars, buildings, and other heavy objects located above the underground pipes can cause cracking and further flooding.

It is vital that every homeowner possesses a basic understanding of how their home works. Septic systems are no exception. Understanding your septic tank and your drainfield individually helps you understand your septic system as a whole. This can help you properly care for and maintain each component, saving time and money in the long run. It also allows you to understand and notice when something has gone wrong, allowing you to take quick action and avoid major problems.

If you have any septic needs, consider reaching out to a certified septic technician for a consultation. Preventive maintenance is always better, especially when it comes to septic systems. Make sure you are cleaning your tank and repairing any necessary components as needed, as this will help avoid any potential problems down the road.

septic pumping truck from norway septic granger indiana

Norway Septic Inc. is a service-oriented company dedicated to providing excellent septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services to homeowners and business owners in the Michiana area. We take pride in doing the job that others leave behind. If you have further questions or if you would like to schedule a septic tank cleaning by one of our professionals, call us today.

septic pumping truck from norway septic granger indiana

Share this post

who should you call for septic issues?

Norway Septic Inc. is a service oriented company dedicated to providing excellent septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services to homeowners and business owners in the Michiana area.  We take pride in doing the job that others leave behind. ” Our motto stands, “they pump, we clean!”

Call us if you suspect that there are problems with your septic system or if you need septic replacement parts like septic filters. With over 40 years of experience, we know septic systems and can handle just about any septic emergency.

related articles

"Fast, Reliable, and Environmentally-Friendly Septic Services

Scroll to Top