The word septic system is often thrown around as if it is one system. However, your septic system is actually made up of three different and distinct parts. The septic tank itself, the distribution box, and the absorption field.
1. Septic Tank
The largest part of your septic system is the actual septic tank itself. The septic tank is buried under ground and is made to be water tight. This is where your sewage and wastewater are held while the water separates from the solids.
The solids, also known as sludge, accumulate on the bottom of your bank. The scum goes to the top of the tank, and the water is in the middle.
Septic tanks are designed to hold hundreds of gallons of water and waste at a time. The exact size of a septic tank can vary greatly though. Septic tanks can be made out of a variety of different materials. The three most common materials that septic tanks are made out of are plastic, concrete, and fiberglass.
2. Distribution Box
The water that goes into your septic tank does not stay their long. The wastewater is then passed out of the tank and into a distribution box. Within the distribution box, there are a series of pipes. The purpose of this series of pipes is to distribute the wastewater in different directions into your drainage field. In the septic field, the wastewater is also called the effluent.
3. Absorption Field
After the water goes through the distribution box, it passes through a series of rocks and gravel. This helps filter the water before it goes into the absorption field. The absorption field helps treat the wastewater from your system. It helps filter out the chemicals and physical elements in the water before the wastewater reaches the groundwater. The absorption field is the final natural filtration process that cleans up the wastewater from your home and allows it to join back up with the groundwater again. The type of soil that you have in your yard impacts how effective your absorption field is.
All three of these different parts of your septic system are spread out. The septic tank is usually the closest to your house, followed by the distribution box, and then the absorption field is generally the furthest away from your house. Your absorption field is also generally not located near your well; there needs to be enough space for the wastewater to be cleaned before it joins with your groundwater again.
For more information, contact your local septic services.