What is a septic System?
According to San Bernardino County, a septic system is made up of a septic tank and a leachline or seepage pit buried in the ground near your home. This system treats wastewater and sewage from your toilets, showers, washing machines, garbage disposals, kitchens, etc., where public sewer systems are not available.
What is a Septic Tank?
A concrete, fiberglass, polyethylene or steel box about nine feet long and five feet deep and wide. The tank is usually buried about five feet from the house under one to three feet of soil.
What is a Leachline?
It is a gravel-filled underground trench
What is a Seepage Pit?
A verticle hole in the ground with a concrete block lid and walls that are covered with soil. The pit measures 4-6 feet in diameter and 15-40 feet deep.
Where is my Septic System?
If you do not know where your septic system is located you can use a water probe to locate it. A septic tank usually located in the front of the house (some however are located in the back of the house). Once you find it try to locate the two septic tank lids, the leach line and or seepage pit or "pit". Draw a diagram on paper if possible and keep this for future reference.
If for some reason you can not find the tank or have no desire to find it, USA Septic and Drain Cleaning can do it for you.
What does a Septic System Do?
A septic tank has three main functions:
- Remove and treat greases and solids in the wastewater
- Store greases and solids until they are removed by a professional septic tank pumper
- Slowly release wastewater over an area of land so it can be absorbed by the soil
Below is a diagram of a typical concrete septic tank.
What are warning signs of septic system failure?
- Sewage running into the tub when you flush the toilet
- Sewage rising to the surface of the ground above the leachline
- Slow draining toilets/drains or toilets that won't flush
- Gurgling sounds in pipes and drains
- Mushy ground or lush, green grass near septic system area
- Strong sewage odors followed by complaints from your neighbors
What could go wrong?
Ignoring your septic system could cost you thousands of dollars for repair or replacement. If your tank is not pumped every two to four years, scum and sludge will fill up the tank, overflow into the leachline and clog up the soil. This can cause the leachline to fail and the wastewater to rise to the surface of the ground. If the leachline or seepage pit fails it will require a new one to be constructed and it will require a permit from the County or City Building and Safety Department.
Other factors that cause system failure:
- Wasting water (which drains into the septic system)
- To many people living in the house
- Water draining into leachlines and seepage pits from gutters or even heavy rains can overload the system and cause it to fail.
The chart below shows how much wastewater a typical
septic system can process in a 24-hour period: