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5 FAQs Regarding Septic Systems

domestic wastewater treatment
If you live in a rural area, you more than likely have a septic system. If you don't know whether or not your property has a septic system or a sewer, there are some ways to know for sure.
If you have an odd-looking hill somewhere on your property, a septic tank is probably underneath. Most septic tanks are located at least 10 feet away from the house. If other people in your area have their own septic system, you probably do too.
One way to know for sure is by contacting your municipal government. Some people who have never had a septic system before might have some questions as to what they are and how they work. Here are the answers to five frequently asked questions regarding septic systems.

1. What Is the Purpose of a Septic System?

When you create wastewater in your home, it needs somewhere to go. Instead of going through a sewer system, the wastewater gets deposited into your septic tank, which is located underground. Using a combination of nature and technology, the wastewater that gets produced from the plumbing system in your home is treated and then released back into the environment.

2. What Parts Make Up a Septic System?

Septic systems are made up of a few main parts, including:
  • Septic tank — an airtight container located underground
  • Drainfield — the area that wastewater gets emptied into after leaving the septic tank
  • Soil absorption field — where harmful bacteria gets removed from the water
Another component is the pipe in which wastewater from your indoor plumbing system goes into the septic tank.

3. What Maintenance Do Septic Systems Require?

If you have a septic system, you have to do periodic maintenance. One simple way to maintain the system is by not overloading your drainfield, which you can do by using less water.
You should also avoid flushing certain items down the toilet or putting them down the drain. Don’t use your toilets, sinks, or garbage disposal as a trash can.
Here are some items you should avoid putting down your toilet and drains:
  • Disposable wipes and diapers
  • Sanitary napkins and tampons
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Kitty litter
  • Cigarette butts
You should also avoid dumping certain foods down your drains, including cooking oils, fats, pasta, eggshells, coffee grounds, flour, and rice. All of these things can clog your pipes, which can wreak havoc on your septic system.
You will also need to get your septic system pumped out on a regular basis. If your household is a family of four, you should get it pumped out every 3 to 5 years. Check the tank once a year to ensure it doesn’t overflow.

4. How Do I Know If the Septic System Has a Problem?

If you see sewage bubbling up in your drainfield or you notice an awful smell, this might be a sign that something is wrong with your septic system. Other signs of having a problem with your septic system include:
  • Wastewater is backing up into household drains
  • Drainfield has bright green grass over it
  • Muddy soil is around your septic system
  • Gurgling noises are coming from your plumbing system
  • Drains empty slowly
If you notice any of these things, get your septic system inspected as soon as possible.

5. Who Can I Call for Septic System Repair?

If you do need your septic system repaired or if you have any other questions regarding your septic system, simply call the experienced plumbers at O'Fallon Sewer Service. We are happy to address your questions and help you stay on top of septic system maintenance.