All About Septic Tanks

“Private Sewage” means you have your own septic or sewage system. Essentially a septic tank is a large concrete vault that measures 8’x4’x4′. It is normally buried 4″ to 24″ below the surface of the ground. The tank is divided into two chambers which performs a separation of solids from liquids. Water or effluent enters the tank via a main drain line. The water passes through the chambers and exits through a drain at the opposite end. Effluent travels into a small 18″x 24″ concrete vault called the distribution box. The distribution box routes the effluent into 3 to 5, 4″ drains that make up the drain field. Traditionally the drain field is a bed of medium size gravel in which perforated drain lines lie within. Water leaches through the perforations into the gravel bed and then into the ground. The septic system is more or less “alive” with bacteria that helps break down the solids. Maintenance on these systems is pretty basic. When a house is lived in year-round, an average family of four will need the tank “serviced” (pumped out) every 5 years. Heavily used rental properties may require yearly pumping as the natural process of the septic system cannot breakdown organics quick enough. The average cost to pump down a 1,000-gallon tank is around $300. There are additives on the market that can assist in this process but they require continual use to be effective.

Important notes:
No parking, no gardens and no landscaping should be done on top of the septic field.
The average life span is roughly 20 years.