Build Up Your Septic System Vocabulary: Septic System Terminology Defined

October 7, 2016

If you’re new to having a septic system, terms like “leach field,” “absorption area,” and “septic mound system” may fly right over your head. When it comes time for your next round of septic tank maintenance though, we want to empower you with some of the common terms our staff may throw out while doing their work. So become a septic tank pro with some simple definitions that will help you get to know your septic system a little better.

Some Common Septic System Terminology

Absorption Field:
The area where sewage is distributed before going into your soil where it will be absorbed.

Capacity of a Septic System:
This term describes the available volume of wastewater that your septic tank can handle.

Cesspool:
A cesspool is a stone or concrete block where sewage is discharged. Solids will remain in the pit while wastewater is absorbed into the soil below and at the sides of the cesspool. Here, solids can settle to the bottom, floating grease and scum collect at the top, and liquids can seep into the ground, through the bottom and sides of the cesspool.

Drywell:
This is a pit that receives and disposes of gray water (the water from your laundry, shower or sinks that is not sewage).

Holding Tank:
Your holding tank is a drainless, sealed tank that holds your household’s waste and wastewater until the tank can be pumped out.

Leach field:
Your leach field is part of a system that help treat bacteria from wastewater before allowing the wastewater to seep into your soil.

Septic Mound System:
Like we explained briefly in our last blog article, a mound is a wastewater treatment system made of a bunch of perforated pipes that help treat wastewater before it goes into your soil.

Raised Bed Septic Systems:
A wastewater absorption trench system that has been constructed in soil-fill material that has been placed on top of the natural soil on a building lot. Raised septic bed systems make at least partial use of existing soils for wastewater treatment.

Retention Time:
This is the amount of time that wastewater stays in your septic tank before moving out of the treatment process and into your absorption field. This time could be hours or days.

Septic Sludge:
Sludge, as well call it, is solid waste that remains at the bottom of your septic tank.

Now, the next time your septic system is acting up, you may even know exactly what’s wrong. When that time comes, you give us a call to confirm your own diagnosis. In our many years in the field, we’ve installed, designed and repaired hundreds of septic systems and know exactly what it takes to fix a damaged one. Just give us a call or send us an email to let us know how we can be of service.

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