4895 Curdy Road
Howell, MI 48855
A septic system has two basic parts–a septic tank and an underground disposal field. The septic tank removes most solid wastes from the water. Heavier solids settle to the bottom of the tank where bacteria break them down into sludge. Lighter wastes (some solids, grease, and oil) form a scum layer on top of the water. Cleaner water between the two layers flow into the disposal field. The disposal field filters and treats the wastewater by distributing it over a large underground area of coarse soil.
A septic tank is an underground box constructed of reinforced concrete or plastic. It must be installed at least ten feet from a building foundation, so repairs or pumping do not weaken the building. Since the tank holds wastewater, it must be installed at least fifty feet from residential or private drinking water wells.
There are three different types of disposal fields: trench, bed, and dry well. Each type of field serves the same purpose. Wastewater flows through pipes into layers of stone and coarse soil. The stone holds the water and lets it filter slowly through the soil. The trench and bed system have a network of pipes that distribute the wastewater down the trench or over a rectangular open bed. The dry well is a bottomless, concrete box with slots in the sides. It looks similar to a septic tank. Stone and coarse soil surround the tank on the sides and bottom. Wastewater is distributed first through the bottom of the dry well and bottom. Wastewater is distributed first through the bottom of the dry well and later, as the stone and soil become clogged, through the sides.
Septic system maintenance requires that the sludge that accumulates in the bottom of the tank must be pumped out periodically. How frequently depends on the size of the tank, the use it gets, and the condition of the system. IT MUST BE PUMPED OUT. If not pumped out, the sludge will eventually overflow into the soil absorption area. This will clog the system, and it will need to be replaced, at enormous expense and inconvenience.
In addition the pumps in your system should be routinely checked for proper operation.