Septic Tank Basics – Understanding The Key Components And Functionality

Septic Tank Pump Out Perth is a vital part of your home’s plumbing and waste management. The system utilizes natural processes & proven technology to treat wastewater from household drains.

Inside your septic tank, bacteria digest organic waste. This produces gases like hydrogen sulfide, which are vented out of the tank. The clarified wastewater, known as effluent, exits your tank and seeps into the soil through perforated pipes.

septic tank

Inlet Chamber

The inlet chamber is the entry point for wastewater into the septic tank. The inlet baffle slows incoming flow, preventing agitation inside the tank and disruption of the layering of solids. It also prevents scum from entering the inlet pipe and blocking the flow.

Wastewater enters the septic tank from home fixtures, such as toilets and sinks. A house sewer drain connects to the septic tank, which is usually located under the floor of the house and can be made from concrete, fiberglass, or plastic.

Inside the septic tank, bacterial action breaks down organic solids and separates sewage into three layers: sludge, effluent, and scum. Heavy solids, such as grease and oil, sink to the bottom of the tank in a sludge layer, while water and lighter waste rise to the top as scum. The middle layer of effluent exits the septic tank through an inlet pipe, which is connected to an outlet pipe. The outlet pipe is attached to a network of perforated pipes extending into the drain field’s soil.

As the effluent flows from the septic tank through the drainage field, it is purified by natural and mechanical processes. It is filtered by gravel and soil, and it undergoes chemical reactions and decomposition by soil microbes. This process is what allows the septic system to eliminate pathogenic bacteria and other organisms that could contaminate nearby drinking water wells or watercourses, and it removes nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which can cause harmful algal blooms that use up oxygen in waterbodies, poisoning fish and other wildlife.

A septic tank should have a four-inch-diameter PVC or cast-iron inlet and outlet pipes to ensure proper flow and prevent clogs. These pipes should be protected by baffles and tees of acid-resistant concrete, fiberglass, or plastic. In addition, the inlet and outlet pipes should have six-inch inspection ports for checking solids levels and clogs. If the septic tank is above ground, it should be surrounded by a protective mound of clay or gravel.

Outlet Chamber

The septic tank is a watertight container in which all the wastewater that comes out of your home’s toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and showers is deposited. The septic system treats the dirty water to make it safe for the environment and absorption field to reuse. The septic tank is part of an onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) that includes the house sewer drain, distribution box, and soil absorption field.

The house sewer drain collects all the waste from your bathroom and kitchen fixtures and connects to the septic tank. In the septic tank, weighty solid masses sink to the bottom of the tank as sludge while grease and lighter materials rise to the top as scum. Anaerobic bacterial action breaks down the sludge, and the scum moves into the outlet pipe, which channels it into the absorption field’s soil.

Occasionally, your septic tank will need to be pumped. This removes the sludge and scum, which can then be recycled into the absorption field to reduce the amount of wastewater your household needs to treat each year.

When the tank is emptied, a professional uses a special pump to suction the waste and empty it into a truck that hauls it away for processing or disposal. Depending on the size of your septic tank, it may be buried underground or above ground. A buried tank usually has two or more inspection ports and larger manholes for pumping the contents. The tank’s ventilation is also a key component, as foul gases are released through the venting system.

If your septic tank is above ground, it will likely look like a large metal or plastic box. It is important to walk around the tank and poke with a stick, such as an electric fence stake, at every stride to make sure there are no cracks or leaks that could damage your septic system.

You can easily identify a good septic tank by the shape of the inlet and outlet pipes. The inlet and outlet should be fitted with ‘T’ fittings to stop solids from flowing down the drain and blocking the leach field or clogging the inlet pipe. The ‘T’ fittings should be clean and free of debris, a sign that the tank is working properly.

Leach Field

Once the solid waste has been broken down by bacteria into a liquid, it’s pumped out of the tank. This liquid wastewater is directed to the septic system’s second component, the leach field or drain field. This is a network of gravel trenches, where perforated pipes are laid to treat the wastewater further. The water is then absorbed into the soil and naturally filtered by microbes. This water also helps to reduce the amount of toxins and other pollutants that seep into groundwater sources.

Once new wastewater enters the septic tank, it goes through a settling process. The solids and sediment sink to the bottom and form a layer of sludge, while the fats, oils, and other liquids float to the top, which is known as scum. Bacteria work to break down the sludge and scum into liquid wastewater, which is pumped out of the tank through the outlet pipe.

The septic tank’s outlet pipe is designed with baffle walls to prevent the sludge and scum from reaching the drainage field. This is because if the sludge and scum are allowed to reach this point, they can clog the outlet pipe and prevent wastewater from exiting the septic tank. This can lead to puddles and other issues in the yard.

A septic tank’s distribution box, which is located within the septic tank, evenly distributes the wastewater across both sides of the drain field. This is done through a diverter valve, which needs to be switched regularly. This is done to ensure that one side of the drain field is being used while the other is resting, which allows each to recover from use over time.

The septic tank’s drain field is an essential part of the overall septic system, and it’s important to maintain this area. Homeowners should avoid driving or parking cars or trucks in the area and should be wary of planting plants or trees that have deep roots. This can compact the soil and clog the drainage lines of the septic tank. The septic system should also be inspected and pumped regularly to ensure the proper function of all its parts.


The liquid wastewater (effluent) is pumped out of the tank to the drain field via underground perforated pipes. Bacteria in the septic system break down solid waste and the resulting effluent is absorbed into soil. The liquid waste also seeps into groundwater and naturally re-enters the environment. The septic system is a key element in providing basic sewage treatment for homes that are not connected to centralized sewer systems.

Whenever you use your toilets, sinks, showers, and appliances, the wastewater goes through the main sewer line and then into the septic tank. The septic tank is a big underground storage bin for your sewage waste, and it must be large enough to hold the volume of wastewater generated by your home. It is also designed to keep sewage long enough for solids to separate from the water, and the bacteria in the tank break down these solids. Sludge and scum settle at the bottom of the tank, while oil and grease float to the top. This process enables the septic system to filter out most contaminants from wastewater before it leaves your home.

It is important to have your septic tank pumped regularly. If you don’t, the sludge and scum can escape the tank and clog up the clarified liquid wastewater in the drain field. This can lead to clogged toilets and other wastewater backups.

A professional can pump your septic tank for you, and a good company will usually have a truck with a giant tank that sucks up the sewage waste from your tank when they open it. The sewage is then transported to a sewage processing plant and processed.

All of the plumbing in your home connects to the main sewer line that slopes down to your septic tank. The septic system is usually located outside of your home, but you may want to have it located in your backyard if the septic tank and absorption field are close together or if your house has a small lot.

It is best to map out the location of your septic system and mark its components with permanent stakes. This will prevent damaging your septic tank and the absorption field during yard work or construction projects. It is also best to not park cars or trucks on the absorption field, as this can compact the soil and block the flow of the septic tank’s effluent.