How Does My Septic Tank Work?

Septic systems are essential for homes that are not hooked up to public sewer systems. Septic tanks collect waste and treat wastewater, releasing clean water back into the ground. If your home has a septic tank, you probably know that it collects waste and treats water, but do you actually know how it works? We’ve broken down the process for you.

septic tank


All of the drains in your home, including sink drains, bathtub and shower drains, and toilets, are connected to your septic system. Whenever you run water, dump waste down your sinks, or use your toilet, you are using the first part of your septic system. From your drains, waste and water travel through pipes, into a main drainage pipe. This main drainage pipe is responsible for collecting this waste and transporting it into your septic tank for storage and disposal.

Septic Tank

First, water runs out of your house from a main drainage pipe into a septic tank. Typically, these tanks are large and made of concrete or steel and are buried in the ground. The septic tank collects all of the wastewater from your home before it is drained out. Once the waste is in the septic tank, the water will separate into three layers. Solid, heavy materials will sink to the bottom and form the sludge layer. Oil and grease will float to the top and create the scum layer. In between these two layers is the middle layer, where the water will sit. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet will prevent the scum and sludge from leaving the tank, allowing only the water out. 

Drain Field

As more water gets pushed into the tank, an equal amount gets pushed into the drain field, which is a shallow, covered excavation made in unsaturated soil. The water passes through the tank into a distribution pipe called the header. From there, it travels through perforated pipes called laterals, which are connected by pipes called footers. When the wastewater passes through the perforated pipes, it is discharged into the soil. The soil naturally removes harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients in the wastewater. Once the soil has filtered out the water, it will be discharged into groundwater, which is then cycled back into the system through the well.

Pumping Your Tank

t’s important to perform regular maintenance on your septic system to ensure that it works correctly. The sludge in your tank is only removed through a septic tank pumping. If too much sludge builds up in your tank, it can leak into your home through the toilets and sinks or into the drain field. It will also cause an excessive amount of liquid to flow into the drain field, causing it to flood. In order to keep your system running smoothly regular maintenance and pumping is important.

ADB Septic | CT Septic System Services

A.D.B. Construction & Septic Corp. is a septic services business in Manchester, CT. We proudly serve residential and commercial customers all over Hartford County and beyond with a full slate of services. With over 20 years of experience, we have completed countless projects of all scopes and sizes. Needless to say, there is nothing we can’t do when it comes to septic tanks, sewer systems, basement waterproofing, drains, and more.

Our business is committed to meeting your needs and completing your job with the utmost professionalism and precision. We put your satisfaction, safety, and comfort at the forefront of our priority list. When you hire us, you can achieve complete peace of mind.


Free Email Updates
Get the latest content first.
We respect your privacy.

septic tank installation

how a septic tanks works


septic tanks