What is a Septic System?

What is a Septic System

Being that there are many rural areas and gorgeous large properties in southern Maryland it is not uncommon to purchase a home that is on a septic system.

What is a septic system?

In a few simple words, septic systems are underground wastewater treatment facilities on a smaller level within a property. Most commonly septic systems consist of a tank and a drain field or soil absorption field, and drainage pipes.

With a septic system, water runs from the house on the property through one main drainage pipe into the septic tank. The tank then digests all the organic materials and separates solids, oils, and grease from the wastewater. The liquid wastewater goes through underground pipes into the drainage field and the soil in the drain field filters the wastewater and discharges it into groundwater.

Signs your septic tank is overly full

In some cases, a septic tank can fill up with too much stuff from the home and eventually overflow into your yard. Here are some of the most common occurrences or signs that a septic tank is too full:

It has been a long time since the tank was last pumped. Depending upon the size of your septic tank it needs to be routinely pumped. This could be anywhere from one year to five years, again depending upon the size of the tank. If you cannot remember the last time that the tank was pumped it is a good idea to call a septic system professional.

Drains in your home are slow or your toilet is operating at a sluggish pace. This can often be the first sign that a septic tank is too full and getting ready to back up. This is especially true if it is every drain and toilet in the home.

There are less than pleasant sewer-like smells coming through the home. If you are smelling something that smells like raw sewage this is a huge clue that your septic tank needs professional attention as soon as possible.

The grass around the tank lid is looking much greener than other grass in your yard. This seems like a good thing that the grass is green and lush, but if it’s around the lid to your tank this is actually a bad sign. The items inside a septic tank act much like mini fertilizers for gardening so if the tank is full and leaking into the soil that’s part of your yard it’s probably looking very green and healthy.

Sewage back up into the home. This is the most unpleasant and obvious sign that the septic tank is full and you should contact emergency plumbing services immediately.

How often do septic tanks need to be pumped?

Routine maintenance right on time is key to keeping your septic system working the way it needs to and not incurring a costly expense. The environmental protection agency suggests that the typical septic system needs to be inspected at least every three years and septic tanks pumped every 3 to 5 years. If you have just moved into your home and are unsure of the size of your septic system and the load that it can carry it is worth calling a professional to get their advice on its routine maintenance as some smaller systems may require more frequent care.

For more information on living in southern Maryland and south Maryland real estate please contact us anytime.

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