Sewage Treatment & Septic Systems

Understanding & Maintaining Your Septic System

Septic systems are designed to hold, treat, and dispose of household wastewater. Household wastewater contains bacteria, viruses, household chemicals, and nutrients, all of which can cause health problems and pollute groundwater or surface water. Therefore, treatment is needed to prevent water contamination.

How Your Septic System Works

Most septic systems have two major parts, a septic tank and a drainfield. Wastewater from sinks, toilets, showers and other drains flows to an underground septic tank. In the tank, solids settle to the bottom and a layer of scum or grease floats to the surface on an intermediate liquid layer. As raw sewage is added to the tank, an equal amount of liquid flows out into the drainfield.

The drainfield is where most treatment occurs. It consists of gravel-filled trenches containing plastic chambers or perforated plastic pipe. Effluent moves through the pipes and seeps into the surrounding soil. Soil particles filter out small suspended solids and organic matter, while soil baceteria break down harmful microorganisms and other organic components. Viruses adhere to clay particles in the soil and eventually die. The treated effluent continues its downward flow through the soil layers.

Maintain Your System to Keep it Functioning Properly

Regular maintenance will keep your system functioning properly and extend its life.

Best Management Practices to Keep Your System Working

Signs of a Problem With Your System

What to Do if Your System Fails

More Information

For more information about septic systems and how to maintain them, please check out the following resources:

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Flathead Lakers P.O. Box 70 Polson, MT 59860 406-883-1346 Contact Us