North Branford, Connecticut
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North Branford, CT 06471

Understanding the 4 Components of a Septic System January 31, 2020

North Branford, New Haven County
Understanding the 4 Components of a Septic System, North Branford, Connecticut

Nearly 30% of residents in Connecticut rely on a septic system to treat their household wastewater. Those who own septic tanks are responsible for their maintenance, but not everyone understands how a septic system works. By taking a look at the anatomy of your septic system, you can help identify problems before they escalate.

The 4 Parts of A Septic System You Need to Know

1. The Septic Tank

Septic tanks are watertight cylindrical containers buried underground away from the house. They are usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene and come in different sizes based on gallons. Wastewater is stored in the tank while solids called sludge to develop and settle. 

septic systemSeptic tanks use a formula of bacteria to promote the natural decomposition of solid materials. Outlets and compartments inside the tank prevent sludge and scum from exiting the tank and traveling into the drain field area, but if the tanks aren’t pumped and emptied every three to five years, pipes can become clogged, and wastewater will push back into the plumbing system. 

2. Drainage Pipe

The drainage pipe connects the septic tank to your home, moving wastewater to and from the tank. Occasionally this pipe can become clogged or blocked, especially if members of the household dispose of certain items through a drain. Sanitary napkins, coffee grounds, and paper towels are examples of the products that should never be disposed of through your septic system. 

3. Drain Field

The drain field lies on the other side of your septic tank and is where wastewater goes once it leaves the tank. Every time new wastewater enters the tank, excess wastewater is pushed into the soil absorption field, where it is further treated by the soil. Too much wastewater deposited at once can cause the field to flood, pushing liquids back into the home.

4. Soil 

When wastewater enters the drain field, it is then filtered by the soil before merging with groundwater. Healthy soil can remove bacteria and viruses from the wastewater. Soil comprised of a mixture of clay and gravel is ideal for a septic system because it provides the best filter. When soil becomes compacted or hardens, it can’t absorb and filter the water. As a result, wastewater will flood your yard.



Residents in New Haven County and its neighboring communities can depend on Sanitrol Septic Services for septic system installation or repairs. For almost 40 years, their technicians have provided septic tank cleaning, inspections, and high-velocity jetting. Call (203) 315-3202 to schedule an appointment, or visit their website to learn more about their septic system services.

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