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About Septic Systems

The Secret World of Septic Systems: How a Leach Field Keeps Your Home's Waste in Check

Perhaps you're accustomed to some city agency taking away all of your dirty water and poop, but now you're living in the middle of the desert and you wanna get up to speed on septic tanks.

Worry not! Below is some info to help get you in the poop loop.


When living in a rural area or a place where the public sewage system is not available, a septic system becomes a homeowner's best friend. It's a self-contained system that treats and disposes of household waste, but have you ever wondered how it works? In this blog post, we'll dive into the inner workings of a septic system with a leach field, and discover how it keeps our homes' waste in check.

The Separation Station: The Septic Tank The first stop for household waste is the septic tank. Inside, solid waste is separated from liquid waste, and the process of breaking down waste begins with the help of natural bacteria. This helps to reduce the volume of waste and create a clear liquid called effluent.

The Distribution Hub

The Distribution Box The effluent flows out of the septic tank and into the distribution box, where it's evenly distributed to the leach field. It's like a traffic cop directing the flow of waste to its final destination.

The Treatment Plant: The Leach Field

The leach field is the final destination for the effluent. It's a series of trenches or beds filled with gravel that serves as a treatment plant for the waste. As the effluent flows through the gravel, it's further treated by bacteria, which helps to remove harmful pollutants and disinfect the waste. The leach field allows the effluent to filter through the soil and eventually reach the groundwater.


For a healthy system you'll want to:

  1. Only flush biodegradable materials down the toilet. Non-biodegradable materials, such as feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, and paper towels, can clog the septic tank and drain field.

  2. Spread out laundry and dishwashing over the course of a week. Doing multiple loads of laundry or a large amount of dishwashing in a single day can overload the septic tank.

  3. Use biodegradable or septic-safe cleaning products. Harsh chemicals can damage the bacteria in the septic tank that help to break down waste. Check out our post on septic safe chemicals.

  4. Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain. These substances can solidify and clog the septic tank and drain field.

  5. Have the septic tank inspected and pumped regularly. It's generally recommended to have the septic tank inspected every 3-5 years and pumped every 3-5 years, depending on the size of the tank and the number of people in the household.

  6. Don't drive or park vehicles over the septic tank or drain field. The weight of the vehicle can damage the components of the septic system.

  7. Repair any leaks in the plumbing system promptly. Leaks can allow excess water to enter the septic tank, which can cause it to overflow or become overloaded.

Every few years (depending on the size of your house, and the size of your tank) you'll want to get your septic system pumped out. This average cost of getting your tank pumped is $400 or about $0.30 per gallon. Most septic tanks hold between 600 and 2,000 gallons.

Following the above steps should keep your septic system in great shape.


A septic system plays a crucial role in keeping our homes' waste in check. It's a self-sustaining system that separates, treats and disposes of household waste before it reaches the groundwater. With regular maintenance, a septic system can last for decades, keeping our homes and the environment safe.

Happy pooping!


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