Understanding Septic System Terms

septic system

What are some common septic system terms and what do they mean?  Check out these definitions to better help you understand your septic system.

Absorption Field: An underground leaching area within the soil that receives the liquid wastewater  and distributes it over a specified area where it is allowed to seep into the soil.

Black Water: Raw, untreated sewage and wastewater containing human waste.

Cesspool : A pit dug into the ground with the walls loosely lined by stone or brick to allow liquid wastewater to seep out of the cesspool into the ground while holding the solids in the pit.

Distribution Box: A hollow cylindrical or cubical structure constructed of concrete, fiberglass, plastic or steel. The Distribution Box is located underground between the septic tank outlet and the distribution field.

Effluent: Wastewater which flows out of a septic tank.

Effluent Filter: A housing and cartridge typically made of plastic located at the outlet of a septic tank containing small openings or bristles that allow liquids to pass through but block the flow of solids out of the septic tank into the distribution components.

Effluent Pump: A pump used to transfer liquid effluent from a pumping chamber to a distribution component when the effluent cannot flow by gravity.

Gray Water: Wastewater which does not contain human waste. Gray water is created from the use of laundry facilities, dishwashers, bathing, or other similar household activities.  Please note that most states consider laundry and bath water black water not gray water because it can contain human waste

Influent: Raw, untreated sewage and wastewater which flows into a septic tank.

Leach field: Another name for a absorption field.

Septic Tank: A tank made of concrete, fiberglass, plastic or steel used in a septic system in which accepts influent and is designed to separate and hold the solid matter of continuously flowing sewage. The tank also holds bacteria required for the digestion of the solids.

Septic Tank Riser: An extension of the septic tank used to raise the tank cover to ground level or higher for easy septic tank maintenance. Septic risers are easy to install and are designed to work with a wide variety septic tank configurations.

Sludge Layer: The bottom layer of matter in a septic tank that is heavier than water and comprised mostly of solids.

Scum layer: The top layer of matter that is lighter then water primarily comprised of fats oils and greases.

Vent Pipe: A vertical pipe made of plastic, steel, clay, or cast iron, that is connected to a component of a septic system that allows displaced air to flow to the atmosphere.

Visit www.allclearseptic.com for more information on all your septic needs or call 508-763-4431