Septic systems come in a variety of makes and models. As a homeowner, it is important to know which kind you have, so you can save time and money on regular service appointments.

Most residential septic tanks have a volume anywhere from 1000 to 2000 gallons. Within the tank though, there are different ways to store liquid waste, which is exactly why there are different types of septic tanks:

  • Single compartment: in a single compartment septic tank, the tank is virtually one large steel or concrete drum. Liquid flows in through the inlet portal and out through the outlet baffle without any obstructions. Solid waste sinks to the bottom and a layer of scum floats to the top, while effluent water flows out.
  • Multi-compartment: most septic tanks manufactured since 1993 have been multi-compartment tanks, using at least two tanks to separate solid sludge buildup on the bottom of the tank. These tanks do a better job of separating solid waste from effluent before it enters the drainfield.

Multi-compartment tanks also tend to have more access ports or inspection hatches precisely because the tank is divided into more parts.

Conventional Systems

A majority of homes that use a septic system use a simple conventional setup. This simply requires a pipe that flows out of the home and into the septic tank. After sludge and scum are separated by the first chamber, effluent water is pushed out of the outlet baffle and into underground tubes called the drainfield. This water is naturally filtered and purified by rocks and gravel surrounding the tubes.

Low-Pressure Dose Systems

Conventional systems operate without any moving parts; gravity simply pulls water downhill. For some homes, topographical structures or landscaping won’t allow physics to do the job, in which case a low-pressure dose system in needed. After wastewater is stored in the septic tank, it will enter a separate storage container called the pumping chamber. A strong effluent pump will force water into the systems’ piping near the ground, even if the drainfield is uphill.

Aerobic Wastewater Treatment

The most expensive kind of septic system is on-site aerobic wastewater treatment, which is basically a municipal treatment plant right below your home. For homeowners that don’t want to dig up trees for their drainfield or need lower levels of pollution for nearby water supplies, aerobic wastewater treatment is preferred. This system uses a specialized combination of 2 tanks, one that separates solid sludge in a series of compartments and uses an aerator to help clean the effluent. The second is a chlorinated pump tank that uses strong chemicals to purify the water before it is pumped into the ground or sprayed out with sprinklers.

Finding out which type of septic system you have is as easy as calling Reliable Rooter to take a look. We specialize in all major types of septic systems and can help with anything from simple pumping to full service repairs.