Things to Know

What is a Septic System and How Does it Work?

  • Septic systems are onsite treatment units that eliminate the need for municipal sewers in rural areas.
  • Every drip that goes down the drain of a dwelling or building serviced by a septic system eventually filters through the system.
  • The most common septic system consists of a septic tank and leaching bed, all of which is hidden beneath the soil.
  • All waste is filtered through the septic tank by way of an underground pipe. These waste particles are either trapped in the tank, or filtered through to the bed.
  • The leaching bed, which is made up of a network of perforated PVC drain pipes, disperses the effluent, allowing liquid to seep into the ground where bacteria processes the wastewater further.

Do’s and Don’ts of Septic Ownership


  • Familiarize yourself with the location of your septic system
  • Keep accurate records of septic system maintenance and service calls
  • Have your septic tank inspected for sludge and scum buildup on a regular basis (3-5 years) and clean out when a third of the depth of you tank is full
  • Divert surface water away from your leaching bed


  • Enter a tank – gases and lack of oxygen can be fatal
  • Dig without knowing the location of your leaching bed
  • Pave over your leaching bed
  • Drain hot tub or spa water to the septic system

What Happens When There’s a Problem?

  • If you suspect you have a problem with your septic system, it is important to fix the problem quickly
  • Malfunctioning septic systems can quickly contaminate groundwater and surface water used as drinking water sources
  • If you think there’s a problem, start by having your septic system inspected
    The tank may just need a cleaning
  • If the problem is with the leaching bed, you will want to speak with an onsite sewage system professional for their advice
    A list of certified Engineer’s can be found here

Helpful Resources