How does a septic system function?

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How does a septic system function?

A conventional septic system is a relatively simple system that relies on natural biological processes and gravity. A conventional septic system is composed of two parts: the tank and the disposal area (aka leaching area). In Arizona septic tanks are commonly made out of three materials: pre-cast concrete, fiberglass, and high density polyethylene, with pre-cast concrete being the most common. The purpose of the septic tank is to provide a location for the organic and inorganic matter to separate from the waste coming into the tank from the building. Once inside the tank, naturally occuring bacteria begins to break down (but not eliminate) the organic matter. Ideally once this separation has occured, only liquids will be displaced into the leaching area. The leaching area usually consists of horizontal rows of piping and river rock branching from a distribution box, or either a drilled or backhoe dug vertical pit with a pipe in the center that is surrounded by river rock. It is the leaching area that actually handles the job of disposing of the water by performing the final cleaning action and dispersing the waste into the soil.

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