What is a Septic Tank?

Most big-city folks never have to wonder, “What is a septic tank?” That’s one of the privileges of living in a heavily populated area. The local municipality, generally the city, has its own wastewater treatment facility, and all the homes and businesses are hooked up to it. When you flush, take a shower, or do a load of laundry, all the water that is used flows through the pipes in the building, out through a main line, through the city sewer system, and to the wastewater treatment plant. However, laying the lines into neighborhoods is costly and some areas, even in large cities, still don’t have access to the municipal wastewater treatment plant.

What is a septic tank? In short, it’s one part of an on-site wastewater treatment facility, used in homes and businesses that don’t have municipal sewer access or that have not yet hooked up to it.

What is a Septic Tank: The Basics of Operation

When a home or business doesn’t have sewer access, the main line from the building connects to a septic tank, or a reservoir for wastewater. It’s outside the building and is generally buried underground, so it’s often undetectable, even if you’re looking for it. The reservoir handles the first stage of cleaning the wastewater, so it can return to the environment safely and won’t pose a health risk to people and animals in the area. When the wastewater enters the reservoir, it divides into three layers; scum (buoyant materials that float), sludge (dense materials that sink), and effluent (liquid/ water). In the reservoir, natural bacteria goes to work devouring the solids, so as much as 50% of the sludge can be converted into liquid or gas. As the effluent levels build up, the liquid is allowed to pass through to a second compartment of the reservoir or it may move onto a discharge area. The remaining sludge and scum build up, and have to be pumped out every so often. Most homes need pumping every 3-5 years, but others could require pumping annually, to ensure the system continues to function in top form.

How the System Works Together

When the effluent leaves the reservoir, it’s still not clean, but it is free of most particles. The soil naturally has bacteria and will finish cleaning the effluent, but the effluent must be discharged evenly, so the soil can absorb it properly and the bacteria can work. The part of the system that discharges the effluent is often referred to as an absorption area, leach field, or drainfield. Leach fields send the effluent through a series of underground pipes that are perforated, allowing it to slowly seep into the soil.

Let Atlanta Septic Tank Pros’ Partner Technicians Help You with All Your Septic System Needs

If you have or need a septic system, “What is a septic tank?” is going to be the first of many questions you’ll have. Our partner technicians are friendly and knowledgeable, and can answer all your questions, as well as install, pump, inspect, and maintain your system. Call us at (404) 998-8812 today.

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 13 reviews
by Melanie Parr on Atlanta Septic Tank Pros.
Job well done!

Nice to find a team of guys that are so kind and hardworking. They really seemed to know their stuff and took pride in doing it right. I really appreciate it, job well done!

by Sebastian Davies on Atlanta Septic Tank Pros.
Great Service and On Time

Great service and on time. They came when no one else would and went over and above to help. They answered all of my questions and if needed I will be calling them again. Thank you so much and I will be recommending your company again.

by Caroline Fisher on Atlanta Septic Tank Pros.
Very Affordable

They easily figured out what's wrong and they told me they could fix it right away. They were so friendly and were able to keep me calm as they resolved this issue. I will be calling them again in the next couple of years to have it maintained. I really felt that this was one of my best decisions. I am thankful.

by Hannah Clarkson on Atlanta Septic Tank Pros.
Great Service, Fair Price

Good company to hire. I got great service at a fair price. Who could ask for more?

by Leah Cameron on Atlanta Septic Tank Pros.
Affordable & Quality Service

More affordable than I thought. Even though we placed an emergency call, we were happy with the price and quality of service.

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Septic Tank Repair Cost Decatur GA | Call (404) 620-4177
You probably didn't get a choice as to whether your home would have a septic tank or would connect with a public sewer system, but you do get to choose who will help you maintain the system and all of its components. We're proud to serve the Atlanta area and to be able to present some of the best and most experienced septic tank pumping, cleaning, and repair technicians around.
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Septic Tank Install Atlanta GA | Call (404) 620-4177
You probably didn't get a choice as to whether your home would have a septic tank or would connect with a public sewer system, but you do get to choose who will help you maintain the system and all of its components. We're proud to serve the Atlanta area and to be able to present some of the best and most experienced septic tank pumping, cleaning, and repair technicians around.
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Septic Tank Install



Septic Tank Repair Scottdale GA | Call (404) 620-4177
You probably didn't get a choice as to whether your home would have a septic tank or would connect with a public sewer system, but you do get to choose who will help you maintain the system and all of its components. We're proud to serve the Atlanta area and to be able to present some of the best and most experienced septic tank pumping, cleaning, and repair technicians around.
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Septic Tank Repair Cost Avondale Estates GA (404) 620-4177
You probably didn't get a choice as to whether your home would have a septic tank or would connect with a public sewer system, but you do get to choose who will help you maintain the system and all of its components. We're proud to serve the Atlanta area and to be able to present some of the best and most experienced septic tank pumping, cleaning, and repair technicians around.
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Septic Tank Repair Cost