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Do You Have a Septic System?

A septic system is an underground wastewater treatment system used by individual homeowners, as opposed to a centralized system used by a group. The typically concrete septic tank is designed to hold wastewater and separate solids and oil from liquid. Then the wastewater (also known as effluent) enters what is called the drainfield. The porous drainfield releases wastewater into unsaturated soil which goes through a natural sewage treatment process that removes harmful bacteria. Then, the newly treated water safely mixes with groundwater!

This process avoids chemical treatment of wastewater and therefore is preferable to some. However, it is hard work to maintain and can be difficult to those who are not accustomed to it. If you do find that you have a septic tank you were previously unaware of, learn the signs of malfunction right away! According to the EPA, a failing septic system can be detected by:

? Wastewater backing up into household drains.
? Bright green, spongy grass on the drainfield, especially during dry weather.
? Pooling water or muddy soil around your septic system or in your basement.
? A strong odor around the septic tank and drainfield.

Failure can mostly be avoided through routine maintenance. Quickly learn how to care for your septic tank, and carefully inspect the design and placement of it to make sure it’s appropriate. If you feel lost, or failure does occur, there are professionals that you can contact to assist you!

If you live in a rural area, use well water, and know that your neighbors use a septic system, there may be new technology on the way, too.