Explanation of a Septic System:

The main components, buried in the ground, usually consist of a septic tank and an absorption field, also called a leach field. Septic tanks are normally constructed of precast or cast concrete, or fiberglass.

The function of the tank is to filter solids and to serve as an environment for anaerobic bacteria, which decompose the solids in a process similar to composting. Fluid material is processed through the absorption field, comprised of a series of narrow trenches or a bed partially filled with washed gravel surrounding perforated pipes. The field purifies the liquid by breaking down its biodegradable components, and by filtering out micro-organisms, and further filtering continues through the soil, and if designed properly, is completely compatible with the well water systems also common in rural areas.

Soils tests, site inspection and a septic permit from the Park County Environmental Health Department are required before installing a Septic System and using good design and construction pays off in the long run with a low-to no-maintenance system with no monthly fees.

Septic System Maintenance

To maintain a properly functioning Septic System, it is important to perform periodic inspections and maintenance.  To decrease solids accumulation and prolong the time between pumping, avoid use of garbage disposal units as they can nearly double the solids accumulation in the tank. To protect and prolong the life of the absorption field, homeowners should take the following precautions:

* Do not drive over the absorption field with cars, trucks or heavy equipment.

* Do not plant trees or shrubbery in the absorption field area.

* Do not cover the absorption field with a hard surface such as concrete or asphalt. Grass is the best cover for the field.

* Divert surface runoff water from roofs, downspouts, patios, driveways and other areas away from the absorption field.

* Plowed snow should be kept away from the absorption field.

* Repair dripping faucets and leaky toilets quickly.

* New green, low water using appliances will increase the efficiency of your system and are a good choice when possible just on the principle of saving water.

* Never dump household hazardous substances down the sink or toilet as they can kill the beneficial bacteria as well as pollute the groundwater.

* Empty hot tubs directly onto the ground rather than running it through the drain system, and through the absorption field.

The confined space within the tank contains hydrogen sulfide and methane gasses, which are toxic when the fumes are inhaled. Never enter or lean into a septic tank or use flames or electrical devices near the opening of a septic tank.

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