What Is a Septic System?
Nearly 74% of Long Islanders are not connected to a sewer system. Instead, their homes have septic systems: underground wastewater treatment structures that use a combination of nature and time-tested technology to treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry.
How Does A Septic System Work?
A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and cesspool. If your house was built before 1972, there is a good chance you do NOT have a septic tank, just a cesspool. Below is a brief overview of how septic systems work.
All water runs out of your house from one main drainage pipe into a septic tank.
The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its job is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down to the bottom (forming sludge), while the oil and grease floats to the top (as scum).
Compartments and a T-shaped outlet prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drainfield area.
The liquid wastewater (effluent) then exits the tank into the cesspool. If the cesspool is overloaded with too much liquid, it will flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or create backups in toilets and sinks.
Finally, the wastewater percolates into the soil, naturally removing harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients.
Do You Have a Septic System?
You may already know you have a septic system. If you don’t know, here are tell-tale signs that you probably do:
- You use well water.
- The waterline coming into your home doesn’t have a meter.
- You show a “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged” on your water bill.
- Your neighbors have a septic system.
How To Find Your Septic System
Once you’ve determined that you have a septic system, you can find it by:
- Septic Tank Pipe
- Looking on your home’s “as built” drawing.
- Checking your yard for lids and manhole covers.
- Contacting Go Green Environmental Services to help you locate it. 1-631-609-4546
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A foul odor isn’t always the first sign of a malfunctioning septic system. Call Go Green Environmental Services LLC at 1-631-609-4546 if you notice any of the following:
- Wastewater backing up into household drains.
- Bright green, spongy grass above the cesspool, even during dry weather.
- Pooling water or muddy soil around your septic system or in your basement.
- A strong odor around the septic tank and cesspool.
- Mind the signs of a failing system.
Suffolk County Department of Health and the EPA recommend servicing your decentralized wastewater system every 3-5 years. When was the last time you had your system checked, cleaned, or serviced? Call us today 1-631-609-4546