Your Septic Tank System

How Your Septic Tank System Works (Or Doesn’t)

Septic tank systems and drain fields are just a normal part of life in these parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland, where Smith’s Sanitary Septic Service has been a company in the business of installations, inspections, excavations, repairs, cleaning, pumping and maintenance of septic tanks and cesspools for folks near Westminster MD, and Hanover, York and Gettysburg PA, for 60 years.

A smart septic system is more than essential, it’s mandatory for real estate sales, environmental protection and regulatory codes. For the sake of our customers’ and the general public’s education, Smith’s Sanitary Septic Service has a story to tell about How Your Septic Tank System Works (and Keeps Working).

The modern septic tank system was invented by Frenchman John Mouras around 1860, became proven technology by 1870 and spread throughout the United States during the 1880s. The septic tank is an elegant solution to a millennia-old problem of efficient, safe wastewater disposal and the elimination of often lethal waste-borne diseases. For more than 100 years, septic tank systems held the same basic design:

A septic tank system is an enclosed settling pond built of concrete or air-tight plastics like polyethylene or fiberglass, and sunken into the ground. They typically range in volume from 900 to almost 6,000 gallons, depending upon how much wastewater needs to be treated from your home, commercial facility, industrial complex or any building where people use the bathroom and wash their hands.

Through underground piping, the septic tank receives and holds graywater from kitchen and laundry drains, and blackwater from toilets, and it holds all that wastewater…and holds it, and holds it. With time, hungry bacteria and the pull of gravity settle out heavy solid matter (sludge) from the wastewater, leaving only liquid effluent (scum) which is then slowly, safely dispersed into an area termed the drain field, leach field or absorption field, composed of soil, sand, peat, sawdust or wetlands. Some septic systems are designed to disinfect the pathogens out of the scum and remove excess nitrogen from reaching the local soils and groundwater.

The age-old design of the septic tank changed in 1992 when the World Health Organization recommended septic tanks include an internal screen (called a baffle) which creates separate compartments inside the tank. This adaptation effectively lessens the chances of wastewater backflow – and the nasty clogging up of toilets and sinks back inside the home – as well as prevents sludge from being forced into drainfield pipes and leaching chambers, possibly causing sewage floods which are just plain gross.

The modern high-tech septic tank system is a miraculous combination of nature and technology. Almost 150 years after the invention of septic tanks, they’re more complex than ever. Don’t let a failing, aging septic tank wastewater disposal system destroy your investment in your home or eat into your commercial earnings. Smith’s Sanitary Septic Service knows all about installing and maintaining all kinds of septic tank systems like yours in Hanover, Gettysburg, Shrewsbury or Westminster, so that you can flush easy.

Our Services

Installations / Repairs / Scheduled Maintenance / Locations / Inspections / Drain Fields / Excavations / Waste Disposal / Backhoe / Port-a-Potty Rental / 24/7 Emergency Response

Serving Hanover, York, Gettysburg PA and Westminster MD since 1959, Smith’s Sanitary Septic Service is on the job when you need us most. Call 717-637-5630 today.