Septic Owners Glossary


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Bacteria that need oxygen to survive. This bacteria is present in the soil around the drain field trenches. It removes pathogens and chemicals from wastewater.
Bacteria that can survive without oxygen. This bacteria is present in the drain field trenches and keeps the bio-mat in check.
A biological mat made up of organic material, microorganisms, minerals, and sulfites which are byproducts of decomposition. The bio-mat processes out pathogens and chemicals from the wastewater.
A chemical that can improve absorption ability in clay-ridden soil. It has a high pH level and a strong smell of sulfur.
A drain, hole, or well that waste is drained into.
Soil with fine particles that can turn into hardpan when in repeated contact with sodium content in the wastewater.
Distributes wastewater from the septic tank to various legs of the drain field.
Collects and processes all wastewater from the septic tank before returning it to the water table.
Factors that can lead to the drain field not working properly. This can include grease, sodium bonding, hydraulic overload, and organic overload.
Products that reduce or don’t cause damage through air, water, or land pollution.
Polluted water or wastewater from sewage or septic tanks.
Most common type of septic tank. It relies on gravity to transfer wastewater to drain fields.
High-pressure water sprayed from a nozzle in 360-degree patterns. It’s used to dislodge solids inside of pipes before pumping them out.
A system of chambers under the gravel bed trench that forms a drain field. The chambers act as drain pipes.
Same as drain field.
An above-ground drain field built on top of natural soil. It receives wastewater by it being pumped from the septic tank. It’s used in areas with high water tables.
Ability of soil to allow water to pass through it.
A scale going from 1-14 measuring how acidic or basic (alkaline) a solution is. 7 is the pH of drinking water.
Sewer pumping stations that are used to move wastewater to higher elevations.
A device which extends from the ground to the septic tank lid. Allows access to septic tank without needing to dig.
A layer of grease and soap that floats on the surface in a septic tank.
A covered pit with an open jointed or perforated lining for wastewater to seep through.
A lingering smell from the septic tank caused by sulfur and methane. It can occur due to improper vents, a full tank, or weather conditions.
A holding place for household sewage that begins the decomposition process of waste.
Septic soil treatment chemical meant to shock the soil when applied in large quantities.
A naturally occurring chemical often found in salt, laundry detergents, and floor cleaners. It can cause clay soil to harden upon repeated impact.
A process in which soil is fractured then injected with Styrofoam-like beads to improve absorption ability.
Similar to effluent. It’s polluted water carrying waste.
The underground level at which groundwater is naturally present. It changes from area to area.