How Do Septic Tanks Work?

If you’re a homeowner, one of the things you might wonder is what happens to all the wastewater that drains out of your house. Where does the water go when you flush the toilet or drain your sink? Well, the simple answer? It goes into your septic tank. Many people are unclear on what exactly a septic tank does for their home. We here at High Country Vac Services offer septic pumping service in and around the Calgary area. Let our team of trained professionals explain exactly how your septic tank works.


What Type of Septic Tank Do I Have?

Your septic tank is essentially a large cylindrical container made of concrete, fibreglass or polyethylene. All your household wastewater is drained into this container. But how does it work? Wastewater flows into the tank: solids settle at the bottom, while l liquids rise to the top of the tank where they form a thick layer of scum. Before we can go over exactly how your septic tank works, we need to figure out what type of tank you have. Here are the three most common types of septic tank and how they work:

  1. Double Compartment Septic Tanks
    Most tanks built after 1975 have two compartments instead of just one. This allows the wastewater to go through two different channels of decomposition before flowing out into your drain field. Solids that are not decomposed must be drained periodically, or else they could overflow causing damage to your septic system. 
  2. Single Compartment Septic Tanks
    Much like their double compartment counterparts, single compartment tanks take wastewater in through an inlet valve where it rests and separates into three layers: sludge, liquid and scum. After receiving some treatment inside the tank, the liquid component flows out into the drain field where the soil gets rid of the remaining impurities. Bear in mind that depending on the size of your tank, you’ll have to have it pumped at least once every 3 to 5 years. 
  3. Pump Tanks
    Pump tanks are very similar to regular septic tanks except that instead of relying on gravity to release the liquid out into the soil, they use a pump. This makes it possible to send specific amounts of waste out into the drain field at a time.

If you require septic tank pumping in Calgary, give us a call at High Country Vac Services. We’ll make sure your system is clean and well maintained. Visit our Services page for more information about what High Country Hydrovac Services can do for you.