how does septic tank work

How does a septic tank work?

We get this question more and more often as people in South Africa move over to septic tanks, either because they are far from services like on farms and reserves, or because they are going off the grid.

A septic tank is a mini sewage treatment plant that works right in your backyard. Here’s how it works:

  1. Waste Collection: All the waste water from your home (from toilets, showers, sinks, etc.) goes into the septic tank.
  2. Separation: Inside the tank, the waste gets separated. The heavy stuff (called sludge) sinks to the bottom. Oil and grease float to the top as scum, and the partially cleaned water (or effluent) stays in the middle.
  3. Breakdown: Bacteria in the tank start to break down the sludge and scum. This process is called anaerobic digestion.
  4. Discharge: The partially cleaned water in the middle layer flows out into a drain field. This is a network of perforated pipes buried in gravel-filled trenches.
  5. Final Treatment: As the water seeps through the gravel and into the soil, it gets further cleaned before it reaches the groundwater.

Did you say bacteria?

Yes. In your septic system, bacteria are your friends. A stinky septic tank might be a sign of a dead septic tank. 

Try this now:

  1. Throw out any product that says anti-bacterial. You don’t want to kill the bacteria in your tank. They are helping you by digesting the scum and sludge.
  2. Start using products that include good bacteria. In this way, you are adding good bacteria to your tank regularly. All Mrs Martin’s products contain good South African bacteria! Have a look here.
  3. Apply a septic tank treatment that is full of beneficial bacteria. You may use a large amount initially to get things going, but thereafter use small doses regularly. Bacteria thrive when applied regularly, in small doses. A fantastic septic tank treatment to try today is Mrs Martin’s TANK&DRAIN.

Any questions? Let us know!

We love to hear from our clients.

Best regards