How Does A Septic Tank Work?

The septic tank is what most people call an entire septic system. However, the tank is just one component of the septic system.

The septic tank can range in size depending upon the age. In our area of Geauga County the most common for systems installed since 1970 would be 2/1000 gallon tanks or a single 2000 gallon tank. Systems installed prior to 1970 could be a single 1000 or even just a 500 gallon tank.

The septic tank is designed to be waterproof and airtight. Most tanks installed today are made of precast concrete or plastic.

The tank is buried underground, generally at least 10’ from the house. It should not be run over by vehicles.

A sewer line generally runs from the house to the septic tank. The tank is located so that gravity sends the water into the tank. The line exiting the tank takes the water out to the secondary treatment area which could be a filter bed or leach trenches depending upon the age of the system.


The tank’s function is to receive the wastewater from the house, separate the solids from the liquids, store the solids, and send the effluent water out to the secondary treatment.

The solids will need to be removed from the tank or tanks periodically. It is recommended that the tanks be checked and pumped every 2 to 3 years. If the tanks are not pumped periodically, the solids cannot separate from the water and will begin to pass through the tank and out to the secondary treatment.

Is it time for your septic tank to be pumped? Are you unsure of the last time it was serviced? Give us a call. We can check the condition of your system and set up a regular schedule of maintenance to keep it clean so you will receive the longest life possible.