How Does Your Septic System Work?

sewer cover

Does your house have standard septic systems? Septic systems are used for treating and disposing of wastewater. Installed under the ground, these systems rely on nature and technological features to treat wastewater into a form that can be released into the soil. Benjamin Franklin Plumbers in Atascadero, CA are an expert in septic systems and can help you with regular inspection and maintenance, ensuring that your system functions optimally round the year.

Any standard septic system comprises of three main parts: the tank, the drain field, and the soil absorption field. Our team of plumbers in Atascadero, CA explains that the main function of the tank is to digest organic matter and separate solids and sludge (including oil and grease) from liquid wastewater. The treated wastewater, referred to as effluent, is then discharged into the drain field which is an extended network of perforated pipes, leaching chambers, and other contributing units. These act on the effluent further and gradually release it into the surrounding soil.

The solid and sludge waste left in the tank is then pumped out. Generally, you should ask Benjamin Franklin plumbers in Atascadero, CA to do this once every 3 to 5 years. Should you use water in greater quantities, you’ll have to get your tank pumped more frequently suggest our plumbers in Atascadero, CA.

Other alternatives to septic systems rely on gravity and pumps for releasing effluent into the sand, constructed wetland, peat or another suitable media which can neutralize or remove the contaminants present. Some of these systems also disinfect wastewater before discharging it to the soil.


According to our plumbers in Atascadero, CA, almost 20% of US households do have a septic system, especially if you live in an older home. Here are some signs that serve as an indication.

  • You consume water from the well.

  • No meter is integrated with your main water supply line.

  • Your property tax or water bill clearly states that no amount of sewer has been charged.

  • Neighboring houses use a septic system for wastewater treatment.


Great, so you do think you have a septic system, but where has it been installed? Our expert plumbing team suggests the following to figure this out.

  • Go through your home drawing, and see if the septic system is marked somewhere.

  • Inspect the yard for manhole covers or lids.

  • Get in touch with Benjamin Franklin plumbers in Atascadero, CA, and we’ll help you locate your septic system.


Our plumbers in Atascadero, CA have put together this really useful explanation of how your septic tank works.

Water, from all the sinks, appliances, and showers in your house, runs through the drainage network and into the septic tank, buried beneath the surface. Made from fiberglass, polyethylene, or concrete, this tank is completely watertight and stores wastewater for prolonged periods until all the solid waste has settled down on the floor of the tank in the form of sludge. Grease and oil, on the other hand, float to the top.

Our plumbers in Atascadero, CA state that the septic tank features different compartments and specially designed outlets which force sludge and scum to stay inside the tank, and not flow into the drain field. It is only liquid water or effluent than can be released from the tank, and into the drain field.

The drain field is shallow, covered and located in unsaturated soil. Wastewater from the septic tank is released onto a porous surface surrounding the drain field. It is then filtered and passed out into the soil where it is further treated and dispersed.

Benjamin Franklin plumbers in Atascadero, CA advise that you should regularly get the drain field and septic tank inspected. Your drain field should never be filled with too much liquid to prevent flooding. In such a case, either wastewater will flow upwards and out on the ground or will be backed up in the sinks and toilets.

As the last step, the wastewater has seeped into the soil where nature works on it, removing harmful bacteria and nutrients.


You should ask professional plumbers in Atascadero, CA to inspect and perform maintenance of your septic system at least once in every 3 years if you have a traditional one. If your house has an alternative system, then maintenance is necessary once every year. As far as pumping is considered, the frequency depends on the number of pipes in your household and your daily water usage.


The maintenance fee is much lower than the costs of replacing your entire system. If you choose Benjamin plumbers in Atascadero, CA, you can avail of quality services at affordable rates.


A malfunctioning septic system lowers the value of our home. Not to forget that it can even expose you to risks of costly legal liabilities.


Wastewater is contaminated with health-affecting bacteria and high nitrogen/phosphorous levels. Should your system be functioning efficiently, it will remove the contaminants. If this isn’t the case, then the treated sewage will still contain harmful substances, polluting groundwater in turn. Consequently, diseases can spread in both humans and animals.


The dispersed wastewater totals to 4 billion on a daily basis. Contaminated groundwater isn’t only dangerous for you but for the environment as well.


The expert plumbers in Atascadero, CA state that septic failure is figured out by observing several signs.

  • A foul odor

  • Water backup into your drains and toilets

  • Spongy and bright green grass over the drain field area; if you notice this even when the weather, then your septic system is definitely malfunctioning

  • Muddy soil or polluted water, either in the basement or somewhere around your septic system

Benjamin Franklin Plumbersoffer their services in Atascadero, CA and other surrounding areas. Call us today for a free quote for all your plumbing needs.