Thursday, August 15, 2013

Septic Sure is Something Else

Up until a few weeks ago, I didn't give much thought to what happens to the contents of a toilet bowl when the handle is pushed down because, hey, who thinks about that stuff? Get it out of my sight so I don't have to look at it!

For the last couple of weeks, I've spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about it, pondering over it. That flushing action takes the contents somewhere and it's the process of getting to that somewhere and the somewhere itself that have stolen my attention.

Crash course on our septic system is this:
  1. Flush the toilet (drain the sink, run the washing machine, etc.)
  2. Water flows down the drain into a big concrete septic tank
  3. The solids settle out toward the bottom
  4. The liquid stays on top reaching a specific level before spilling into the pump chamber
  5. Once the liquid in the pump chamber reaches a specific height, the septic pump activates and pushes the liquid in the pump chamber up to the distribution box
  6. The distribution box is essentially a junction box with branching lines of perforated PVC pipe to distribute the liquid across an area that's known as the septic field.

It seems that at any point along the way the system could utterly fail.