Most people who own septic systems understand that as soon as you flush your toilet, the waste goes away. That is the extent of their understanding. What happens to your waste once you flush?

1) Your waste passes through a trap, if your system is plumbed properly. A trap is a device that allows water and solids to pass through it, leaving water in the bottom of the trap to prevent deadly gases from passing back into your house.

Plumbing Sewer Trap

Once this waste leaves your house, in most septic systems it travels to a septic tank. A septic tank is designed to separate the solids from the liquids, using baffles. The solids to settle in the first part of your septic tank.

Septic Tank

The solids are consumed by bacteria present in all organic materials. The type of bacteria present in a septic tank is anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that live without air). The reason the bacteria is anaerobic is because the waste is underwater in your tank.

A secondary baffle is located on the secondary side of the septic tank toward your drain field, allowing only water out into the drain field. A drain field drains away the liquids.

A baffle to the drain field:

This water travels from the baffle to a distribution box or a header pipe.

Distribution Box

A distribution box allows the liquid wastewater to flow unrestricted into each of the drain pipes. If one drainage pipe fails, the wastewater will flow to another pipe. These drainage pipes have holes in the bottom, allowing the wastewater liquid to drain into the soil.

Liquid is purified once it drains through 59 inches of sand. A septic drain field has aerobic bacteria if it’s operating properly.

Learn more about your septic system by visiting