What You Need To Know About Septic Systems

Are you a first-time home buyer with no experience with septic systems?

When I show purchasers a home that has an on-site septic system, they often have no idea what a septic system is or how it operates. As a result, I thought I’d take a few minutes to explain how a septic system works. You can find out more Brown Plumbing & Septic


Untreated liquid home waste (sewage) is treated in a septic system before being distributed and percolated into the subsoil.


The first stage in the procedure is to instal a septic tank. The untreated sewage would soon fill the leach field if it wasn’t for it. The flow rate of sewage into the septic tank is decreased, causing bigger particles like sludge to sink and smaller solids like scum (grease, soap, etc.) to rise to the surface. The liquids are released to the leaching region while the sediments are kept in the tank.

Bacteria in the tank partly breakdown the sediments and liquids in the tank. Because they survive in the absence of free oxygen, these bacteria are known as anaerobic bacteria. Under these anaerobic circumstances, the decomposing particles are referred to be “septic.”

A well maintained tank should be pumped often enough to keep the sludge and scum levels apart. Otherwise, the sludge and scum would ultimately overflow into the septic tank, clogging the leach field.

Some municipalities have particular rules on how often you must pump your septic system. If you’re looking at a property with an on-site septic system, you should check with the Town Board of Health and see what their rules are.


When buying a house, it’s crucial to ask about the septic system. Some questions to ask the owner are listed below.

Do you have a copy of the blueprints that have been approved? (There may be no record if the house is older.)

Is there a match between the number of bedrooms on the approval and the number of bedrooms in the house? (It’s not an issue if the real number of bedrooms is less than the number shown on the permission.)

What is the location of the system?

What is the age of the septic system?

When was the last time you pumped the system? Do you have any maintenance records for the system? (If the vendor doesn’t have this information, you may be able to get it through the Board of Health.)

Is there any evidence of a system failure, such as wet grass or an odour?

Is the house connected to a well or to city water?

Is there a well, and if so, where is it?

Is the well drilled or dug?

Has the water from the well been tested? What were the outcomes, if so?

Is there any evidence that the well has ever been disinfected? If so, when do you think it will happen?