Types of Septic Systems

If you’re unfamiliar with septic systems, even though you know your home has one, you’re not the only one. Septic systems are underground wastewater treatment structures, commonly used in rural areas without centralized sewer systems. They use a combination of nature and proven technology to treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry. If you are looking to learn even more about how a septic system works, be sure to check out this article. There are six main types of septic systems that could be in your home.  Before we jump into each of the types of septic systems, it is also important to know what the main components of any septic system are. The three components are: the septic tank, the drain field, and the water distribution system.  With that in mind, each component has a different function, which you can learn more about here.  Now, we can move on to discussing each type of septic system and how they are similar and different. 

Conventional System

A conventional septic system is the most common type of septic system. These are most common in single family homes or in small businesses.  They are designed to serve the needs of a small number of people. A conventional system has wastewater flow from the house/ business into the septic tank where it is treated and piped to the drain field where it is filtered and then allowed to drain into the ground. Conventional systems are very easy to maintain and repair, as most Bay State will be familiar with the system. 

Chamber System

Chamber systems are an older form of a septic system and are used mostly in areas where there is likely to be poor drainage. Chamber systems require a lot of connected pipes which move the wastewater from the house to the septic tank. Then, there is a series of chambers where the wastewater drains through into the soil. Chamber systems are beneficial if you live in a wet area, but may require more maintenance

Aerobic Treatment System

Aerobic treatment systems are designed to infuse the wastewater with oxygen inside the septic tank.  The extra oxygen adds nutrients to the wastewater. The purpose of an aerobic treatment system is to disinfect wastewater cleanly and safely.  Aerobic treatments systems are beneficial if you live in a wet area or live on a small lot, but may require more maintenance

Drip Distribution System

A drip distribution system is a system with a lot of distribution pipes buried near the surface of the soil. Drip distribution systems do not require a traditional gravel-based drain field. In this system, the wastewater flows through the pipes to the septic tank, then on to a dose tank. A dose tank is a tank that slowly drips the filtered wastewater into the ground. The lack of a drain field in this system is good for areas without deep ground, as you don’t have to dig, but it can be higher maintenance

Sand Filter System

Sand filter systems are septic systems that don’t have traditional components. A sand filter system allows wastewater to flow from the septic tank to a pump chamber and then on to a sand filtration system.  A sand filtration system is a large concrete box filled with sand to allow wastewater to filter into the soil slowly.  Sand filter systems are beneficial if you live in a wet area, but may require more maintenance

Evapotranspiration System

Evapotranspiration systems are somewhat similar to conventional systems, except there the drain field allows evaporation of wastewater into the air. Wastewater never filters into the soil. Evapotranspiration systems are great in hot and dry areas because if the area is too humid or wet, it will inhibit evaporation. These systems also require less maintenance than some other types of systems, but still need to maintained annually.

Mound System

Mound systems are also similar to conventional systems, except the drain field is located in a large sand mound on the property. The sand mound has a trench that allows it to percolate and eventually drain into the ground. Mound systems are most commonly seen in areas with shallow soil depth.  However, these systems do may require more maintenance than conventional systems. 

Now that you know what each type of septic system is and how they are similar and different, be sure to check which one you have in your home so you can learn more about how to properly maintain your septic system.