Questions and Maintenance

How does your septic tank work?

A septic tank system consists of a large, watertight tank that receives wastewater from the home plumbing system. The tank is followed by an underground drainfield consisting of a network of perforated pipe or chambers for distributing partially treated water from the septic tank to the soil for final treatment and disposal.

Septic tanks contain bacteria that grow best in oxygen-poor conditions. These bacteria carry out a portion of the treatment process by converting most solids into liquids and gases. Bacteria that require oxygen thrive in the drainfield and complete the treatment process begun in the septic tank. If the septic tank is working well, the wastewater which flows out of the tank is relatively clear, although it still has an odor and may carry disease organisms. It should flow only into the drainfield. Never onto the ground surface or into Florida waters.

You have an issue and you haven't had your tank pumped or inspected in over three years. This might mean:

  • Your solids may be built up in the tank and not being processed appropriately.
  • Your filter may be clogged.
  • The pieces and parts of your tank may have broken off because of and age and need to be replaced, causing a clog in the inlet or outlet of the tank.
  • 3 reasons to be concerned about your septic system and drainfield

    1. You notice pooling water in your yard - it will probably be a drainfield issue.
    2. You hear gurgling in your toilets or notice bad odors similar to rotten eggs or raw sewage outside your home- either your tank simply needs to be pumped, you have a stoppage in the line, or your drainfield has gone bad.
    3. Your toilets are backing up and won’t flush- again, either your tank simply needs to be pumped, you have a stoppage in the line, or your drainfield has gone bad.

    4. Call (352) 787-5435 to get a quote for a pump-out.

    You’ve had your septic tank pumped and you’re still facing an issue

    You may be facing a drainfield failure.

    Your septic issues may be beyond a full tank issue. The drainfield is an underground system of soil, gravel and bacteria that filters the waste liquids before they enter back into the water cycle through groundwater. You may simply have a broken pipe, but in the worst case, you could have a total drainfield failure. The process of installing a new drainfield requires a permit and involves excavating the old drainfield or if there is room, placing a new system beside the old system. Drainfields can last a very long time, but there are several factors that can age a system quicker. For example, the amount of people regularly using your system might be higher than the what was originally intended. Other problems could be the oversaturation of the soil around the system, improper maintenance of the tank and/or filter, and the roots from nearby trees can disrupt the drainfield. All of these issues could cause your system to experience problems.

    Call 352-787-5435 to learn more about possible drainfield issues!


    • Know the location and capacity of your septic tank system.
    • Have a licensed contractor inspect the tank at least every three years.
    • Have tank pumped when the combined depth of the sludge and scum equals 1/3 of the tank liquid volume.
    • Install the system so that rainfall and surface water will flow away from the drain field.
    • Grow grass above the system.
    • Install water conservation fixtures or devices to reduce the total volume of water entering the system.
    • Keep plumbing fixtures such as toilets and faucets in good repair to prevent leakage and wasting of water.


    • Never flush paper towels, newspapers, wrapping paper, rags or sticks into the system.
    • Never allow large, irregular, intermittent or constant volumes of clear water into the system, as with a leaking toilet or faucet.
    • Never over-use ordinary household cleaning chemicals that will be flushed into the system.
    • Never pour out or empty hobby or home industry chemicals into the system.
    • Never allow grease or other bulky waste to enter the system.
    • Never flush toxic materials such as pesticides into the system.
    • Never plant trees or shrubbery in the drain field.
    • Never allow vehicles (cars, trucks, etc.) to drive across or park on the drain field. (Protect it from being crushed.)
    • Never waste water.
    • Never use chemical solvents to clean plumbing lines or a septic tank system.