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  • Writer's pictureStuart Humphrey

What is a Septic Tank Used For? Understanding Installation, Importance, and Maintenance

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

If you own or are planning to build a domestic or commercial building, understanding the importance of a septic tank is crucial. A septic tank plays a vital role in managing and treating wastewater from your property. In this blog, we will explore what septic tanks are, what they are used for, how they are installed, and why they are essential for both domestic and commercial buildings. So, what is a septic tank used for? Let's find out.

Septic tank installation
What is a Septic Tank Used For?

What is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is an underground, self-contained wastewater treatment system designed to collect and treat sewage from your property. It is commonly used in areas where there is no centralised sewer system. Septic tanks are made of durable materials such as concrete, fibreglass, or plastic and are divided into two or three compartments.

What is a Septic Tank Used For?

A septic tank is used to safely and efficiently treat wastewater from your property. It receives all the wastewater that flows down drains and toilets in your building. Once inside the septic tank, solid waste settles to the bottom, forming a layer of sludge, while lighter particles and oils float to the top as scum. The remaining liquid, known as effluent, flows out of the tank into a drain field for further treatment.

Septic tanks are essential for domestic and commercial buildings for several reasons:

Wastewater Treatment

Septic tanks act as on-site wastewater treatment systems, effectively treating sewage before it is released back into the environment. This helps prevent pollution of nearby water sources, such as rivers and groundwater.

Environmentally Friendly

By treating wastewater locally, septic tanks reduce the strain on centralised sewage treatment plants and minimise the need for extensive infrastructure. This makes them a more environmentally friendly option.


Installing a septic tank is often more cost-effective than connecting to a municipal sewer system. It eliminates the need for monthly sewer bills and reduces the risk of sudden increases in utility costs.

Septic Tank Installation

Installing a septic tank requires professional expertise. Here is a general overview of the installation process:

Percolation Test

Before installation, a percolation test is conducted to assess the soil's ability to absorb the effluent. This helps determine the size and type of septic tank suitable for the property.


Once the percolation test is complete, the area is excavated to create space for the septic tank. The tank is placed in the hole, ensuring proper alignment and levelness.

Inlet and Outlet Connections

The septic tank is connected to the building's plumbing system through inlet and outlet pipes. The inlet pipe carries wastewater into the tank, while the outlet pipe carries the treated effluent to the drain field.

Drain Field Installation

The drain field, also known as the leach field, consists of a network of perforated pipes buried in gravel-filled trenches. These pipes distribute the effluent into the soil, allowing further treatment and disposal.

Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and regular inspections are essential to ensure the optimal functioning of your septic tank. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Regular Pumping

The sludge and scum layers in the septic tank need to be periodically pumped out by a professional. The frequency of pumping depends on the tank size, household size, and water usage.

Water Conservation

Conserving water reduces the strain on your septic system. Fixing leaky faucets, using water-efficient appliances, and spreading out water usage over time can help prevent overloading the tank.

Avoiding Harmful Substances

Do not dispose of chemicals, paints, grease, medications, or non-biodegradable materials down the drain. These substances can disrupt the natural treatment processes and harm the system.

Understanding what a septic tank is used for and its significance is essential for maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment. Septic tanks play a crucial role in treating wastewater from domestic and commercial buildings, ensuring the protection of water sources and reducing the strain on centralised sewage treatment systems.

If you require septic tank services, including installation, maintenance, or repair, don't hesitate to contact us, A Drainage Company. Our team of professionals has the expertise and experience to provide you with reliable and efficient solutions. Together, we can ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your septic tank system.

Remember, taking care of your septic tank is not just about maintaining your property; it's about protecting the environment for future generations. Contact us today on 0800 135 7531 or to make a difference and install your cesspit or septic tank.

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