Septic systems are underground wastewater treatment structures, used in neighborhoods or 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, then return that waste water to the earth to be naturally filtered and restored.

A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and a drainfield, or soil absorption field.

The septic tank digests organic matter and separates floating matter (e.g., oils and grease) and solids from the wastewater.

The EPA provides a great deal of information that will help you understand septic systems, how they are designed and how they function. Please visit to learn more.

Repair and/or replacement of sub-standard or non-performing septic systems can be very costly, so if the property you are considering incorporates a septic system to manage its waste I urge you to have system inspected by a qualified specialist to help avoid highly disruptive and expensive surprises. Ideally that inspection would be performed concurrent with your home inspection, for the septic inspector and I will work together to make sure you get all relevant information and results. If you have a resource you trust that’s just fine with me. If not, I am happy to offer respected and dependable candidates.