The first important component of your septic system is the septic tank, an underground watertight receptacle designed and constructed to receive wastewater from your home. This tank separates the solids and liquids, partially digests organic matter, stores sludge and scum, and delivers relatively clear effluent to the absorption area.
In a properly functioning treatment tank, solids and liquids are effectively separated. Solids and partially decomposed sludge settle to the bottom of the tank and accumulate while a scum of lightweight material (including fats and greases) rises to the top. The partially clarified liquid that lies between the scum and sludge layers flows out to the absorption area.
Regular and proper cleaning is one way to help prolong your onlot sewage system. Make sure that the pumper opens the main access of the septic tank when cleaning it out. This allows the tank to be completely cleaned out. Never pump the tank through the 4 or 6" inspection port that is situated over the baffles. Only a small portion of the tank will be cleaned and risk of damaging the baffles inside the tank is high. Inspect the condition of the baffles. If missing, broken, damaged, or deteriorated, they should be replaced immediately. They serve an important purpose in helping to prolong the life of your system.
When the sludge and scum layers are not routinely pumped out, the area in the tank available for clarification decreases. Solids will enter the absorption area at an accelerated rate, and the absorption area clogs prematurely. Effluent "ponds" over the absorption area onto the surface of the ground. Sewage finds its way to a stream or road ditch, or backs up into your home.