How Do Septic Systems Work?
Septic systems work 24/7 to process waste. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) November 1 Soils Matter blog explains how septic systems use soil’s underground resources to treat wastewater.
“Septic systems function because of soil, our greatest national resource,” says Jake Mowrer of Texas A&M University. “Soils have an amazing capacity to assimilate and transform organic matter, nutrients, and pathogenic bacteria.”
Rural septic systems consist of a holding tank and porous pipes that lead out to a drain field. Here, soil microorganisms work hard. These organisms include:
- heterotrophs to break down organic molecules;
- nitrifiers to convert ammonia to nitrate;
- denitrifiers to convert nitrate to atmospheric nitrogen (N2 gas); and
- general predators to consume the coli and other pathogens that cause human and animal diseases.
The end result is the transformation of wastewater into safe water in the environment.
“Soil performs crucial functions for us 24/7 without credit or complaint, even as we kick it about and treat it like dirt,” Mowrer says.
To read the entire blog post, visit https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2017/11/01/how-do-septic-systems-work/.