Be Septic Smart

Frequently Used Septic Terms and Definitions

 

Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs)- (see also: BAT) advanced onsite sewage disposal systems that are used as an alternative to septic tanks. They use aerobic treatment processes to further treat wastewater before releasing it into the soil absorption system. Due to the aerobic mechanism that circulates air in a BAT, the unit requires electricity and ongoing maintenance to operate. The term ATU is used interchangeably with BAT (best available technology).

 

Baffle- a device connected to either an inlet and outlet pipe in a septic tank which controls and directs the flow of wastewater in and out of your septic tank. A baffle traps solids in a septic tank, preventing them from exiting the tank where they could cause clogging issues. They are often made of concrete or PVC, and commonly called “tees”.

 

Best Available Technology (BAT)- (see also: ATUs) advanced onsite sewage disposal systems that are used as an alternative to septic tanks. They use aerobic treatment processes to further treat wastewater before releasing it into the soil absorption system. Due to the aerobic mechanism that circulates air in a BAT, the unit requires electricity and ongoing maintenance to operate. The term BAT is used interchangeably with ATU (aerobic treatment unit).

 

Drainfield- a soil absorption system which uses subsurface dispersal to release effluent into surrounding soils where it is treated and purified by the surrounding soils. A drainfield is commonly used on conventional systems on properties that do not have limiting soil conditions.

 

Drywell- A soil absoption system that disperses effluent from the septic tank back into the earth, where the wastewater is further treated by the environment. This is not the same as a cesspool. Also referred to as a seepage pit.

 

Effluent- the liquid waste or sewage that is discharged out of the septic tank and into the soil absorption area. This liquid is usually clearer than the sewage that is entering the septic tank, as it has been pretreated before leaving the tank.

 

Septic Tank- anaerobic

 

Sludge- the layer that settles on the bottom of the septic tank. This layer is composed of heavy material that settles out of water and collects on the bottom of the tank where it is broken down by microorganisms.

 

Soil Absorption System- includes drainfields and drywells.