Septic Tank Baffles and Why They Are So Important

Septic tank baffles are not only important to have, but they are also required! The importance of them cannot be overstated. While often overlooked, septic baffles play a crucial role in the proper functioning of a septic tank.

Septic Tanks Should Have Two Baffles

Septic tanks need to have both an inlet and an outlet baffle. They both contribute in preventing scum from clogging inlet and outlet pipes. They also slow and contain water flow and gas odors.

Inlet Baffles

An inlet baffle is installed on the inlet end of the septic tank, where the sewer pipe leads from the building to the septic tank. The inlet baffle prevents scum from collecting and backing up into the inlet pipe. The inlet baffle also plays a crucial role in slowing the flow of wastewater entering the septic tank, which flows fast through the sewer line. If wastewater flows into the septic tank at a high speed, it agitates the scum layer and disturbs the septic tank’s process in settling out solids from liquids. When wastewater enters the septic tank, it should hit the inlet baffle to slow its flow. This helps prevent disturbance to rest of the septic tank. An inlet baffle can also help prevent sewer gases from entering the sewer line, causing smells inside a home or building.

Outlet Baffles

An outlet baffle is even more important than an inlet baffle. If you do not have an outlet baffle installed, make it an immediate priority to get one installed. The outlet baffle protects the outlet line (effluent line) from solids entering the soil absorption system (drainfields, drywells). This plays a crucial role in extending the lifespan of a septic system. Drainfields and drywells rely on soil pores to absorb and disperse effluent that exits the septic tank. Effluent should be mostly free of solid waste, as this causes clogs in the soil pores and contributes to failed drainfields. Outlet baffles prevent the majority of solids from exiting the septic tank with the effluent.

Do I Already Have Septic Tank Baffles Installed?

While most septic tanks come with inlet and outlet baffles already installed, they deteriorate over time and can break apart or even fall out of place. If you are unsure if your septic tank baffles are in place and properly functioning, have your septic tank pumped by a certified company. A certified septic pumping technician can inspect your septic baffles and ensure everything is working properly. The septic tank needs pumped for this because a portion of the baffle is located underneath normal operating level. It cannot be properly inspected while the tank is full.