State of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
A GUIDE FOR ON-SITE SEWAGE
(SEPTIC TANK/TILE FIELD SYSTEMS)
Division of Surface Water
UNDERSTANDING YOUR ON-SITE SEWAGE DISPOSAL SYSTEM
Your business is served by an individual septic treatment and disposal system. If it is not properly operated and main-
tained, it could malfunction, resulting in a public health hazard. The following guidelines are suggested to assure that
your system works properly and to maximize the life of your system. It is important to remember your sewage treatment
system periodically requires your attention, as a part of your routine facility maintenance.
How it Works
A septic tank serves as a settling tank where solid materials in the sewage from your business or dwelling settle to the
bottom of the tank while fats and greases float to the top. Bacteria in the septic tank decompose the sewage to form a
sludge which settles to the bottom of the tank. The separated partially treated sewage water (which is still highly pol-
luted, smelly and somewhat clear), leaves the septic tank and permeates into the soil where the rest of the treatment is
completed. Every gallon you use goes down the drain and must soak into the ground on your property. Many soils do
not permeate (or drain) very well so it is very important to reduce your water consumption. If your water usage exceeds
the capacity of your soil to accept the water, you will have sewage on the surface of your property.
Inspection and Care
Your sewage disposal system is a mechanical device that requires inspection and proper care and maintenance, much like
your car or home, in order to operate effectively. It may be buried in the ground, but it cannot be forgotten completely.
Proper installation and maintenance of a sewage treatment and disposal system is essential to protect our water resources.
A failing sewage system discharges a distinctive black/grey liquid which can attract young children. This type of dis-
charge is a heal