Septic Service 101

Are you a new homeowner or just new to septic? Need a little information or a refresher about how it all works? Burns Septic TLC can help you understand the basics of maintenance and keep things flowing for you at home!
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Customers Say...

"The young gentleman you had come clean out my septic tank today was gratious, helpful, polite and knowledgeable. I can't say enough about how wonderful he was."
- C. Glennen, Dayton, MD
Septic 101 PDF

Whether you are a new homeowner unfamiliar with private septic systems or just need a little more information, Burns Septic TLC is here to help. With regular maintenance and our sound advice about best practices, your septic system should remain problem-free and serve you well for many years.

What is a Residential Septic System?

A homeowner with a house that has a private, residential septic system is not connected to city or county septic lines and services in any way. Homeowners with private septic systems must follow best practices and work with a private licensed contractor like Burns Septic TLC to maintain their septic system and avoid costly and inconvenient backups or contamination of their home or yard.

What It Looks Like

The photo below shows a basic septic system tank, as well as how the septic system fits between your house and the drain field. The septic tank is typically buried on the opposite side of the house from your well and may be within 100 feet of your home; it may have inspection pipes protruding above-ground and possibly the concrete tank lid will be visible as well. The Well and Septic Division of your County Health Department is the first place to check to figure out where your septic is located, or you might contact your builder.

Typical Septic Tank

Septic Tank


House > Septic Tank > Drain Field

How It All Works

Waste that comes from the drains in your home (e.g., from faucets, showers and tubs, and toilets) passes from the drain line into your septic holding tank. The tank retains the solids until they break down (due to good bacteris in the system), and the treated wastewater (effluent) then flows into the soils of your property through the drain field.

Eventually the solids form a sludge, which builds up and must be removed, or pumped out. The amount of time between cleanouts depends upon how many people are in your household and the degree to which you use the system, as well as whether you follow good practices for your system.


Check out our frequent questions about Septic Services for answers to your specific questions. Then get in touch for further information or to schedule an appointment.

Recommended Links

We recommend the following outside links for additional information about your septic system.

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