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Septic System vs. Sanitary Sewer Service

DEFINITIONS

Collects wastewater (sewage) from homes and businesses and deliver it to wastewater treatment plants through underground piping and pumping systems for treatment by an intricate process involving either chlorine or ultraviolet disinfection.

A type of onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS), consisting of a septic tank that collects all the (wastewater) sewage. The sewage separates into a solid (sludge) that settles to the bottom, and a liquid effluent that flows into a leach field for final treatment by the soil with its natural bacteria. There are different types of septic systems, as described by the EPA’s septic system glossary. Read more about septic systems on the EPA’s Septic Smart website.

In summary, a conventional septic system treats (cleans) wastewater onsite, or within the soil on personal property, and typically, a [public] sewer system removes wastewater from a property through pipes and pumping systems to a wastewater treatment plant where it is treated and then discharged back into the environment.

Typical Septic System Illustration

Typical Gravity Sewer Diagram

Typical Pressurized Sewer Service
with Grinder Pump Illustration

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